How hard is it?

Such a sweet article about a topic I have thought about many times over.

"What being a Single Parent is Really Like"
by Sophia Heawood
"When people find out I had a baby on my own – I mean, I did have some help from the man who accidentally put it there in the traditional fashion, but he didn’t want to be a father and he left for good – there is a question they often ask. It is not, “Were the instructions on the condom packet printed too small for you to read?” but rather, “How hard is it, honestly, to raise a kid on your own – and do you think I would cope?”
It comes from women in their late 30s and early 40s, who always thought they would meet a brilliant man and have children. It hasn’t happened and now they’ve started to suspect that a biological clock is not some creepy Daily Mail invention but an actual thing that ticks, and they’re worried, wondering about sperm donors or other ways to have a baby without having an other half.
I can only tell them my own experience, which is that the hardest bit isn’t having nobody to share the burden, it’s having no one to share the love. Nobody right there when your child tells their teddy that “people are bears, too, but with bones inside.”
Living outside the nuclear narrative will create so many jarring moments with others that soon you won’t speak, only nod. You will do The Nod when the nursery sends your kid home with a Happy Father’s Day card that she’s been made to copy her name on to. You will employ The Nod when other mums say they know exactly what it’s like being a single parent because their lovely husband works abroad for up to two weeks at a time. You will employ The Nod when 20 of your friends offer to babysit – three will actually do it and the rest, when they see you at a party, will ask what you have done with the baby, to which you must always reply with these exact words: “I thought I left it at your house?”
Gradually, you will realise that you, too, have made other people do The Nod all your life. That you moaned about your mum to a friend whose mum was dead, that you complained about being skint to friends who’ll never earn what you do, that you phoned in sick with hangovers when a colleague who lives with a chronic pain condition wouldn’t dream of missing work. A lifetime of selfishness will open up before you like a seam. You will watch a friend lose her two-year-old, who dies for no reason in the night, and clutch your own child very, very tightly and thank God that she is here, and that the smell of her hair is such sweetness that even your nostrils are in love with her. She will become your levity and your gravity. You will be more than able to cope."


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