While walking home from my OB appointment I couldn’t believe how cold it was. I tucked into the mall to take a shortcut back to my apartment.
A little girl caught my eye – she about eight years old. She was wearing beautiful black shoes, white tights, and a beautiful sparkly black dress. Her mother was by her side holding her jacket and they were about to go into the bookstore.
“Mom, do you know what I really want for Christmas?” she asked.
I couldn’t help the smile from appearing on my face. It was just such a magical time of year and I really wondered what she was going to say.
“A Dad” she said.
I froze and could feel my eyes widen. I was not expecting that response.
All I wanted to do was to stay to hear the mother’s response yet I continued on my walk through the mall. I hadn’t even been able to capture the mother’s face after her daughter had said those words. It had all happened too fast.
I put my hand on my baby bump and thought about my little one for a minute.
Would he say something like this in the future? How would I even respond to a statement like this if he had asked me for a Dad for Christmas?
My mind started spiralling.
He has a Dad whom he’ll be able to meet when he turns 18.
But he will only see his Dad in a book that I have created. Does that even count as a Dad?
He may have a Dad in the future. I could remarry again.
Imagine dating again when you have a child? It makes everything so complicated. What if my son falls in love with a guy I am dating and our relationship doesn’t work out?
During my walk home, I was in deep concentration and nothing could take my mind off my thoughts that soon turned into obsessive thoughts (better known as anxiety). I started worrying about everything and whether or not I would have the right things to say when tough situations came up.
How did other mothers without a partner answer this question?
Whenever there is a question that I don’t know the answer to, I turn towards my community on Instagram. There are so many supportive people on there and a lot of them are doing the solo parent thing.
Here are just some of the amazing responses I received:
“Not all dads are great ones. Supportive men are everywhere…grandpas, uncles, family friends, cousins. They can act as a Dad. I wouldn’t know what to say either, but thinking about this in advance is why you’re already an amazing Mom Sarah.”
“I know baby but you do have a dad. He helped mommy make you from far away. Unfortunately, I don’t know him, but I wish I did so that you could know him. We can look at pictures of him together and maybe one day we can know his name. For now, it’s just you and me.”
“I wish that you had one too because I always want you to have the things that make you happy but I wanted you so badly that I made the choice to have you even though there was no “dad” in my life. I just couldn’t wait and having you was the most important thing in the world. We are so lucky though because you are loved even more than a lot of people who have dads (some of whom aren’t so nice). People saw you and were able to see how perfect you are and wanted to be part of your life so that they could love you too.”
The last message I received was from a former student I taught years ago. She is now in her mid 20’s and wrote me this:
“I actually grew up just Mom and me as well. I’ve never actually met my dad or anyone on his side of the family. I’m positive that I asked my Mom a question like that at some point – not just about having a father but also about his side of the family. I don’t remember her saying something specific but I just remember feeling really loved after we talked about it. She said something like ‘I was just so excited to have you here. I love you twice as much.’ So I guess it doesn’t matter what you specifically say because your little one is going to feel so loved.”
People were sending me messages telling me that they were taking screenshots when I posted some of these responses because they wanted to be ready to have beautiful answers when their child asked them about a father.
Here’s the thing though – kid’s love questions and it is only going to be a matter of time before these questions start coming up.
When I have announced my pregnancy to some people, a few have said: “I didn’t know you were seeing someone Sarah.” That’s when I respond that I am “doing it on my own.” But here’s the thing. I am not really doing it on my own.
I am living with my parents, I have my sisters and my brothers-in-law, I have two sweet cousins for my little one to meet, I have an extended family, and so many friends. Plus, I have this amazing community that I would have never met had I not started this blog/social media account.
Some people have sent me messages asking me how I respond when people say that being a single mother by choice is “selfish.” How can one possibly decide to bring a baby into the world knowing that there is no father or male role model?
I have realized that you can’t plan how to respond to situations like these or even situations when a child asks for a Dad for Christmas. Every time that I get asked a question I try to never respond in an angry or aggressive way. I take a deep breath, and let the right answer come out. Sometimes I am shocked by how I answer questions or statements. A lot of people just say things because they don’t understand enough about the situation. I take it upon myself to use these moments as teachable moments.
When I say teachable moments, I don’t mean that I act as a “teacher” and teach them what is “right.” Instead, these moments are when two people exchange information and truly try to understand one another. Nothing is said in a hurtful or harmful way. Instead, you speak from the heart.
I’ve found that as long as I speak from the heart in all of the questions I have received since beginning my journey, people can’t really be that hurtful in response. Sure, some might be more aggressive but as long as I stay cool and calm and just speak from the heart, things have never really turned that ugly.
For the past couple of days, I can’t get the image of that little girl with her mom going into the bookstore out of my mind. She was so angelic and I am sure that her mother answered her question in a beautiful way. Mama’s somehow know how to answer the tough stuff. In times when they don’t, they can always come back to the question and answer it how they wished they would have from the beginning.
So when it is my turn, what will my answer be? I have no idea but I promise my answer will come straight from my heart and will be full of so much kindness, grace and love.
So let the questions begin.