Hello, my name is Lisa Ferguson, and I am a single mother. After you read this some of you may think I intentionally put myself in this position. I ask that you don't judge me. Like many of us, I'm only trying to protect and do what is best for my son.
At 24 years old, I didn’t imagine I’d become a mother anytime soon, so when I found out I was pregnant, it came as a surprise, but why? Unprotected sex... pregnancy... you do the math. With my new found information, the idea of being a mother came with mixed emotions but overall, I was happy and despite the father and I not being in a serious relationship he took the news well. A little excitement started to kick in- I was going to be a mother. Throughout, the early stages of my pregnancy, adjusting to the changes my body was going through proved a challenge for me. Dealing with morning sickness, my emotions were all over the place not to mention the mood swings. I knew it was all hormonal and things would eventually settle down, but I was always feeling a little tired, and my excitement quickly changed to feeling fed up. I felt as though I had no control over my body, and my once happy supportive 'baby father' was now showing me next to no support. He always had an excuse and somewhere else to be. The signs were showing already, the child I was carrying wouldn’t be a priority in his life. That was strike one!
I became somewhat appreciative and grateful for the little he did do; I just thought something was better than nothing right? It could have been worse for me, and so I took what was on offer, which wasn't much. I mean, what if he wasn’t there at all? Looking back he might as well had not been. He would rarely come to any maternity appointments, and I'd often sit in the waiting room alone, watching other expectant mothers and their partners. Mothers were receiving the support I craved. I wanted to experience that same joy and happiness that was on display in front of me in the appointment waiting room. I didn’t want to be there alone; I shouldn’t have been. I felt like I was missing out and watching those around me, made me feel judged. “Another single mother” were some of the things I heard in my head. I know now that those voices were a lie, but at the time I couldn’t shake it. Eventually, I stopped asking if he was coming as I didn’t want to be disappointed anymore. Attending antenatal classes became a no-go, I couldn’t handle the sadness that came with it and the reminder that it was looking like I was in this alone. He wasn’t taking any of it seriously, and I refused to argue and add any more stress to an already stressful situation. I didn't want my baby to feel my sadness and tried to remain as confident as I could. Deep down, I wanted him to be a part of this journey and needed his support, the baby was due soon, and I hoped we could get to a better place before his arrival.
Kamarli, my beautiful baby boy, was born on the 3rd July 2008, delivered by emergency C-Section he was a healthy baby. It was an awesome feeling; my baby was finally here, he was amazing, and my heart swelled with joy for this new little human God had blessed me with. I vowed then that he would come first and I would protect him with everything I had. Just like that, life changed with no manual to guide me through. I put on my big girl pants and prepared for this new journey ahead called Motherhood.
Between feeding, changing nappies, washing clothes and just watching him sleep, a good night’s sleep for me was a distant memory. I had my hands full every single day. Family and friends helped where they could, but I didn’t expect anyone’s life to stop because I had a baby. What I did expect though, and still wanted, was for his dad to be there. Even though we weren’t I wanted that support from him and for my son to have a father figure around, but just like before, he was incredibly inconsistent with visiting and spending any time with his son.Feeling alone but still trying to cover for him, I lied to my family and claimed to be getting more help than I was. In hindsight, I think I was trying to protect him and our situation. I didn’t want to depend on them for their support, my son had a dad, and I needed his support. He needed to take care of his responsibilities. As time went on, I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, ( being a mother). Me and my son were getting by the best we could, I took each day as it came and thanked God for keeping me sane through it all. Then I found out my baby boy was diagnosed with a hearing impairment. I was distraught, overwhelmed and stressed and questioning the reasoning behind it. Why was I put in this position? Why did Kam now have issues with his hearing? Why didn't his father want to be a part of his life? All these questions with no one to answer them. I knew everything happened for a reason but I couldn't see it.
As time went on contact was few and far between, and I reached my breaking point when I found out he had other children and was in fact in a relationship. By now I don't even know how many strikes I had given this man, but I had no more to give. I was all out. All this time, the lies, inconsistent visits and broken promises now made sense. I felt naïve. He had a whole other family. I felt as though me and Kam didn’t deserve this and I didn’t want this type of man as a father for my son. No longer would I chase him or be the nagging mum on the other end of the phone. It wasn’t worth it, he wasn’t worth it and besides it was getting me nowhere, but hurt.
Fast forward ten years, I've held onto this pain as a reminder of what he had done, and I guess it's what has fuelled my decision to walk away and cut him out of our lives. I haven't allowed him access to Kam. Many probably won’t agree with this and think I have intentionally allowed myself to become a single parent. Maybe I have, but the alternative of having an inconsistent father figure has never been the option that I wanted to choose. Kam doesn't ask much about him, and that comes as somewhat of a relief, as I wouldn't know where to begin. How do I explain the role I play in the absence of his father? Through word of mouth, I have heard that his dad would like to see him but so much time has gone by and Kam and I are in a good place. If I let him in would it do more harm then good??? Besides, he hasn't made an effort to reach out to me himself so how serious can he be?
As Kamarli gets, older my focus is on supporting him and encouraging him to be the best version of himself. Over the years I’ve realised I haven’t forgiven his father, nor have I forgiven myself. We both have a role to play in him not being around, I just didn't want to admit my part. For so long I put all the blame on him not even acknowledging my stubbornness. But I’m struggling to let go of the bitterness and anger I have towards him. I know it's not right and the only person that is genuinely being affected as a result of our actions, is our son. Often I hear people say that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to suffer, but it's me that is suffering and drinking my own poison in the form of anger and bitterness. My relationship with God is helping me to deal with this all and I think the first step has been penning my thoughts and sharing them in such an open way. No longer can they keep me bound as I get closer to God and continue on this journey to forgive. I pray that He heals my heart and gives me some direction. I still find it hard to accept the way things have turned out, but all things will work out for our good. I wasn’t prepared to watch Kam grow up and experience the same hurt I got from his dad. Not taking care of his responsibilities and showing no respect- I had a fear he would treat my son in the same way. I realise now that I allowed that fear to make a decision, that maybe I shouldn't have. Although I say it was to protect my son, some of it was due to my own hurts.
Kam hasn’t shown any visible emotions towards the absence of his dad. I know this doesn’t mean he is not hurting inside and he probably has many thoughts and unanswered questions regarding his absence. I worry this could have a negative impact on him due to the lack of communication, as I haven’t spoken to him about his dad at all. I guess it's my responsibility to tell him what he needs to know to a degree. I cannot change the past and before now, I wasn’t in a place where I wanted to have these discussions. Not with anyone and especially not with my son, but here we are. I am at a stage where I know it is time, he is made aware, and it will help us both move forward. If he then decides he wants to make contact with his dad, I know I won't have any control over his decision and I will support him the best way I can. Kam is a fantastic, outgoing and very active boy, a great man in the making and I know no matter the outcome, he will be just fine and has a bright future ahead of him.
For myself, I must now begin working on allowing God to heal my heart which feels broken. Forgiveness is my biggest challenge, as I don’t feel he deserves it and the pain that resides in my heart won’t leave me. I breathe deeply, finally being able to say these words. Only God can help me overcome this hurdle, and through prayer, I will make it through. I do believe God chose me to be a mum for a reason. There is a purpose for everything that has happened. I couldn’t see what God was showing me before, as I was looking in the wrong direction and it was doing me more harm than good. He wants to heal me and I have to allow Him the access to do so. I have been gifted with my son. I will love my son, protect and encourage him on his walk-through life. I want my son to grow up to be a respectful, caring, loving and responsible person and most importantly, have a heart for God.
Thank you to Mothers of Men for allowing me to use this platform as a way to express and share my journey in motherhood.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do no lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
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