There are many single mothers at the place I work in. A lot of them had their first child as a teenager, and most of them in their 20s.
Who are the fathers?
Well, half of them did not take responsibility, leaving the mother and child to the whims of life. While the other half are still there, hanging on and somewhat taking some sense of responsibility. Many of them are just living in and unmarried.
“Why don’t you get married?” I asked.
“Well, we’re still saving up for marriage,” they said. “It’s expensive.”
“Yes, it can be expensive but so many people get married without spending too much,” I countered. “All it takes is for you to get married civilly and hold a celebration at home or in a cheap restaurant.”
The old adage runs true: Kung gusto, may paraan. Kung ayaw, may dahilan. In English, it means, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Literally, it means, if you want to, there’s always a way. If you don’t want to, there’s always a reason.
As I ask more questions, it comes to light that it’s usually the guy who don’t want to get married. Maybe, despite fatherhood, they’d like to hold on in whatever bachelorhood they still have left.
This arrangement are not always fair to the woman. It is not uncommon for women to live-in with their partners for many years, only to find them cheating with someone else.
And it’s a Catch 22.
If you leave the cheating bastard of a live-in partner, what will happen to your child? Be illegitimate?
And if you stay, what will happen to your self-respect?
That’s why, it’s better to ask the right questions before you become sexually active.
Questions such as, “If I get pregnant, would you take responsibility for our child?” does damper the sexual excitement, but there is honestly no excitement in getting pregnant out of the wedlock and guys leaving you both behind.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority in their 2013 study, 10% of women aged 15-19 years old are already mothers. In 2014, more than half of total birth recorded are to unwed mothers. That’s 880,524 children recorded. 62% of the babies in the National Capital Region are illegitimate.
This isn’t a global trend — in other countries, almost 80% of total births are legitimate babies.
Apparently, 20% of teenagers are actively having sex with almost half of them uneducated well and coming from low income families (Source):
This just breaks my heart.
Why are there many single mothers in the Philippines?
For one, the Filipinas are complete romantics. While money is important to us, love and family are even more important.
In China, women will refuse to marry men unless they have the three Cs: Cash, Car and Condo. It’s so ridiculous that it’s news in China when a woman marries a coal miner, a man who has little money.
Here in the Philippines, women will be with you if you are nice to them. Show them some kindness and some sincerity, and they are mostly yours.
That makes us the best of partners and the most gullible ones.
I’ve talked about this previously in my post, Mien Bao (Bread) or Love (Ai). There comes a point in time when we should be practical when it comes to decisions that affect us long term.
Two, sex education is sorely lacking.
“This might be your last year to access birth control!” a CNN Philippines cover story declares last March 31 as news come to light that by 2018, women may not have access to any more birth control. By 2020, condoms should only be the allowed contraceptive in the market.
I am a supporter of contraceptive pills as birth control. Since I am a breastfeeding mother, I use Daphne. I have used birth control pills for years, usually to help me regulate my periods.
But aside from my personal requirements, for me, if you are sexually active, please use contraceptive pills. They are effective and prevent unwanted pregnancies before it start. It’s better to prevent pregnancy than to be stuck with a child who’s unprepared with life.
How do you use pills?
Merely take them religiously one pill every day for 21 days. They must be taken around the same time without skipping. If you forget, you must take one immediately. If you skip too often, you are no longer protected and must use other forms of contraception going forward until the next cycle.
You are protected after completing one cycle (21 days). That means, when you start taking birth control pills, you still have to use condoms or abstain from sex on your first month. You are already protected from the second month of taking the bills.
If you cannot be disciplined enough to use birth control pills or condoms, abstinence is a great birth control alternative.
Lastly, we have to be more vigilant about our women. We must make them aware of the consequences that lie in the future if they proceed with being sexually active without protection.
“I didn’t think it can happen to me,” moaned a young mother who got pregnant after doing it “once.”
Yes, you can get pregnant even if you do it once. It is also possible to get pregnant if you just insert it. And if you don’t get pregnant, if your partner has STD, then it’s highly likely you will get STDs too.
When I was in Taiwan, I remember being very behaved and careful due to my fear of pregnancy and STDs. There’s also the fear of parental anger. I thank God for giving me strict parents that helped me from staying out of trouble.
It’s really tough to be a single mother.
My husband is a great help to me.
He walks the baby when I need some alone time. He changes the diaper and bathes the baby when yaya isn’t there. I can imagine the immense burden women have to go through if they raise a child alone.
Everyone dreams of a good husband who can be a good father. But not a lot of people are willing to wait until everything is in place before making a baby.
My path to motherhood was a shaky one. People who know me intimately know that I was anti-marriage or anti-kids till I got married and had my own child. I had my daughter when I was 35 years old, an age when many mothers fear that their kids will be autistic or with Down Syndrome.
I am glad that I waited.
Life is so good right now because I waited for the right man and the right time.
To those who are single mothers, I salute you. It’s not easy doing it all alone, and I admire you for your courage and for being determined to earn a better life for your kids.
To those who are not yet mothers, please, reconsider. The odds are against you and statistics say that you should get pregnant when you are least prepared. I hope that you can take better take care of yourself and make the right decisions, for the good of your future child and yourself.
Good luck mommy.