Sat | Dec 14, 2019

Unplanned pregnancies and the family structure

Published:Saturday | December 29, 2018 | 12:40 AMCecelia Cambpell Livingston/Gleaner Writer

Consider, how she make it to the end of the day
Working so hard just to get paid
As a single parent life ain’t easy
Playing the role of mom and dad

Single Parent ­- Buju Banton 

She is coming from a failed relationship ­ unemployed, with one child from the union. She meets another man who promises her the world and she has a child for him. That relationship also dies and the pattern is repeated until she has four children. Unfortunately, finding a job is difficult because she lacks the basic qualifications.

The Government must now step in through the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), and the Church, too, through its various welfare programmes. While some will accuse the woman of being irresponsible, for life coach Marva Wallace, it is all about changing the mindset of such women and meeting them where they are.

Wallace, while acknowledging that it is a challenge in itself to go it alone as a single mother, said that it is even more difficult when there are multiple children with absentee fathers.

“It has a negative effect on the children emotionally when their fathers are not around and in my experience coaching single mothers, it’s easy to see the effect it has on both the mother and her children,” she said.

Absent Emotionally

“Some fathers will give financial support, but they are absent emotionally and that is hurtful for the children involved,” she pointed out.

The solution, according to Wallace, is for these mothers to step up to the plate and be more involved in their children’s lives. “They will have to work hard at being everything their children need and also work hard at meeting their emotional needs,” she stressed, also sharing that it would be a good idea for them to identify father figures who can step in and fill the gap.

Wallace said that it is natural for single mothers to get frustrated and vent on their children.

But for that, she stressed the importance of parenting support groups where they can talk to and receive encouragement from other mothers who are in similar situations.

“If the fathers don’t want to be there, then you have to try and be the best friend you can be to your children by developing relationships with them,” Wallace said.


A single parent herself, Wallace said that long ago, she made the decision that she would invest in her children.

“It is hard and stressful, but it is how you deal with it. It’s just how much you want out of it. It is a challenge, but I made the decision that every waking day I am going to invest in my children. I am not going to look at what I don’t have, but what I do have, and teach them the attitude to succeed.”

For naysayers who think these mothers are a burden to the Church, Wallace said that the Church is there for those very reason ­ showing compassion and helping people to develop a sense of responsibility and also to see past their mistakes while administering gentle encouragement.

For her, it is not an easy task changing a person’s mindset, but the Church can aid by teaching them to love God, love themselves and others and to be responsible enough to face the consequences of the decisions they have made.