Being Single Moms in Indonesia – Fighting The Stigma

Last week I had lunch with two wonderful single moms who are also writers. One was involved in writing a book and we had initially met at her book launch. The other single mother is a single mom by choice.

We discussed about life as a single moms.

Being a single parent is twice the work,
I feel there is still a large stigma about being a single mom in Indonesia. Like it or not, Indonesia is still far behind compared to western countries when it comes to how we as a society accept, respect and support single moms.

There are two types of single moms. One who has lost their spouse through death and one from divorce. Unfortunately, society here gives more support and sympathy to those who became a single mother through death. The single moms from divorce are still very much looked down upon.

Carrying a title as a single mom is still considered an embarrassment to the whole family and that is why a lot of single moms feel ashamed. And why is this you might ask? Because she will be judged and harshly too! That’s why! A lot of single moms still aim for “I better get a new husband soon so I can ditch this status!” which is not a good reason to get married in my view. Do you agree?

Society here seems to shows more compassion towards single fathers. Now for example, single fathers can date as many girls as they want and no one complaint but if a single mom does the same thing then she would be labeled. One of the single mothers had told me that when single fathers come and pick up their kids in school some of school moms would be in awe and feel sorry for the single father. Have you seen this happening in your child’s school?

When my son first started school I feel like I didn’t belong because I was feeling uncomfortable being around all the other married moms. Luckily the moms in my son’s school are awesome! They know about my status and no one has ever made me feel uncomfortable or say negative things.

Getting divorced or being a single mom by choice is still looked down upon so it is understandable why a lot of single moms feel embarrassed to accept their status and look to be rescued from the shame by getting married.

Because of my concerns, I started Single Moms Indonesia. I made a secret Facebook Group too alongside the public Facebook Page to provide a discreet place for single moms in Indonesia to come, share stories, to gain support and to encourage each other.

Logo FB SMI150px
I wish one day, we will see a change in how we treat single moms in Indonesia.

Maybe we could try these approaches:

  1. Acceptance. Let’s not judge single moms you meet before you walk a mile in their shoes. Let’s not make assumptions about others. Perhaps we can understand their situations more once we know what she has been through.
  2. Education. This is more about contraception, family planning and support marriage guidance or counseling.
  3. Responsibility. As mothers let’s all do our best to raise responsible and loving men.

 

So whether if you are a single mom or not, have you noticed a stigma attached to single mom? And if so please share your ideas or thoughts.

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