Common struggles for Single mothers in India

Single mothers are women who raise children without a spouse. There can be different reasons for the mother to be single. The most common are being divorced, widowed, or separated. There are some who opt not to get married but to adopt a child. The mother has to provide for the child emotionally and financially, which can cause a lot of stress for her. According to the 2011 Census of India, there were 13.7 million single mothers in the country. This figure may be under-reported, as there is a stigma attached to being a single mother. About 42% are widowed, 39% are divorced, and 19% are separated. Single mothers are reported to be more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas. 60% of single mothers live below the poverty line. Most of the single mothers have lower levels of education, with about 30% not even completing school. The average number of children is 1.6 per mother.

With the social stigma attached to being a single mother in India, it could be extremely stressful for her. Many women face judgement and discrimination from society. This is even more true in rural India. Single mothers may be blamed for their situation and shamed for not being able to keep their families together. They may be seen as immoral or promiscuous. Widowed women are seen in bad light for no fault of theirs. Without a partner or family support, single mothers may feel isolated and alone. They may not have anyone to turn to for emotional or practical support, which can be challenging.

Single mothers often struggle to make ends meet as they have to provide for their children without the support of a partner. Most of them are not well educated to find decent jobs. It is not easy for them to have enough or a steady income to support the family. Single mothers find it difficult to balance their work responsibilities with their parenting responsibilities, which can be exhausting and stressful. They may have to arrange for childcare while they are at work, and they may not have as much time to spend with their children as they would like. Single mothers often find it difficult to improve their academic qualifications since they neither have time nor money.

Some single mothers may have to fight legal battles to secure custody of their children or to receive child support from their former partners. This can be a time-consuming and emotionally draining process. Being a single mother has many challenges, and it is not easy. Single mothers can seek financial assistance from the different programmes the government or NGOs have. They can plan to start their own small businesses. To support each other, single mothers can reach out to friends, family, or support groups for emotional and practical support. They can also seek counselling or therapy to manage stress and anxiety. In the area of self-care, single mothers should prioritise self-care and make time for activities that help them relax and recharge. This could include exercising, meditation, or spending time with friends. Single mothers can pursue online education and training programmes that allow them to balance their parenting responsibilities with their professional goals. They can approach legal aid organisations if they need legal help. To name a few organisations that can help, there are the Single Mothers’ Association of India (SMAI), Child Rights and You (CRY), Women in Need (WIN), The Akshaya Patra Foundation, and The Women’s Foundation India. Single mothers in India should not hesitate to seek help and support whenever they need it. By taking steps to overcome these challenges, single mothers can build a better future for themselves and their children.

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