By using our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.



  • days
  • Hours
  • Minutes
  • Seconds
🇳🇬 👍 🇳🇬

Non-Fiction: A Single Mum and the Staring Eyes


Non-Fiction: A Single Mum and the Staring Eyes

By Chinwe Ukairo


I read somewhere that “Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.”

I was only nineteen, and as the first daughter of an Igbo family I had a lot of responsibility, not on the basis of finance but character-wise and moral-wise. I grew up seeing my mum doing virtually everything; school fees, rent, food, spiritual growth, etc, and how she was able to balance work life and family was something I could not understand at that point. We were average in finance but could afford to eat more than three square meals and feed others without feeling it.

There were times during discussions after school with my close friends, I mentioned asking my dad about a particular assignment and one of the girls’ reply was, “Is your dad alive?” I had a spin down my throat because at that point, unconsciously I had mentioned a lot about my mum on different occasions and my dad’s presence felt obscure.


My mum taught me how to pray, read the Bible, teach and explain after morning prayers while she rushed to the office quite early. Everyone had high expectations of me. I had a few delays before I got into the higher institution. I got admitted to study Theater Arts in the University of Abuja after two years of applying. But I decided to take another JAMB and apply to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, which I eventually got, to study English and Literary Studies.

Before I left for UNN, I was three months pregnant; a lot of people in their opinion would say I was foolish. Yes, I was.

I was exposed to life, at least as a young girl. I met this young man through a friend and we got along. At some point he started insinuating we get married but we needed to start off dating at some point so I could get to know him better. At least he had a Masters and encouraged my education. He was so knowledgeable that he had the right answers to everything and I was willing to learn from an experienced figure.

He made me feel like a queen around my friends; he spoilt me with money and gifts. I knew I was pretty young to settle down and my mum would not agree to the whole idea, so I had to put things on hold. At some point he was my friends’ spec, they all wanted him around. I traveled to Enugu to write PUTME, he came to visit me at my best friend’s place and as distance would have it, we both decided to make use of the opportunity before my friend’s arrival.


When I came back from PUTME I was not comfortable in my skin, I decided to go to the hospital to carry out blood test. When the test result came out, I confirmed I was pregnant. I was shocked. I decided to carry out a scan to confirm how valid the test result was.

When I told him about it, he felt okay about the idea and insisted I keep the child but I was scared of my family background, so I insisted I would take out the unborn child. He persisted. I thought about it; I planned to run out of the house a couple of times instead of rubbing off the shame on my parents. Each time I made the move, my mum would send me on an errand I needed to bring feedback on.

I respected my mum so much; I could not disobey her. Two days before the day I planned to leave the house unnoticed, my name came out on the admission list. I felt at ease to leave the house, at least before my mum gets to find out about my pregnancy.


Meanwhile, before I traveled, I went to a salon to wash my hair. While at the salon, the women were discussing about a lady who tried to take out a pregnancy and died in the process. At that point, I was shaking and sweating profusely. I felt like they were talking to me. I decided to call the young man and tell him I was ready to keep the child but he changed; he said I should remove it.

I was taken aback because this was the same person who was trying to convince me to keep the child. He said he had spoken to my friend and they had both concluded that I was not ready to be a mother. He gave me ten thousand naira to go book an appointment with the doctor.

I collected the money and bought folic acid and Preg-care. I decided to leave for school. While in Enugu, I visited my aunt and opened up about everything that was going on. She invited my mum to Enugu but she could not come because of work so my aunt then decided to tell her over the phone. She was so shocked that she fell ill. She was so disappointed that she cut off my monthly allowance.

I was angry at myself because I thought I knew some stuff, but obviously I knew nothing. Being oblivious of the fact that I was pregnant for three months before I found out was a deep level of stupidity. I felt a bit relaxed, not completely relaxed but being away from an environment where I grew up and where everyone knew me helped a little to level with the anxiety.

However, I wasn’t comfortable that a part of me was going down the shell. I had serious inferiority complex, timidity and feeling of being judged owing to the fact that the school environment where I was got lots of students staring at me, then I was often wondering if they already found out I was pregnant. It was a terrible feeling. Later in third year when one or two stories started passing around about my conception and all, it took me every morning looking at the mirror to convince myself that I could go to class and not feel bad or condemned.

I didn’t blame my mum for stopping my allowance. I later learnt that such time is terrible for mothers too. I felt I needed to apologise to her and to myself for being weak, then build myself to be better. I worked on winning the default mother and daughter relationship we shared.

I met good friends who helped me through the process in school and when I put to bed, it affected my second semester results. I spilled four courses due to no attendance and lack of continuous assessments. Financially, it was not easy for me but when I met Christ through a friend who introduced me to Dominion City, Nsukka, things began to fall in place. I found Christ, I forgave myself, and it gave me so much peace.

During the long vacation, I had to work to make ends meet while my aunt took care of the baby. When school resumed, I’ll bathe him first, dress him up, then I would prepare and take him to school before going for lectures. People fell in love with him so much that I had to sometimes plead with them after school that it was time to go home.

It was a difficult period for me because it felt like I had lost everything when I didn’t graduate with my mates, even when I made efforts to write all the courses I had carried over.  My family at some point saw me as a complete failure. When I followed up my file thinking something could be done and nothing came out of it, I left for Abuja. I applied for the post of a Secretary in a construction company and when my boss started making advances at me, I resigned. I decided to volunteer with an NGO that was into Mental Health and it helped me psychologically.

After a year, my name came out for service. Meanwhile, my mum took the case to Women Affairs Commission and opened a file for me against the young man. They invited him but he flew to Germany. Investigations went on by the lawyers and they found out he had lied about his family. He was actually married, with kids and I was just a girl he wanted to take on a ride.

When I gave birth to the young King, I fell in love with every bit of his cuteness. He is so adorable and peaceful. The young man called me sometime last year (2019) that he wanted his son and that I was not a single mother. Whatever he meant by that….

It’s like the issues most ladies face in our contemporary society. A lot of girls find it very easy to take in for a man sometimes as a result of love, finance, assured marriage etc., but still regard themselves as single mothers. No, it’s not. There is a difference between being a baby mama and being a single mother.

A baby mama is one who conceives for a man and he takes full responsibility of that child. On the other hand, single mothers are ladies who bore a child due to age, failed marriage, rape, drugs, adoption, out of wedlock, and single-handedly takes full responsibility of that child.

Being a single mum in our society, due to religion, cultures and our general understanding of value system is, among other things, emotionally draining. Many will reject you, bully you, put you to the bottom. They look at you like you have feces stuck all over you. Some would even be bold to call you a prostitute, among other names to mock you, ride you into pain, anguish or worse, depression.

The eyes on me most times made me feel the need to crawl away into myself. The eyes made me feel less of a worth about myself. The worst was the eyes and stare that came with burdensome pity. Some that come with care, also come with pity. It hurts deep, reminds me of another part of the story I work hard to forget; the fact that single mothers, especially my kind, are seen from the negative aspects in my society. I am trying not to remember “the pride of a woman is her husband” mantra of my people.

However, no one remembers this line when it has to do with a baby mama, after all they are usually showered with necessary finance and all that. Ain’t some shame clouded by money and power? Well, for me, all I got is God and my spirit to keep being me, to keep moving.

So, the crime is not having a kid(s) outside wedlock, but having the kid and not having so much money. A Baby mama is okay, but a single mum who is grinding on by herself for her kid is the one to be chastised with shame and bullying. The pain runs deeper than wells most times until emotional balance is achieved. This balance, for me, does not come easily and is not always stable. Relapses are bound to happen.

Most young men run away from talking marriage with single mothers, even when the single mum is willing; makes it look like being a single mum is a taboo or something worse. For me, there are times people discuss marriage and settling down and I say nothing. Nowadays it feels like it is normal for me to say nothing because I won’t be accepted either ways. It sometimes hits me hard.

I fell in love years later and we dated for eight months without sexual contact. When I opened up to him about my son because things were getting serious, he decided we end things because he could not come to terms with the fact that I already have a child. The stigmatization on single mothers has from time past been groomed from a negative perspective. This time it got deep into me like a needle.

The young man is human and harmless. However, I felt that even if he should break the relationship, it should be on a good ground and not because of an innocent child who knows nothing. Maybe I was just overly emotional that’s why I reasoned that way. I didn’t blame him after all, it was a very difficult reality for him to assimilate, considering the corner the society we are in puts single mothers.

I felt I was in a cold world with a stigma that cannot be erased, I felt unwanted for life and maybe it would always be so. I never thought of suicide though. But I was locked up in anger and bitterness with my past. I felt I would never be accepted by any prospective young man.

On the light side, I’ve met a couple of persons who just loved my son regardless and wanted something serious but each time I feel like I want to take a bold step into a relationship there’s this cold chill that runs down my spine, and it feels like there’s a high wall that sets a bridge in my heart. It has really affected the people that loved me regardless. The past has left a scare in me, each time I take a step forward, I find myself taking three steps back. I feel like I’ve not completely come to terms with reality.

As a single mum, I try every day to stay afloat all the state and feeling my society tries to soak me in; I try to paddle my mind away from it. Anytime I feel blue or maybe at the brinks of regret, I look at my son, my King, and I become immensely grateful for everything.


Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.

Support The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine

It takes a lot to get credible, true and reliable stories.

As a privately owned media outfit, we believe in setting the pace and leaving strides in time.

If you like what we do, you can donate a token to us here. Your support will ensure that the right news is put out there at all times, reaching an unlimited number of persons at no cost to them.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *