Honoring the Truth of Our Mothers’ Humanity: Notes from the Daughter of a Single Mother

May 12, 2013

At age nineteen, my mother carried and birthed me. Her parents wanted nothing to do with their unwed, parenting daughter (respectability politics) and her romantic relationship with my father was ending. So, for most of my life my mother raised me on her own with the support of her friends, sisters, and lovers.

Daughter of a single mother is an identity that I have claimed proudly, and also with resentment and contempt. If there were a relationship status for my mother and me, it’d be “it’s complicated” . . . because it is.

My mother is not perfect. No mother ever gets it right. And as the oldest of three siblings I can tell you firsthand: a lot of mistakes are made. The firstborn is usually the trial child, the experiment, the one who parents the parent, the one who gets to see their mother in her rawest form.


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