An Interesting Conversation…

I had a very interesting conversation with two of our Indian consultants last month when I was in Singapore.

One of my colleagues and I were outside of the hotel when the two consultants came out for some fresh air, too. We got into a casual conversation at first about work then life in general. Until it came to the point that they both learned I’m a single mom. There comes the long conversation. πŸ˜€

You see, single parenthood in India, from what I gather from the conversation, is still taboo. So they asked me a lot of questions:

  • How come I have a son but not married?
  • Why am I not married?
  • Who takes care of my son when I am at work?
  • Where is the father of my son?
  • Who will be the father of my son when he grows up?
  • What if I find a partner, will he have to accept my son?
  • What do I do when I have “personal needs”?

LOL! They asked a few more questions but I had to laugh at the last question. I actually apologized for laughing. Haha! You see, they are all married with kids. And the two consultants were surprised to know that I am a single mom. I think they were more shocked than surprised even. So they shared about relationships and marriages and families in their culture. One of them gave an advice as well (unsolicited it may seem but I do appreciate the gesture) and said that a woman with a child should not be alone. She should have a partner who will eventually take care of her when the kids grow up. She should have someone to depend on and share the joys and the burden of parenthood.

Well, he didn’t say it in those words but that was the drift of the conversation. I was glad that they were not very critical with my situation, rather, they were quite curious since it is not very often that they get to meet a single parent (well, unless the spouse died or something). They were open to knowing and learning how the situation is rather than having a snobbish attitude about it.

I appreciated the fact that we all got to share parts of our cultures. Apparently, Indians are very family oriented. Married women are advised to stay at home for at least two years after giving birth to nurse and take care of the baby. It’s almost similar to what we, Filipinos, do before we adapted the so-called western culture of being “liberated” and started to accept things that are actually not what we were used to.

We were supposed be back in our respective rooms after a few minutes but that discussion took us about an hour. When I went back to my room, it made me realize that this is the dilemma that all single moms face. People will ask all the possible “why” questions. Some would react negatively about it and some would just accept it as it is.

I guess at the end of the day, single moms still look for acceptance in our judgmental, double-standard society.

On the day that I was to leave Singapore, the consultant came to me and apologized for asking all those questions. He said that his curiosity got the better of him and he was in no place to be asking those questions in the first place. He was feeling so guilty for asking, in fact.Β I wasΒ surprised that he felt that way that I had to tell him several times that it was OK. In fact, it was okay to ask but it would still be my decision to answer. And I told him that I appreciated the gesture, really, but there was nothing to apologize about. At the end of the day, we all learned about a small part of each other’s culture. Β πŸ™‚

 

 

 

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  1. I am also Indian and was surprised to hear about single mom while meeting people on net chat. These days I have stopped chating. For indians married life is a sacred life. If a woman get pregnant before marriage, then that is a shame for her family. These days many divorce are there, but still once married, they live together with children and share their sorrows and happiness. There may be some problems in married life, but most of the couple adjust and live together until end of their life.

    1. That’s the same thing that was shared to me by our consultants. And I do agree that marriage is sacred and should not be taken for granted. However, I guess we do make mistakes and marriage is not the solution to solving it and it gets us in a certain situation (being a single mom for me). It is tough being one but I am glad that regardless of my situation, my family and friends are still here to provide support and comfort for me and my son both.

      Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. πŸ™‚

    1. Not sure if employed yung mother nun or not. Nabombard kasi ako sa kanila ng questions kaya nde ako masyado nakahirit ng mga tanong hehehe. If paid yung two years nila, they are very, very lucky. πŸ™‚

  2. being a single parent is (still) kinda taboo here in the philippines, right? people just can’t let go of the issue when one mentions that she/he is a single parent. people will be asking questions and empathy only comes when reasons are to them “valid” otherwise they shrug their shoulders and walk away πŸ™

    1. Yes, it is still taboo especially in the rural areas. I have been asked why as well by a few relatives and they have held their tongue but sometimes you just can’t help but think and feel that you have already been judged and somehow have been found wanting.. πŸ™

  3. Our country has got to have the least ideal maternity benefits, I have to say!
    Back to topic, I have heard about how conservative people are in India. One of my office mate from India, even mentioned that women from very conservative families are expected to stay at home and take care of the house/family while the husband works.

    1. true! the government needs to review and make improvements on our maternity benefits here.. 60 – 72 days is not really enough..
      And yes, i was told the same thing by our consultants. πŸ™‚

    1. From what I gather, they have a very family-oriented culture. And no, I didn’t mind them asking because somehow it was evident in their faces the curiosity (and probably the oddity for them) about my situation πŸ™‚

  4. There was this tv series before entitled Outsource that focused on the culture of India using the call center as backdrop. It was an interesting show that helped me understand a little about their ways, beliefs, culture and heritage. I’m sure the consultant didn’t mean to offend you. They really just have a hard time adapting to a progressive culture.

    1. I used to watch that series too. too bad they ended it after one season. I was not offended with their questions. I was actually amused by how they asked (so much curiosity! πŸ˜€ ) and I told them that they can ask. It will be up to me if I will answer it or not and they respected that. πŸ™‚

  5. Hugs to you Liz and to your “little heart and soul”! Single parenting could be tough but I believe the Lord gives you the grace to face each day with a smile. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing! Blessings.

  6. It’s really hard to be a single mom. Mahirap na nga maging mother, yung single mother pa kaya? I am also a single mother but our situation is really complicated so I feel helpless sometimes. But I know God takes care of me, of us. πŸ™‚

    1. sometimes din naman kasi it takes time before one is ready to get married. marriage is a serious step in a relationship, i think and should not be entered to just because a couple had a child… πŸ™‚

    1. The way they asked was actually not offensive in any way and they asked permission if they could ask questions. I treated the experience as part of sharing a little bit of culture with each other. It was somehow an enlightening experience really. πŸ™‚

  7. You know mommy, honestly.. if I would be given the chance or if only I could turn back time, I would rather choose to be a single mom. I don’t care what other people would say, besides, this is my (and my kid’s) life. I have nothing against those judgmental pips… I just don’t have the time and energy to care. πŸ™‚

    1. I guess we have to make do with the situation we are given.. Make the best of it nalang, mommy πŸ™‚ ..I chose to be one kasi mahirap naman mamilit ng taong ayaw d ba? I don’t think I can handle that kind of stress on top of everything else. πŸ™‚

  8. Being a single mom is not an easy feat. That’s why I admire single moms – they exude strength. I strongly believe that single moms should not be judged for their situation, but rather, should be understood and accepted. In our current society, judging is way too common, but do remember than your fellow moms, single or not, are here to support you. Kudos to you and all the single moms out there!

  9. My mom is a single mom too. She and us, her kids, have always been bombarded by questions in those lines. Lol. Minsan nga lang, it’s offending like when they assume that children from broken homes are “broken.”

    1. I am actually offended by people asking questions sa kids just because they don’t have the guts to ask the mom directly. And I don’t think it’s fair din that they assume nakawawa kids just because they only have one parent.

  10. WOW I learned a lot from this post. I didn’t know that being a single parent is not acceptable in India. I salute all the single parents out there who needs to work hard and act as a mom and dad for their kids.

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