Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the designated room. It wasn’t a big room. It’s more like someone’s living room right next to an open kitchen. Black covered chairs lined side by side. It wasn’t meant for a large audience obviously.
“Hey!!!” Eryka greeted me as I walked in.
I was introduced to one of the writers, Mia Amalia.
As we chatted along, the room quickly filled with other women from different styles, different age range, different backgrounds…but one thing in common.
We are all single moms.
I came to the talk show and book launching The Single Moms today and I wasn’t prepared for how truly emotional it would turn into.
Affi from Female Daily act as the moderator and she interviewed 3 out of 4 single moms who wrote the book. Although I haven’t read the book I can relate to so much that was being said.
Hearing these ladies openly shared their experiences about being single moms in a country that still look down on us…besides bringing tears to a lot of eyes, you can feel the bond…the invisible group hugs being shared today that fill the room.
Granted, I haven’t read the book, but I know I will write about it later on. All participants were given the book and I just know what I will do tonight. Without turning the pages, I can already relate to what is being said on the floor. From the negative comments families, friends, even strangers throw in our faces? We’ve heard them all.
One of the writers, Budiana Indrastuti chocked up when she started talking about the stigma that us, Indonesian Single Moms have to face on a daily basis. The room fell silent and as I tried to hold back my own tears, many of these single moms wiped their eyes.
The stigma…oh the stigma…
As I’ve written here, even with the rising numbers of divorce in this country, many people still placed the blame on us women for taking a stand, for choosing to take on the role as single mothers…some by choice (either from divorce or from deciding to keep a baby out of a wedlock). The origin word of single mom/divorcee in Indonesian is JANDA and it’s well known to have a very negative connotation attached to it.
From the writers, we heard how they chose to react to this stigma. They are clearly strong women and I truly admire their coping mechanism and their spirits.
As my friend, Eryka took the microphone and shared her own stories I can’t hold back my tears. Here’s a mother that has to leave her daughter behind in another town to be taken care of by her brother and parents while she’s working hard in the big city trying to make ends meets without any help whatsoever from her ex-husband. People judge her for choosing to do this without realizing how very painful and hard that would be to leave your child behind trying to provide a better future. She’s been a target of negative comments but she held her head high and do what’s work for her. Big love to you, my friend!
Seeing these ladies, listening to their struggles…my heart aches.
It has been an eye-opening event that touches me to the core. Knowing that some of them don’t even have any financial support let alone parenting supports from their exes really makes me angry inside. Yet, it also made me realize that my own situation isn’t as bad as some of these ladies are.
One of the writers, Mia have 4 children. She works from home. She is surviving and thriving.
This made me feel ashamed for sometimes feeling sorry for myself, for the feeling I’m the most miserable person in the world when there are others who really are struggling with little to no help.
Single Moms United
The sisterhood of single moms atmosphere was thick and heavy in that small room. For once, we can all leave our masks behind and exposing our wounds, our worries and listen to how others deal with challenges faced by so many of us as single moms. It was therapeutic to know yes, we are not alone. We can all relate.
In a society that sadly still looks down on us, we have all grown thicker skins in due time, and all we have to do is look right next to us to see our children who look upon us with so much love. They needed their mothers to be strong but sometimes, we feel like the burden is just too much. That’s why having a community of supportive people is crucial.
There will be bumpy roads up ahead but somehow we will make it. Knowing we are enough for our children is also important. We are all in this together, flying solo trying to raise healthy, happy children despite our own unique circumstances, also to defy the labeling that our children will grow up as rebels, as children with issues.
I truly wish more events like this will take place here in the future. Big kudos to all the parties who made this talk show an unforgettable one!
18 thoughts on “Single Moms United”
What a wonderful experience for you friend!
I’m so glad that you got to connect with other women. It’s sad that there is such stigma. But your voices are strong and I hope that you can help banish them!
It’s sad really but it’s the reality of being a single mom in a patriarchy country such as mine. We may not be able to banish them all completely in this lifetime but at least if we get our voices heard maybe…just maybe one day it will change.
What a great group of women and glad it’s a place where women can speak openly without feeling judged. It’s unfair that the culture there blames the woman as it takes two to be in a marriage and then a divorce. If you were in the states, you wouldn’t be judged as harshly as there are a lot of single moms here. But since you are there, all you can do is keep your head high!
Keeping our heads high and focus on raising a healthy, happy, and loved children. That’s all we could do and trying to proof to society that we are not as bad as they are labeling us with. Thank you so much for all your support, Maria. It really means a lot 🙂
i wish i was in jakarta for this. so great to see this post 🙂 #singlemomsunite
Mbak, we wish you were there too. Thank you for the support 😀
saya respek dengan single mother asal gk jadi tante girang aja
Pemikiran seperti ini lah yang harus di hapus! Terima kasih anda telah membuktikan point saya dari postingan ini bahwa memang masyarakat cenderung menilai single mother dengan konotasi negatif. Apapun pilihan janda/single mom, siapakah anda untuk menghakiminya?
I think it’s awesome that you had such a great experience and connected with women in your community whose stories parallel your own. That always helps, I think. Or, being able to meet and speak and hear from others that are going through what you are.
Thank you, Jessica. Hearing their stories and reading the book. We all had one thing in common, besides struggling to make ends meets, to function as mothers to our children, we still have to fight the stigma. It has been a truly wonderful experience.
To my non-Indonesian speaking readers, the comment from Newspaper Article is totally uncalled for. Loosely translated he/she wrote: “I respect single mom as long as they don’t turn into a bimbo.” And to that I replied thank you for proving my points correctly that there is a strong negativity being labeled to us single moms. His/her way of thinking is what needs to be banished from this country. Who is he/she to judge? Seesh! Got my temper boiling reading that shallow, unrealistic comment.
It was a pleasure to meet and get to know you in person after the talk show was over. Let’s hope that slowly the stigma will vanish and more important there will be more event like this, so the single mom will never feel alone. Most of the time, support, even the invisible one like this, could be the start of a hope, an energy to rise and shine again. Hugs to all the single moms out there.
To: Newspaper Article
Sedih melihat komentar anda yang merendahkan perempuan. Tidak perlu jadi single mom untuk jadi tante girang, perempuan yang punya suamipun bisa kalau memang niat. Dan jauh lebih banyak lagi laki-laki yang punya istri tapi jadi om senang. Tidak ada kaitannya status pernikahan dengan moral seseorang. Please, open your mind.
That is wonderful there is such a great group of women of support. I really enjoyed reading this post. The stigma would be hard at times, here in New Zealand there are a lot of single mothers doing a wonderful and amazing job as well. You are doing an awesome job!!
Yet another beautiful post Maureen. So glad you met this support group. Am sure your experiences will be valuable to them as well. It’s true, when you listen to others in pain and how strong they are, makes us look twice at ourselves. Here’s to many more meetings and positive experiences with your group. You are a beautiful woman and so glad to keep in touch with your stories through your blog 🙂 love sue
One day, all the pain and chastising will all be in the past. It’s happening slowly, but happening nonetheless – and when it happens completely, we might regret the time lost but we’ll never regret knowing the brave people who made peace with it a reality. People like you – God bless you.
you will make it. take it from a mother who raised two girls for years with an alcoholic cheating first husband who was never there and then for 4 years on her own. you all will make it. though i’m here in nyc, in a country that is “modern” my family isn’t and many looked down on me and all turned their back on me for kicking him out and “leaving my children without a father” and ruining their lives. well it’s 10 years later, my teens are happy and brilliant and they have have brilliant younger siblings and a step father they love. you all have bigger issues to face but i believe you will make it.
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