In 2006 studies revealed that 12.9million families in the US were headed by a single parent of which an estimated 80% was headed by females.
The birth rate for unmarried women was 41 births per 1,000 between the ages of 15-44 in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Data was obtained from most recent Demographic and Health Surveys in Cameroon (2011), Nigeria (2008) and DR Congo (2007). The sample included women aged 15–49 years old and their under-5 children 11,748 in Cameroon, 28,100 in Nigeria, and 8,999 in DRC. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard analysis were used to estimate stunting and under-5 mortality, respectively.
The result showed that compared with children whose mothers were in union, children of single mothers who were not widows were more likely to be stunted (OR 1.79 p < 0.01 in Cameroon and 1.69 p < .01 in DRC). Conclusion drawn from the study shows that Single motherhood is a risk factor for children’s nutritional status and chances of survival before age 5 years in sub-Saharan Africa. To achieve improved reduction in children’s exposure to stunting and under-5 mortality, there is the need for public health interventions targeted at single mother households in sub-Saharan Africa.( Source of statistics BMC, Public Health research.)
Most times single motherhood is not by choice, certain factors come into play in different settings this include death of the father figure, falling out and the decision to separate by both parties, father’s absence due to work or other issues, partner’s decision to not be held responsible for a child’s care, in some instances even if the father were to be available he would be of the irresponsible stock and hence contribute nothing to the raising of a child from such union either financially, emotionally and morally. Unintended pregnancy as a result of rape is also a a reason for single motherhood.
The journey through single motherhood takes quite a toll on both mother and child. Most single mothers share that they survive each day by focusing on the moment and working hard to overcome obstacles as they come, especially the challenge of coming up with economic resources to care and cater for the child’s needs not forgetting society’s bias against single parents and the stigma associated with it. As single parents, they are responsible for their child’s all round well-being mentally, emotionally and physically and this is quite burdensome for one person and due to the strain most of them give out under the stress and become less effective in their child care.
Single mothers in all settings suffer from a number of issues but for those under the poverty spectrum, their problems compound into the lack of means to provide basic hygiene and healthcare for their children and no matter how much back breaking work they engage in, their children are still undernourished and suffer health complications. These kids turn out to be societal menaces due to the absence of a firm authority figure and insufficient attention from the available parent hence they tend to develop a lack of discipline.
Single motherhood is a struggle, and women raising kids alone are doing their utmost best but they still need so much support especially financial and moral support to allow them better chances at creating bigger life opportunities for their children.