NI never expected to be a single mother. When I thought of children, I always envisioned that motherhood would come with marriage. I was raised in a solid two-parent home and had no reason to expect anything different for myself. But that was not meant to be. However, because we love our son, we continue to be the best parents for him. 

Because We Love Our Son, Lingaire Nje personal essay about co=parenting.

Meeting My Son’s Father

I quickly fell in love when I met my son’s father. One of the many qualities that attracted me to him was his intelligence. In addition to his intellect, strength, resilience, and humor, he was wonderful with the children in his own family. He already had two daughters of his own. When I became pregnant almost two years into our relationship, I had no doubt he would be a great father. He was exceedingly happy and emotionally overwhelmed when I told him we were having a baby. He was not, however, surprised. Several months into our relationship, he dreamed we would have a son. Hence, his conception was a literal dream come true.

As a new mother, I was intimidated and overwhelmed by having a new baby to care for. I was also living in Baltimore, away from my family. My family anticipated my son’s arrival with great joy and excitement; my parents were there when he was born. Still, they eventually had to return home to Pittsburgh. My son’s father was great during that time. He took a month off from work, and he was completely present. We got engaged almost a year after our son was born and lived as a family until he was three.

Not Meant To Be

I thought our son would grow up in the same house with both of his parents. I wanted to continue the strong tradition of marriage that was so present in my own family. As our relationship started to deteriorate, I thought we would figure out a way to repair it at some point.

Unfortunately, we did not …

Eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact we had reached the point of no return. My partner was an excellent father, but as a couple, we were failing. No longer kind to each other, we needed help communicating about even the most inconsequential things. We both realized that, although there was love, we did not belong in a committed relationship. While true, it was such a hard thing for me to accept. 

My Son & His Dad

My son and his dad share a beautiful bond, and I did not want to be the one to interrupt it. I thought that taking him away from his father would cause irreparable damage, and I wondered over and over again how I could do such a thing to my child. Even though our relationship was ending, I agonized over the pain I knew his dad was experiencing.

I felt, and continue to believe, that a boy needs his father to be consistently present in his life. How could that be possible with me moving back home to Pittsburgh and his dad staying in Baltimore?

While considering everyone else’s feelings, I almost forgot to consider my own. I was not happy. It soon occurred to me that my son would suffer if his mother drowned mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Lingaire's son says "my mom is generous."

Separation was Hard

Our separation was a terrible time in my life. A few years have passed, and although things are better, we’re all still adjusting. My son is a beautiful combination of us both. Sometimes, I sit and marvel at his being mine. I still worry about how not living in the same household with his dad full-time will affect him in the long run. Still, I am proud to say that his father and I have gotten to a place where we are getting along and communicating well. We can even talk as friends and joke around with each other. During a recent personal health scare, my son’s dad was the one who reassured me and talked me through my fear and anxiety. I can still see the great qualities that drew me to him in the first place, and I still feel that he is a wonderful father. 

Because We Love Our Son

Our mutual love and adoration for our son have allowed us to work through all the resentment and animosity. We do not get it right all the time, but regardless of the issues we have had with each other, I know that he loves our son with every fiber of his being. That certainty supersedes pride and ego. And although our lives have not turned out the way we expected them to, we are figuring out how to thrive in what has become our reality.