I became a single parent via foster care. My daughter was 5 months old--a preemie--and she had several health problems. In addition to caring for her needs, I struggled with the ups and downs of the foster care system until I was able to officially adopt her at the age of 3. She is now 7 years old, and she is much healthier.
Looking back, it was very hard to juggle work and day care, along with a child who was sick more often than she was well. There were many sleepless nights, but I'm happy to say we've come a long way!
My story may be a bit different than other single parents in that I knew from the beginning that I would be doing this alone. By the time I hit my mid-30's and had not found the person that I wanted to marry and share my life with. I had always wanted to be a mom, however, and knew that biological clock was ticking away. So I made the choice to become a single parent by adoption. I still hope to find my soul-mate at some point, but in the mean time I am loving being a mother of a beautiful little girl.
I grew up surrounded by babies and small children. However, being a parent was a huge adjustment for me and much harder than I ever thought it would be. I often say that I was a much better parent before I had children! I find myself saying and doing things that I never thought I would say or do.
My first parenting challenge was traveling to a third world country alone, and--after two days on many airplanes--being handed a baby only a couple of hours after arriving at my destination. Two weeks later, we were home in the US and started our lives together as a family.
Another huge challenge for me was adjusting my lifestyle. After years of being on my own and doing what I wanted, when I wanted, I was now responsible for another little person who was dependent upon me for her every need, 24 hours a day. In addition to that, she also didn't like to sleep, and I needed more sleep than ever.
I found that my friends, who were very excited throughout my journey, didn't come around as much after my daughter came home, and I didn't have the time or energy to go out with them anymore. My priorities shifted. After working all day, I wanted and needed to spend time with my child. Now, being in my 40s with a preschooler, I find myself forming friendships with others who have young children, and most of these women are younger than I am. People my own age have children who are either getting ready to leave the nest or are already out on their own.