Becoming A Single Mom Isn’t the End
By Haley Crenwelge
@ The German Gypsy (https://thegermangypsy.com/)
Haley grew up in the greater Houston area the second oldest of ten children. She graduated from Sam Houston State University with a double Bachelors in English and Criminal Justice in December 2017 after which she began working for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Dispatch. She gave birth do her daughter in June whom she named, Cahtalina Daenarys (but calls her Daenarys). After a year of employment in Dispatch, Haley decided that she needed an outlet for her writing but also wished to use it to help other single moms like herself.
It was my senior year at college. I was thrilled to be done and moving on. I was a double major in English and Criminal Justice with a minor in Creative Writing, just for the fun of it.
My boyfriend lived in Huntsville at the time and was looking to make the move to Conroe shortly after the new year, but I was considering Bryan PD or College Station PD. I could make the drive either way.
My boyfriend. In hindsight, that was an extremely one sided relationship. He was battling depression, anxiety, and PTSD and it crippled him. When he was in the throws of his depression, he was very self-centered and could not see past the end of his nose. But I knew what he was like when he was in a more balanced state of mind. I knew he had a very caring heart underneath it. He was supportive of my career choice. And he had the greatest ear to listen. So I held on.
Too long. Too far.
Just to keep him on earth a little longer until he could get that breakthrough. Then we would be out of the darkest pits and moving towards a brighter future. And for a little bit, he was moving towards a better path. Until the pregnancy test came back positive.
That line was what broke the camel’s back.
One week later, he took his life. This was how I became a single mother. It was not likely the worst way to become a single mom, I wouldn’t compare it to being raped. But the emotional devastation was still there and yet I still had to keep moving. Somehow.
Keep moving also meant a change of immediate job choice. I couldn’t go through a police academy pregnant. But I still had to find a full time position that would allow me to pay on my student loans in six months time. It was a desperate hail mary as I quickly filled out four applications for 3 counties telecommunicator positions and one jailer position. I would at least be in the same field of Criminal Justice until I could get back in shape afterwards.
I managed to finish my senior year and land a job as a 911 operator and dispatcher for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office where I could move in with my brother and his wife. I went to counseling at a church that my other brother worked for and my uncle attended, on the recommendation of my uncle. I was diagnosed with a form of PTSD.
I was kept busy due to all of the demands of my new job. I had to study on my off time and take tests for the first 5.5 months of my job. There were 3 phases in the training process, and meanwhile, I still had to prepare for the baby’s arrival and pay for her delivery as I was going to a midwife at a birthing center which wasn’t covered by my health insurance. There was little time for me to sit back and deal with my emotional crisis.
All of this happened right before my student loans came due and my baby was born, putting me on unpaid maternity leave for 6 weeks. It was quite miraculous as I only managed to be short about 1 week’s worth of pay after all was said and done from the use of all of my sick time, personal time, vacation, holiday, and comp time that I had managed to scrape up.
As I held my baby for the first time, whom I named Daenarys, a beautifulbaby girl that weighed in at 9 lbs 9 oz at birth, I knew I wanted more for her than a mother who just settled. Settled for the bare minimum because she was a single mom and couldn’t expect to go anywhere. Because that isn’t tue. Life looks a little differently for us. But we can go anywhere we want to in life as long as we are willing to put in the work. We are intelligent. We are resourceful. And we can be home owners, we can be entrepreneurs, we can be successful. And we can lead our children to be the same and not become statistics.
And that became my passion and drive. To not only prove to my daughter that she can anything she wants to, but to help other single moms find their purpose and fulfill their own dreams while still maintaining their responsibility as parents.
I shifted my focus at that point towards being intentional in my efforts to cope, deal, and heal from the emotional and psychological trauma of my boyfriend’s death. I put more focus on my spiritual health. And then I channeled my drive towards regaining my physical health after a 3 month hiatus post-birth.
I knew I had to accomplish my purpose in life. And my purpose would not be accomplished without work, determination, and intentionality.
I named my daughter Daenarys after Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones. Daenarys means, “God is the judge of my excellent purpose.” (Daenerys means, “God is the judge of my destruction.” Spelling is everything. If you see anyone referring to the Daenerys of Game of Thrones with the “a” before the “r”, they are not spelling it correctly!) I want to empower her to believe in herself and her worth and her purpose in life. She is not a mistake. She was not an accident. She has a purpose in life she is destined to fulfill.
Purpose, We all have it
All single moms out there have a purpose in life. And that purpose isn’t strictly tied up in their role as parents. There are different facets to it and they have to find their purpose in life outside of their role as mother. The children will grow up and move out and on with their life, and she will no longer be needed (as much). Her role as mother is only a facet of her identity, not its entire purpose. So if you are a single mom out there reading this, you. have. a. purpose.
Find it. Name it. Write it.
Write it down on a piece of paper. Ask yourself what steps you need to take to accomplish it. Write them down in order. Make a plan. And work on it every day. Every day you should be doing something, whether working on your mental health, physical health, or emotional health to get yourself ready for that purpose, but doing something every day to reach that goal and purpose in life.
We as single moms don’t have to settle. We don’t have to just survive. We can thrive. Thrive with me!