Case Study 3 – A Case Story

Lynn stops to pick up her 9-month-old son, Kevin, at a small in-home daycare center on her way home from work. During the 20-minute drive from the hospital where she works as a lab technician, she hears a radio news report about children at risk. In the list of risk factors, sandwiched between fetal drug absorption and poverty, is single-parent families.

Later that afternoon, while in the cafeteria, she watches two women discussing the importance of two parent household, saying, “If they can’t give up work to raise their own children why have them?” Saddened, Lynn moves to a new table but the question still follows her like a shadow.

Only the day before, her five-year-old neighbor who has known her son Kevin since birth asks Lynn who her son’s father is. Hearing that their family consists of just Lynn abnd Kevin, the child wails, “But what will you do?” Lynn answers in a good humored way, “We’ll just have to do the best we can!” but begins to wonder if she should start searching for children’s books depicting happy single-parent families.

Lynn’s parents also have concerns about her being a single parent. It is clear that they love Kevin, yet is a rare conversation when they don’t put him in a different category from their other grandchildren, as in, “Since you can’t do family camping trips, like your brother’s family. We’d like to send Kevin to camp when he gets older.” In the grandparents’ desire to make it up to Kevin, Lynn fears they will be letting her son know, that in their opinion, Lynn isn’t enough of a family.

When Lynn decided to have a baby it was because she had always wanted to be a mother and believed she would be a good one. She decided she hadn’t miss out on raising a child just because she wasn’t married. Now, to ward off self-doubt and fears that having a child was selfish, she keeps reminding herself of the healthy, happy baby that Kevin is proving to be.

Lynn loves her time alone with Kevin. She adores being a mother. but the problem is where and how to fit into the world. So many family events and groups assume there is a father in the picture. Friends have already talked to her about how boys need their fathers at certain stages of life.

Lynn is finding herself gravitating towards other single mothers. They seem to be the ones who understand and are practiced in appropriate answers to thoughtless comments. They seem to be the only ones she can go to for support.

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