Top three struggles single mothers face in Kenya

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Even as the world marks the International Day for Families today, recent surveys indicate an increasing number of single mothers in the country. The latest Kenya Domestic Health Survey shows that 32 per cent of Kenyan households are headed by women.

In a study on single on motherhood in sub-Saharan Africa, sociologist Prof Shelley Clark of McGill University in Canada noted that 47 per cent of Kenyan women become single mothers as a result of premarital sex by the time they are 20, and 25 per cent by the time they are 18. The second largest cause of single motherhood is divorce or separation.

In a survey by Daystar University concerning divorce, 42 per cent of divorcees had divorced by their fifth anniversary while 77 per cent had divorced by their tenth anniversary. Only 23 per cent had divorced after the 10th anniversary. Despite the circumstance that lead to single parenthood, single parents grapple with personal and societal issues. Here are top 4 of the struggles single mothers face.

1) Financial strains
Raising a family costs not only time but money to feed and take care of every expense of the children. This usually proves to be a more difficult burden for a single mum shouldering the load of what is typically for two. As a single mother, one is faced with providing for all bills and emergencies including education, healthcare, food clothing, rent and other amenities.

2) Fatigue
A typical family will have both parents give their time to bond and listen to their children’s queries whenever they are free. A single mother comes home from work fatigued, only to find an eagerly waiting child or children ready to ask or share their stories and concerns. Other times, it is the school meetings or healthcare that the single mother will have to stretch herself to attend all.

3) Social isolation
Unlike single women who can go out as frequently as they choose to, single mothers are faced with the dilemma between choosing responsibilities or fun. Many times a single mother will opt out of a night party and choose to spend the night with her child. Other times she will turn down or miss an invitation if she could not find a replacement for someone to watch her child.

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