Eleanor Roosevelt said, “We all create the person we become by our choices as we go through life. In a real sense, by the time we are adults, we are the sum total of the choices we have made.”
I could not agree more.
I am very vocal in declaring that my being a solo parent was my choice, in view of my personal circumstance, and in no way am I saying that those who read this should be influenced by my decision.
To let readers know my back story, I was impregnated by a man who was neither my husband nor my boyfriend. We were two people just “dating” and “no labels,” enjoying each other’s company, pushing the limits of freedom.
And no, I will not say that becoming unexpectedly pregnant at that time was an accident, as some would actually put it. It was not an accident that I chose to go out with this man. It was not an accident that we engaged in intimacy outside of marriage.
There was consent in everything we engaged in. And when two people practically have no limitations to their activities together and have no boundaries, the unexpected was bound to happen.
Although I was determined to give my growing child a “normal” environment where married parents come home to the family (despite the relationship starting on the wrong foot), it did not work in my case, especially when there were many things not mutually agreed on – faith included – and especially when some form of abuse and violence is resorted to in the heat of arguments.
So despite that dream, because the dynamics between the biological father and myself were not conducive to raising a healthy, emotionally and mentally secure child, I had to choose.
Fears of financial stability and security engulfed me at first. “What if I cannot provide for her? Where do I get money for her diapers, milk, food, vaccines, check up, toys, schooling, college …?”
But I also knew that if I allowed my fears to overwhelm me, I would be emotionally unstable, and physically and mentally unable to raise her to the best of my abilities. It would have meant living a life of regret, bitterness, and resentment. And I refused to raise her in that state of mind.
So I stepped out in faith and chose to leave as I did not want my daughter and I subjected to unruly and perilous behaviors from a man who was not my husband and be a victim of our situation.
It was not an easy choice. It was very painful, too. Although I knew it was a tough decision to make, I felt it was the right thing to do. I just had complete faith that God will help us get through. By this time I was already a born-again Christian.
When you become a parent, you realize that it stops being about you and everything becomes about your child – your child’s best interest.
My choice to leave meant taking full responsibility for my decision without having to point fingers at anybody for whatever consequence or repercussions I may experience in the future–including difficulties my daughter and I may experience because of that choice.
By telling you my journey is to share with you that you can choose and always have a choice. You need not be a victim of your situation and be helpless about it.
Choosing itself is exercising freedom, and in choosing, you actually gain more freedom. It frees you from feeling stuck in a situation or relationship that does not bring out the best in you, or may not be for the best for you or your children. You actually have a choice even if you feel you do not have one.
My leaving that relationship was the greatest thing that happened to me as I found my way home to My Father. Blessings started pouring in when I decided to surrender my life and situation to the Lord; when I allowed Him to demonstrate His power as God and trusted Him fully to take care of us.
Solo parenting did not become a solo flight experience for me either. My family was there, of course, but the Lord was my primary source of strength. He was My Partner, My Protector, My Comforter, Our Provider and my Daughter’s Perfect Loving Father.
Not once did I feel alone in the journey because I felt His loving presence embracing me at a moment’s weakness, His provision when there were bills to pay and supplies to buy, His wisdom every time I was seeking for guidance.
It wasn’t easy but it definitely became bearable because I knew there is a Hand that holds mine; that is in control of everything, that provides, supports, comforts and guides me day-by-day. I know that Hand will never leave us nor forsake us.
A Bible verse that I hold onto, to get me through the difficulties I continue to encounter as a single parent is from Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.”
Other inspiring verses are also found in Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 34:17, Philippians 4:13 and Isaiah 43:2.
Next week I will share with you a list of Parenting books that equipped me in raising a godly daughter who, modesty aside, was awarded Best in Bible Studies at her school in 2015.
Bettina (born December 25, 1987, in Makati City, Philippines) is a Filipina actress. She started her career on the GMA Network and became one of its contract artists but later moved to rival station ABS-CBN, but during the year 2012, she moved back to her home network GMA.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Betinna’s weekly column at The Manila Times.