Being a Single Mom Is Not a Health Hazard

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single momAs a single mother of two, I got a little peeved when I read the results of a recent study which found that single motherhood could be bad for a woman's long-term health, especially when I got to the part about researchers admitting that determining the exact reasons why single mothers are unhealthy was "beyond the scope" of their study. (Gee thanks, that's helpful!)

Among the possible explanations offered, however, was one that made sense: Single mothers tend to face greater financial challenges than their married counterparts. And not only is stress bad for you, but lack of funds generally equals lack of access to adequate healthcare. So what have we learned here? Single mothers have issues with their health because they're poor, not because they don't have husbands. Enough with scapegoating single mothers!

I'm not saying that single motherhood as a lifestyle isn't rife with other health risks, like chronic sleep deprivation. But it's not fair to allege that single motherhood itself is making women sick/draining the system/contributing to the breakdown of family values. Maybe it's the other way around, hmm? Perhaps if our society weren't so messed up in the first place, many of the issues that make single mothering difficult and potentially unhealthy wouldn't be issues in the first place: Finding affordable childcare and medical benefits, being able to buy decent, nutritious food, and filling your car's tank without overdrawing your bank account.

I have a hard time believing that single motherhood is wreaking physical havoc on celebs like Madonna, Sheryl Crow, and Kate Winslet. Is it because they're famous? Not exactly -- it's because with fame comes money, and with money comes help, which is the one thing every single mother needs most.

Are you a single mother? Do you consider yourself to be in good health?


Image via Ed Yourdon/Flickr

general health, sleep, stress