The consequences of a casual sexual encounter can be vastly underestimated. In August 2001, Katie Pennachio, then a 20 year-old woman, had a one-night stand with a young man she had just met. The encounter would result in the birth of twin boys nine months later and her being a single mother to the present day.
“I was in complete denial when I first found out I was pregnant,” Pennachio said. “I couldn’t bring myself to believe it.”
Many women find the notion of being a single parent intimidating. It’s a more common situation than one may think. As of 2011, 85.2 percent of families in the United States were headed by a single-female parent, according to research conducted by singlemotherguide.com. A single mother’s struggles include poverty, homelessness and worrying about the impact of an absent father on the child stated the website.
“I worry about them not having a consistent father in their life,” Pennachio said. “I feel like they’re missing something.”
Pennachio’s fears may not be unrealistic. James LaRoche, a 32 year-old forklift operator from Brooklyn, N.Y., grew up in a single-mother household. He said his life would be drastically different if his father had been present.
“Fathers are a good source of security and guidance,” LaRoche said. “I would’ve made better choices in my life had I had a father to guide me.”
More than one-half of all youths incarcerated for criminal acts lived in single-parent families when they were children, and 75 percent of adolescents in chemical dependency hospitals are from single-parent families, according to singleparentsuccess.org.
Sometimes not having a father figure in their child’s life isn’t the only struggle single mother’s face. Some feel the sacrifice of their personal time is also a struggle. Samantha Karnis, a cashier from Dover, N.J., and single mother of two, said she neglects herself.
“My biggest struggle is not having time for myself,” Karnis said. “It’s like I had to put my life on hold.”
Karnis figured out a way to incorporate her children into activities she would normally do alone.
“When I get my nails done… I bring my oldest daughter with me,” said Karnis. “She gets her nails done too and she loves it.”
Karnis is one of many single mothers ignoring statistics and balancing the struggles of everyday life and raising children.
“It was the shadow of statistics and stereotypes that helped to weigh me down,” stated Sandy Banks, a writer for the Los Angeles Times and single mother.
According to Banks, explaining she was a widow would open the door for people’s criticism and judgment. Some people believe that having a child out of wedlock deserves condemnation. After years of experience and successfully raising three children, she realized that her children thrived not in spite of what they lacked, but because of what they had.