How Dr. Leah Became a Single Mother

I became a single mom unexpectedly, abruptly and reluctantly.

I had been living in upstate New York with my husband and our two young children. When my husband wanted to move his business to the Carolinas, I readily agreed confident that our family life would happily continue. I was admitted to the psychology doctoral program at the University of South Carolina. He left to start up his business and to make living arrangements for us. I stayed behind to finish the school year and pack up the house. As the moving van was pulling out of the driveway and our children, Sarah, three, and Andrew, eight, were saying goodbyes to the house, the phone rang.

I was in for a rude shock. Instead of providing details for our move, my husband announced he did not want to be married any more. He suggested the children and I move in with my mother, and hung up.

That was the end of his participation in our lives.

Left stunned with a couple of suitcases, two devastated children, and $500, I did temporarily stay with my mother.

I desperately wanted a better life for the children and me.

I had unanswered questions, a broken heart, and paralyzing fear. I also had determination, faith, acceptance to a top notch graduate program, and two children I dearly loved. My plans to further my education simply could not be abandoned.

Several months later, my children and I moved to South Carolina and a thousand miles away from family and friends. For a long time, I was too ashamed to tell anyone what had happened. I felt isolated, frightened, and alone. I worried that I might be given fewer opportunities to earn my doctoral degree at the same pace as other students, if my single parent status was discovered. I struggled to meet the needs of my two children, attend class, write papers, cook, clean, find time to sleep, earn money, and study.

I earned my doctorate and license as a psychologist “ahead of schedule” and returned to Long Island to practice and to raise my children.

I now live and work in vibrant Charlotte, North Carolina.

We remain a loyal and loving family. I feel gratitude and pride in my children's many achievements. Andrew is an attorney and a partner at an international law firm. He and his lovely wife are parents of boy and girl twins. Sarah is a registered nurse at a prestigious medical center. She and her wonderful husband recently became parents to a baby boy.