Today there is one of the rare guest contributions in the Kleine Prints stories. Natascha approached us and asked us if she could tell her special story (in ours too Photo book for children occurs!) with us. We said yes and immediately left the virtual stage to Natascha:
A special family story: Single Mom by ChoiceMy name is Natascha, I am a single mom and I live with my son near Zurich in Switzerland. I have to add a voluntary single parent, because our family purposely consists of me and my son. We are a mother-child family, without a dad! One or the other might ask how this works, since this family constellation is still new and sometimes even frowned upon. Also insulted as selfish and unnatural ... Honestly, I've read all kinds of comments on it. It is an incontrovertible fact that women who want a child have a ticking clock inside them. Men don't. And in today's society it is becoming more and more difficult as a woman to find the man to start a family in time, as men are often only ready later to start a family, too late for the women in their lives. Relationships and marriages fall apart because it suddenly emerges that the boyfriend or husband cannot imagine having children. I get these and similar stories from women who write to me because they came across my blog and are considering the path to becoming a 'single mother by choice'. (Note from the Kleine Prints editorial team: Natascha has now closed her blog.)
Single Mother by Choice: Starting a family on your ownNot that I could really have a say: I'm a lesbian and it was always clear to me that my child would not have a dad one day. Which probably ultimately made my decision to start a family on my own a lot easier. Not that the decision was easy. On the contrary, I've carried the idea around with me for a good 10 years ... But that's not what I want to write about here and now, I already do that enough on my blog. This article is - how could it be otherwise - about the photo books by Kleine Prints. Mothers (and fathers) of donor children are reminded time and again of the importance of their children getting to know their roots. You should deal honestly and openly with the topic so that the children do not develop any shame or even experience a surprise in their teens that calls into question their entire self-image.
Why don't I have a dad?One might think it is a matter of course. But how do I explain our reality to my son in a world in which he keeps hearing that a family consists of mom, dad and child. And I'm not talking about effective conversations about the subject, but more about how we children explain the world. There is the Papa Lion, the Mama Lion, the Baby Lion; something like that just slips out so thoughtlessly and it happened and the child wonders: "WHY DO I HAVE NO DAD?" It is clear to us Choice Mamas that we will have to give our children an answer and that we will try to prepare for it as best we can. But in the end everything always turns out differently and the question takes you completely by surprise when it is asked for the first time. But the more often you have to answer them, the more routine you become. Fortunately, it's usually not your own children who ask you the question. I can still vividly remember the first time I was asked the question when the then four-year-old daughter of a neighbor questioned me. In the end she looked at me as if I was joking and said: "The police won't allow that!" Well, you just have to love it, the child's mouth;)
How I explain our family to my sonTo cut a long story short: Even before the pregnancy, I dealt intensively with how I would explain our family constellation to my child. I searched online for book recommendations, but children's books on the subject are hard to find. And most of them are in English or some other language. The few other books just didn't appeal to me personally. So I decided to write down my story myself and capture it in photos, very creative and old-fashioned in a photo album. When my little one was born, however, it quickly became apparent that the pages were too thin and the photos too delicate for his little slippery fingers. As beautiful as the album is, I've packed it away in the meantime to avoid further damage to it, it will probably remain a dear memento for me! Without this album, a bedtime ritual developed all by itself, because my son asked more and more about his story before going to sleep.
Our family is just different!At first I chose very simple words: "Unfortunately I couldn't find a partner, but I still dearly wished for a child like you. My wish was soooooo big that in the end I decided to become a mom all by myself ..." My son is now four Years old and the story is getting more and more detailed. The dear man in Denmark who helped me get it is now also part of this story. And for him, our family as it is is completely normal. He lacks nothing (not even the male caregiver). But our family is different! And the older he gets, the more often he is confronted with the question of where his dad is. He always answers confidently: "I don't have a dad, I have a grandfather!" But, as you can imagine, his answer is difficult to understand for children (and adults) who are unfamiliar with this family model. After all, they usually have a grandfather or two and a dad on top of that. Meanwhile, my son absolutely cannot understand why he is being told that our family cannot be okay as it is, and we regularly talk about how he feels about it. I hope we can keep this exchange even as it gets older, because it certainly won't get any easier ...
The connection to the half-siblingsIt helps that we have found other families like ours. Some that I can now count among my friends and some that have even become family. Because after my son was born, I started looking for half-siblings. Contrary to expectations, I found what I was looking for. A pleasant contact developed with the other mothers, most of them also Choice Mamas. By now we know of 15 half-siblings and we have already got to know some of them. There is something between these children that cannot be put into words ... Unfortunately, the half-siblings are spread all over the world: His oldest half-brother currently lives in the USA, the other children in Germany, Sweden, Austria and Norway. Not easy to establish such regular contact. It's also difficult to remember your last visit as a toddler; Photos help a lot! I knew from a friend in the United States that there were cardboard photo books, so a better solution than my hand-made photo album. Since I didn't necessarily want to order a book in the USA, I tried to find it in Europe and came across Kleine Prints.
The Kleine Prints photo book: the hit for us!This is how our first came about Photo book. I added pictures of both of us, his granddaughter, grandpa, uncle and all of his half-siblings whom we already knew at the time. The book was such a hit with my son that I also created books by and for the half-siblings and gave them away for their birthdays. The children love their books and always enjoy looking at them. And they make explaining their reality so much easier for us moms! So after our first book was more about the members of our family, I have now - two years later - created another book and captured the now so detailed bedtime story in photos. And even if I usually continue to tell my son his story by heart before going to bed, this book has also done more than its duty: As soon as the package arrived, he proudly took the book with him to the day care center and to his supervisors and shown to friends. Therefore I would like to close this post with a big thank you: Dear Kleine Prints, You don't just bring back memories; for families like ours, you also enable education, understanding and family reunification!
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Featured images: 1, 4 & 5 by Natascha Herzog, 2 & 3 Kevin Schmid via unsplash.com, 6: Team Kleine Prints