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redefining single motherhood

Redefining Single Motherhood—A Personal Journey

Written by Janie Schwartz

Photography by Paige Jones

Strong women leading their households without the support of a partner is nothing new. And while there are approximately 10 million single mothers in the U.S. today, misguided and often negative stereotypes still exist. Friends and Los Angeles-based moms Janie Schwartz, Molly Pross, and Zoe Kasiske are hoping to change this narrative—in their own small way—with SAINT, a new organization providing connections, solidarity, and advocacy through virtual and in-person events and other resources to nurture single mothers’ holistic well-being and personal growth. Below, Schwartz shares her own journey of redefining single motherhood for herself—and her hopes to do so for a larger community. 

At 19, I thought I had it all figured out. I met my future husband and while young, embarked on the journey of marriage and motherhood. Fast forward to 41, and the complexities of life had revealed just how much I had yet to learn. Seventeen years, two kids, and a global pandemic later, I found myself at a crossroads, grappling with a partner’s addiction and the daunting prospect of single motherhood.

The decision to walk away from a failing marriage was not easy. To be clear, it takes two to make a marriage and it takes two to end a marriage. I had a role in this too. I was angry, resentful, combative, and lonely. I had to make a decision. Either hold on to a marriage that was no longer serving either of us or walk away and give us both a chance. Nothing is that simple though. With a 10-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son in tow, I began my journey into single motherhood. But the bigger question was, “Who was I?”

I had been a wife, mother, and caregiver for so long that I had no clue as to who I was outside of marriage. The act of letting go was difficult. Saying goodbye to what was. But there was something deep inside, almost like a dark night of the soul moment. A deep re-birth and sense of purpose—emerging on the other side where life had meaning again.

I found myself juggling various responsibilities that used to be shared by two. Balancing work, childcare, household duties, dating, and a social life while facing financial pressures was new for me to navigate. It was overwhelming and yet also empowering.

As I reflect on my journey, 4 years later, a multitude of emotions flood my mind—fear, uncertainty, but also a profound sense of determination and pride. Becoming a single mother was not a path I had envisioned for myself, but as the saying goes, “man plans and god laughs.”

Amid the uncertainty and chaos, I discovered a beacon of hope—a community of women who, like me, were rewriting the narrative of single motherhood. Together, we shattered the silence and stigma surrounding separation and divorce. Our shared experiences became the foundation for SAINT—a community-driven platform empowering single mothers to thrive.

SAINT is more than just a support network; it’s a testament to the power of collective healing and growth. Through peer-to-peer SAINT circles, personal development workshops, and educational resources, we’re reshaping the conversation around single motherhood while forging meaningful connections. No longer are we defined by societal stereotypes; instead, we celebrate the strength, resilience, and achievements of single mothers everywhere.

In essence, redefining single motherhood is about reclaiming our narrative and embracing the fullness of our identities. It’s about recognizing that single mothers are not defined by their relationship status but by their strength, resilience, and unwavering love for their children.

You can follow SAINT online at TheSaintCollective.com and on Instagram at @saint_singlemomcollective.

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