Author of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling, has written movingly about her time as single mother for the charity Gingerbread. The mom of 3 (daughters Jessica, 20, and Mackenzie, 8, and son David, 10) described how she is prouder of her years as a single mother than of any other part of her life.
The 48-year-old Rowling explains how 20 years ago, she became a single parent and that this had "not been my plan." She imagined she would get work, but she soon discovered that this hope was a "much bigger delusion" than the getting the children's novel she was working on published. She admits that she never told anyone about the novel she was writing - the first of the seven Harry Potter books, a brand that grew to be worth over $15 billion!
Her overriding memory of that time as a single mother is her slowly evaporating sense of self-esteem. Rowling says, "It was slowly dawning on me that I was now defined, in the eyes of many, by something I had never chosen."
The author, whose real name is Joanne Rowling, separated from her then husband Jorge 20 years ago. She went on to say, "I was a 'single parent'," and a "single parent on benefits" to boot. She describes how there were "assumptions made about your morals, your motives for bringing your child into the world, or your fitness to raise that child that cut to the core of who you are."
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Even when Rowling became famous, she says the single parent tag followed her. She decided to then become the Patron of the Gingerbread charity. Even though she became a married mother again in 2001, she remains President of Gingerbread, a campaigning organization for single parents and their children. She said that according to a 2011 survey by the charity, 87% of single parents feel there is a stigma around single parenthood that must be challenged.
She concludes, "I would say to any single parent currently feeling the weight of stereotype or stigmatization, that I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any part of my life. Nothing makes me happier than what Jessica [her daughter] told me recently about the first five years of her life: 'I never knew we were poor. I just remember being happy.'"
JK Rowling, to me, has always been an inspirational woman - but with this, she debunks the stigma surrounding single parents, and makes it clear that she hasn't forgotten her roots. She is nothing short of amazing…
-By Suzanne Cowie
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