Raising children as single mothers comes with unique difficulties, particularly in the social reality of Bangladesh where they have to battle various obstacles very often.
Studies have revealed that more than 54% of Bangladeshi single mothers experience psychological problems. These challenges encompass work-related stress, social barriers, and financial strain.
According to recent research, 44.2% of married women raise children alone due to the death of their husbands, 34.60% face divorce, and 21.20% due to extramarital affairs, second marriages, and physical abuse. Among these single mothers, 17.3% work as domestic workers to support their families.
The constant stress faced by these women undoubtedly impacts their children's mental well-being. The absence of either parent during a child's early years can disrupt their world and impact their mental development.
The situation also raises a critical question: to what extent do their children bear the burden of separate stressors? Dhaka Tribune has undertaken an exploration of these issues.
A joint survey conducted by the Department of Health's Non-Communicable Diseases Branch and the World Health Organization (WHO) discovered that 13.6% of children between the ages of 7 and 14 in Bangladesh suffer from mental illnesses. Tragically, many of these children do not receive the necessary treatment due to societal taboos surrounding mental health.
Stories of resilience and struggle emerge from single mothers like Amena (pseudonym), raising her son Amin, 16, alone. Amin's father vanished shortly after his birth, leaving Amena no choice but to leave her child with her mother in their village home while she sought work as a housekeeper in Dhaka.