Even before my son was born, I knew raising him in Japan was going to be the hardest thing I would ever do. His father, who is Japanese, was never in the picture. He always had an excuse why he couldn’t be bothered to give our son a bath, change his diaper, or even just be present.
He would abandon us for days, sometimes weeks, without money for food or baby supplies. On the rare occasion he was actually around and I mentioned finding work for myself, he would shame and isolate me.
I was abused in every way possible—psychologically, emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially—but I tried my best to keep it together for my son’s sake.
A whirlwind of abuse and trying to escape
Struggling to stay strong for my son, a mother’s worst nightmare happened. My husband started showing signs of aggression and jealousy towards our baby.
Being pushed while holding a premature infant in my hands was terrifying. From that moment, I knew we needed out. I would not stick around to find out if he would strike our son the way he struck me many times before. My son would not grow up thinking the behavior displayed by his father was normal.
I decided to become a single mother. I had already been living a single parent lifestyle more or less, so I knew I had what it took.
By that time I was already working a part-time job at my son’s daycare. My paycheck was merely peanuts—barely enough for me to save anything. There was no way I could afford rent on my paycheck, but I tried my best anyway. I worked tirelessly for months, saving every cent I earned that wasn’t spent feeding my son until I had just enough to rent a small apartment. It didn’t matter that I was broke, we were finally away from my abusive husband.
Reality hit hard after a month as my money dwindled rapidly and my repeated requests for extra work hours or a full-time position were denied. As independent and strong-willed as I am, I knew there was no way I could financially manage. So, I applied for welfare where I was met with the disheartening reality of being a single mom in Japan.
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