With a large segment of the population as single mothers – either through pregnancy and no marriage, or through divorce, this has led Kaynell Gould, who herself was a single mother, to revitalize a group she founded two decades ago to assist single mothers who may be having a tough time with it through the myriad of emotions they may encounter.
Single Mothers United serves as an outlet for the women where they can release their pain, and learn from other women who find themselves in an identical situation.
According to Gould, Single Mothers United is all about healing and restoration. She said addressing social aspects single mothers encounter in life is important to them – whether the women need help in seeking further education, preparing for job interviews, or even help with their children who may be challenging them with the vision to strengthen the family. She said they even address issues on how to plan, budget and even tackle subjects like how to take $50 and make it work.
“I have personally experienced the healing and restorative power of the almighty God in my own life and can tell you that without that I do not know where I would be today,” said Gould, a mother of three. “There are so many hurting mothers in our nation. Just looking at them, you may not be able to tell, but God knows and He hears the cries of their hearts and is very much aware of their secret pain that they share with no one.”
In 1998, Gould found herself unmarried and pregnant. The emotions she cycled through at that time, she said, included pain, rejection, embarrassment, abandonment and isolation. That led her to found a group to connect with other single mothers who were on the same “walk” that she was, to come together for restoration and healing, by working through the shared pain and experiences with them. She called that group “Single Mothers United”.
The group started in Gould’s living room with approximately 15 other single mothers in that first instance. She said they were all women who had never met before but who had much in common coming together for an evening of sisterhood, fellowship and possibly new friendships.
While the group was not affiliated with a church body, it was non-denominational and faith-based.
Gould, a born-again believer, says her own personal walk caused her to know and understand, but her faith in God brought her through.
“He was there to help me no matter what. I had sisters of faith, so the foundation of Single Mothers United are all born-again believers trying to raise our children by godly principles.”
The group disbanded in 2015. The reason, according to Gould, was of the leadership team. Three got married, two passed away and one relocated to the United States, leaving it all on her to minister to the women. She then started to find it disheartening that many of the women would only attend meetings when there were giveaways to be had, whereas meetings at which advice and education were imparted, members wouldn’t attend in numbers.
“I was like, this is not what it was about – not just to come when something is [being] given out,” she said.
There also came a time when she said she realized that she needed more growth herself.
“To empower women to a greater level I needed to be empowered and focused on my spiritual development and growth,” said Gould, who worships at the Church of the Divine Resurrection located on Balfour Avenue, with Bishop Nelson Johnson.
With the “rebirth” of Single Mothers United, Gould says she hopes to do her little part in trying to stem the vicious cycle of single motherhood. This is especially in cases where a mother of three who earns $150 a week meets “Jim” who seems nice, then gets pregnant by “Jim” because he will take care of her and her children, but she’s actually gotten pregnant for a man who has no interest in helping with the new child, and then finds herself with four children, thus, continuing the vicious cycle.
Gould said women in these situations will find in Single Mothers an outlet for them to speak to someone.
“Instead of calling Jim, call Single Mothers. We want to be a haven for single mothers,” she said.
Single Mothers will host monthly meetings on the first Friday of each month, beginning July 5 at S.C. McPherson from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“I want the women to know that the love of God is real and tangible, that His power to restore, heal and deliver is magnificent. He is able to do it and wants to do it, and Single Mothers is there to aid those women who are struggling.”
In its first outing, Single Mothers held monthly meetings, annual conferences, socials, afternoon Sunday School classes and ministered to the mother and her child/children on many levels in Grand Bahama and New Providence. Gould hopes they get to do that at that level once again.
“We want to reunite, reconnect and open the doors for our single mothers to be able to be a source of blessing, encouragement and strength to each other. We want to create an environment of safety and support for our women and their children. We want our women to know that they do not have to ‘camp’ in the pain of their past, they can grow from it, learn from it, overcome it and become victorious daughters of the most-high God,” she said.
Goulding said she hopes women will avail themselves of the opportunity to become a part of an army of women who are determined to live their best lives and to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and that women wanting the same should attend the Single Mothers United meeting.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.