We never know what the coming years have in store for us.

I had an arranged marriage that I was very happy about, and we had the fairytale wedding of every girl’s dreams. But things quickly started to fall apart just a few months after the wedding. He was no longer the person I fell in love with, and everyone around me could see how depressed it was making me.

I decided I had to part ways from my husband. I was six months pregnant at the time and seeking a divorce was the toughest decision anyone could take. I wanted a happy life and a bright future for my coming child, but knew I couldn’t get one in that situation. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, but it also turned out to be one of the best.

Being a full-time single mum in Dubai is a challenge for sure, just like it would be anywhere else in the world, but I am very lucky to have a close network of family and friends here to help me out.

One of the better things about being a single mum in the UAE is that people aren’t generally as judgmental as the people back in my hometown would be.

Many people in my society think that being a single mother is a bad example and the woman is to be blamed if the marriage doesn’t work out, which does sometimes makes me feel like the ‘odd one out’. But being a single mother here in Dubai is not as much of a big deal as it would be in my country.

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Of course it was a huge decision to make. I was not confident about the idea of becoming a single mum at first and had many doubts. I wasn’t sure if I was becoming a victim to be pitied, or some kind of a hero. But I knew whatever decision I was making was for my then-unborn daughter, and I didn’t want her to live a life full of rules and regulations like I had to.

My ex offers me no financial support. So my family has been a lifeline to me during my divorce process and after. They helped me get out of depression and bring me back to who I was. They helped me complete my education and would take care of my little one while I was studying for hours. Whether it was with housework, pitching in if my daughter fell sick, or anything else, they were always around, especially in those tough first months, and I couldn’t have done it without them.

One of the main issues single parents face across the world and in the UAE is financial constraints. Expenses have risen and things are steadily becoming less affordable.

But despite the scary prospect of being on my own and parenting my daughter solo, single parenting can be wonderful, strengthening and an empowering experience no matter where you are.

Being a full-time mum, dependent on my family with my dad as the sole bread winner, does involve many challenges. But there are a few benefits as well.

It might sound contradictory, but the end of my marriage gave me the ‘freedom’ of knowing that I will have extra responsibilities.

As a sole parent in the household I might have not accomplished many things in life, but I know what needs to be done and how.

Having no spouse around to negotiate or argue with over day-to-day responsibilities and expenditures things get done more quickly and efficiently.

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It is very difficult for any parent to make their child understand a complicated situation like the breakdown of their parents’ marriage. But I believe that making a fresh start was better than putting up with a marriage that just wasn’t working.

In my case my little one doesn’t know about her father much and has never met him. But she has positive male role models and father figures in the form of her grandfather and uncles to show her that there are good men around.

My daughter and I are a beautiful and a proud family. There might be a lot to navigate and lots of explaining to be done, but once she’s is old enough to understand I will try to make her understand why things didn’t work out between me and her father. I hope to mitigate the impact of the divorce as much as I can.

Until I entered the blogging world I was one of those people who didn’t like making new friends or meeting new people. Starting my blog and sharing my experience and discoveries made me a bit more confident and gave me a lot of motivation from other mums, which helped me move on.

It’s sometimes annoying having to answer the same questions and repeat everything again and again, but knowing what I did was for my daughter’s good and getting compliments for my bravery helps.  I am never disheartened to explain the hows and whys, but always proud and confident about telling new people who I really am.

The greatest advantage of all in being a single mum is that with no husband and one easy child there are no awkward dynamics, and no parenting arguments, which I know I would have if I was still married.

As a result we have a very peaceful and respectful relationship and household.

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There are some things that only a mother can teach her child and some things only a father can teach. But I think all woman are capable of raising children alone, even if they are working, because we tend to have such a strong nurturing instinct.

The most challenging part of being a single mother in Dubai is the burden of financial instabilities, the rising cost of fulfilling my child’s needs. Expenses are rising and things are steadily becoming less affordable.

But the best thing about it, which is the same for dual-parent and single-parent families, is the security and the benefits this city has to offer. It’s a very child-friendly city with great standard of childcare. It’s a city where life is enriching, rewarding and, above all else, fun.

Alina and her daughter Zaara

Read more about Alina's experiences at her blog http://thediaryofmom.com

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