She may now be engaged to Brad Pitt, but in the years before Brad, Angelina was a single girl who had a series of bad relationships and became a solo mom by way of adoption.
I will never forget it, Angelina was on the cover of Good Housekeeping in a classic brown tunic and jeans. The blurb read: Angelina Jolie talks about her son, her lovers and Brad Pitt.
How many women in the world could manage to put those three words: son, lovers (plural!) and Brad Pitt in one sentence, I wondered.
This was the same woman who had won an award for playing the role of a mentally disturbed patient in “Girl Interrupted” and kissed her brother on the mouth when her name was called; the one who once wore a vial with the blood of her then husband, Billy Bob Thornton around her neck, and the woman who played video game superhero Lara Croft.
You get the picture–before she became a solo mom by way of adoption, Angelina Jolie was not exactly motherhood material.
But when she adopted her son, Maddox, Angelina took on the role of doting mother. It was obvious that solo motherhood became her.
There are things that I learned from solo motherhood that I learned from Angelina Jolie.
1. You don’t need a partner to be a parent
Angelina adopted Maddox when she was very much single. She just knew she wanted to be a mom and knew that she could be a good parent. She had just finished filming Tomb Raider in Cambodia, fell in love with the place, its people and decided to adopt a child from the region.
Sharon Stone, another game changing solo mom, pretty much summed it up when she said, “Don’t wait for a man to give you children. Do it yourself. And if Prince Charming does come along, he’ll say, ‘Oh, look, just what I’ve been looking for: a family.’”
2. You aren’t less attractive because you have a child
Okay, okay, so it was less than honorable means, the way that Angelina and Brad became Brangelina, but the fact remains that she was not any less attractive because she had a child and all the responsibilities that come with it.
How many times have I heard the phrase “second hand”, “damaged goods” or “may sabit” [rough translation: with baggage] when people talk about solo moms?
The fact that she had a child didn’t deter, but rather endeared, Angelina to Brad Pitt. Long before they admitted their relationship, the trio was seen just hanging out. Later, Brad adopted Maddox.
You might be thinking, “She’s Angelina Jolie, she could have any man she wants.” Sure, but let’s bring it closer to home.
Judy Ann Santos, adopted her daughter, Yohan, before her now husband, Ryan Agoncillo came into her life. In an interview I did with her in 2008, she said, “I just wanted to have a child”. There was probably nothing that she had not done by then and having reached a level of fulfillment, success and stability, she felt that she was ready to be a parent.
Then she met Ryan Agoncillo. “My life was already complete when Ryan came along,” she told me during that interview. “It just became more complete when Ryan came into our–me and Yohan’s–life.”
3. A child responds only to love
Judy Ann Santos, she said that she didn’t have to tell her daughter, Yohan, to call Ryan, “Daddy”; she and Ryan were both surprised when she did. As Judy Ann explained to me, “Yohan saw us together, we would go out together and instinctively, she started calling Ryan, ‘Daddy’”.
In Angelina’s case, long before she and Brad admitted their relationship, photos of Brad dirt biking with the young Maddox were snapped up by the paparazzi. It was a family picture that said more than any formal admission of a relationship.
Bottom line, it doesn’t matter if you become a parent by way of adoption, by way of solo motherhood, by way surrogacy or other means now made available by modern science. It doesn’t matter to a child who only sees and responds to love.
4. Solo parenthood is a complete relationship in itself
Angelina and Maddox were quite content being a small family of two.
In this article in the DailyMail, Angelina said, “Brad was a huge surprise to me. I think we were the last two people who were looking for a relationship. I certainly wasn’t. I was quite content to be a single mom.”
It’s easy for people to think that solo parents need or are looking for a partner to help them with the responsibilities of parenthood. Maybe what a lot of people don’t know about solo parenthood is that it creates such a strong sense of trust and attachment between the child and the parent precisely because it’s just the two of you.
As a parent, you’re both on the giving and receiving end of unconditional love. It’s one of the many reasons why solo parenthood is a relationship in itself.
5. Parenthood is not defined by biological ties , nor by blood
To say that the Jolie-Pitt family is a colorful one is an understatement.
And from this blended, multi-cultural family is perhaps the most basic yet valuable lesson about parenthood—solo or otherwise. A family is not defined by its ethnicity, blood or biological ties, but by love.
Photo from femalefirst.co.uk