Harry Potter’s creator, British author J.K. Rowling, has been the face of a strengthening story of single parenting ever since her face first graced the inside cover of her now multi-million dollar series. She has revealed that she raised her daughter as a single mom while penning the very first book in the series, and since she has totally hit the jackpot with success and remarriage, she says she still feels the need to advocate for the single parent.
“My much-wanted daughter had been conceived and born while I was married,” Rowling writes on Gingerbread, the single parent support site of which she is president, “but the failure of that relationship saw me living shortly afterwards on state benefits in the coldest winter Scotland had seen in quite a few years. I had been living in sunny Portugal prior to my return to the UK and the snow was merely the first shock to my system.”
The 48-year-old mother of three goes on to recount her struggles raising her daughter Jessica while trying to provide for her solely through state benefits. She didn’t even qualify for state childcare because they said she was “coping too well.” You know when you’re struggling with something and you look to your mom for help and all she can say is, “Keep going, honey, you’re doing so well!” We feel like this might be Rowling’s experience.
We have to say, though, that even though it sounds like she got stiffed out of a lot, including childcare assistance and hourly pay a the church that finally agreed to employ her, she did receive her fair share of ridicule.
“I was a Single Parent, and a Single Parent On Benefits to boot,” she writes. “Patronage was almost as hard to bear as stigmatisation. I remember the woman who visited the church one day when I was working there who kept referring to me, in my hearing, as The Unmarried Mother.”
Through all of this, Rowling worked her hardest to dig herself out of the rut of unemployment and underpayment, as she slowly and steadily built the world of witchcraft and wizardy that we all know and love today. Rowling was eventually able to publish the book and begin her life anew, but she has never forgotten and will never forget where she came from.
“I would say to any single parent currently feeling the weight of stereotype or stigmatization that I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life.”