Single Mom Out Loud

The joys (and desperation) of raising a boy without a man

Blood is Not Always Thicker Than Water


“Blood is thicker than water.” We have all heard that cliché repeated time and time again, referring to the belief that the bonds of family blood are stronger than any other bond. I’ve been thinking about this saying for months; ever since my son was born. But what happens when blood is not thicker than water? Are all families loyal? Do all families care? The birth of my son has taught me some very harsh lessons on family.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed to be part of a family that loves me and who will do anything for me. And consequently Kaio has been blessed too. My family, although far from perfect, is loyal and caring and they value family ties above everything. I feel extremely grateful that I was able to give my son such family.

Although thousands of miles away, my family makes sure to stay connected and involved in my life and Kaio’s life. Facebook let’s me share photos and videos instantly. My grandma will FaceTime almost every day, and my uncles will do the same at least one a week. My oldest uncle, Ivan, is Kaio’s godfather and I couldn’t have picked a better one. He is loving, caring and doesn’t go more than 3 days without facetiming us. My family is so close that even though I have lived far away for 20 years, every time I go back home it feels like I never left. Maybe its a Latin thing, but how many people can say that about their families?

Obviously I feel very blessed to see how loved my son is by my family. And most importantly, I feel blessed that he will always feel loved and he will always feel that he belongs.

But for a a long time I didn’t feel this grateful. For a year I felt guilty and hurt that I wasn’t able to give my son another family: his paternal family. I took upon me the reason why he doesn’t have a father and a paternal family around. I felt like it was my fault that his grandmother refuse to meet him. 

I think every mother hurts when we see our child being rejected by those who theoretically should love them. And for a whole year that’s how I felt. Hurt and guilty, as if I failed my son for their shitty actions. I have met countless single mothers online who struggle with the same issue so I know Kaio and I are not the only ones going through this. It seems like when the father leaves, his family will leave too.

Maybe its to avoid drama, or maybe his absence gives them the much needed excuse to leave too. Or maybe its because they don’t like the child’s mother. Maybe its an American thing, given our cold and disconnected society. Maybe it has nothing to do with nationality, but with morals, or lack thereof. Maybe it’s just pure and simple psychology playing itself out. Mr. Big was cut off from his father’s life and when he had boys of his own he also cut them off from his life. Maybe it’s as simple as him subconsciously forcing into his sons the same pain of abandonment his father gave him. Or maybe he is just a selfish Individual with no deep trauma as an excuse for his behavior and his family is just as ugly.

I don’t know why people do that to their own. And I will never truly understand it because that’s not how I was raised. I can’t imagine my grandmother or any of my uncles not doing everything they can so they can be part of a grandchild’s or nephew’s life. Let alone, do everything NOT to be part of it. But even though I will never understand it, I have come to accept their decision to not include my son in their family.

For those of us whose kids were rejected by other family members, just be grateful their rejection came sooner than later. It’s easier for a child to never know some people exist, than to know and always wonder why they don’t care enough to come around.

So yes, to some blood is in fact thicker than water. But some blood are also worn thin from the beginning. So it’s important to focus on the family that our children already have, rather than the one we think they should. Family is so much more than just DNA. And Kaio knows that already. He has love, care, connection, loyalty and lots of fun from his family, even though they are far away. And he doesn’t need anything else or anyone else, especially if it has to be begged for. Anyone who made the conscious decision to reject a child doesn’t deserve him or her in their first place. Rejecting a son or grandchild or a brother can’t possibly bring good things to one’s life. But that’s their karma to deal with. Not ours.



Author: Brisa Pinho

Brazilian. Piscean. Project manager. Raising a boy in a man's world... without a man.

3 thoughts on “Blood is Not Always Thicker Than Water

  1. What about the day she is old enough to wonder where her father and paternal family are? What do I tell her then?


    • Hi Anna. I don’t know. I am not there yet. I can tell you what my grandpa told me since I was also raised without a dad. He told me that my dad was a bit sick. That his head and hurt was ill. And that if one day he gets healthy he will seek me. But he might never get healthy. When I grew up and became a teenager I understood what he meant by sick. Isn’t that what people who abandon their kids are? Somewhat unhealthy?

      Liked by 1 person

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