Sheryl Sandberg Reflects on Navigating Single Parenthood Ahead of Mother's Day

Her husband died suddenly May 1, 2015.

— -- Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is reflecting on spending Mother's Day as a single mom.

In a touching Facebook post, Sandberg, a mother of two, opened up about how, one year after the death of her husband Dave Goldberg, navigating single parenthood is "still a new and unfamiliar world."

"People become single parents for many reasons: loss of a partner, breakdown of a relationship, by choice. One year and five days ago I joined them," she wrote Friday. "For me, this is still a new and unfamiliar world. Before, I did not quite get it. I did not really get how hard it is to succeed at work when you are overwhelmed at home. I did not understand how often I would look at my son’s or daughter’s crying face and not know how to stop the tears. How often situations would come up that Dave and I had never talked about and that I did not know how to handle on my own. What would Dave do if he were here?"

Goldberg died suddenly on May 1, 2015, while on vacation in Mexico. He was 47.

"I never understood how often the world would remind my children and me of what we don't have -— from father-daughter dances to Parent Night at school," Sandberg wrote. "Until we lost Dave, my brother said that he too did not realize how many 'father' events there were at their public school in Houston and how hard they must be for the many children without fathers."

She continued, "For many single mothers, this is the only world they know. ... I realize how extremely fortunate I am not to face the financial burdens so many single mothers and widows face. Poverty is one of the hidden and devastating aftereffects of loss for women."

"Our widespread cultural assumption that every child lives with a two-parent heterosexual married couple is out of date," Sandberg said. "Since the early 1970s, the number of single mothers in the United States has nearly doubled. Today, almost 30 percent of families with children are headed by a single parent, and 84 percent of those are led by a single mother. And yet our attitudes and our policies do not reflect this shift."

Sandberg concluded her post by asking the public to "rethink our public and corporate workforce policies and broaden our understanding of what a family is and looks like."

"We need to build a world where families are embraced and supported and loved no matter how they fit together," she wrote.