Single and Unexpectedly Pregnant
When you become pregnant unexpectedly as a single woman, it can be daunting. I grew up in a home with two parents, 3 full siblings and within a community with very traditional family structures. I always knew who both of my parents were. I always knew who my blood relatives were. I never had to pack up and go back and forth between homes.
In 2018, I was told I would have a hard time getting pregnant. I went a few years without a period due to eating disorders. So, finding out I was pregnant was a huge shock. I had one night of not being careful and I found out I was with a child. I was at the gym squatting and an idea entered my head... "be careful, you're pregnant" ... that little voice was right. The next time I went for a hormone test, I asked them to add the pregnancy blood test and shockingly the doctor came back into the room saying, "there's a flag on your blood work, you are pregnant. You are more than a few weeks along."
I did not tell anyone except for one friend, a counselor and that same day I found out, my brand-new principal for the perfect teaching contract in a arts school. Exactly the kind of school and collegues I would fit with. She saw the fear in my eyes and said to me, "I was a single mom for many years" and knowing that someone had been a single mom and had earned a job as a principal was a enlightening moment that I could still be successful as a single mother.
From what I was taught, single mothers were struggling mothers. Paycheck to paycheck, working multiple jobs and that was almost looked down on. The fact that they worked their a$$es off to provide for their children alone. That scared me. (Disclaimer - I currently do these things to provide for my child as a single parent)
I pictured my pregnancy being so exciting... wearing cute pregnancy clothes, rubbing my belly, feeling exciting kicks and I had all of those moments. What they don't tell you is the moments of feeling lonely with yourself and a big baby belly. They don't tell you the pain or the scary what ifs of being a pregnant woman. They don't tell you the looks you get as you walk into a store with a bump and no ring. As a single, pregnant woman, I felt shame. I was obviously carrying a baby without a partner and that person who contributed to my pregnancy was walking around and no one would have a clue that there was a child of his about to be born out of wedlock.
I knew that having this baby that the chances of being a single parent were high. I had no idea the struggle that would come from it. I didnt know my child would be born premature and in a hospital for weeks. I didnt know that she would be diagnosed with a physical disability and be diagnosed as autistic. I didnt know that I would be single years after having this child and that the dating life completely shifts when you a parent. I didnt know the financial struggle that would appear and the paycheck to paycheck fight. I didnt know the opposing opinions of how to care for a child would be vocally pushed towards me. I didnt know.
And good thing I didnt know. If I had known, I probably would have gone to that abortion. Hear me out. If I had known all of the heart ache and fear and pain, I would never have had my child - because I would have never known the beauty of being a mother. I would have never learned how to care for someone other than myself. I wouldnt know the meaning of unconditional love. My perspective on life would not be as open and as awakened as it is after you have a child with diagnoses. My heart would not have known what it is like to not care about the pain because those pockets of moments filled with her laughter or her warm hug wouldnt be here had I not had her.
If you are a pregnant single woman- there is no right or wrong choice in either continuing or not. There is however, the reality that you have to live with your choice and both choices are hard.
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