Today’s post is a special one.
It’s written by a single mother, who did not expect to be raising her little girl by herself.
She did not expect to have a little girl to raise.
4 month old Baby A was unplanned and unexpected.
Unexpected but wanted. So very much wanted.
Motherhood is hard. But single motherhood? I cannot even imagine HOW hard.
I’ve been chatting with her on Facebook about motherhood – you know, the usual stuff like breastfeeding, sleep, milestones and so on, and our babies were born only 12 days apart. She confided in me that as much as she’s loving this unexpectedness, it’s also been a lonely, difficult road.
I offered her my blog to tell her story because I know that you, my friends and readers, are such an amazing community and a pillar of strength and support for me. I hope that you will extend that strength and support to her as she navigates this wonderful crazy journey of being a mother.
And I would love for you to you offer her friendship, love and hope.
As she’s not just a friend, she’s family.
Today, my cousin Stephanie, is opening her heart to us.
If someone asked me this time last year, what my life would be like just one year later, I would never have answered ‘I’m going to be a single mother’. Like many professional women in their thirties, I’ve let other experiences come first: career, travelling, having fun while I had no commitments. Having children was something I wanted to do eventually, but with the end of a toxic relationship at 32 and disillusioned with dating in general, that prospect seemed far away.
One fine day, I met someone. He was only in town for a few days, but we became infatuated with each other immediately. As a result, we were careless, and a few weeks after he left, I discovered what I thought would never happen to me: I was pregnant. I knew I wanted to keep the baby.
He was in the US military, lived a life of transience, and thought there would be no future for us. Heartbroken, I told him I would expect nothing from him, and went through 9 months of pregnancy alone. Despite bouts of loneliness and doubt, I enjoyed my pregnancy, even though I was often the only one by myself at every ultrasound and doctor’s appointment. As every pregnant woman knows, there are days filled with worry, and those filled with excitement. Even though physically I had no one to share those days with, I continued e-mailing him updates and pictures whether he wanted them or not. Sometimes he was interested, other times, indifferent.
Motherhood has been amazing, but being a single mother with a newborn baby has also been demanding physically and mentally. The hardest part is doing everything on my own, with no partner or family to offer support or share burdens with. Unlike many new mothers who get time off to enjoy their baby, I have to take care of income, household chores, and her, shortly after giving birth. The best part about all that stress though, is that I lost all my baby weight in weeks. I can say that I’m in excellent shape!
I don’t know yet if I’ll be a good parent, or a lousy one. Most of the time I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m managing, so far. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life, and the most rewarding.
Still, I think often about her relationship with her father, who, currently deployed somewhere in the world, she has yet to meet. She is now 4 months old, and I don’t know how old she will be by the time they do eventually meet. My vision of that day, when it does arrive, is that he will fall in love with her as I have, the days will get better, and everything will fall into place. That’s all I can hope for myself, and my daughter. Until then, the future will always remain uncertain.
At least I can’t say that my life is boring!
Do you have any words of advice to offer Stephanie on getting through this on her own?
I didn’t write this but it’s still a heart pouring out post, right? Hope it’s okay, Shell!