I didn’t see it coming really, I mean I knew things weren’t going how I’d planned in my head. I knew that having a baby had put a huge strain on my relationship and had been much more life changing than I expected. I knew I was doing all of the work and I was fighting to keep my head above water. But I didn’t know it was going to get worse before it got better.
The evening I found out that my relationship was over was probably the worst night of my life. My mum came over in the early hours and took me to her house where I lived with Thea for about 3 months. I spent a lot of those first weeks like a zombie.
Looking back now I’m shocked that I didn’t get some form of post natal depression. My bond with her was never the issue though. From the second she was born I was madly madly in love with her and that feeling had completely knocked me for six. I love her so much that it physically hurt, it was overwhelming.
That love for her somehow managed to drag me out of hell. Every day I had to get out of bed because she needed me, I couldn’t get pissed as a fart, I couldn’t lie in bed all day. We co slept and every night I looked forward to propping her under my arm and having an escape from reality while I slept with her. When I woke up in the morning and my stomach dropped, I had her to make me smile.
I think there are two parts to dealing with being a single mum. The first is the mental side of it, the fact that you did not plan for this, you didn’t enter into a pregnancy expecting to do it alone. I felt tricked, like I’d been promised something and I kept up my end of the bargain but when times got rough the other party did a runner. It felt very unfair, I couldn’t decide to opt out of this, I was in this for ever and ever now. I would look at happy couples, at other people having babies and doing family things. I found it very hard to accept that I was in this position, a position in all honesty I’d judged women in the past for.
The second part of it is the physical side, the practical side the OK so what the fuck happens now side. I started to worry about work, about money, about ever having a life of my own!! Who on earth would want a divorced single mum?? I found the pressure to be the sole person responsible for another life was huge. Every decision was made by me. I had no clue what I was doing, I’d never been a mum before, I second guessed myself constantly and to feel all that responsibility on one persons shoulders is intense.
One of the things I really struggled with and still do a little bit now is the frustration of a decision being made by two people but only one making sacrifices. Knowing Thea's dad could have a full nights sleep, could leave the house and nip to the shop without it being a military operation, he could go on nice dates with his new girlfriend and never have to think of anyone else because he knew Thea was in my capable hands. I used to think but what if I wasn’t capable? What would happen to that tiny baby if I hadn’t stepped up? I would never have changed positions with him because deep down I knew having her was the best reward but I couldn’t help feeling resentful, and I still do now and again.
Along with the frustration, the pain, the exhaustion came a feeling of empowerment. As the weeks went by and I was managing, I kind of felt powerful. I am raising my own child, alone. It’s the hardest job in the world and I’m doing it, if I can get through this I can take anybody any anything on. I felt fearless.
My story has had such a lovely ending and I hope that can bring some comfort to anyone in that position. When Thea was 4 months old I met my partner, we have been together for a year now and we are our own family. He absolutely adores Thea and I wouldn’t change what happened now because in my eyes it’s much more special to have someone in our life that chose to be rather than felt they had to!