Own Your Motherhood: Single Parent
Today's blog post has been submitted by one of our lovely mamas who honestly expresses how hard parenthood is...especially all by yourself. She was forced to tackle pregnancy, labor, and parenting all alone. But you know what, she did it! Continue reading to learn about Karley and her amazing journey into motherhood.
"I saw your Facebook post and thought I would share the challenges of single motherhood. A lot of young mothers are single and I think that hearing someone else's story might help them feel better about the long wonderful road ahead.
To start off I am a 25 yr old single mama.
My boyfriend and I had been together 7 years when we decided it was time to start a family. As a women who has known her whole life she was meant to be a mother I was ecstatic when I saw those two little lines on the pregnancy test. I couldn't wait to tell my boyfriend that we were going to be parents!
A month after finding out, I discovered my now ex, had been cheating on me. Despite the devastating news I decided to try to look past it for the sake of our family, the family I wanted so desperately. I told him to choose. Gave him a month to do so (hormones making me crazy?!?). After a month I asked what his choice was and he told me he couldn't choose, both choices seemed right and both seem wrong. At this point I walked away. Completely cut ties. I knew I could do this alone. I didn't need a man, even less one who didn't want me and our little one growing inside me.
So now I was pregnant hormonal, alone and stressed about becoming a parent alone AND to top it all off I started a new full time job 3 days after finding out I was pregnant and worried I may lose that job prior to my probation being finished.
I also had to announce to my family that I was pregnant and newly single. That wasn't easy. I had a rough childhood and my parents should never have had children. I was adamant I would provide a better life for my child, but so far I seemed to be off to a bad start. My very catholic grandparents, who raised me, didn't approve. I was alone and pregnant out of wedlock. My grandmother wanted me to put my baby up for adoption, cause how could I possibly do it alone? That hurt very much, not only that they had no faith in me nor that they thought I had made a mistake but also that once again someone doubted the ability for a woman to accomplish anything without a man to support her. Thankfully the rest of my family took it very well and were excited to welcome a new baby into the family.
The pregnancy was wonderful despite being difficult. At 14 weeks pregnant one morning I went to the bathroom and my heart sank, I felt sick to my stomach, there was the most dreaded sight a pregnant woman could see, blood. I was so scared, I was already so in love with my little one I could not bear the thought of losing this baby. Trying so hard not to panic, as 6 years ago I had suffered a miscarriage, I called my OB. He sent me to the hospital for an emergency ultrasound. We discovered I had abnormal legions in uterus, but the baby was perfect. I bled throughout my whole pregnancy. And every single time I spotted blood my heart would stop and I would panic. Luckily for me my OB was an angel and reassured me every single time. He held my hand and offered support.
I also had the most amazing support from my aunt who was there every step of the way. From the moment I started thinking I was pregnant, to every ultrasound, to the delivery and still to this day. I have been blessed with love and support my whole pregnancy.
Once my work found out they were so very understanding. My manager understood every worry and every extra appointment I needed to go to.
So with the support of all these amazing people and more, I ventured 40 weeks of pregnancy on my own. I found a 2 bedroom house to rent, I worked two jobs and 60 hour weeks until I was 36 weeks pregnant to make sure I could support myself and my baby during my year maternity leave on lowered income (Canadian here). I worked my social contacts and got a free crib, my aunt donated a ton of stuff she still had from her 3 kids and I bought the rest. I was already on a mission to make sure my child would never need for anything.
At week 37 I was done, I wanted my baby to exit my body. Everything hurt. I was tired. I was also excited to meet this little human I created. My little however decided to hold onto the very end to make an entrance. After a pretty normal labor I started to push, which felt like forever and like my baby would never come, it was exhausting and uncomfortable. Come on baby just leave my body already. Finally my beautiful little angel came out 8 hours after being admitted to the maternity ward, on my due date no less. When I heard the most amazing sound I'd ever heard, the screams of my baby, the tears began to flow and would not stop. I had never been happier. After all the anticipation I was handed my beautiful perfect baby boy. I never wanted to let him go. This was by far the most wonderful day of my life. I had had it easy, not too long of a delivery, no tearing, no pain afterwards I was on the right road to motherhood I had this, well until we hit a speed bump; breastfeeding.
I was adamant I would nurse, for me there was nothing else I wanted to do. Well of course I was hit with a curve ball when it came to that. My sons latch was horrible and the first day he split both my nipples and these would not heal for 3 months despite every trick I tried to help. Breastfeeding was supposed to be a beautiful bonding experience. It wasn't. I dreaded every single feed. I was in so much pain. I felt like it would never end so I came to terms with the pain. I almost gave up a few times, but I'm stubborn and kept at it because my mind was set on it. Thankfully that paid off as now it is no longer painful (phew finally!). But they don't tell you how hard it will be, what a shock it is to have something that is so natural be so difficult. But it's so worth it.
Of course i had nosey people tell me to feed him pablum or formula or this that and the other thing, that I was doing something wrong. He's not eating enough, you're spoiling him, co-sleeping is unsafe, oh you're single was it an accidental pregnancy.... name it I guarantee I heard it. At first it was hard and every comment hurt, always wondering if you were doing everything wrong, that is until I decided; screw it all to hell. I decided I was an intelligent woman, an excellent mother with incredible instincts and too strong willed to let anyone make me doubt in my skills. He is my child and only I know what's best for him. Sure I ask for advice, but I take it all with a grain of salt and ignore any critiques.
So here I am 4 months post partum holding my beautiful sleeping baby boy writing to you about the hardships of doing it alone and I could not be any happier. I am living a blessed, comfortable , fulfilled life. I do not regret a single choice I have made.
This message is to all the moms out there thinking they are failing or can't do it, I saw you can. You are beautiful and strong and amazing, you created a human and that's amazing in itself. Don't give up. People, even the ones closest to you, will judge and make rude comments and make you doubt. But never doubt in you. Follow your instincts. Keep your head held high. You've got this mama! "