Not everyone is supportive when it comes to pregnancy
When I found out I was pregnant with my third child, I was surprised, to say the least. My boyfriend and I had been using protection, and although we had been dating for a couple years, we didn’t live together and marriage was never discussed. I was already a single mother of two little girls, ages 4 and 6, and I was doing the best that I could to care for them. I worked a full-time job as a business office assistant during the week, and on the weekends when the girls visited their dad, I picked up shifts as a waitress. I was receiving some help in the form of day-care assistance from social services, but it paid only a small fraction of what I owed every week. I had no idea how I was going to afford a baby.
My boyfriend and I sat down that evening and went over our options; we decided to raise this baby together and give him or her the best life we could. At my first OB appointment I was given my due date and a little goodie bag full of maternity brochures and baby magazines. The pregnancy started to feel very real . . . and exciting. I left the appointment bursting with joy.
At twelve weeks, I told my girls they would have a new brother or sister and they were over the moon.
When I shared the news with my family, friends, and employer, though, the response was not so rosy. My boss told me that having a child out of wedlock was the last thing I needed. One family member asked me why I didn’t choose abortion. A friend assured me this pregnancy would be the end of my relationship with my boyfriend. I was heartbroken. At a time when I was celebrating the little heartbeat inside of me, this little miracle, the people closest to me were tearing apart my joy. I began to question whether or not I could properly care for this new baby, and whether or not I was good enough to be his or her mother.
At twenty weeks, my boyfriend and I went to the hospital for an ultrasound, and seeing the image of our little baby boy brought both of us tears of joy. At that moment, I knew that no matter what happened—whether my boyfriend and I got married or split up—that little boy would grow up with two parents and two older sisters who loved him unconditionally. The guilt and worry that I had felt turned into a powerful motivation, driving me to prove everyone wrong and be the most amazing mother I could be. Instead of allowing other people’s negativity to bring me down, I began sharing every joyous detail of my pregnancy with them: food cravings, ultrasound pictures, and my adorable baby-bump. It wasn’t my job to change their views about single motherhood or help them become comfortable with it. My responsibility was to this child.
My son is now 9 years old, a great athlete (just like his father), incredibly bright, and gifted with a sense of humor that makes me laugh even on my worst day. Although his father and I never married, we remain friends and do our best to coparent in a way that provides a stable, loving environment for our son.
Kristy Summers is a Solo Mom to five amazing children and an advocate for single mothers, encouraging them in all their experiences, from financial struggles to overcoming negative stereotypes. An avid writer, she’s working on a book aimed at helping broken women become whole again.
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