The “Happily Ever After” I Never Imagined
One woman’s experience becoming a Solo Mom
Discovering My Pregnancy
The real journey started back when I froze some of my eggs four months prior to my pregnancy. During the procedure, I joked that I would end up pregnant within the year. Careful what you wish for! There is a wonderful and upending moment that occurs when you find out you’re pregnant. My journey began this way, but feelings of disbelief and panic filled me in the weeks to come as I found myself without the support of my partner. After a lot of soul searching and deliberation, I chose to move ahead with my pregnancy alone, and I’ve never looked back. I searched for information and support; despite the love and help I had from my friends and family, I needed more: a community.
Dealing with Preconceived Notions
The first test I faced in my newly pregnant state was to get over myself and take some action. I was embarrassed, but I wasn’t in trouble; nor was my family upset with me. In fact, after the initial shock wore off, they were ecstatic. So, where was my guilt and anger coming from? It didn’t help that, over and over again, I had to field questions about my “husband.” Everyone I encountered assumed I was partnered up. “Where is your husband?” “When will he be here?” “Why are you alone?” “Who is the lucky guy?” It was all well meaning and heartfelt, but it led to anger until I took more control of myself.
Motherhood, as We Know It, Is Changing
One day after a particularly awkward moment I had in an office with a nurse, I went to bed feeling upset and angry. Just point a huge spotlight on my head, I thought, and for good measure, I’ll wear a large sign that says “pregnant, barefoot, and alone.” Most women don’t sit in their bedrooms and dream of becoming a single parent, but for many reasons, it happens. I realized that my way out of my fear was to be open about my situation and not try to cover it up. I became less afraid of this unseen bogeyman, but others continue to remind me with their uncomfortable silence and apologies. “Please don’t be sorry,” I would say. “I’m very happy.” And it’s been true. These moments started to paint a picture of the landscape I was going to continue to traverse. The landscape of single mothers is broad, diverse, and many more end up here than expected.
Reach Out to Others
I started to reach into the abyss for other Solo Moms, and I got a response. It was like receiving communication from outer space. One by one, I saw the same words in writing that I had been voicing: “I’m looking for community.” “I don’t know how to find the support I need.” I knew in my heart that if I continued to reach forward and be open, I would find more. Now I’m less afraid to talk to the leaders of classes, practitioners, medical professionals, and other mothers about the needs of single mothers, or at least my own needs. Everyone has been very accepting, and many have changed their language to be more inclusive. There will be unavoidable bumps and bruises along the way, but I hope I’ll be so caught up in the joys and challenges of parenting my daughter that I won’t notice the absence of my ex or a yearning for something different. This community I’m building, and choosing to live within, is one I’m looking forward to sharing with my daughter, knowing that maybe, I’ve made a bit of difference.
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Photo Credit: Rebecca Cherry
Rebecca Cherry is an accomplished musician, writer, and creative seeker. She is enjoying her new role as a Solo Mom to her baby girl. You can follow her on Twitter at @CherryRebecca and Facebook at Rebecca Cherry.
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