Congratulations you’re pregnant! I remember hearing these words from my doctor after several negative home pregnancy tests landed me in her rooms to get a blood test to see what was going on.
I had just finished my final uni prac for my nursing degree and had my eyes firmly on scoring my dream new graduate position at a large paediatric hospital. When I returned from prac I was immediately offered an interview for a casual position at a hospital in the home town I grew up 2 1/2 hours away in which i attended and was successful. Although 2 weeks in I noticed something was different, I wasn’t sure what but something was going on. I was on contraception but did a few pregnancy tests to rule that out and they were all negative…phew! I thought. I ended up making an appointment to see my doctor who’s immediate response was “Is there any chance you could be pregnant?”. A test in her rooms was negative but the blood test showed otherwise, I got the phone call the next day with “Congratulations you’re pregnant, about 4-6weeks”, pause, “Thats not possible i’ve been away for almost 3months”, longer pause. Long story short…I was 12weeks pregnant confirmed by ultrasound a few days later.
I also distinctly remember the call to my then partner to tell him the news, I was excited as this was my first baby, but also devastated as I would have to give up my position in the new graduate program the following year…..he wasn’t excited! His response, “mmmm great, how the f*@k did that happen?”. Not “oh wow, thats a surprise” or “it’s going to be ok”, or “we’ll sort it out”, or “how exciting” etc…you know, the normal responses. He already had children from a previous relationship and I think he had unofficially closed that chapter of his life without actually having that conversation with me. I didn’t know what to do, think, or feel. I told my family and they were all quite excited, except mum, she had always been wary of my then partner and asked if i’d done it on purpose to “fix” our relationship. I was really taken back by that comment but reassured her that I had worked so hard over the last three years at uni to land my dream job….the dream job I now had to give up. My excitement was subdued as my then partner didn’t want to tell anyone till he had told his ex-wife and their children but by almost 15 weeks I ended up giving him an ultimatum..”do it soon as i’m going to make a public announcement of our pregnancy, I can’t keep denying it and saying i’m bloated!”…the night before I made the announcement he finally told them.
Throughout my pregnancy he would tell people “it was an accident”, “i didn’t want anymore kids”, “i thought that part of my life was done”, I was gutted! He wouldn’t say any of that to me, just publicly to his friends and mutual friends. At a time a a to be mum should have been excited, glowing, talking baby room designs, what pram to buy etc I felt I couldn’t do any of that, I felt robbed of enjoying the journey to becoming a mum for the very first time. I kept telling myself, it would get better, it will change when the baby’s here, he will come around, he’s just shocked and needs time etc…but I was kidding myself. It didn’t get better, it didn’t change when the baby arrived and he didn’t come round with time (a whole 6months). Not the way any women wants to begin the exciting journey of becoming a mum, or should for that matter, but i know there are many others like me who have been through a similar experience.
Max’s arrival was textbook and the day after I left hospital Max’s dad buggered off to the gold coast with his mates for a long weekend and left me with a 4day old baby at my mums. Day 5 into being a new mum I received a text from my then partner informing me his estranged father and half sister were on their way down from the sunshine coast to come and meet the new baby…..i’d met his father once in our 5year relationship and had never met his half sister at that stage. So they turned up on our doorstep and Mum and I awkwardly entertained them for several hours. Over the next 12months he was always going away with “the boys” for weekends, weekends that previously i’d always been invited too but it was now “too hard” with Max and it compromised his social life when away.
I tried so hard to engage him in choosing pieces for the nursery, what colour to paint the walls, what pram to buy, gender neutral clothing, scans, baby shower etc but he just wasn’t interested. I’d had doubts about staying in the relationship since the day I told him I was pregnant and his response was not positive but I was scared of doing it on my own, scared of what people would think and say about me, and it made me feel like i’d already failed my child because I couldn’t give him two parents in a loving relationship and the role models he’d be proud to call his mum and dad. I didn’t know what to do so I stayed, I stayed in a “relationship” where I raised our son by myself, I did absolutely everything unless we were in public in front of his mates…then he’d hold our son for 5mins or so and hand him back so he could socialise. He worked from home but on an almost daily basis in the warmer months if I didn’t sit out in the shed with our son he wouldn’t have seen his father at all for days at a time. It was tough and there were so many times I just wanted to pack our belongings up and go home to my parents…but I was too proud. I didn’t want to be “the single mum”, i didn’t want the “failure” label, I was scared, heartbroken and lost.
Luckily Max was such a great sleeper and thrived on a routine, but around his first birthday I made the decision to leave. His father had no interest in Max’s first birthday and it really stood out just how disinterested he was in Max’s life, how could anyone not be excited about their child’s first birthday? But then I realised there had been so many other firsts that he hadn’t been involved with (by choice) or interested in. I didn’t have to courage to do it in person so when he left me for another weekend away with his mates to socialise and was left at home as it was “too hard with Max” I rang my sister in tears and asked for her help! My sister and her new husband dropped everything and came straight to me. I packed up our belongs through tears while Max slept and then when my sister arrived I cried even more and told her I couldn’t do it anymore. Im certain she knew i’d held on for longer then anyone had thought and she just nodded, gave me a big hug, told me to wash my face and she would look after her favourite (and only at the time) nephew while her husband and I packed mine and Max’s lives into two cars. I left a letter entailing everything I’d been saying to him since I found out I was pregnant that he hadn’t listened to and that I couldn’t be a single parent in relationship with someone who made me feel like our son was a burden to him. It was heart breaking but I could finally do it.
It wasn’t taken to well but after 2months of hearing what I wanted to hear and him showing a big effort towards Max I decided to go back…..but it only lasted 6weeks till I left again, although this time I left out of fear. Max had been really sick with a respiratory virus so after little sleep and a weekend in hospital in which his father hadn’t even bothered to come see him, I accidentally scraped the car on a garden bed at the hospital when someone pulled out of a parking space abruptly. When I finally arrived home, i’d gotten take away as it was 4pm and I hadn’t had lunch, his first words to me were “where’s my f*&^ing lunch, don’t worry about me just worry about yourself” so I left the bag of takeaway in the shed with him and went inside. He followed me in and when he saw the scratch on the front bumper bar of the car he got really angry, he was yelling at me then finally threw the bag of takeaway across the lounge room at us and Max got really distressed. It wasn’t the first time he’d lost his temper and thrown stuff at me, but it was definitely the last. He then took off in his car and I packed a bag for Max and I and left. November 2015 I made the decision to end the toxic relationship for good, that is not the environment I wanted to raise Max in, I didn’t want him in our lives anymore and he didn’t deserve to be apart of it either. I’ve developed anxiety from the disgusting and derogative behaviour directed at me from Max’s father since the separation, but, he is allowed in Max’s life and I am doing everything I possibly can to protect Max from emotional hurt and I will never forget all the pain, stress and agony he has put me through since I found out I was pregnant.
It was time for me to start the journey of becoming the women and mum I knew I could be…..on my own. I now plan my days carefully, ensuring I fill them with family, close friends, doing things that I love and most importantly….taking time out for me. I’ve been on a journey of self love and am happy to say i’ve found it! I’m happy with who I am and the direction my life is heading with Max by my side 🙂