Growing up, no one would’ve pegged me for the girl who would end up pregnant at 23 and single.
No one would’ve guessed that I would end up in the embarrassing situation that I was in- with the father of my child absent and uninterested.
People probably saw me in a much better light than what I saw myself in during that time. I know what my reputation was- the goody two shoes, straight A, honor roll girl. I wasn’t the girl who would get pregnant before getting married. I wasn’t the girl who would find myself giving birth with my best friend holding my hand. No, that wasn’t me. That’s not what people thought about me. People thought that I would go to college, get married and do the typical, normal, upper class things.
But, that’s not exactly what happened.
At 23 years old, I picked up that positive pregnancy test off the bathroom counter, reflecting on how bizarre life was. I had just broken up with my ex 2 weeks prior, and I knew before I even took the test, that I was pregnant. I just knew it. But, for some reason, I wasn’t upset. In fact, I was excited.
Maybe my pregnancy hormones were mixed up or something, because I was on cloud nine in this undesirable situation. I knew that my ex would not be interested, and that was fine with me. That meant that this baby was all mine, as selfish as that sounds. I recognized the gift that this baby was, even if he did not. I recognized how blessed I was to be given the job of mom, before I was even ready.
And, as it turns out, being “ready” wasn’t really a requirement. This baby was exactly what I needed. After spending years of feeling lost, I finally had a purpose. I had something to look forward to and I had someone to share my life with- it just wasn’t in the traditional method.
But, even though I was elated to have this baby in my womb, I was still embarrassed. How could I not be? I went to every doctor’s appointment alone. I had no answers for the paternal family medical history. There was no one at the hospital to sign her birth certificate and she would not go home with her biological father’s last name.
I had to get stern with the hospital administrator who insisted that giving my daughter her biological fathers last name, and adding him to her birth certificate was what was best for my baby. I quickly handed her back the pamphlet that supported her cause, and firmly said, “No,” which was a complete sentence.
Even the most likely to fail couples manage to stick together throughout the pregnancy and maintain the happy family status. It’s usually after the baby is born that the relationship typically disintegrates and the illusion is busted.
But, not me.
I was alone.
But then again, I wasn’t.
Sure, I didn’t have anyone to roll over to in bed and share the excitement of their baby’s kick, but I ate it up, all alone. This baby and I were in this together. I wasn’t alone, because she was always with me.
Going to the doctor’s appointments alone wasn’t exactly ideal, but it evened itself out when I didn’t have to consult anyone on my baby’s name or entertain any old, undesirable traditional family name.
I didn’t have a partner to hold my hand while I gave birth, but I also didn’t have to put on a show that I knew was a lie.
I didn’t have a spouse to help carry the weight during those exhausting newborn days, but I also never expected to have that help.
I didn’t have a man standing next to me when my baby’s heart rate dropped and the nurse called for an emergency c-section, but what I did have was my mom, my dad, my best friend, several co-workers, a handful of close friends and even some long-time family friends who showed up for us.
Being pregnant and alone felt like a lot of things.
But, the strongest emotion of all was the feeling of content.
While the rest of the world saw a sad storm, I felt bliss.