Brief background: This was an entirely unplanned pregnancy (but in no way unwanted) and I split up with the SD (that would be sperm donor, as that's the only credit he gets) when I was 12 weeks pregnant, and have raised her solo ever since. He has no contact with us, has only seen her a handful of times and provides no financial assistance.
I didn't find it too bad being pregnant and single. This is my 3rd child, so I had been around this block before, and was lucky enough not to suffer too many pregnancy-related unpleasantries (yes, I made up that word and am sticking by it).
I worked mostly from home throughout my pregnancy organising social events for singles. Anyone who has worked from home knows that it's a balance of the joys of working in pyjamas if you feel like it, on your own schedule versus the trials of keeping yourself motivated and organised.
I also attended all the events I organised, and had many regular attendees. It was so lovely to have them comment on my progressing pregnancy, make sure I had a comfy seat at the door, and bring me lovely "mocktails" throughout the evenings. Many of them were older ladies, and I think they took pity on poor-single-and-pregnant me and took me on as a surrogate daughter in a way. This was to be a bit of a recurring theme throughout the next 5 years, as it turns out - the amazing power of women supporting other women.
Financially this job was quite rewarding, so I was fortunate enough to be able to use a private obstetrician, and could easily afford the required baby gear (as well as much that wasn't required at all but I Simply Had To Have!).
Emotionally my best friend and my mother were my rocks for those 9 months. Without their love and support, as well as that of other friends, I doubt it would have been so painless. I was going to have my best friend as a birthing partner, however as the pregnancy progressed I realised that this was possibly not the best option, as, well, let's just say that's not her bag, baby!
My mother, who I thank my lucky stars for every single day, attended many appointments with me, including the all-important gender exposing ultrasound. I made no secret of the fact that I always wanted a daughter one day, and my parents were desperately after a granddaughter to add to the 2 fabulous grandsons I had already generously provided for them. To share that moment of revelation that this new arrival was, indeed, of the pink variety with my mother, and to shed tears of joy together that the little alien on the screen looked perfect in all ways, was immeasurably special.
I decided to go with a doula as a birth support person. Doulas are trained birth support partners. I found the most amazing doula who I clicked with immediately, and she agreed to share Z's birth experience with me. T (my doula) started weekly visits with me around 8 weeks prior to the due date, in which we got to know each other and came up with a rough sort of birth plan together. In keeping with the women supporting women theme, she also inspired me to do a little more work on my own "divine feminine", introducing me to the concept of the Goddess, and basically setting me on a more pagan and earthy path in life, one I have continued to explore.
The biggest negative of my entire pregnancy was fear. The fear was basically not knowing what SD was thinking / doing / planning to do regarding this baby. Not knowing is the worst of all fears, and I had a lot of not knowing. It even drove me to counselling towards the end of my pregnancy, as it was causing extreme insomnia, which I struggle with to this day.
I don't know how best to describe it. I was carrying this child. He could not answer the simple question I asked over and over again - "Are you planning to be a part of this child's life?". There were other issues as well, including a history of, well, basically abducting his own child and moving countries. I think it's pretty obvious where the fear comes in.
That said, I still look back at the pregnancy as a positive time. Going through something like that on your own is definitely good for one's inner strength. You find that you can do things you never thought you could.
Like put on 20 kilos in 7 months...
Next instalment: The Birth