I’m 23yrs old with a 10mos old son & I’m pregnant again! And yet I thought “I couldn’t be, I didn’t get a chance to miss being pregnant, let alone how was I going to handle 2 kids as a single parent??!” Besides, getting pregnant was the furthest thing from my mind because I just had a baby… And he wasn’t even 1 yet!! Not only that, I was breastfeeding so that’s a form of “birth control”…LIES they tell! LOL Unexpected was an understatement because ONE TIME after months of celibacy & I’m super fertile??! OK, I immediately do crunches because I haven’t been exercising and I didn’t want to be “fat” (a little vain, I’ll admit)!! That lasted in that moment & on that day. LOL That was obviously one of my worries, but not really. My main focus was in 2 areas: securing a government career that I just began the process for & how can I explain this to people when they asked??! I later discovered IT’S NONE OF MY BUSINESS WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF ME! I have the power, I’m in control to decide HOW I’ll respond to circumstances and no one can dictate what MY outcome will look like.
Okay, so here goes my flashback moment. News of this 2nd pregnancy I’m feeling uncomfortable, sad, & confused as opposed to feelings of joy & confidence like my 1st pregnancy. I’m really good at hiding my emotions but there was this nagging sadness and uncertainty about how was I going to afford another child? I don’t even have insurance, savings, & also… there’s this opportunity that I’ve been waiting on. & FINALLY, I’m starting the process to begin a new career. I thought: I CANT AFFORD TO MESS THIS OPPORTUNITY UP BY BEING PREGNANT!! I got pregnant right out of college so I’ve been through this before when searching for a “real” job. I believed what company is interested in hiring a pregnant female only to later be out of work to care for her newborn? Even though there are laws in place not to discriminate against pregnant women, it still exists. I was determined to make sure I secured a position BEFORE my belly grew. I’ve strategically settled for $12/hr (for networking purposes) & waited in this job for a year & a half…then right when things were finally turning in my favor, I didn’t want to jeopardize this career move!! I need to abort this pregnancy ASAP. Then again, I know what it’s like to have & love a child… & so I’m conflicted.
But it gets worst I thought: what will everyone think and say about me??! In my head, I was consumed with these thoughts & I could just hear what people would say with all their negative input about my kid’s dad:
“He played you then you had his baby…You’re a single parent & you slept with him AGAIN?? Besides, how dumb can you get? This older guy has other kids yet you allowed yourself to get pregnant AGAIN?? You’re irresponsible… Another young statistic. You don’t even have a real job! How can you afford 2 kids? You definitely NEED to take him for child support. Your life is over. No one is going to want you now! You need to go on ahead & marry him…2 incomes are better than 1!”
At that moment, I CARED what people thought of me because I had those SAME conversations & opinions about other people. Now, I need to be slapped!
I was consumed with so much negativity about single moms (because society pushes that agenda), the hidden feelings of can I really do this AGAIN?, and more uncertainty of what the rest of my life will look like with 2 kids. Despite me currently living that lifestyle, it was another level of pity and shamming when you have more than one…(& forbid you have multiple fathers!) I have to admit, I allowed my “perception” to think small. To even buy into opinions of irrelevant people or to buy into this idea that you only achieve what’s expected & available to single parents—hardship, struggle, poverty– THAT is a LIE! You have to have a moment of reflection & rely on past experiences that you’ve conquered (or someone else) to give you the strength and confidence!
Here’s my moment of truth. I had the experience with my 1st pregnancy so I thought I already knew all the judgments & criticisms that will be made. But I reflected on what I accomplished & discredited what people predicted for my life. I was independent, I’ve moved into my own 2 bedroom apartment for 4mos, moved my mom & sister in with me from out of state to avoid homelessness, still making $12/hr, and never using government assistance. I got distracted & almost forgot I am UNSTOPPABLE & my MINDSET was set at ABOVE AVERAGE!
So I got pregnant in Feb but in March, I made 2 appointments on the same day. In my mind, I believe I was scared about the uncertainty of my situation. So I reacted fast. The 1st appointment: get a doc note clearing me to take a test for my potential job (in case they found out). Then there was the 2nd appointment. Up until this day, I believe it was a DIVINE intervention. My sister didn’t want to leave me and with tears, told me not to get an abortion (I never even told her I was getting one!) My heart felt heavy and I was feeling lost in that moment. Why was she upset? But I kept walking to the clinic. Damn. I’m late and I persist on seeing the nurse to fit me in. I finally break down to the nurse but my cries were from pain and the mental strain I was internalizing. At that point, I just knew. I accepted my blessing and decided I’m keeping my baby!
So once I start showing around 4mos, I felt the harsh words, whispers, & disapproval looks towards me. I remember never being told congratulations but instead being shamed for having another baby out of wedlock, being asked is it from the same father, being told no one will ever want you now, I need to marry the father, & even a coworker asked if she could HAVE my baby because I wouldn’t be able to afford it! Then I felt this “obligation” to call my close friends to explain how I became pregnant, how I tried to get an abortion…just blame circumstances that were out of my control! That was my, “Hey, I’m pregnant again” speech…
Then I had another “AH HA” moment:
In the grand scheme of things, remember people ONLY can or want to draw conclusions based on the information YOU’VE given to them, what others said, what they’ve assumed about your personal life, & whatever derogatory info that’s publicly available (about single moms). Understand people CANNOT PREDICT YOUR FUTURE! They will talk whether you’re doing bad or good so it’s best to keep your personal matters to a “need to know basis”. Those who have their lives together, ARE NOT focusing on other people & it’s because they’re loving their life too much to even care! & besides, NO ONE HAS A PERFECT RELATIONSHIP OR LIFE!! I always say, Betina CONSIDER THE SOURCE!! Is this person qualified for you to talk to? Is their advice ill-intent? Are they really concerned & looking out for your best interests? How do you feel about this person & their lifestyle? Hmmm…& then you wonder..
Furthermore, because I chose single parenting for my 1st child, I also realized that I couldn’t have accomplished what I did with the father around. Notice the 2nd time around, I don’t even acknowledge that I’m not with the father. We already had my 1st son & I was a single parent. & no, 2kids for me didn’t equal an automatic “get back together” (like some tried to impose their beliefs). I knew I didn’t want to be with him, even if it was a tactic to “lock me down”. Being a Single parent wasn’t new news to me. I had a clear head, no drama, & my emotions were in check. Why would I double back into that mess??
I’ve finally arrived to the point to put my 2wks notice in at work. I was told that’s my last day. The very people who were so judgmental were in fact disappointed & called me, “sneaky”! Ha! They believed with everything they thought I had against me, I would continue to be limited in what I could accomplish. They obviously didn’t know my blueprint was set at “I am an extraordinary single mom!” & to this day, they STILL REMAIN IRRELEVANT to me, my kids, & our lives! The decision to keep my son just proved to me to NEVER, EVER live in fear! Regardless if there’s uncertainty, or even hardship…always remember that “tough times don’t last, but tough people do”. You just have to OUTLAST the period of discomfort to get to your happiness!! & it’s YOUR EFFORTS that will propel your life forward!
I PASSED THE TEST OF LIFE ONCE AGAIN! I get hired at 6mos pregnant, 7mos my insurance kicks in & I go to my 3rd doc appoint (2nd was at emergency room as my “doc visit with no insurance” but that’s another story! lol). I deliver my son then receive a call from my realtor, congratulating me twice–the 2nd with my offer being accepted on my 1st home at the age of 23yrs!
My experience with my 2nd son taught me to be carefree of opinions because that’s not the truth or even my truth! If I chose to be a volunteer victim, I wouldn’t have experienced my strength & confidence to enable me toward my achievements. I dictate how I’m going to navigate through unexpected circumstances, I choose to never give in or give up, I believe in my possibilities & YOU SHOULD TOO!! People WILL talk whether you like it or not…& that’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. DONT EVER stop your life to address anyone! The time & energy spent cost you to miss out on the action steps to improve your life. Get clear on your priorities! You owe no explanations, no reasons, or comments!! Keep focused, network, believe, have confidence & stay the course..& ultimately you life will have to change for the better! Success & triumph are the results of YOUR EFFORTS! !
& remember, once you understand living your life NOT TO PLEASE OTHERS, that’s when you begin to live & experience peace, joy, & no regrets!!
Please share my story & add comments to let me know if you’ve been impacted in anyway!! Thank you so much!!