An individuals past shapes the person they become, I’d like to believe, that like most people who have overcome adversity, simply being happy in the knowledge that I am a stronger person is all that matters.
My story starts at the rather tender age of 17. Alas, this is the blog of a ‘teen mom’ a gratuitous stereotype built around an invisible, uneducated ‘Vicki Pollard’ character whose inability to use contraception, and desire for state benefits inevitably leads to unplanned pregnancy(s) and a ‘reputation’. This stereotype is something that, despite parties like UKIP would have you believe, is not actually something I or any other younger mum have ever identified with.
I was at college when I fell pregnant, I had just applied to study astrophysics at university, I had a very decent sat of AS levels under my belt and a new boyfriend. We barely new each other, infact the day we ‘officially’ became a couple was the day my pregnancy began (2 weeks before conception). J was a fellow student, a couple of months older, we’d met through a mutual friend and everything had been going well. It was only when, daydreaming, I realised I hadn’t had a period in a while, a long while, too long. I decided to wait a few more days before telling J and when I told him we agreed to wait a few more days. I felt like I was about to come on any second, cramps, tiredness, sore boobs. It would be ridiculous to take a pregnancy test. It simply wasn’t something that would ever happen to me. I naively thought that our preventative efforts had been enough. I had no reason to doubt them.
So, about 3 weeks after my period was due I took a test and to my absolute horror there were two very strong lines. Pregnant. It was hard to even comprehend the reality of my situation. So I didn’t. J on the other hand fell apart, the person I needed him to be and the guy I thought he was melted into a pool of self doubt, pity and denial. I was 10 weeks pregnant when he severed all ties, he still attended college but blocked me on social media, changed his number and refused to speak to me. Him and his parents had decided that as I had decided to not have an abortion and J did not want to be a father I was effectively forcing him into fatherhood against his wishes. So they supported his decision to lie and deny any association with me and my pregnancy. They moved house and to this day all I know is the names of him and his family and where he went to university. That I found out from the college “what happened next booklet”.
My early pregnancy was a very difficult time. I balanced severe morning sickness with my January exams. I was literally sick before the 9 am exam, sit the exam and race out at the end to throw up again. My 12 week scan was directly in the middle of my 7 January exams. It was very difficult to cope with seeing my baby on screen for the first time and revise, and cope with the feelings of hate guilt and loss with regards to J denying our existence. I hated what he’d done. My child was not a mistake, It had done nothing wrong, but J wasn’t prepared to even give the child even the smallest chance. There would be a blank space on the birth certificate and it was his fault. I cried so much in those first few months of pregnancy, but it was a process I needed to go through.
I was grieving, thats as accurately as I can describe the feeling. Grieving for the loss of what my life was going to be. I wasn’t going to go to university the way my friends were. I wasn’t going to have the freedom I had desperately craved. I wasn’t going to be able to live away from home, in the centre of a city and drink cocktails and party. I watched my closest friends have their university offers accepted, go to open days, I too had offers, i’d applied before I found out I was pregnant and I didn’t have the heart to tell UCAS I wouldn’t be going in September, because I don’t think Freshers and a 6 week old baby are really compatible. I struggled with these feelings, every time I looked at my scan picture I would cry, this baby meant so much, but I was giving up a lot and it hurt.
What happened after my 20 week scan, some time in mid March, was a huge turning point for me. I understand if you’re skeptical but I had a very deep almost spiritual moment. After the scan, after seeing my son for the second time, I came home, once again overwhelmed by the great U-Turn my life had taken… I came home, curled up in bed, and sobbed and sobbed until I physically couldn’t cry any more and at that moment I felt him move for the first time and I just felt overcome with a strong wave of emotion. It was just a feeling of love and calm, it just said ‘everything’s going to be fine’. I can’t quite explain it but that was the moment I stopped grieving, I stopped feeling like I was losing out on something because I knew that what I was gaining, a son, was far bigger, and he would be a far greater source of joy than I had ever previously imagined