Single, pregnant, and Wonder Woman

Reads: 399  | Likes: 30  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 3

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Excerpt from published print 2018

Submitted: April 30, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 30, 2017

A A A

A A A


Single, pregnant, and Wonder Woman.

 

I grew up like a normal little girl, my goal in life was to be a beautiful princess and to find a sweet prince to take care of me. Sounds like a pretty good life plan right?  As probably a typically woman, I began hoping for a child near the end of my twenties. I had a few relationships in my life. I never found anyone I liked well enough, or the ones I did like didn't like me. I began to get comfortable with the idea maybe I wouldn't have children at all. As I entered my thirties, settling into my career, I became a gym rat, obsessed with fitness and weight lifting. I started to love being strong and with that came a desire to be independent. For the first time in my life I felt capable of taking care of myself on my own. I knew I didn't need a husband or even a child to be happy. When I met my sweet ex-boyfriend I was already too far gone as a single professional woman who didn't need anyone. But I wanted him. That much was true. I wanted him so badly. Soon I couldn't imagine my life without him. He wanted a simple family life with a nice wife and kids. “I could do that!” I thought, and I fantasized about the cute little life I would have. Well long story very short, it didn't work out like that. It was a terrible long drawn out break up, him changing his mind a million times, but finally, right at the end, smack in the middle of the chaos I conceived our child.

The last week of our dwindling relationship had left me exhausted and overwhelmed with disappointment. He had met someone else, and had been pursuing her while still continuing with me. He said he just wanted "simple and unchallenging," and even though he loved me he thought it might be easier with someone else instead. Those cowardly final words to me should have broken my heart but oddly enough I had other things on my mind. Research proves you can’t “feel pregnant” early on, but I know I did. I will swear to the day I die I had this instinct that something was growing inside me almost immediately.

Logically, I continued to tell myself that I wouldn't be able to tell before a missed period, as I would have just barely conceived. Finally after too much over thinking, I decided I might as well just take a pregnancy test, “just in case so I can stop thinking about it." I told myself. I went to the dollar store as I was not about to spend 20 dollars at the drug store knowing full well it would be negative anyway. I bought 3 tests and stared at them while I cooked myself dinner that night. They say don't test until the morning after you missed your period by at least a day. It was 9 pm. My period wasn't even due yet. These tests were made of cheap plastic with a $1.50 sticker right on the side. “This is so stupid,” I thought as I headed to the bathroom. Moments later, there were two lines staring back at me. I laughed. “Just a false positive,” I thought, “Stupid dollar store test.” I took another. Two lines. I put my hand over my mouth giggling with laughter. “This can't be, can it?” I thought. I took the last one. Two damn lines! I jumped in my car, slammed back a cup of water as I was completely peed out and drove to the drug store. I bought the most expensive pregnancy test they had. Yep, still two lines. There was no way around this. This was happening. I might have just still been in shock but that night I fell asleep with my cheeks sore from smiling.

I went to a walk-in clinic the next morning. “I'm here to confirm a pregnancy,” I stated like a lost teenager. The doctor asked, “Why do you think you are pregnant?” I explained I took 4 pregnancy tests and that they all said I was pregnant. He looked at me, amused, and said, “Well I think it's confirmed then.” He humoured me and had me pee in a cup and sent me on my way with a small piece of paper with the word 'positive' circled in pencil. Hardly a solid confirmation for an ex who was sure to require more than that. But regardless, I was bursting with emotion so I promptly sent the dreaded message informing of the confirmed pregnancy. The message I finally received back was unpleasant to say the least. He told me to “go find the real daddy” yet in the same sentence also suggested I was lying about the pregnancy entirely. I had spent the last year of my life with this person and I had never heard him speak to me like this before. Instantly my happiness and hopes for a little family with him faded but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. "It is understandable," I told myself, "This is pretty bad timing after all, he will start to calm down." 

Over the next 24 hours of many e-mails, texts and phone calls, I heard an array of statements like “stop thinking about yourself you know it's the best thing not to have it” and “use your head you are in no position to raise a child” all of which was interwoven with claims that I was "probably not even pregnant" and immediately contradicted with “it's not mine” in the same breathe. I thought I could convince him that even if he didn't want to be with me anymore, we still cared about each other and could work together for the child's sake, couldn't we? In the end he just didn't see it that way. In his horse voice from screaming and crying for days about the demise of his life caused solely by me, he yelled into the phone, “I lied ok! There, are you happy? I don't want a kid with you. I don't love you. I don't even like you!" I swallowed my pride (and my tears) and simply told him straight up without any hesitation or weakness that I was having it, with or without him, that I was more than capable of raising a child on my own, I certainly didn't need or want him around anyway, and I was sick of the undeserved verbal abuse. "Walk away then Matthew," I told him coldly, "I'll do this alone."

"I don't want to talk to him any more," I thought. "I can do this on my own," I thought. But the truth is I did want to talk to him, even if he hated me. After all I needed him, didn't I? I desperately tried to continue to communicate with him in the days after. But he wouldn't have it, he was completely done. Done with me and done with the baby and he went back to his life like I had never even existed. He declined all my calls from then on and I never heard from him again. There was nothing I could do about it and suddenly I really was completely alone. I was still in shock that I was even pregnant and now I was also hurt and embarrassed of how I had let him treat me. "I can do this on my own," I told myself again, "I am happy about this," I told myself.

I went to a prenatal doctor the following week. Excited. Bursting with happiness, but only to hear the doctor say, “Oh you are barely pregnant!” and carefully tell me to “just wait and see.” He told me that I had found out about my pregnancy early and that a high number of pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first trimester. My doctor said typically first check-ups aren't until 12 weeks in. "That is a million years from now!" I thought, "How could I ever get to 12 weeks?" The doctor was comforting to me though, exactly what I needed. I sheepishly told him the father of the child didn't want anything to do with us, expecting judgement and further questions but he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “That's fine, he can smarten up or you get a cool kid out of it.” He was right, I thought.

After leaving the clinic that first day, I began the 'journey to 12 weeks' and time passed so slowly. I felt really alone as only a few people in my life even knew. I just needed to isolate to get through this, I thought, and I went into hiding, spending only time with the supportive friends who knew and focusing on work. I won't sugar coat it, the early weeks were awful for me. But it wasn’t because I was sick. I didn't have pregnancy symptoms. Not at all. Which sounds great but going without symptoms made me fear something was wrong every single day. "Shouldn't I feel more pregnant?" I would ask myself, "Maybe it's not even in there."

To make matters worse, I was one of those people who bled during pregnancy. For anyone who doesn't know, bleeding in your first trimester can be normal, it can also mean a miscarriage is pending. For that reason doctors like to label all pregnancy bleeding as 'threatening miscarriage' which makes me irate just thinking about it because bleeding happens during miscarriage but also happens for other perfectly normal reasons too. So lumping it together makes no sense and it causes fear for no reason. I describe it as true terror. The bleeding started at 6 weeks and lasted into my 11th week. I spent hours in the ER, running to emergency doctor appointments, freaking out over ever little thing and making middle of the night calls to the hospital. I was a mess. I would Google miscarriage risk every hour. I would calculate it based on days instead of weeks. I was judging the amount of blood and having panic attacks every time is saw red. My life was completely in fear. I wondered how on earth would I get through this without the other half of my tiny baby to go through it with me. "How did I make such a mess of this," I thought. Did I even make the right decision? Maybe my ex had been right all along, and I couldn't do this on my own. Who did I think I was anyway, Wonder Woman?

So as I struggled through my first trimester with guilt and worry, I began to stress eat. Chicken began to taste like dog food to me, I had no desire for lean meats and vegetables so I used that as an excuse to eat bread and cake. I cried a lot, not from hormones but from heartbreak and fear. I felt like I had this dirty little secret. I felt like I was the only one in the world who wanted this little baby to live. I felt sorry for myself sometimes and moped around my empty house like it wasn't fair. I had more than my share of weak pathetic un-super hero like moments but I kept telling myself, “You chose this, you can't cry about this. You don't deserve to be sad because you wanted this. This is on you Laura. Get your shit together.” And so I did. I focused on Wonder Woman-ing the shit out of my life. And every night as I bled and bled alone, I repeated to myself, “Stay in me baby please stay in me baby, I’ve got you I promise,” which is as close to praying as I’ll probably ever come. One thing was true, despite the loneliness, I wanted this baby more than I have ever wanted anything, including my ex.

Even with the panic and the irrational fear, I tried to find ways to make my life better. My mental health had been so poor through my first trimester I began seeing a counsellor. For an hour a week, I cried my eyes out, missed my ex terribly, and shared all my ridiculous fears about my little baby with a stranger. And then when it was over I would reapply my mascara and go back to Wonder Woman-ing. Work wise, I planned out my maternity leave and I put my name on a day care waiting list for the facility right across the street from my office with the intention to go back to work once my child is just three months old. I imagined being a career woman with a baby. Truth be told I loved that identity, it suited me just fine actually. I started saving money, I bought a million diapers, and I turned my home office into a baby room. I did everything I needed to do as an expectant mother, and I did it all on my own. “You can't choose the cards you are dealt. But you can play the hell out of the ones you are holding,” I told myself. And that's what I intended to do. 

Somehow I made it to 12 weeks, finally in the safe zone I was told. The bleeding had stopped. I told my parents. I told my friends. I told everyone. I proudly posted on social media I was doing this by myself. I was finally able to be happy publicly. Just for a second. Just finally breathe and look back on the last few months and feel proud of myself for what I did on my own. I was proud though. I got through it. I didn't waver. And I didn't need the father like I had assumed. I felt like if I could get through that I could get through the rest of my pregnancy no problem.

At that point I realized I had put on over ten pounds through my first trimester, I lost any muscle mass I had, I looked puffy and flabby, not pregnant and glowing at all! My belly looked like I was carrying a 'food baby' instead of a real baby. During my 12 week check-up, through an ultrasound, my doctor viewed the baby as tucked away far into my abdomen. No way I would start to show any time soon. He basically confirmed my little tummy was in fact just fat. I've always tried really hard to keep my body healthy and, to be honest, I’ve just always wanted to look good and be attractive. I'm a tall girl, I'm a large girl. Not fat but big and strong, like a warrior princess I would tell myself. And I have always feared I would turn into a giant potato when I was pregnant and there would be no way around that. You know those cute little thin girls with the cute little round bellies? There was no way that could be me. I wasn't built for it. But the good thing about being single and pregnant is that no one is there to enable you. No one was around to bring me ice cream at night. No one was around to feed me the complete bullshit line of, “It's ok you are eating for two.” No one was around to tell me I look beautiful as a potato. So I had to rely on my own internal voice. And let me tell you, that one wasn't so nice. I would stand naked in my mirror judging my flabby belly and sagging bum, “Good thing you like being single so much Laura, cause you will be single forever,” I’d say as I grabbed handfuls of fat. The truth is my belly scared me. Why was it so flabby so quickly? And how do I stop this? 

Spring was beginning and I started running outside with my dog. I started going back to the gym and lifting weights again. I had all this energy and I wasn't so tired. I came up with a pregnancy diet and stuck to it pretty well. I spent all of my time alone and I focused on what I wanted. I started feeling a little better. At my 16 week appointment, I had lost 7 pounds and by half way through my pregnancy, at my 20 week appointment I was somehow down 5 more. I was scared my doctor would give me shit. Aren't you supposed to gain weight consistently throughout your pregnancy? "He will think I'm an anorexic and think I'm an unfit mother," I frantically thought as I saw the scale. He didn't though. He simply asked me about my diet. I blurted out, “Muscle! I keep losing muscle that's why. I had a lot of muscle you know. You remember right?” He smiled and told me I was perfectly healthy and that people gain and lose differently. He said once I reached the third trimester I should be gaining weight consistently but for now my low carb active lifestyle was perfectly fine. That night I looked in the mirror at my naked body (with still not much of a baby bump) and noticed I was definitely a bit leaner and I did look healthy. So I told myself, “What kind of super hero are you Laura, you look great.” I slept like a baby that night. 

My second trimester was consistently getting better and better because I started actually doing all the Wonder Woman stuff I had been yapping about but for real. I took control of my life. I accepted I would be doing this on my own and I started to feel genuinely happy. I fell into this identity of being pregnant and Wonder Woman at the same damn time. I loved it. I loved feeling like I was capable and strong and, truth be told, I even loved that I got to do this on my own. "What a privilege!" I thought. I believe I genuinely became a better person than I was before I was pregnant. 

I wish I could say I continued to have smooth sailing until the end of my pregnancy, but I didn't. It was about 22 weeks in when I was told my body had a problem and my baby was at risk. I will spare you the medical explanation but all of a sudden during a standard check up I was calmly and carefully told there was a concern about the viability of my pregnancy.  I was immediately admitted into the high risk unit with a team of specialists and was told to prepare for a pre-term teeny tiny incubator baby who may not be able to survive. After more testing and confusing information, I was put on medication, my baby was given steroids to help the lungs grow and I was sent home with the instruction of immediate bed rest and to "wait and see." I was heartbroken, deflated, and suddenly there was something wrong with me I couldn't control. And I, of course, was still alone. I was probably sadder than I have ever been in the weeks that followed. This baby needed to be ok and I needed to do everything in my power to make it that way. "How on earth am I meant to stay on bed rest?" I wondered. I live by myself, I still needed to  take care of myself...someone explain to me how bed rest is even possible. Well long story short, it's not. Aside from not mowing my lawn all summer, I carefully went about my daily life. Of course, there was no more gym, no more walking to work, no more running with my dog, no more of anything that made me me. This will make me sound incredibly selfish but I was heartbroken for that loss as well. For the next few weeks, I was in and out of the hospital, had appointments with specialists, follow ups, and fetal assessments every few days. I remember one appointment, I was staring at the ceiling tiles in the hospital, like usual, as I underwent what felt like the millionth test, I overheard the specialist state to his colleague, in an annoyed tone, "Don't we have the paternal medical information on this?" My heart fell, I felt like such a loser. I wanted to sit up and yell, "I know I don't have a father for this baby, I know ok. I'm doing the best I can by myself!" But I didn't say anything. I just laid there like a slug, counting ceiling tiles and waiting until it was over.

The weeks continued to pass with no premature labor signs and my baby began to get safer and safer. I felt good. I felt strong. I felt like my body was going to come though and be just fine. At 32 weeks I was taken off bed rest and was told the pending tragedy had been averted. My doctor was surprised and happy about how well things had gone. I asked him why I had been so lucky and he told me an array of different reasons but, although he never actually said it straight out, I knew it was because I am a super hero and so is my baby.

My third trimester started to became happy again. I was strong and confident. I was back at the gym, gaining weight like crazy, but I didn't care. I loved my big belly and I felt grateful for everything I had already overcome. I couldn't believe I actually made it into the final weeks of my pregnancy. And now, looking forward to my due date and excited to meet the little person I have been growing all this time, I am not naive the fact I have much more to combat as I travel through the end of this pregnancy by myself and into motherhood, but I have gained so much strength from doing this on my own. I know that it wasn't my fault the other half of this baby turned his back on us and, even though I was strong enough to do this alone, I shouldn't have had toI recognize that this was not what I planned and I still morn the loss of my little family I once fantasized about having but I am able to see the great in this too. The truth is, I am lonely, broken, scared, strong, happy and resilient at the same time, and all of that is ok. No matter how scared I am entering the delivery room by myself, leaving the hospital with this little baby by myself, or spending my life raising this sweet child by myself, I know that I will get through it. Because I have to, because I want to, and because I am the person I am. Through this, I've learned that you don't have to be perfect, or keep it all together all the time.  It's ok to be a mess and to break. That doesn't make you any less of a bad bitch or in my case a perfectly fit super hero mother. You just have to keep getting up no matter how many times you are knocked down. I know this child is and will always be the best thing that ever happened to me and I know I have an example to set of strength.  I will raise this little human to be independent, educated, accepting, kind, and so strong. I genuinely believe I am more than able to provide everything all by myself, except of course for a man to call "dad." But somehow, I don't think it will matter. After all, this kid will be pretty lucky regardless, having Wonder Woman for a mom and all.

 

Laura Stone

IG:@misslaurastone


© Copyright 2017 Laura Stone. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments