A while ago, I said I was going to write about what it is like to be single and pregnant. It’s hardly a revolutionary event. You meet people. You have sex. You get pregnant (sometimes). It happens. It happens a lot more than you would think. I haven’t been able to write about being single and pregnant. Not for lack of trying. There’s just one ‘problem’.
I haven’t felt like I have been ‘alone in this’. Ever.
I remember telling people there was going to be a new addition to the family. Everyone jumped to my sister and her boyfriend. Understandable. They’ve been dating for years, live together, share the household bills, and look after a dog and a few ducks. They have a life together, so it only makes sense for people to jump to them as the ones having a baby. The look I get when I say ‘No, it’s me’ has been absolutely hilarious.
I can see them struggling to remember if they’ve ever met a boy that I’ve been seeing. (Spoiler alert: Nope. Never have I ever introduced someone to my parents or friends or acquaintances.) It’s like they can’t mesh the idea of a person having sex if they aren’t in an ‘official relationship’. My parents aren’t stupid. Neither is my grandmother, apparently. She was talking to someone and they asked how long I had been married. She ignored the question and just said that I ‘went at it like a rabbit’. Thanks Nana, for making me feel like the biggest horn dog on the planet.
(And thank you for being so cool about it all.)
Being single doesn’t mean being alone.
Sure, it gets awkward when people ask me about my partner. Sure, ticking the ‘single’ box on the medical forms is a slight slap every time. But it doesn’t mean that I’m actually alone in this. I never have been…and I never will be.
My mother, step father and sister have been amazing. They told me to come home and they can help me as much (or as little) as I want. I did end up moving back to the Coromandel, and it has been the best thing for me. I miss Auckland, but I know that I need to be here right now. I mean, Coromandel isn’t the worst place to be either. They have rushed me into Whitianga to be monitored and checked. They have made gaga eyes over all the ultrasound photos. They have indulged every craving I have had. My mother has rushed me to Waikato hospital three times and been my chauffeur to every appointment I’ve had in Hamilton.
I think my father is still in shock about it all. I told him when I was newly pregnant and the look on his face was pure shock. I saw him a month ago and the shocked look was back on his face. I get it. I’m the size of a baby whale now, so it can be rather confronting if a person hasn’t seen me in a while. It probably doesn’t help that the little nougat was wriggling around, which made it look like a tiny alien had taken up residence in my abdomen.
I have had ups and downs with friends. I have lost friends, I have gained friends, and most of my friendships have gotten stronger. Their excitement over my son is absolutely infectious. I’m already excited about him and his arrival, but their absolute enthusiasm is beautiful. I remember my best friend practically squealing at me over the phone. It was deafening…and exciting.
I am one lucky girl.
The people who matter don’t care if I’m single.
Of course, this whole thing wouldn’t be possible without a male. I ‘don’t have the right equipment’ after all. Yes, that’s something he said. Part of me is surprised that no one has asked about him. Not properly, at least. That line of questioning dries up as soon as people find out I’m single. On one hand, I’m grateful. It still isn’t the easiest thing for me to talk about or explain. It also isn’t anyone else’s business. On the other hand, I can see the sympathetic stares and I know they’re jumping to their own conclusions. None of which I have the desire to know.
One thing I have learned is that a person’s perception is their reality.
They look at me and they see a baby-faced girl. They assume I’m seventeen (eighteen at best), living at home, not working, and still finishing high school. Only one of those statements are true. I live at home, but I’m also 22, working online, and have finished my undergraduate degree.
They see that I’m single. They assume that my ex has up and left, stopped talking to me, and is a drop kick. I have lost count of how many times I have defended my ex. He might not be sleeping in the same bed as me, but he hasn’t just up and left. We still talk. A lot. So please, save the pitying glance and judgemental opinions.
Have there been moments when I wish things were different?
Of course, I’m only human.
But I’m okay.
More than okay.