I have been pondering on this post for ages trying to figure how the hell to articulate my feelings appropriately. Then I decide to hell with appropriateness, how about I just say how I feel.
You see my problem is that I have felt a lot of shame about being a single parent. Dumb I know. What is even dumber is that I don’t judge anyone else if they are a single parent so why am I so harsh with myself? I think it is because pregnancy is a time in your life where you start to review your values and figure exactly who you are and what sort of parent you will be. For me, it made me realise that I had held this little dream in my heart of one day meeting the man of my dreams and having a family with him. So when my time came to be at the growing a baby part and I didn’t have the dream family unit I kinda freaked out. I tried very hard to make my relationship with the baby daddy more than it was but it was a fabrication of epic proportions driven by my desire to not be outside the box on this one. It was a hard sell too as pretty much everyone knew this guy was relatively new in my life. One moment I am talking about blind dating and the next minute it’s all hey you know about me and Bob right, well we are having this baby. Happy days. We are SO happy Yes it is just fabulous.
Do you have any idea how damaging it is to live that lie? It’s pretty hard. To top it all off “Bob” (clearly not his real name) lived quite some distance from me so I was doing the day to day stuff on my own. He did phone every day and we did visit and he did come to scans etc but any connection between us beyond this child was purely a fabrication of my own making.
Anyway bless his heart Bob did kind of try in that he moved down to live with me for a bit at the end of the pregnancy and early weeks after the birth so he could help out but he was never really there if you know what I mean. Emotionally. He never participated emotionally in our relationship. Right at that point, weeks before giving birth, I discovered that he’d had sex with someone else whilst on an overseas holiday during my pregnancy (information found by snooping in his phone and email which was of course wrong but I still don’t regret it) and I was just drifting further and further into meltdown. I simply couldn’t believe that here I was having a baby with the only guy on earth that wasn’t prepared to “do the right thing” by his woman and just TRY. So what did I do? I just pretended he was more in it than he was. I pretended to my friends, my family, to strangers and eventually my mothers group. I couldn’t stand that I, a previously successful, independent, professional modern woman that quite honestly kicked butt in all other areas of life, had failed so miserably in this area of life. And I felt ashamed. Ashamed of my situation, ashamed of the lying and then ashamed of my shame.
Eventually things deteriorated to such a point that we couldn’t even pretend anymore. I was on my own and I had to deal with it. I HATED walking into Centrelink to register for single parent benefits. BENEFITS? I hadn’t been on benefits since I got AUS study in high school. Less than 1 year ago I had been working in a professional role earning pretty good moula and yet here I was getting benefits. They sent me a pension card that I am still too embarrassed to use most of the time which is completely retarded right? But there you have it. That is where I’m at. Or WAS at. Now I feel we are moving forward The shame is lifting. In the end we moved to be closer to my son’s father and I started meeting new people and telling the real story. Yes we live here and it is just the two of us. I’m not with my baby’s dad. And guess what? No one seems to care.