So I really don’t want to sound like a scrambled beg on toast writing this post or make out I’m so hard done by, because I’m not. Being a parent is hard for everyone and I know a lot of the time, men are like having an extra child anyway, expecting food on the table and their washing done etc. There has been definite benefits of doing it by myself. I’ve had no one to disagree with name choice, plenty of room in the bed for Isabella, no interfering in-laws and we can spend Christmas Day with my family every year.
I don’t think it’s the day to day stuff I find hard as most partners go back to work soon after the birth and it’s mainly down to the mums. I actually enjoy doing everything and I haven’t minded having to cuddle her all the time as she’s growing up so quickly and I want to cherish every moment. I guess the bits I find hardest are the milestones like her first smile, first rollover, taking her swimming for the first time etc. I want someone else to get as excited as I do and love her the way I do. Everyone loves her when she’s all smiles but at 4 am when she turns into the devil and I have nothing left to give, it’s just having someone there.
I knew it would be hard but I kind of thought if babies are tired they’ll go to sleep eventually, right? Or that once Isabella’s dad saw a picture of her, he’d fall in love with her because how could he not? I guess things don’t work that simply. Even though I sometimes fantasise about having a proper family and going on holidays and zoo trips, I know it wouldn’t be like that if he was involved. I just have to hope that one day, someone falls in love with both of us but I accept that may never happen as it’s a lot to take on.
People have of course judged me for getting pregnant at 21 outside of a serious relationship but I haven’t really cared. I’m glad to have provided free entertainment for a few days until it got boring. It did hurt how barely anyone congratulated me on my pregnancy the way they would for other people, like it was a negative, awkward thing. I think it’s naive if people think sex doesn’t go on outside of relationships and it couldn’t have happened to them or their daughters. However, I really don’t believe it would’ve made a difference to the father’s response if we were. People feel uncomfortable asking questions when you’re a single Mum, worrying you’ll break down in tears or not want to talk about it. I’m always open and honest about things as I think it can be unhealthy bottling up your emotions. Loved ones try to make sure you’re busy all the time, getting involved in loads of baby groups but I think sometimes that makes it worse as everyone is talking about their partners.
I don’t regret trying as hard as I did with Isabella’s father as I think I owe her that, but I also believe things have worked out for the best. I get nervous leaving her with family members, let alone with someone I don’t trust at all. Women can be dad as well and it takes a lot more than DNA to be a parent. It isn’t the kind of job with a 0 hour contract you can rock up to the occasional weekend when you fancy it. It’s about the monotonous day to day things that you don’t always feel like doing but do because you love them and they’re your responsibility.
Even though it is hard at times, I want to say to anyone worried they can’t do it by themselves, you 100% can. Some of the best people I know come from single parent families and in this day and age it doesn’t matter if you have no dad or two dads. I’m not saying money doesn’t play a part as you need it to survive but the most important thing children need is love and stability. I think there is a massive stereotype presented in films and TV programmes that children brought up without a dad turn out mental, trying to track them down and resenting their mum. I think there is of course going to be a level of curiosity but it’s wrong the extent at which it’s exaggerated. I believe that ‘daddy issues’ come from never having a male role model or having a negative one. I don’t think people should see these false representations and try forcing a situation that isn’t right. Shows like doctor foster just prove it can be so much more damaging having a bad father than no father at all. Children are resilient little things and will accept all kinds of different situations. I know Isabella is going to grow into the most amazing girl (albeit slightly nuts like me) and her grandad and uncles will be the only men she needs. New lives are so precious and people should only be part of them if they deserve to be.
Even though some people haven’t been very supportive, so many people I didn’t expect anything from have been so incredibly kind and lovely.
Sorry this post was a bit long and preachy but I hope it reaches out to women who find themselves in a similar situation to me. You are much stronger than you think and don’t let anyone else influence your decisions!
Love, Olivia xxx
P.S. This post was aimed at single mums but please don’t think I’m biased as I know there are lots of single dads out there who it’s just as hard for!