My name is Cindy. I am an unwed mother with a 6 year old son.
The baby was an accident but it wasn’t totally unexpected. It happened when my boyfriend and I were under the influence of drugs and I wasn’t exactly taken by surprise when I found out. There were mixed feelings, to be honest. On one hand, we had made the agreement that in the event I got pregnant, we would get rid of the baby. However, when it came down to the wire, I wasn’t too sure I wanted to go through with the abortion anymore.
My father was the one who had wanted me to. Both my boyfriend and I discussed marriage but realistically, neither of us were prepared for it. We weren’t even employed at that point in time. So, abortion seemed like the only logical thing to do. But as I stood at the entrance of the clinic, the memory of my previous abortion came flooding back – the pain, the regret, the fear. I knew I couldn’t go through that again. And so I broke down and cried, and refused to enter the clinic. My mum called dad, gave him a good scolding about pressuring me into this, then took me home after that.
What happened before
I had an abortion when I was 16. My childhood was problematic, to say the least. I mixed around with the wrong crowd, I got involved with drugs – life was messy. With my boyfriend and I jobless at the time, abortion was probably the only sensible decision to make.
Yet, even though it was the best option given our circumstances, the repercussions threw my life into a frenzy. At first, I didn’t feel anything. Life went on. Then, as the months went by, the guilt and the emotional torment started to set in. The guilt of taking an innocent life was one thing, the torture of wondering what he or she would’ve been like, where he or she would be now had I carried on with the pregnancy, was another. Every child I saw made me think of my own, every family I encountered was a reminder of the family I had lost. It still haunts me today. Thus, when I was pregnant once again, I knew that abortion was not an option.
The father of the child is not someone I could raise a family with. By the 6th month of my pregnancy, he remained unwilling to find a job and it was starting to become apparent that he was going to be more of a burden than a help in raising this child. I wasn’t going to wait around for us to start arguing about monetary issues. Cutting him out of our lives wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
Besides, if I hadn’t done that, I probably wouldn’t have met my current husband, a man who loves both me and my son the way a father loves his family. I count myself lucky to have found a partner who is willing to make sacrifices for us. Best of all, my child looks to him as a father figure as well.
Facing the harsh reality
I can stop the drug use, I can clean up my act but the tattoos on my legs still earn me stares from strangers. When they see my dyed hair, my tattooed legs and a young boy in my arms, the disdain on their faces is very clear.
But the judgment is not the worst part. Raising the child alone was so much harder than I thought it would be.
I was naïve and complacent, thinking that a baby wouldn’t be that difficult to take care of. After all, all a baby does is eat and sleep, right? I couldn’t be more wrong. My son cried all the time. He was fussy and because I was insecure in how I handled him, he, too, must have sensed my fear and in turn, felt afraid. I felt so helpless and frustrated at myself. It came to a point where I almost threw him against the wall to stop the crying. Thankfully, I was able to move to the next room to compose myself. I never wanted to put my baby or myself in such a vulnerable position ever again and that’s when I decided to do my research to equip myself with some handles on how to take care of my child.
Letting him know
My little boy is too smart for his age. He asks questions that beget answers I don’t think are appropriate for him to hear. Still, it is my belief that I must always be honest with him. I don’t hide the truth from him but I ensure that the information is appropriate for his age – in other words, I give him the simplified truth.
He started asking tough questions one day when he was playing with his toy phone. He dialed the numbers with his small fingers, put the phone to his ear and asked to speak to his ‘daddy’. That’s when I realised he probably was confused about what a daddy was and why the other kids had one whilst he didn’t. That night, I sat him down and told him as much of the truth as I thought he’d understand. I told it like I was telling a story i.e. animatedly and light-heartedly, because I didn’t want to make it seem like a big deal. And it isn’t. The truth is that his father and I don’t get along and that’s why he isn’t around. That’s all my son needs to know for now.
An unexpected blessing
For most mothers, childcare can be worrisome. But this problem is made exponentially worse as an unwed mother. The fees become significantly more unaffordable and there’s often the struggle between going out to work and finding adequate care for the child.
But by an unexpected stroke of fortune, I was spared the anxiety of having to deal with childcare. My mum was able to connect me with the principal of a childcare centre and after hearing my story, the principal decided to lower the childcare fees drastically just so I could keep him inside.
I did nothing to deserve such kindness but I always believe that hard work and honest living will pay off in one way or another. I don’t complain about my situation. I don’t make excuses for myself. I do my best in every situation I’m put in and I’ve found that people really respect that.
So, in any situation you’re in, always remember that you have the power to either make the best of it, or complain about the hand you’ve been dealt.