My name is Bibiana. I’m 32 years old going on 33. I have an eight year old son from my previous marriage and a daughter, who turns one this year, from a relationship I’ve recently ended.
My early years
When I was five years old, my mother left and only returned when I was 18. Even though she did come back, she had already missed the prime years of my growing up. I didn’t have a good relationship with my father. And because I didn’t experience the intimacy and love from my parents, I went from one relationship to another, desperately seeking a place of comfort. I had my first abortion at the age of 15.
Pregnancies throughout the years
When I was pregnant with my first child, I went to crisis pregnancy centres for counseling. They were pro-life centres and mostly, tried to talk me through keeping my child. But during those sessions, my mind was already made up. I was already planning to abort the baby. I merely needed someone to talk to.
Of course, I was 15 at the time. My mindset has definitely changed now that I’m older.
My second pregnancy came when I was married. It came as a shock to me as the relationship with my husband was rocky and I was looking to make a clean cut from him. I struggled for three weeks, running through all the decisions I had to make in my mind. I knew that this time round, abortion was definitely not on the table. Reading Jennifer Heng’s book (Walking Out of Secret Shame) really inspired me to keep going, to see my baby through. A pastor I spoke to also advised me to have the baby and put it up for adoption. But still, I went ahead to book an appointment for an abortion.
However, I couldn’t go through with it. The appointment was postponed multiple times until one day, while I was in church, I heard a song that seemed to speak right to my heart. At that moment, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Letting the family in
It was difficult breaking the news to my family. I tried to hide the news for as long as I could. I skipped family outings so I didn’t have to deal with probing questions and my relatives only found came to know of my second pregnancy two months before the delivery. I avoided seeking their help and instead, turned to Christianity and my pastors for support. Of course, I couldn’t hide it forever. My grandma found out during Chinese New Year.
Deep down, I feared their judgment. In the eyes of my relatives, I am the wild child. They expected these things to happen to me. Safe to say, they were not surprised when they found out about my pregnancies.
Fortunately, my aunties turned out to be very supportive of me.
As an unwed mother, there were so many things that I didn’t know. Current information out there is not enough and it can also sometimes be confusing. I never knew the actual terms of maternity leave until my employer called the CPF board. And only recently have I come to the knowledge that I need to adopt my child for her to be legitimised.
Also, even though I understand the government’s intentions in their discriminatory policies (towards unwed mothers), I can’t help but feel unjustly treated. A mother is a mother. I really dislike the label ‘unwed mother’. What the government is doing does not encourage mothers in this predicament to keep the baby. What message are they trying to send?
I’m constantly worried that my daughter will yearn for a father figure in her life and the lack of which will cause her to be lacking in some ways. I am trying to love her as best I can, to explain the situation to her, to provide her a greater sense of assurance and sense of belonging in this family etc. However, I do recognise that there are some things that a father provides that I simply will not be able to give my children.
Words of love
To all single pregnant women and unwed mothers out there, you are stronger than you think you are. Getting control of your mind is most important. Everything follows from there.