My name is Jean and I have a 4-year old son. I am currently studying in Laselle College, Majoring in film.
I was only a teenager when I was pregnant with my son. I suspected it earlier on but I didn’t want to believe that it was true. Even though my menstruation had stopped, even though I was constantly nauseous, I refused to think about what these signs might mean. But I couldn’t run from it forever. It wasn’t long till a doctor confirmed my pregnancy. I didn’t want others to know. It was also far too late to even consider the possibility of an abortion. I tried to hide it from my friends but deep down, I knew I was hiding from myself. I wore loose-fitting clothes and carried my jacket in front of me so that others wouldn’t notice the bump. I was in self-denial.
But whether or not I was ready for the baby, the baby was going to come.
Here comes baby
And when he did, I was completely unprepared. I was completely clueless – legal procedures were foreign to me, care-taking was scary, my relationship with my boyfriend at the time was unresolved. There were so many loose ends and the arrival of the baby meant that I had to tie them up immediately.
Fortunately, my mum was there to guide me every step of the way. My mum was a big factor in each of my decisions; she was one I went to for guidance, she was my source of comfort and whenever I wasn’t able to, she looked after my son for me. Without my mother, I don’t think I would’ve been able to handle this on my own. She was the source of all my solutions.
Father of my child
My boyfriend and I stopped talking not too long after I found out I was pregnant. There wasn’t a messy break-up or any animosity, we simply stopped talking and then we drifted.
However, I was clear on certain things regarding my son’s father: I didn’t want my son to have his surname, I would tell my son the truth about his father if he asked, and I would never ask for his father to be involved if he didn’t want to be. Even though some financial help from him would’ve greatly eased the pressure on me and my mum, I never expected him to be involved in any way. I believe that the choice to keep my son was mine and therefore, any or all consequences would be mine to bear – that included both the repercussions as well as the rewards.
What I would have done differently
If I could turn back the clock and do one thing differently, I would make sure that I enjoyed the entire process of my pregnancy. I was so conscious of what people thought and of hiding the truth from people that I missed the chance to document every precious moment. If I had only come to accept the situation early, perhaps I would’ve had a more enjoyable pregnancy.
But better late than never, right?
I slowly came to embrace the fact that I was now an unwed mother and the more I allowed myself to go with the flow, the more comfortable I felt with my situation. I was now more open to my new life – I posted pictures, my friends were involved in my son’s life etc. After 4 years, I truly experienced the joy of being a mother. I used to always think that it’ll pan out a certain way in my head – that once people found out, they’d judge me; that once I truly accepted the reality, everything would fall apart. But it wasn’t like that. Yes, sometimes it can get very difficult. My whole life was turned on its head. But my son makes it all worth it in the end.
A piece of advice
I became an unwed mother when I was 19 and because of that, I had to grow up really quickly. As much as I wanted to run, reality always runs faster. So, my advice to other unwed mothers is: stop running. Turn around and face it.
And although it’s important to accept the fact that you’re a single mother, never give up trying to be a better you.