Today (January 14) will mark the five-year anniversary of my Momdom – it’s my son’s fifth birthday. I can still feel the weight of his 7lb13oz when the doctor placed him in my arms. I can still see the tears in his father’s eyes – and in my mom’s eyes – as we all marvelled at how one, 22-inch-long person could bring so much joy and so much life so quickly. I always balked at the whole miracle of life thing, but I don’t anymore.
That night, my now-ex-husband and I stayed up late watching our newborn son sleep. We talked about the future, our fears and our dreams, and we expressed over and over again how much we loved one another. In those moments, I felt so secure.
Two short (and yet very, very long) years later, we were married and separated. The sense of security that warmed me from the inside out the night my son was born was gone. And it took a long time to come back.
When I first discovered I was pregnant, I was as afraid as I was excited. I was 21. I hadn’t finished my degree. I was working two part-time jobs. I’d always dreamt of a family, and I was going to have one. A couple of months later, my partner and I broke up. I moved home to be with my family – I needed stability and I knew I would need help. And I was devastated. I didn’t want to be a single mom. I didn’t want to do it alone. And alone was exactly how I felt.
After my second trimester, my son’s father and I had worked out our problems and his family had accepted that I was keeping the baby, after sending emails assuring me I couldn’t raise a child. But it was water under the bridge for me – I was ready to have the family I always wanted. When it fell apart two years later, I didn’t know how to cope. I was alone. I was a single mom.
I was so sure I couldn’t be a single mom and be successful. I was sure no one would see past the fact that I was 24 and getting a divorce. I was sure I’d be alone forever because no man would want to be with me, a single mother. And then, I learned that I was wrong. I usually don’t take well to being wrong, but I have never been happier about anything in my life.
I went back to school as a single mom, and earned an advanced diploma in Public Relations, which has led me to a career I didn’t dare dream of before. As a single mom, I make more than twice as much as I did before having a child. As a single mom, I’ve been asked out more in the last six months than I had in two years before I met my ex-husband. As a single mom, I have ten times the confidence, strength, perseverance and passion I would have had without my son.
I learned that single motherhood is exactly as lonely as I expected it to be… when I let it become that way. I learned that being a single mom was the best thing that ever happened to me, not the worst. And I learned that maybe – just maybe – I’m not really meant to co-parent. At least not at this stage in the game.