Single Parent Life — The Beginning

Why you should have a village

I’ll be honest, when I used to see parents with kids and even growing up I was curious why there really needed two parents. You would see kids with one or the other but everyone knew Mom did the raising of the kids and keeping the house together. So really, why was there such a big deal to just having 1 parent (male or female, I’m not one to judge). When I found out I was pregnant and realizing that I was probably going to do this alone…I thought about it. I figured, I have my “village” of people who can help, I’ll see how it goes.

No one told me that food would become my enemy. Seriously. Have you ever tried to cook raw meat and have your body completely reject you and it? I hated the smell of cooking meat but loved to eat it! I needed to continue to eat it but needed to find a way to not cook it…in Barrow, Alaska. Not quite easy but I’m forever grateful for my friends that were there.

Have you ever passed out in the shower? No? Yeah my child decided that if I choose not to eat first, then I could get dizzy in the shower. (FYI she’s still like that now, she is the definition of hangry.) When you live by yourself this can be detrimental to your functioning….trust me. So I had to adjust my food stashes to next to my bed. Therefore I could eat before I got in the shower and make the creature that was taking over my body content.

Then there is the random attacks that come and go whenever you start to think about the future. This may include colors for the nursery or schools (this one comes and goes and is a constant stressor in my world) or the name. I mean honestly when you’re doing this by yourself you have only yourself to discuss name ideas with. Of course that doesn’t stop anyone else from putting their two cents in but ultimately the decision is yours. And if you happen to like one name that no one else in your family likes (for example, the name I choose) you have no one to back you up. This is when it gets scary…this is when you find out that you may never have anyone who will back you up on decisions and it ultimately is dependent on you to make decisions and decide how much trauma you are willing to cause your child.

As really that’s what parenting is — it’s inflicting the right amount of trauma on your child so they can grow up to be healthy, adjusted adults. Too much trauma and your kid leaves as soon as possible — not enough trauma and your kid never leaves. But when you’re doing this by yourself, it’s all you. There is no one else to blame. If your child wets the bed until he or she is 10, it comes down to what did you do wrong? If your child can’t read by 1st grade, what did you do wrong? You have no one else to blame by yourself. This is when shit gets real. You are the sole provider not just of finances but everything. It comes down to what you want to give your child and what you can give him or her.

This becomes the most apparent when they put her in your arms for the first time. After 23 hours and 46 minutes, my daughter was released from captivity by c-section (yes I’m a fan, feel as you will but all childbirth is natural whether vaginal, c-section, drugs or not, if you are able to carry a child for 40 weeks and bring it into this world you have just had a natural childbirth. Argue with me all you want but in any other country in the world they do not differentiate on this matter this is a US issue.) And wow — she looked at me with this large innocent eyes and I got scared. I had never automatically loved something so much in my life. And at the same time I had never been so scared of something in my entire life.

These were such different emotions and both so very strong. Over the next few days I remember looking at her with such love and such fear. She was fully and completely dependent on me. She had no one else. This is when I wondered if I had made the right choice. What if I screwed up? What if she hated me? What if I made mistake after mistake? There are so many what ifs in parenting. There are so many questions and fears and yet no one talks about them. I’m sure if you have a spouse or a partner then he or she knows your fears and concerns but what is you’re like me and by yourself? Who is there to talk you through your fears? Who will hold your hand at night when she’s been up for the last two hours and shows no sign of going to sleep? This is one of those times I really wish I hadn’t chosen to do this by myself. But the choice was made, not by me necessarily, but the choice was made. Now to figure out how this works…