Being a single mom: the best unexpected journey of my life.

-Deanna Hance

My journey into motherhood started unexpectedly: I found out I was pregnant when I was 11 weeks along. I wasn’t supposed to be able to be pregnant and my current relationship was tanking quickly, as ‘insert name here' clearly no longer wanted to be with me but refused to break up with me. I had a few signs, but ignored them, because I trusted a nurse practitioner who told me after several failed birth control methods due to chronic migraines that “chances are you won’t be able to get pregnant anyway”. The ‘not able to get pregnant’ method worked for 4 years (thank GOD), and all of a sudden I was fainting at work and throwing up occasionally. Other than that, I had no weight gain (I was 89lbs as I have been my whole life and delivered at 108, walking out of the hospital at 89lbs again) and no other symptoms. My mom finally convinced me to take a pregnancy test and I did at work, convinced it would say negative. My heart sank when I saw the positive, clear as day. I called my mom immediately, and she told me to send a picture of my stomach immediately. I was so thin, she could tell right away, she even drew his shape on my stomach where you could see him sitting, if you knew what to look for. I started to panic, I had to tell my boyfriend, knowing neither one of us wanted a kid, ever. I had already decided on an abortion and he agreed, but the $500 payment was on me of course. I was determined, I went to my first appointment at the clinic, and the nurse asked me if I would like to see the ultrasound. I said sure, indifferently, because my mind was already made up. A kiddo wasn’t going to stop me from living my life to the fullest and achieving all my goals (and at the time, living my life to the fullest involved getting as stoned as possible every single day), and then I saw the ultrasound. There it was. And it wasn’t just a little blob. It had a head, and hands, and feet. It had a shape. I still signed the paperwork to have the abortion two days layer, got dressed, and then went to the bathroom to throw up. I threw up the entire next night, and the morning of the actual abortion, I backed out, which was the best decision I’ve ever made. My kid was a fighter from day one.

Carrying a baby was hard. Birth control kicked my chronic migraines from one every two weeks to three to five a week, hospitalized, because of my low estrogen levels reacting to the incoming estrogen harshly. So pregnancy really did a number on my estrogen. I was an emotional wreck (I cried during quite literally EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of Grey’s Anatomy), faintish, and was working full time on my feet while also finishing my bachelor’s degree. I totaled a car and had to come out of school and work two months early because I tried to deliver from 29 weeks on. But I finally got my baby here safely and perfectly healthy with relatively no pain to myself at 37 weeks.

Adjusting to having a child was the most difficult challenge of all. I dealt with major post-partum depression, given that I never wanted a child in the first place and immediately went back to school and work, and getting up every two hours with a hungry baby was killing me, literally. I tried antidepressants but all I wanted to do was sleep on them, so I stopped. And then I slowly learned to love my son. And I loved him like no other.

His biological father signed his rights away as soon as the baby was born on the promise that he would be able to receive his birth Indian benefits and the father would not be charged child support. And I honestly believe that was the best move for my son. The biological father was a drug dealer not going anywhere positive in life, and I wanted my son away from those influences. My son also has the same routine every day, which has made such a positive impact. He is not being tossed around from one house to the next, and he knows my family and smiles every time he sees us because he knows us. He is never scared or confused and we know every fraction of his life to ensure his safety, health, and happiness. And being able to make and set the rules and schedules and stick to them has been a wonderful thing for everyone. I never thought I could love someone this much, but he ended up making me a better person, and was the best thing to ever happen to my family as a whole, and now I couldn’t imagine life without him in it. Being a mother is the greatest breakup present I’ve ever been given.

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