I suppose the title gives it all away, and, I suppose, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll have known the news for months. But yes… I am pregnant. In just a few short months, I will be a mom. And I’m going to be a single mom.
So… whew. Where to begin?!
I suppose we have to go back, way back. Because for most of my life, I always assumed I would be a mother. I’ve always loved kids, and always felt a strong maternal urge. But in my 30s, shortly after moving to London, I started to believe that maybe it wouldn’t happen for me. Maybe I was destined to be single for a long time, possibly forever. Maybe part of that was that I would remain child-free, too.
I can look back at those years and recognize that saying things like, “I don’t think I want children,” was, partly, a defence mechanism. That it was covering up that I was scared it wouldn’t happen for me, because maybe I wouldn’t find a partner, or maybe I wouldn’t have the courage to have a child on my own. And there were a few years in there that I truly believed that I would be happier being child-free and travelling the world on my own. But for most of my life, deep down, I always wanted a baby. I always wanted to know what it felt like to be a mom.
And I’d like to state right now that I think it’s amazing that so many people are making the decision to live child-free, whether or not a partner is involved. I absolutely do not believe that everyone who says, “I don’t want children,” is using it as a defence mechanism as I was; I honestly didn’t want children at that stage in my life. I also absolutely do not judge anyone who makes the choice to be child-free, and hope that nobody ever feels pressure to have a child because of a family member, because of society, because of a partner, because of anything. I believe you have to want a child 1000000% before making this life-changing (and life-creating) decision.
So. Even with that in the back of my mind, I continued to throw myself into travelling constantly, living a fairly nomadic life. Until, of course, I didn’t want that life anymore. For a few years, no, I didn’t want kids. But that changed.
I’ve talked a lot about why I made the decision to move back to Canada, and a huge part of that was that I was very lonely in London and very lonely travelling all the time. But another reason I moved home? I wanted to start a family. I felt an amazing sense of peace as I moved (back) into my little house in Winnipeg, as I adopted my beloved dog Dottie. I fell in love with gardening and cooking and working out and finding simple, daily routines. I fell in love with making new friends, with seeing family on an almost daily basis. I fell in love with my life.
And then I fell in love with a man.
I’m not going to go into details about my relationship with that person here. But we fell in love on the cusp of the pandemic in early 2020, and almost immediately we went into lockdown together. The pandemic exacerbated an already intense relationship, and we were soon living together. Along with that came near-daily talks and plans of buying a house, having children, and spending our lives together, as people in their late 30s in serious relationships are wont to do.
But as I already said: the title of this post gives it all away.
I found out I was pregnant on a warm Tuesday afternoon in late July. I remember clutching the pregnancy test in my shaking hands, tears of shock and joy rolling down my face as I sat on the floor of the bathroom. I was wearing a blue dress. I knew, instantly, that I loved this baby more than anything in the whole world.
But if life has taught me anything, it’s that – for all of our planning and dreaming and preparing and talking and promising – life doesn’t always unfold how we imagine it will. I’ll hold on to those precious hours forever, those beautiful hours where I was the only one who knew about the baby, when I could imagine whatever future I wanted to.
Because by the next evening, everything had changed. Everything I thought I knew had been shattered into a million pieces. Six weeks later, my relationship was officially over.
That’s all I will say about that relationship. Although I currently do not have contact with my former partner, I wish him and his girlfriend the best.
But I won’t lie: it has been hard. It has been SO hard. Last year, when I lost my job and everything I’d worked for for almost two decades, I thought THAT was tough. Being dumped while pregnant? Yeah. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.
And although it wasn’t initially my choice to be on my own, and although I was blindsided with the worst betrayal I’ve ever felt, a beautiful thing has happened over the past few months.
In August, I could barely get out of bed. I actually lost weight in my pregnancy due to the stress of the drawn out break up, as I wasn’t able to eat or sleep. I had work obligations to fulfill, and I watch those Instagram stories now and see the pain on my face as I try to pretend to be happy, pretend that everything is just fine. I was robbed of telling anyone about the pregnancy with any semblance of joy; that will always be one of my biggest regrets, that I had to share my pregnancy with my loved ones through tears of pain, not tears of happiness.
In September, I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t even bother to put makeup on, because I knew I’d just cry it off. My eyes were constantly red, filled with broken blood vessels. The thought of being a single mom of a newborn, of going through the entire pregnancy on my own, was devastating. Nightmares plagued my sleep.
In October, somewhere in the never-ending tears and the sleepless nights, I smiled. I was in Niagara-on-the-Lake with my mum, an impromptu babymoon-slash-get-me-out-of-Winnipeg holiday to Ontario, and we shared a laugh over dinner.
In mid-November, I realized I was dancing around the house again. Singing. I realized I wasn’t crying as much, and that my appetite was back (and then some… baby likes sugar). I sometimes slept eight full hours with no nightmares. I started working out again. I started writing again. I even started wearing mascara again.
In December, I started laughing. Full, head-thrown-back, belly laughs, laughing with family and friends and even on my own when I’d read something funny or watch a great show. I started feeling like myself. I started feeling like the best version of myself, actually, someone who is stronger and more capable and more determined and more ambitious and more resilient than I could have ever imagined. In fact, there’s no way I could have written this blog post until now; I was robbed of any joy for the first four months of my pregnancy.
But now? Enter: phoenix rising from the ashes, butterfly emerging from the cocoon, “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, all those cliches that mean nothing to you until you live them, until you can look back and see how far you’ve come.
That brings us to today, five months after I found out I was pregnant. Today, as I write this, my baby is kicking like crazy, having a full on dance party of his own in my belly. And somewhere, amongst all those kicks over the past six weeks of actually healing, I started dreaming.
Dreaming of a future with my adorable baby, of all the things we’ll do together, of all the songs we’ll sing on the piano, of all the impromptu dance parties in the kitchen, of all the movies we’ll watch and the crafts we’ll make and the cuddles we’ll share.
Of being able to show him the world, showing him oceans and mountains and cities with skyscrapers that we have to crane our necks to see the tops of.
Yes, his, him. Because I’m having a little boy. My eyes fill with tears as I write this, as he kicks and dances; my beautiful baby boy, my boy who has been with me through it all. Though the tears, through the uncertainty, through the singing and the laughter and the moments I just don’t know how I’m going to do it, he’s been with me.
He’s been with me forever, actually, a microscopic dot inside me as I swam in foreign seas and tried new foods and danced in jungles under full moons. He waited until I was ready, truly ready, to meet him. I understand now why I spent all those years travelling on my own, all those years living life on my own. It was preparing me for this, preparing me to become a strong, independent, capable single mom, a mom who knows that she’ll be just fine.
On that warm July afternoon, staring at the first pregnancy test, and then the second, and then the third, I knew it in my bones: I was going to have a little boy. That no matter what, we were going to love each other, that we were going to have the happiest life together.
And oh man, has this little boy been my buddy. Because – please don’t hate me – I am one of those rare pregnant people who has had almost no physical symptoms. I think he’s known from day one that I had enough on my plate, that I didn’t need morning sickness on top of everything I was going through. I can look back and see that anything I was feeling in my first trimester was related to the after-effects of the break up, but I haven’t once thrown up, haven’t had any heartburn, haven’t had nearly any lasting pregnancy symptoms other than some minor vertigo/dizziness and a sore back (but my back is ALWAYS sore, so there’s that). As I enter my third trimester, I’m starting to feel a bit heavy and slow-moving, but that’s to be expected.
On the night I learned that everything I thought I knew was wrong – only 24 hours after I found out I was pregnant – I took a drive to clear my head, to try to make sense of what was happening, what I’d just been told. I didn’t have a plan of where to go, but I instinctively drove to my old childhood neighbourhood. There, in one of my favourite playgrounds from when I was a little girl, I sat on the swings and looked up at the stars through the trees, tears streaming from my eyes. I didn’t know how I’d get through this. I thought of my baby, not even the size of a poppyseed. I felt an overwhelming urge to protect him, a fierceness I’ve never known before.
And when I finally got back into my car, I realized an old mix CD I made for myself in the early 2000s was playing (yes, my car still has a CD player, and I love it). “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,” Johnny Nash sang; it’s always been one of my very favourite songs. “It’s going to be a bright, bright, bright, sunshine-y day.” The song faded out, and the next one began.
“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy,” John Denver crooned. “If I had a wish that I could wish for you, I’d make a wish for sunshine for all the while.”
And then? “You are the sunshine of my life / That’s why I’ll always be around. / You are the apple of my eye / Forever you’ll stay in my heart.” One of my favourite singers of all time, Stevie Wonder, sang to me as I drove the deserted midnight streets of Winnipeg.
I swear I didn’t make this mix on purpose; in fact, the CD was in “shuffle” mode. But of the twenty-odd songs on that old mix CD, song after song reminded me: I have my Sunshine. Everything will be OK.
Over the past five months, I’ve learned so much. I’ve been reading a lot about pregnancy, newborns, and raising secure, happy children. I’ve also been reading a lot about relationships, because I’ve always loved studying relationships. I’ve thrown myself back into looking at attachment theory (why must the anxious attached be so attracted to the avoidant attached? WHY?!), narcissistic personality disorder, gaslighting, trauma bonding, love bombing… oh you know, all that fun stuff. And although I don’t plan on dating for a very, very long time – my baby is my ultimate priority now and forever, and it seems ridiculous to even think about dating with a baby on the way – but I hope I’ll be more prepared whenever I do.
And besides reading, I’ve thrown myself into the other parts of life I know help me feel better: actively moving my body, eating well, spending lots of time with friends and family, working, attending regular therapy, long baths, gratitude journalling, walking Dottie, and so on.
On top of all of this, I’ve also started a new website (launching soon!) as well as taken on a major home renovation to make more room for Sunshine. Because, you know, suddenly being catapulted into being a working single mom wasn’t enough stress for me, so I thought I’d add a constant stream of contractors, engineers, and electricians to come by the house every day just to add a little spice in my life.
I’m earning a good salary again, working hard, and starting a whole new chapter in my career despite losing it all last year. I’m paying the bills, keeping a clean house, doing the yard work, dealing with car issues, working every day, staying active, renovating the house, seeing friends and family, and taking care of Dottie, all while staying healthy through my pregnancy despite the worst emotional trauma I’ve ever been through. And while I certainly have an amazing support network, I’m doing it mostly on my own. I know I’m tooting my own horn here, but I’m proud of myself, and proud that my son will have such a strong role model in his life.
And… and this might seem strange… I’m really, really happy. It sounds like a cliche – I’m sleeping on a mattress on the floor, for goodness’ sake – but I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I am carrying a beautiful baby boy. I have an incredible circle of family and friends whom I see every day. I love my dog, and my work, and my house. I am healthy. I am excited about the future. I dance daily, laugh hourly. My life is filled with love, with so much love that I sometimes don’t know how I got this lucky. I couldn’t ask for anything more, really.
And while it wasn’t initially my decision to be on my own while pregnant, and to become a single mom… now? Now there’s no way I would want what I had, and I feel so incredibly grateful to be where I am today. Now, I couldn’t imagine NOT being a single mom. I really think that this was my destiny.
It took the worst emotional pain of my life – pain that left me breathless, left me wondering when I’d ever smile again – to turn my life into the life I’ve always wanted. A life that’s full to the seams with love.
And holy crap… I can’t wait to be a mom. I can’t wait to meet this little boy. I can’t wait for the chaos and the cuddles and the first time I see him smile. I can’t wait to teach him to be a kind, loving, sensitive person, someone who’s not afraid to share his love or his emotions. I can’t wait to see him play with Dottie, can’t wait to see him interact with my parents and my siblings and my niece. I can’t wait to learn who he is, what his favourite colour will be and what instrument he’ll want to play and who he’ll one day love.
I still cry sometimes, usually at night. There is no part of me that misses my former partner or that is still attracted to him in any way, but sometimes, when I’m lying in bed and Sunshine is kicking like crazy, I think about what it would be like to have a supportive partner who would reach out and feel those kicks, too.
I imagine what it would be like to have a loving partner beside me who I could talk to about the nursery, and baby names, and where we’d take Sunshine on his first trip. I think about how nice it would be to have someone to carry the groceries for me, to rub my sore back, to make dinner, to clean the bathroom. I imagine what it would be like to go shopping for toys together, to sing to him together, to get excited about his future milestones, those first words and first steps and first everythings. I always assumed, of course, that if I were ever to be pregnant, I’d have a loving partner by my side who was just as excited about the baby as I was. It never even crossed my mind that I’d be on my own while pregnant.
And on the darkest nights, when I just can’t sleep, I imagine what it would be like to have someone who turns to me and says, “Oh wow… we’re going to have a baby. We’re going to have a baby and he will be perfect and we will inevitably screw up sometimes but we will do our best, because we love him and we love each other, and together, we will be OK.”
But after imagining that, again and again for months on end, that “what if” turned into something else. It turned into a mantra for myself, something to remind me of what’s here and now, of what’s important, of what’s reality. “Oh wow,” I started saying to myself. “I’m going to have a baby. I’m going to have a baby and he will be perfect and I will inevitably screw up sometimes but I will do my best, because I love him and I love myself, and together, we will be OK.”
Because I will be OK. WE will be OK. Call me crazy, but I have no fears about being a single mom. I know that I will be the best mom I can possibly be, and that my son and I will have a very happy, comfortable, fulfilled life together, one filled with laughter and love. I can’t wait.
To my family and friends who have been there since day one, I cannot thank you enough. You have pulled me through the most difficult time in my 37 years, and I am nothing without your love. Every single day I am reminded how much I am loved, how much I am wanted. The calls, the visits, the texts, the gifts… I have been showered with so much support and joy from all over the world, and no matter where life takes me, I’ll know I did something right, because I’ve somehow managed to have all of you surrounding me. They say it takes a village, and I have the best damn village in the entire world.
A special thank you to my parents, who I’ve spoken to and/or seen every single day since I told them I was pregnant. They take my calls no matter what, even if, in the early days, all I did was cry. They’ve known I would be a fantastic single mom long before I realized I would. Having my dad here in Winnipeg to help me every day at the house and with renovations has been a lifesaver. Having my mom visit regularly and FaceTiming almost daily has helped immensely. And knowing they’ll both be here in Winnipeg for Sunshine’s birth as well as the months after he’s born gives me such a sense of calm.
To Dottie, my beautiful girl: you have always been the best dog, the best friend, that I could ever ask for. You came from a life where you didn’t know what home or what love meant, but you instinctively knew that we could be both for each other. The night it was just the two of us again, you knew exactly what I needed, and you haven’t left my side since. I know how much you love children, and I know what an incredible big sister you are going to be to baby Sunshine. Thank you for being beside me for every second of the day and night these past few months, for your endless cuddles. Thank you for knowing when I’m crying and resting your head on my belly, reminding me that I have everything I need right here, with you and Sunshine, the best little family I could have ever dreamed of.
To all of you who have written with words of support and encouragement – thousands of you, in fact – I am eternally grateful. I am still slowly responding to comments, emails, and messages, so I apologize if I haven’t personally written back to you, but I’ll get there one day. I have been blogging since 2003, and I will never stop being amazed at how beautiful and supportive this online community is. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping me through this pain to emerge stronger, freer, and happier. It’s cheesy but true: I couldn’t have done it without you.
And to my Sunshine: I love you. I have always loved you. I will always be there for you, my baby boy, just as you have already been there for me. There are already so many people who love you, and I can’t wait to introduce you to them. We are going to have the best life together, one filled with laughter and travelling and old movies and dancing to records and baking cookies just because. I can close my eyes and see you, see us. And oh, baby Sunshine, we are so happy. You are my whole world.
Even through the darkest days I’ve always known that, one day, the sun would rise again. I just didn’t realize that, this time, it was going to be the most beautiful Sunshine of my life.