Story by Caroline Mitchell
Two pink lines. It’s what we wanted. It’s what we hoped and prayed for. We were ready. A house, decent jobs, a car, a stable relationship. All that was missing was a baby. December 27, 2017 we finally found out that we were expecting the baby we so desperately wanted. Things were going to be perfect. Or so I thought. And boy, I thought wrong.
In February 2018, I caught the man I thought I was going to marry with another woman. At this point I was ten weeks pregnant. This couldn’t be happening. Not my boyfriend. Our perfect family couldn’t be falling apart. I sobbed for days. Didn’t eat. Didn’t sleep. Just cried and wondered what I had done wrong. Where did I go wrong? What did a do?
About a week later I got a call from my boyfriend. He asked me to come home. Reluctantly I did. This was just a bump in the road. We could get through it. We could get through anything, right?
March 17, 2018, I popped a balloon and watched blue confetti pour out of it. We were having a boy. Hayes William – William after my stepdad. Hayes came to me from a typo of a text message but that’s another story. We got what we wanted. My boyfriend had a boy to carry on his name and I got a mamas boy.
Our relationship strengthened and we eventually got back to how we were before – even better, actually. We made plans to move into a house that was big enough for our family’s needs. We started buying and putting together more plans for our family and our future. Things were good. The infidelity was just a bump in the road. We could do this. We’ll make it through.
June 2018 – things were great. Really, really great. Or so I thought. We were looking at houses and actually found one we both really loved. We even put in an application for it. One step closer to this picture perfect family I tried so hard to portray on social media and even to friends and family. Once again, I was wrong. So, so wrong. My boyfriend came to me about a job opportunity that would allow me to be a stay at home mom. Downside? It was almost two hours away. He was so insistent on going and who was I to turn down the chance at being able to be with my son all day everyday? So I drove him down to the job site. He told me he was staying with a relative. I dropped him off at his relatives’ house. Kissed him goodbye. I was bawling. Something didn’t feel right but I went with it. I was likely just paranoid.
Trust your gut. I didn’t trust mine. I got news from his family that there were absolutely no relatives in the area I dropped him off. I had dropped him off at another woman’s house. I was heavily pregnant, living with my parents, and working full time as a nanny. Already stressed out about moving forward and getting settled before my son made his appearance and now I just dropped my boyfriend off at another woman’s house. Here we go again. A familiar territory, unfortunately. “This is it,” I told myself. But it wasn’t. As usual I took his father back. I should’ve let go months ago but there was that tiny bit of hope that it would all work out. That maybe, just maybe, we were meant to be.
Flash forward another very stressful, eventful, and unfaithful (not on my part) three months later on September 3, 2018 at 5:01pm. A baby boy with a head full of blond hair entered the world. Finally. My perfect family is complete. Our family was perfect at that point. Mine and my boyfriend’s relationship was better than ever and we had the cutest little boy to join us. Things were finally looking up. What else could go wrong? Nothing was going to get in the way of this.
Over time bottles filled the sink, diapers stacked in the trash, and bills piled up. We started to fall apart. Hayes’s father stopped coming around and our communication was next to nothing. I didn’t want to admit that I was doing it alone, despite the fact I knew I was. I didn’t want to think of myself as a single mom. Nothing wrong with being a single mom – in fact I was raised by one. That just wasn’t what I thought would happen to me but then again who does?
December 2018 is when I decided enough was enough and ended things with my son’s father for good. Just like that communication with him was nonexistent. His visits with our son stopped happening. I was officially a single mother. A jobless single mother, might I add. So here I was, jobless, single, living with my parents, and taking care of my son. I couldn’t wrap my head around it – I’m a single mother to my planned baby. A baby that both parties mutually agreed on having. I didn’t get it.
His father stopped calling and texting, even to ask for pictures. It was almost as if he had fallen off the face of the planet. I had no help from him, financially, emotionally, nothing. It was just Hayes and me.
Trying to find a job was difficult. I nannied for a little bit but that didn’t bring in the income nor provide the benefits my son and I required. After a month of very serious job searching I found a decent job at a local insurance agent. I answered phones, took payments, greeted customers, and did other small tasks around the office. I even found that I loved the thought of selling insurance and becoming licensed to sell it. In this time I found a cute little house about two miles from this job that I loved so much. We got all moved in and settled. I had done it. I was succeeding at this single mom thing. I had it down. Or so I thought, once again.
A couple weeks ago I went into work for a typical day. It was Friday and that weekend I was going to finish moving into my new house. I looked forward to setting up Hayes’s nursery and hanging all of his clothes up in his own closet. In his own room. His own space. In our house. That I managed to get. After a couple hours of typical tasks and phone calls my boss walks over to my desk, leans over, and whispers, “we’re letting you go. I need your office key,” and holds her hand out. I shakily reached for my office key, “okay..” I tell her as I put the key in her hand. I gather my belongings and walk out of the office fighting back tears. It’s raining. I laid my head in the steering wheel, tears rolling down my cheeks at this point. Why? Why me? Just when things start to look up. I had just gotten a house, just started my son at a new daycare, just started a new life. I saw it all get taken away from me when my boss (well, ex boss) walk away with my office key. Back to square one.
I go pick up Hayes from daycare a little earlier than usual and it didn’t go unnoticed by the staff. “You’re here early,” the lady at the front desk tells me. “Yeah, I got laid off,” I tell her choking back more tears. She told me she was sorry and she hoped things would get better. She also mentioned they were hiring.
Next thing I knew I was passing out snacks to three year olds, changing toddlers’ diapers, and reading books to preschoolers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful for the job my son’s daycare provided for me while I was out of work but it wasn’t something I could comfortably live off of. My job search started once again. First interview of said search, another insurance company. The boss and I got alone great, he showed me around the office, gave me information on how to get licensed to sell insurance, and gave me my start date. Things are finally starting to look up again.
Over the last year I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and that things almost never go as planned. Being a single mom is HARD but so worth it. There are days where I’m so mad that his father isn’t in the picture. Why do I have to deal with all the tantrums? All the dirty diapers? All the expenses? But then Hayes smiles. Or coos. Or does something for the first time. I sit back and realize that I’m not the one missing it. When he cries, he cries for me. No one else. I’m my son’s world and he is mine. I’m a single mom and while it’s the hardest thing in the world, I’d also say it’s one of the best. Times will get tough but I am tougher and the best is yet to come.
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