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Life happens in chapters: 1. The Separation.

1
 

I would never have expected to be a mum on the brink of going it alone. Yet here I am.

The emotions when we decided to separate were so mixed – overwhelming sadness (for ourselves, for our son), relief that we could just call a halt to the battle. It felt like we were finally ending a struggle and could be free from the stress (for him) and crippling anxiety (for me) our relationship had induced in us both in the final couple few years.

We met through a dating app, and I was pregnant within four weeks – yup! – and while at the time

SelfishMother.com
2
I had no bloody idea what I’d let myself in for, the feeling of elation of finding out I was pregnant is now etched in my soul. I felt like I was floating for days. I told the father over Whatsapp (saying the words out loud to him felt far too alarming) and his response was one of the best I could ever have received. Surprise, obviously, but also kindness, acceptance and ‘fuck it, ok!’

This has been the general vibe of our relationship to both each other and parenting ever since. While I like to imagine – and have actually told people – that

SelfishMother.com
3
we fell in love over the course of my pregnancy, I think we fell into an imagined version of what we felt like we should be doing, but at the time it totally worked for us and saw us through our toughest periods: the unexpected death of his father just weeks after finding out we were having his parents’ first grandchild. Three anxious nights spent in a special care baby unit with an undernourished newborn – breastfeeding had not started well. The normal new-parent sleep deprivation. An abortion when we knew we couldn’t do it all a second time
SelfishMother.com
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together…). And it doesn’t mean we didn’t develop deep feelings and affection.

HOWEVER. When it came to becoming new parents, the struggle was real. I like to imagine (a lot) that when you’re with someone for years on end prior to baby chaos assaulting one’s steady relationship, you get to find out every tiny little thing that makes your partner tick. Presses their buttons Generally how they work as conplex humans with different pasts and, in our case, different cultures. Languages, even. Throwing a baby in the mix is one of the – *gross

SelfishMother.com
5
understatement alert* – most testing periods of any partnership, surely. So to be in the beginning of a relationship AND SIMULTANEOUSLY tackling life with a newborn was a challenge I never thought I’d have to face, but in all honesty, as a live-in-the-moment-and-see-what-happens type (you’ll understand now how a swift pregnancy occurred…) I had a strong tendency not to overly question the future, or how this might all work out. I had hopes of course: of love, maybe a wedding, more kids. But if this relationship (and subsequent break-up) taught me
SelfishMother.com
6
anything, it’s that a) independence (in thought, in decision-making, in trusting your gut) are vital (I’ve always had a tendency towards co-dependency in relationships for deeply boring reasons I’ll write about one day) and b) to be the one living outside the norm makes you feel like a bit of a trailblazer. I can’t say I haven’t frequently exited the Nursery Mum Drinks with visions of all the married, house-owning mums’ cosy home set-ups rattling around my brain (we rent and endure a lodger – and, for the record, I’m acutely aware that
SelfishMother.com
7
outward appearances doesn’t always reflect inner reality).

But then I get home, cocktail or two sloshing in my belly, and let myself into my very own cosy set-up: a warm, safe family home (well, flat, in dire need of a decor overhaul), deep friendship with my son’s father, now on the cusp of moving out, and our shared love of our brilliant child. An then tell myself that I can feel proud and happy of how far I’ve come, as I embark on the next exciting/anxiety-inducing/empowering chapter.

Next stop: single mum dating. Oh god.

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- 28 Feb 19

 

I would never have expected to be a mum on the brink of going it alone. Yet here I am.

The emotions when we decided to separate were so mixed – overwhelming sadness (for ourselves, for our son), relief that we could just call a halt to the battle. It felt like we were finally ending a struggle and could be free from the stress (for him) and crippling anxiety (for me) our relationship had induced in us both in the final couple few years.

We met through a dating app, and I was pregnant within four weeks – yup! – and while at the time I had no bloody idea what I’d let myself in for, the feeling of elation of finding out I was pregnant is now etched in my soul. I felt like I was floating for days. I told the father over Whatsapp (saying the words out loud to him felt far too alarming) and his response was one of the best I could ever have received. Surprise, obviously, but also kindness, acceptance and ‘fuck it, ok!’

This has been the general vibe of our relationship to both each other and parenting ever since. While I like to imagine – and have actually told people – that we fell in love over the course of my pregnancy, I think we fell into an imagined version of what we felt like we should be doing, but at the time it totally worked for us and saw us through our toughest periods: the unexpected death of his father just weeks after finding out we were having his parents’ first grandchild. Three anxious nights spent in a special care baby unit with an undernourished newborn – breastfeeding had not started well. The normal new-parent sleep deprivation. An abortion when we knew we couldn’t do it all a second time together…). And it doesn’t mean we didn’t develop deep feelings and affection.

HOWEVER. When it came to becoming new parents, the struggle was real. I like to imagine (a lot) that when you’re with someone for years on end prior to baby chaos assaulting one’s steady relationship, you get to find out every tiny little thing that makes your partner tick. Presses their buttons Generally how they work as conplex humans with different pasts and, in our case, different cultures. Languages, even. Throwing a baby in the mix is one of the – *gross understatement alert* – most testing periods of any partnership, surely. So to be in the beginning of a relationship AND SIMULTANEOUSLY tackling life with a newborn was a challenge I never thought I’d have to face, but in all honesty, as a live-in-the-moment-and-see-what-happens type (you’ll understand now how a swift pregnancy occurred…) I had a strong tendency not to overly question the future, or how this might all work out. I had hopes of course: of love, maybe a wedding, more kids. But if this relationship (and subsequent break-up) taught me anything, it’s that a) independence (in thought, in decision-making, in trusting your gut) are vital (I’ve always had a tendency towards co-dependency in relationships for deeply boring reasons I’ll write about one day) and b) to be the one living outside the norm makes you feel like a bit of a trailblazer. I can’t say I haven’t frequently exited the Nursery Mum Drinks with visions of all the married, house-owning mums’ cosy home set-ups rattling around my brain (we rent and endure a lodger – and, for the record, I’m acutely aware that outward appearances doesn’t always reflect inner reality).

But then I get home, cocktail or two sloshing in my belly, and let myself into my very own cosy set-up: a warm, safe family home (well, flat, in dire need of a decor overhaul), deep friendship with my son’s father, now on the cusp of moving out, and our shared love of our brilliant child. An then tell myself that I can feel proud and happy of how far I’ve come, as I embark on the next exciting/anxiety-inducing/empowering chapter.

Next stop: single mum dating. Oh god.

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