Raising Abbey Alone – Year Three

In five short weeks, my baby Abigail will be turning three years old and as every parent in the universe says, I cannot believe it. I actually can’t with her though. The past three years have whizzed by and I can’t help but feel a little sad (As well as proud) because she’s my baby and I want her to remain a toddler for the rest of my life. Am I crazy? Yes! But what can I say? I love the toddler stage. Yes, they throw a lot (And I mean A LOT) of wobblers over the silliest things, but it’s part of their development. I find is so adorable watching her as she learns new things, new attitudes and forms new opinions of things. It’s cute watching new quirks sprout, new words, new ways of doing things. We are leaving the terrible two’s behind and flying head first into the THREENAGER STAGE!!! Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but a fun one! 

As we draw closer to the three year mark, I’m also celebrating me. Not to be all conceited and toot my horn, but I’m quite proud of myself. It hasn’t been an easy three years. I’ve learned a lot about myself. My strengths and my weaknesses. Not everyone knows this but I actually parent Abbey alone. I’m a single Mum (Which people probably figured that out) but I also don’t co-parent. I have full custody of Abbey and she is with me 100% of the time. She doesn’t even know her Dad. I also don’t receive financial support for her off him. I am solely responsible for her. 

When I was pregnant, it was the saddest and most confusing time of my life. I knew I was going into it alone as I was alone during my pregnancy too. I didn’t have a lot of friends around. I remember only a handful of people checking in and being happy for me. The rest just evaporated. I wasn’t all that excited to be having a third child. Okay I’ll be real, I wasn’t excited at all. I had next to no emotional support except for one or two people from a far. I felt like I was 16 and pregnant, not 29 and pregnant. I allowed other people’s judgments, opinions and questions kill my confidence, which was going to be an issue for quite a while.

I didn’t do all the things you’re supposed to do when you’re about to bring new life to the world. I didn’t post baby bump photos, I didn’t have a baby shower, I wasn’t excited to go to my ultrasound appointments. I didn’t want to run to the stores and buy a bunch of girl clothes when I found out that I was having a girl. Everything you’re supposed to love about pregnancy, I didn’t. There was no joy. No excitement. I was ashamed and I allowed other people’s terrible attitudes to rip those special moments from me. On top of these things, I was extremely overwhelmed and stressed out. I remember feeling the tightness in my chest that spread to my stomach. I remember laying down in bed trying to steady my breathing, so that I wouldn’t pass my stress on to my baby. Part of me thought I shouldn’t care because I didn’t want another baby anyway. Part of me thought about giving her up for adoption. I won’t lie, I looked into it. How am I going to bring a child into the world with no Dad? Am I doing the right thing? Am I going to be able to do this alone? What will this look like for Izzy and JJ, my other two children who have a Dad in their life. What will they think? Honestly, the only thing that got me through it was my kids.

I’m glad that I chose to stand up and be strong and also keep her, because as soon as she was born it was the best moment of my life. As soon as that doctor put her in my arms I knew she was meant to be with me. Actually, the moment I went into labor in my bedroom after doing 200 squats, all my fears disappeared and I finally got excited. I knew we had some struggles to face but I didn’t care. I loved that little bald baby more than anything. Her soft skin, her dainty hands and her cute little alien feet. Her nose so soft and perfect, her eyes so big and blue!

I remember my first night with her in the hospital. Hormones all out of whack, exhausted from the long labor (Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking each birth get’s easier, that is utter bollocks). Our hospital room was silent. It was dark. Part of me thought that I should have felt depressed that I was all alone, but I remember feeling content. I didn’t care. I didn’t need anyone else. I hobbled over to her little baby 

bed where she was swaddled, sucking on a dummy and snoozing and I picked her up and brought her into my bed. I made the bed so she couldn’t roll out in her sleep, and that’s where she slept. I wanted her with me the entire time. I needed her with me. I needed to hold her. I needed her skin on mine. She was my best friend. MY human! I needed to hold on to her and protect her from the world. Before you gasp and think “You could have rolled onto her!” No. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t want to sleep. I just wanted to cuddle her and smile at her and take in every moment.

 

 

Three years later I’m still cuddling her in bed every night and not getting enough sleep haha. 

The first year was a crazy rollercoaster with a lot of steep dips and many loops. Even after a year, I wasted a lot of energy being angry and worst of all, insecure. Angry at myself, and at other people. When I was married and had kids, everyone was happy for me. People were all too willing to step in and take my child off me if I needed a break. I had tons of support. I had plenty of rest and enough to support to last me a lifetime. Now during my time of need; The time where I’m most vulnerable and in need of a little break, I had hardly anyone. Was I such a disappointment that nobody cared about me anymore? Simple things like planning a night away or having a day to myself became an almost impossible task. You’re supposed to be able to rely on family to help out, but I only have done a handful of times in the last three years. Nobody has been present. Having time to myself hasn’t really been much of an option. I know that’s a given when you’re raising kids, but all of a sudden the remainders of my freedom had been completely eaten up and were gone. I started to get really angry. Does nobody care about my sanity? I could have suffered from post-natal depression, I could be suffering from other mental illnesses, I could need some help and literally not one person wants to step in and relieve me of my duties for a day while I get myself together. It was hard. Honestly, it took a huge attitude adjustment to change my perspective of things. Situations had changed. My family was scattered. It still is.

My self-esteem deteriorated. I never could quite get rid of the feeling of guilt and shame that I had allowed people to project onto me. I beat myself up and tore myself apart many times. I felt as if the whole world was looking at me, judging and waiting for me to fail. I felt like a failure and my sense of self-worth had pretty much gone. When people would make a joke about me having three kids, it would hurt my feelings. Simple comments like “You don’t need anymore kids!” triggered me.

It’s a strange thing to explain because now looking back at it, I know not everyone was judging. I know the vast majority of people have nothing but good things to say about me being Abbey’s mother. I know a lot of what I was feeling, came from my own head. That’s how I viewed myself. I needed to change my attitude if things were going to get better for me. I spent years focusing on the negatives, focusing on what’s wrong with me, what’s wrong about life and what’s wrong about my situation. I was worried that I would spend my life resenting people. Resenting myself. 

I’ve had quite a change in attitude over the past few months. I’m no longer resentful. I don’t care if people don’t want to be involved in our life. We don’t need those people anyway. Of course, not all my thoughts were negative. I LOVE being a Mum. I also know that I’m good at it. There are actually some major positives to raising a child alone. One being that you don’t have to deal with the sometimes unavoidable drama that comes with co-parenting. I love having nobody to answer to and I know that I am doing a better job on my own. My lifestyle and situation is more stable than her biological Father’s. I have this drive. Like, this is my JOB in life. To raise this human as best as I can and I have to do it alone so I’m going to put in twice as much effort. It motivates me. 

The absolute best thing about parenting alone is the bond we have. It is unlike any other bond. I am her human and she is mine. We are a tiny little team. She is me. I am her. We are inseparable. Heck, even when I do get a little time to myself, I miss her. When she naps, I miss her. I’m addicted to her. I stare at her all day. I smile at her all of the time. She’s absolutely 100% my best friend. I even don’t mind her little tantrums, they make me giggle (Unless it’s in public). I make her happy. She relies on me for absolutely everything. She picks me over everyone. I see the joy and love in her eyes when she looks at me. I know she’s obsessed with me. When she was a baby, I loved to watch her pupils dilate whenever I looked at her or spoke to her (So cute). We laugh together and we already have little inside jokes together. We are a duo and the feeling I get when she’s holding my hand or cuddling me or even just trying to talk to me, is unbeatable. I feel lucky that she trusts me enough to be her human. I feel lucky that she loves me as much as she does. There is nothing better than the feeling of when your children love and appreciate you. I feel it with Izzy and JJ too.

So that last paragraph. Those feelings and that bond. All of the insecurities. All those sleepless nights with zero relief and zero help. All those times I’ve desperately needed a break so I could feel like myself for one moment. All those times where I’ve doubted myself. All of them are erased by the feeling I get when I look at her or think about her or experience anything amazing with her. 

I’ve learned to appreciate myself more. I’ve also surrounded myself with better people. Positive people who build me up, not knock me down (You know who you are). Everyone judges. Women judge other women in public. Mum’s who are married and have their life together more STILL get judged. We all feel as if the world is waiting for us to fail. It’s a completely normal feeling, especially when you’re doing such an important job such as raising tiny humans. I’ve learned to block the world out. I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore. I don’t care if I’m viewed as the silly Mum of three kids with two different Dads. I don’t care because their opinion doesn’t matter. What matters is how I view myself. How I feel about myself and I know that I am doing a great job!  There have been times I questioned whether or not I’m enough for her but I know I am.

I’ve got a long road ahead. I’m only three years in and if I’m going to be the best Mum ever, I have to stop beating myself up. I have to stop being unkind to myself. I’ve been through a lot. I’ve come out strong. I refuse to wallow in self-pity and resentment for the rest of my life. Finally after three years, my confidence is coming back.

I love you, Abbey. You’re literally the best thing to ever happen to me. You and your Brother and Sister. You’re my perfect little Family. We aren’t conventional, but that’s what makes us interesting. That’s what makes us US! I know you were meant to be in my life. You’ve taught me how to be a better parent. You’ve taught me patience and you’re teaching me every day to appreciate myself more because I see how fantastic you are and I know that I must be doing a good job. You’ve made me realize that no matter how worn out I am, I can keep going. I keep going or you! I would literally die without you. I breathe for you and I will always always be here for you. It’s us against the world! xxx