Pregnancy is beautiful, children are such a blessing. I’ve heard this all my life, and in spades since I’ve been with child myself.
But you know what? I’m going to cut the gushy cliches for a second, and just be honest.
I don’t feel beautiful like they said I would.
Strong? Hell yeah, because I can carry another human around with me, exercise and still work 48 hours a week and keep house. But let me tell you, there is nothing glowy or fancy about hard work, and there is nothing more sobering in this entire world than knowing that a little person’s entire state of being depends on you keeping it together and keeping your cool. Most especially if you’re navigating this motherhood journey solo, as I am.
It’s true, I am about to become a single mother. In the last 38 weeks, I have been privy to well-meaning but pitiful stares, comments, and suggestions of how to muddle through this journey, but most importantly, I have also been lovingly supported and encouraged but what I’ve come to recognize as my “Village.” Contrived of my family and some incredible friends, I have hit the jackpot in terms of a strong support system for my son and me to count on. These earthside angels have offered words of wisdom, encouragement, and proved time and time again through actions that they are all in.
While I am luckier than most, there are absolutely still moments when, through tear-filled eyes, I wonder to myself whether or not I can “do this thing” and how I even got to this point. When I say lucky, I don’t mean in the polite way of saying so that goes hand-in-hand with maintaining a sunny perspective on life. I mean, I’m lucky in ways that loads of single, pregnant women are not.
I have a solid circle of friends, an immediate family that are the type to dance around the kitchen at the drop of a toddler request and basically go to the ends of the Earth for anyone they love. I live in a community that offers assistance and resources that would put any new parent at ease. Preparing for a child is a stressful, expensive, and rocky road, so believe me when I say that coming home to such a bouquet of blessings certainly made this mama breathe a little easier.
As I write this, my body is at 38.5 weeks gestation, my son is strong and thriving, and I can feel my insides preparing for the big show. I can confidently say that the trials and tribulations of this pregnancy will be a distant memory in comparison to being the sole provider and teacher of this tiny human about to exit my body.
If ever you thought you had life all figured out, having a child will surely humble you. I’ve come to realize that not only can I not control life, I know not nearly as much as I thought I did about it. I have been a child caregiver for many years, off and on — I’ve got tricks up my sleeve that cover most any infant or childhood ailment, transition, and developmental change. But when it comes to preparing for a stranger, it’s back to the drawing board. I have yet to figure out what will work for him, his temperament or whether any of the knowledge I carry with me will be of any assistance in my parenthood journey.
For all I know, this beautiful boy could completely throw me for a loop and render my tricks useless. And that is okay. It is more than okay, because our journey is our own. And we have a village to lift us up, to offer encouragement when we need it, guidance when I feel lost, and love in bucketfuls so that my sweet boy will thrive.
I think if there is one thing I would want single mothers to know, it is this: the first days of Motherhood will be a haze. A stressful, exhausting, blurry, haze. A blur of hours, bunched together that will cause you to question everything you thought you knew about anything. But asking for help when you need it, and sleeping when the baby sleeps, will see you through. That, and your unwavering dedication to the tiny human that you created.
You will see that you are stronger than you realized, you can handle much more than you ever thought, and you will feel empowered as each day melts into the other, because not only are you doing this thing, you are doing it long after the help has gone home for the night.