Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
I chose single motherhood. Although I was in a relationship when I got pregnant in 2002, my son was only really wanted by me. His father and I would chuckle about how the combination of our genes would result in an interesting child: he has ADHD and I suspect that I am on the low end of the Autism spectrum. When I really did get pregnant, it wasn’t as funny.
As soon as I saw the red bar on the pregnancy test I knew I would be doing this on my own. There were no tears, just a sigh of “here we go.” I had my then-boyfriend’s support, but not for long.
My son, now nine, has asked me over the years whether I wanted a baby, and I always tell him “yes.” In fact, I’d wanted a baby from age 25; I was 28 when he was conceived. I had just started graduate school and was working for myself from home. Despite the complexity of my situation, abortion was not an option I was willing to entertain. I am pro-choice, but I knew that I could never personally go through with an abortion. It would destroy me psychologically. At 28 I figured I was old enough to raise a child. I was done with partying and enjoyed being at home, so staying in with a child was not a huge leap.
No matter how much I wanted my son, and his father didn’t, I could have never predicted the ill treatment that would come my way following his birth.
About a month after my son was born, his father had an emotional breakdown. The verbal abuse started followed by the physical threats. He stopped working and just two weeks after my son was born I was freelancing again to support the family. Four months later, my son and I were removed from the home by police.
I did not get any congratulations or flowers for keeping my baby.
A lesbian couple that I know threw my baby shower; only two members of my family showed up. When my sister had her first child, she got gifts from family around the world.
A member of my devoutly Catholic family said outright that I would never be welcome at the family home in Italy. This person has since passed away and my mother tells me things would be different now. I haven’t bothered to find out.
When I moved back with my parents after I left my son’s father, the neighbors did not hold back. I was accused of not spending time with my son, of abandoning him as I went off to work, of abusing my parents’ kindness. I am a trained professional and some had the nerve to ask whether I was “working.” I felt like telling them I was whoring myself out and smoking crack in my parents’ basement. Granted, my social skills are poor, so I often fault myself for not sticking up for myself.
What nobody seemed to see was that moving back home with my son was the best option for him. My son has provided meaning in my father’s life. He is loved by my mother’s family and continues to be in contact with his older half-siblings on his father’s side. Despite our past, his father and I are not on bad terms. I accept his limitations and he sees our son when he can.
The 2011 Census of Canada, where I live, shows that families in situations such as mine, single parent homes and multi-generational homes, are on the rise. Yet, you wouldn’t know that based on how myself and many mothers like me are treated.
I didn’t expect a party when I kept my baby, but I didn’t expect to be branded a “shitty mom” for choosing to work full-time and have my parents help raise my son. I am confident in my decisions, I just didn’t expect more abuse.
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