Monday was a rough day. First, some background.
On Valentine’s Day this year, after a bit of saving and a little help from a friend, I managed to scrape together enough money to file a petition to change my daughter’s middle name from Conteá to Awesome. It cost $150 to file the petition, and $194.36 to post legal notice in the paper, once a week for four consecutive weeks.
Spending almost $350 on anything that doesn’t involve putting a roof over our heads, maintaining my 1998 Honda Accord, or feeding and clothing kids who never seem to stop growing is not something I can afford to do lightly. It is something, however, that I felt needed to be done to correct an error I made when it came to naming my daughter.
When I was pregnant with Viviana, I didn’t want to find out the gender in advance. Frankly, I was so shocked by the pregnancy (the result of a contraception failure so unexpected that I was not even remotely concerned that I had conceived) that I was in denial for a good chunk of my pregnancy. People would ask if I was having a boy or girl and it was all I could do to tamp down the hope that I was having a puppy instead of a baby. Puppies are easier. They’re infinitely cheaper. And no one bats an eye if you keep them cordoned off in the kitchen while you are at work, and they are still potty training. I was in a committed relationship at the time, but having another baby, nearly 12 years after the first was simply not part of “The Plan.”
After a lot of soul searching, praying, talking to close friends, etc. I decided to continue with the pregnancy, even though it wasn’t part of “The Plan” and even though I knew the huge financial burden we would face as a family by welcoming a new member. The committed relationship I was in? It didn’t survive the pregnancy and by month two of gestation, I ended things romantically with the father.
I wasn’t completely alone, as some single moms unfortunately are. I was surrounded by support. Friends made me lunches, gifted me much needed maternity wear, and even watched the baby overnight on Fridays, while I was finishing up my degree, so that I could get at least one full night of sleep a week. Coworkers threw me a huge baby shower, and in addition to many wonderful gifts, they chipped in for a much-needed car sear. My roommate made the heated garage their new digs so that I would have more room in the rest of the house for my progeny – and didn’t charge me a single dollar more in rent.