I had my oldest son when I was 18.
Not long afterward, my on again/off again boyfriend started abusing me physically and verbally and destroying my things – clothes, cell phones, even a car at one point.
Eventually, I found the strength to leave someone I’d loved, who I thought just needed help working through his issues.
We reconnected after he sought help. Things were good for awhile and we found ourselves expecting a second child.
He never physically abused me again but he was mostly a poor excuse for a significant other. We were still on and off, and I dealt with cheating, name-calling, and lying.
He sustained an injury at work and got addicted to pain pills (on top of all of our other issues,) so we separated shortly after I had our second son.
In the midst of our break up, I got pregnant again. We never got back together, even though that was his goal.
He moved away and I took on the responsibility of raising our 2 sons while expecting a third. Alone.
Have you ever gone through a pregnancy alone, knowing that the father of your children was never going to be what they needed?
If you have, you understand the sheer anguish of trying to support your family with no safety net.
If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky; I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I dated here and there but mostly stayed single, kept to myself, and tried to raise my babies. Their sperm donor popped up now and then to ask about them.
Fast forward a little bit.
The sperm donor moves back almost 3 years later. He wants to be a dad now.
He starts visiting, meets our youngest son for the first time, and sees our other sons for the first time since they were 6 months old and 2, respectively.
EVERYONE said we would get back together and believe me, he wanted to. He tried, but I closed that door. I was just happy that, for the first time ever, my boys might actually have a dad.
As you can already imagine, this isn’t a fairytale. The visits didn’t last. They were far and few between. I stopped getting my hopes up for them.
Then one day, by complete surprise, I laid eyes on someone new. I fell for him instantly and became attached to my newfound love. My boys grew fond of him very quickly too.
Feeling like I had found my soulmate, we immediately decided to try for a baby. Crazy, I know, but we started trying. We also started having problems.
After receiving nothing but negative pregnancy test results for awhile, I decided if I didn’t get pregnant soon I’d go on birth control and wait to have a baby.
We got a positive the next month.
Believe it or not, we were both ecstatic.
We became a family, his children and mine. We went on outings almost every weekend. I loved like I’d never thought possible.
I anticipated the arrival of our baby. My boys found the dad they’d been looking for.
But, of course, it doesn’t end with happily ever after. We continued to have our problems, but we were working on it. We were happy…or so I thought.
We even got engaged. We talked about our future and started planning for the wedding. Then, like everything else, it all came to an end. He left.
I endured the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy alone. I explained to my boys that they didn’t have a daddy.
Want to have a 6-year-old break your heart? Have that conversation with him.
Try explaining to 3- & 4-year-olds that they can’t call someone daddy anymore. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Then came our baby girl. I was terrified and heartbroken that my amazing child was coming into the world with a broken home.
How could I have failed all of my children so badly?
Having my daughter was the most amazing experience of my life. She completed my family. Her brothers love her.
Now comes the hard part, sending your newborn off with her daddy while your 3 other children ask why only she gets to go.
All your dreams? Shattered.
You thought this was it.
You couldn’t wait to see what it was like to watch your child have a healthy relationship with their father from start to finish.
You couldn’t wait to all pile up in the living room for a movie and see her daddy sing her to sleep or roll around on the floor with her.
That’s all gone in an instant and now you’re a full-time single mother of 4, 3 of whom have ONLY YOU and 1 who gets to visit her daddy and have another family.
My children are all I have and in a way, I’ve failed them tremendously. I wanted more for them.
I wanted to be able to give them that family they deserve and I can’t. Instead, all I did was add to their confusion and hurt.
Now I’m left to pick up the pieces of not only my heart but my children’s hearts as well.
Now I get to cry to my friends and family and hear everyone tell me that I’m gonna be ok. I’m strong. If anyone can do this, it’s me.
Another lesson learned.
I get to say, yet again, that I’m used to it.
You may hate me. You may speak poorly of me and think even less of me and honestly, I don’t care.
I’m going to be 25 and chances are I’ve already endured more heartbreak and pain than most ever will.
At the end of the day, I can still go to bed at night feeling like I’m a good person who’s trying her best to be a good mom.
People will continue to talk about me and judge me and that’s ok because I know myself. I have not made the best decisions, but I’m learning and growing from them.
I would gladly step out of my shoes and let anyone take a stroll through my past to my present, just to see if they’re still standing or on their knees begging God to take the pain away.
Some pain is not temporary. Some experiences will always hurt. Just getting through the day can feel like an accomplishment – sometimes it is.
It takes an incredible amount of strength to get up day after day and face life’s challenges as a single mother. Even if just being OK is all you have, that’s enough.
As long as you’re supporting your children, working hard to make sure they know how loved and precious they are, you’re doing your job as a mom.