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Pregnant and frightened – facing single parenthood and unsure what to do

(46 Posts)
AirMax1 Sat 11-May-13 12:47:55

I'm new here and this is my first post. I'm looking for some realistic advice from Mothers and Fathers, and I'd really appreciate the benefit of your experiences. Sorry – this is a horribly long post but I wanted to give enough background for it all to make sense.

I am 36 years old and moved to London from Edinburgh and couple of years ago for work. I have a decent job in publishing, and am paid reasonably, though for London standards I don't earn anything near a lot of money. I have no brothers or sisters, my mum lives overseas and we are estranged. I have no contact with my father. I don't have many friends in London though I get on well with the people I work with and I have very close friends in Edinburgh.

Just over a year ago I started a relationship with someone from work. When he was 18 (he is now 33), OH had split up with his then girlfriend when she told him she was 4 months pregnant. He made a decision to 'do the right thing' and stand by her. They had a DD who is now 13. Over the years they tried to make their relationship work, but struggles with money, the demands of raising a child and the basic fact that they had be thrown together through circumstance rather than choice took its toil and the relationship broke down. He left for a period when his DD was 5 but returned because he missed her and he wanted to try to make things work. Unfortunately things remained difficult and he finally left a year and a half ago.

At first, I really just saw our relationship it as a bit of fun, and so did OH. In the beginning his ex was trying to persuade him to go back and try again. He still spent time with his DD but he was adamant with his ex that their relationship was over. What with the complications of his previous relationship I didn't think our situation had the potential to become serious but we were enjoying the time we spent together so all was fine and good.

Then four months into the relationship in August last year, I discovered I was pregnant. If I'm completely honest, I'd convinced myself that it's pretty difficult to get pregnant – such a small window of opportunity, I had never been pregnant before, I had friends who had had difficulty conceiving etc. It was a devastating experience because I have always known I want children, but I had never expected it to be in those circumstances. OH was obviously very shaken – he had not long been out of a very difficult relationship that had come about as a result of an unplanned pregnancy and there he was staring that possibility in the face again. Plus, we had only been together 4 months and hadn't considered it to be serious. At the time I was only employed on a temporary contractual basis with no entitlement to maternity benefits, I was renting a room in a shared flat, and OH was living at his Dad's house. The situation felt impossible. It was utterly devastating for me because my heart and my gut were telling me I wanted to pursue the pregnancy but common sense was telling it would have been madness. I made the decision to have a termination and OH was very supportive. I choose to take the pill and pass the pregnancy at home. My experience was dreadful, it was very painful, went on for hours and was extremely traumatic. OH stayed with me the whole time and was amazing. I swore blind that I'd never go through that again. The whole experience seemed to bring OH and I closer together which felt like a good thing to have come out of something so awful.

OH is extremely pragmatic, and deals with things in a very different way to me. I'm a talker (as you can probably tell from the length of this post) whereas he keeps things inside and seldom voices his feelings. He very much dealt with the termination with the attitude that 'it's over, it can't be changed, it was done for the right reasons, move on'. I, on the other hand, wasn't able to do that. To begin with I tried to share his outlook and put it out of my head. Then, over the following weeks it began to feel more difficult. I tried to talk to OH about it but he would just tell me that I couldn't think about it that way. I began to feel terrible about it and was terrified that I'd made a dreadful mistake. I'd come home from work and get straight into bed and cry my eyes out. I struggled at work. I asked OH to listen to how I was feeling and to acknowledge my need to grieve. I spoke to work who were brilliantly understanding. I spoke to friends who listened and let me feel how I was feeling. And in just being able to voice my feelings, I started to feel better about it. The panic subsided and I began to feel at peace with my decision to terminate.

OH and I have become more serious. The company I had been working for took me on as a permanent employee and I moved into a rented flat on my own, which OH unofficially (i.e. isn't on the lease) shares with me and pays towards. The relationship has its ups and downs but generally it's good and we get on well. We do have some issues. We've not been together for over a year and despite this, I am yet to meet his DD or any of his family. While I have to respect his choice as her father to decide when would be best for us to meet, it's frustrating. He has admitted that in part, the reason why we haven't met yet is because he just can't imagine the logistics – the how, where, when – and because he's never introduced her to a girlfriend before he just doesn't know how to deal with it. So he doesn't. He ex seems to be more accepting of the fact that their relationship is over, but there are complications around joint mortgages, childcare etc which make things impossible to establish a clean break. He sees his daughter every week which is great, but he is still feels very much responsible for his ex as well as his daughter. He has told his family very little about me beyond there's 'a woman I'm seeing'. They don't even know my name.

And last week I discovered that I'm pregnant again. We've been SO careful after the last time so it came as a massive shock. I feel so stupid. I never imagined OH would react the way he has. He's furious with both of us for being so stupid and 'arrogant'. He's furious with himself because he knew that after last time I'd never want to go through another termination. He can't go through another unwanted pregnancy and be tied to another child he doesn't want. If I choose to have the baby I'm on my own. He'll give me money and help where he can but he can't be a part of it. He'll move out because he can't come home everyday to a pregnancy he doesn't want. He'll leave the company where we both work. He's in full-blown panic mode and seems completely unable to even begin to consider how this might be affecting me.

Highlights include:

Me: it's not my fault I'm pregnant, we both did this
OH: it's your fault if we have it

I understand his fear and his panic, that he feels he has had no say in his own life, that he has been at the mercy of other people since he was a teenager and he has missed out on things because of this. He says he's just not ready for this again. His daughter is just reaching an age where he can start to think about what he might like to do with his life, and I'm putting him in a position where he's going to have to do it all over again. I keep trying to tell him that this situation is different. We're not teenagers, we're adults. We both have decent jobs with an income. He'd be doing this with me from the beginning, with an input. We've been together for over a year. But all he feels is panic, that it's impossible and that he'd be completely trapped. I've asked him if he'd come to scans, if he'd want to be there at the birth, but he can't even imagine there being scans and a birth let alone being present at them.

I'm terrified of so much I don't even know where to begin. I'm frightened that every time I feel a twinge I might miscarry, even though I know it's just my body adapting. I'm terrified of getting fat, of being sick, of there being complications. Of having to do it all alone. I'm terrified of the birth. Afterwards, the logistics of having to look after new baby on my own, with no sleep and no one to help. What about money? How will I manage on my own? How will I pay my rent? I won't be able to on my own and because I have a job my entitlement to benefits or council housing is next to zero but I don't earn enough to manage. I feel so stressed. I want to have this baby so much and yet I feel such a burden of guilt because OH feels like his life is ending. He's so adamant that he wants no part in it so I'm having to think about whether I can really so this on my own.

I don't think I can go through another termination. It broke my heart before. I'm 36 years old. I'm certain the impact would be devastating. OH insists that it would be shorter lived than having a child for the rest of my life.

I'm looking for some insight. I know it's hard having a baby and raising a child. People who I know have OHs and support are tell me it's hard, so how the hell do I do this on my own? No OH, no family, no money, and few friends?

queenofthepirates Tue 04-Jun-13 18:35:55

Hi OP, good to hear you're still with us. Sorry about the BC business but like your solicitor advised, it may be better in the long term. He can always apply to go on it at a later date but my advice would be to fight the battles that are worth it just now and don't sweat the stuff that doesn't need to be fought.

Stay with us and keep in touch xxx

janey223 Tue 04-Jun-13 08:41:52

If you are east i don't think it's too hard to get social housing, apply in the different boroughs you like/feel comfortable in.

I didn't even know there was such a thing as a midwife who deals with depressed women! Glad you're getting some support though.

Could you join a pregnancy yoga or Pilates class? It's a good way to meet other people

janey223 Tue 04-Jun-13 08:15:56

OP sorry your OH has turned out to be such an ass. My ex never demanded an abortion, pretended everything was fine then disappeared after 12w scan.

Have you told him you cannot afford the rent on your own? That he needs to contribute?

If he refuses you can apply for LHA and a discretionary payment (on the basis that he has left and you need to stay in your home as you're pregnant) I'd also apply for council housing. Depends on the borough though, mine I have no hope of ever getting one!

burberryqueen Tue 04-Jun-13 07:26:38

good luck H369, I know this is a trite cliche but you and the baby deserve better than that tosswank anyway. You might find London a far friendlier place than you imagine. Don't write off the CSA too quickly, the early years are not that bad financially, it is later that it gets more expensive.
There is loads of support here on mumsnet and other places like mum and baby groups etc.
please don't cry anymore

H369 Tue 04-Jun-13 07:15:55

Thank you to all who have offered support.

I have looked into all of the issues re. parental responsibility and declarations of acknowledgement and allsorts. My only wish is for my child to have a father named on their bc, although in my heart I know that he will never concede to this. A solicitor advised me against even thinking about it, stating that he could use his PR as leverage against me in the future. I was so disappointed in that suggestion.

I will not pursue my baby's father through the CSA. I know that might sound daft to some people, but this has never been about money. I'm not well off or anything and it will be a struggle. I know legally he has a financial responsibility whether he likes it or not, but he knows that there is an unborn child and I feel that if he feels no moral responsibility to support his child, then I want nothing from him. If he felt any responsibility then one would hope that he would offer support and the CSA wouldn't need to be involved anyway. I have also read that the CSA's role is changing and that receiving mothers will be deducted a small percentage of what is collected on their behalf. I really just cannot face the grief and animosity it would cause.

The only support I would want from him is emotional support for his child. But that is never going to be on offer and that breaks my heart for my unborn child every day.

pegwin Mon 27-May-13 20:48:50

h369 he has no right to tell you what to do. i probably would not tell my dcs about a father that might reject them but I sure as hell would youtell the CSA which is probably all he is worried about. but that is just me.

you are entitled though to financial support to make up for lack of RL support.

wishing you both good luck.

girliefriend Sun 26-May-13 20:24:27

Any update op?

Yika Sun 26-May-13 20:22:32

I had a baby on my own at 43. Rocky relationship, only lasted a year, we split when I was 8 months pregnant. I also don't have a huge support network as I live abroad. I do earn good money though and my XP is involved and has our DD one or two days a week. These things make a big difference.

I absolutely adore my DD who is now 2.7 and she has changed my life and made me incredibly happy. If you want a baby, just focus on that. The practical and logistical come after. It may be easier or it may be harder depending on many things (whether you are able to plug into local support networks; whether you are able to manage financially, keep working, find suitable childcare; whether you have an easy or high-needs baby etc.) but I am sure you will never regret the child.

TrickyTreeLou Sun 26-May-13 20:02:12

I'm 36 and have got a 7 week old baby on my own. Husband left suddenly one day last year, 4 days after he left I found out I was pregnant. I then discovered he had been having an affair and had also got someone else pregnant, I had NO idea of this at all.

I faced an agonising summer deciding whether to keep the baby. We had been undergoing fertility treatement for 3 years (!) before I got pregnant, but I was so scared of being able to do it on my own.

My H is living with OW and has requested to have no information on the legitimate son from his marriage. We are currently getting divorced. He has not even seen a photo of his DS. I don't know if OW even knows I've had his child (keeping quiet until I receive a financial settlement).

Anyway, point is I decided to keep the little one. I'm currently absolutely knackered as he's on a growth spurt. smile

But he is adorable and I look at him now and cannot believe that I thought about aborting. He seems a miracle to me. I'm scared about the future and I'm scared about how I'll manage, but already I now see the pair of us as a new team. And however hard/tiring it is, there's no man in the background expecting dinner on the table or criticising me.

Get as much help/advice/support as you can if you are able. I was referred for counselling when I was making my decision whether to keep or abort and that was fabulous. I also had a special midwive who deals with women who are pregnant in difficult circumstances. They have always monitored me in case I feel depressed/overwhelmed. My Health Visitor has also been fabulous and very supportive.

Don't want to sway your decision, but just to wish you all the very best. thanks Sorry for rambling about my story.

inadreamworld Sat 25-May-13 09:56:47

It comes through clearly from your post that you really want this child. Keep that in mind and you can sort everything else out. Of course you will face difficulties as a single Mum but not as many as you would face if you had a termination and regretted it all of your life.

H369 Sat 25-May-13 09:50:11

Well, when I thought things couldn't get lower, he contacted me by electronic means on the morning of my scan and told me that he has moved on and is in a new relationship and expects me never to tell anyone that he is the father of this child, not even the child. He wants no information at all. He does not want to know when it has been born.
I wept through my scan appt. I am now being referred to a midwife who specialises in depression in pregnancy.
I swing between feeling annoyed that he has turned out to be so ............ and distressed still at how this will affect my baby/child as it grows.
Do I really never tell me child it's father's name when the time comes?
I am still in a semi state of denial; still cannot get my head around that my life has changed forever. I still do not know what is for the best, so hurt am I by his words and his withdrawal from both our lives.

Alanna1 Sat 18-May-13 05:27:30

Hello, big hug xx. London can feel like a lonely place but it isn't. I think you are doing everything right. Demand your GP and midwife refer you both to urgent counselling (break down in tears with the midwife!).

I don't know mile end area but if you keep the baby (its your decision xxx) (1) try and move to a nappy valley you can afford if mile end isn't it - there's quite a few parents in walthamstow for e.g.? - and that works for your work and OH. But there's prob a good community in mile end
(2) get in touch with the NCT. Make sure you are booked in a class for your area and due date. They book up fast in London. Explain your situation and i hope they'd give you a discount.
(3) get a support group to help financially. Are you of any religious persuasion (or vaguely CofE?). Your local church will help even if not and I imagine other religious communities are the same. See (4).
(4) people love babies. Its easier to get help when you have a newborn than when you have a strapping toddler. You need that network for when you have the toddler.
(5) register for all the childrens centres in whatever area you live as soon as baby is born. Then hassle them for childcare. Try not to lose your job if you can afford not too - childcare hits for 4 or so years, then primary education us free and takes most of it!
(6) find the places to go whilst you're pregnant - you wont have time when the baby is here!
(7) nearly new sales are great but explain your situation and make friends with toddlers and you will get gifted lots of stuff. Join freecycle.

Dervel Sat 18-May-13 03:51:07

H369 I'm a little worried about you. You sound completely isolated, and you shouldn't be at a time like this. I wish you all the best as well, and please consider posting on here some more for moral support and a friendly ear.

Dervel Sat 18-May-13 03:41:24

I know we've all heard how much of an ass your OH is, and for all I know all the suppositions and guesses may well be right on the money. Regardless you will find no argument from me that he isn't acting well at the moment.

However you did say you only just found out last week, and I can understand everyones emotions are running high and both of you are locked in full on panic mode. I for one would like to reserve judgement on the chap until all the cards are on the table and you are a little further on than the first week. Not that I am condoning his lack of empathy at this stage in any way, that would be something he should be accountable for as things move forward. It is obvious you are empathising with how he feels.

In addition your situation really does sound like the perfect storm. A bloke who tried to do the noble thing by his pregnant GF back in his teens to have it all royally blow up in his face, and you with the horrific abortion experience under your belt. It is perfectly understandable how you wouldn't want to countenance a second, and nor should you. At this stage the decision is yours.

Can you do this on your own? I don't know, only you can know that for certain, but absolutely nothing in your post indicates to me that you couldn't. You have communicated effectively and well, demonstrated a practical analysis of the situation, empathised with someone who has treated you poorly, and done all of that whilst it must feel as if the sky is falling in. In short you come across as a capable, thoughtful and caring individual in the middle of a desperate situation. People have suggested some very sound things on here already, but might I suggest a trip up to Edinburgh? You need to take some time to calm and center yourself in the company of some old friends who love you.

My heart goes out to you, and I trully wish you the best possible outcome.

PollyIndia Thu 16-May-13 17:41:55

Sounds like the right step re the counselling. I found a NHS choices place online. I hope the counselling helps. And best of luck with the viability scan. Pregnancy can be an anxious time at the best of times, as you just want all to be well. Fingers crossed for you.
And as I say, just PM if you ever want a coffee and a chat.

AirMax1 Wed 15-May-13 22:27:25

PollyIndia, I'm in East London too! I live in Mile End. It's so reassuring to hear that there are other people nearby in similar situations

AirMax1 Wed 15-May-13 22:25:49

Thank you LlamaLover, that was lovely!

AirMax1 Wed 15-May-13 22:24:55

So I cancelled our counselling appointment because I discovered that the place we were supposed to be going to is affiliated to the catholic church. I have every respect for other peoples religious beliefs but I firmly believe in a woman's right to choice, and the church's pro-life stance is very clear. I don't believe that an organisation with these connections would be able to give non-biased and impartial advice to women and men facing pregnancy-related issues so I decided not to use their services on principle.

I've been in touch with Relate and am trying to get an appointment with someone who can see us. In the meantime, everything is the same. DP is also refusing to have sex, which isn't helping make the gap between us any smaller.

In other news, I've got my first doctor's appointment on Friday, and I've booked a viability scan for the 30th at the Fetal Medicine Centre. I've heard lots of great things about it and I'm hoping it will help to relax me a little (assuming all is well) as I'm feeling stressed that all this stress could be harming my baby confused

PollyIndia Wed 15-May-13 20:30:38

That's a lovely post llamalover

LlamaLover Wed 15-May-13 13:47:56

I got pregnant with my partner of 4 years but what I didn't know was he had a whole other life including another girlfriend and got her pregnant when I was 6 months pregnant. So, support from him was very lacking from then on. I don't have any family either.

But you know what, it was fine. I'm sure there were hard times, but I remember the start of my boy's life as a blissful bubble. I'd just met the most amazing (little) man and much like when you meet a new boyfriend, I was just engrossed in him and the rest didn't really matter. I fell so completly in love, it was worth the struggles.

He is now 2.5 and to be honest, the only bad things about no support are 1) feel like I'm on lock down after he is in bed. Can't even pop to the shops. 2) when I'm ill I have to keep working and looking after my boy, no 'time off' at all. 3) sometimes I feel conflicting pressures to be there for him and to earn the money to make us financially secure at the same time.

I can tell you so many amazing things about doing it by yourself.

1) nobody judging your parenting (DP, MIL) so you can just get on with what you think is best for your baby

2) we have adventures together. He has travelled all over with me visiting friends. He slots into my life more than if I had a partner. Of course I have adapted my life to him, but OUR lives work well together.

3) No third party to worry about. My son is great in social situations and super charming and I think its because he has seen lots of different types of people and experienced all these things with me. Its me and him against the world.

4) you get ALL the cuddles and kisses smile

You can do it (and it sounds like you really want to). He sounds horrid (but I know you might not like to hear that). Take care and know that there is amazing support out there. Xxx

Piemother Wed 15-May-13 01:37:22

Re your dp. All he thinks of is himself and how hard done by he is. Are you absolutely sure he isn't still with dd mum? Something doesn't hang right here.
Aside from that where's the give and take? Your feelings in this are equally important and he only has time for his own hmm
I'm a lone parent of two and I'm nearly 34. Wouldn't change it grin

PollyIndia Tue 14-May-13 21:17:33

It really sounds like you have been through the mill sad I got pregnant by my ex, so different background, but like your OH, he really put me under pressure to have a termination and we ended up going to counselling together. That helped him understand why abortion wasn't an option for me and it helped having an independent third party to listen to both of us. That was actually the last time I saw him - I invited him to the 13 week scan a few days after but he didn't respond, and he also didn't respond to my text saying I had the baby in October.
I was 36 - turned 37 the day I gave birth - and I live in east London. It isn't easy but I have never regretted it.
Where in London are you? Happy to meet for a coffee if you wanted to chat in person. I know another single mum of a 9 mth girl round here too. Having a good support network is essential I would say.
Good luck

iwantanafternoonnap Tue 14-May-13 13:17:20

I was with my ex when we had our much wanted son but didn't stop him buggering off and never seeing his son again. Having a child within a relationship means diddly squat and my ex came across as the most loving, hand on, caring and committed father which is why it is still such a shock that he wants nothing to do with our son but hey I am sure the OW has something to do with that decision.

I have a friend whose childs father said the same thing to her when pregnant 'I want nothing to do with you or the baby' she went it alone and did it fantastically. Her childs father got back in contact via his mother when her daughter was 2, he now sees her every Sunday unless either of them wish to swap to a Saturday, gives her money and also buys anything my friend asks for that she can't afford. He also gives her money to take her daughter away on holiday. So initially he was an arsehole about it all but is now being ok.

Have your child and you H369 it will all work out and you will both cope. My child is a very happy little boy despite a wanker for a father. There are plenty of children out there with no dads for a variety of reasons and the majority do okay.

DeskPlanner Tue 14-May-13 13:04:31

You sound like you really want this baby, don't let him convince you otherwise. Good luck and congratulations thanks .

H369 Tue 14-May-13 07:58:16

Dear Airmax1I am in a most similar situation. I am the same age and pregnant (unplanned and a contraception fail) by a man who has basically said he will have nothing to do with me or our child if I go ahead and have it. He will not acknowledge the child ever. We are not even communicating anymore, which hurts greatly.I too have had difficulty deciding what to do. I made and then cancelled (because I couldn't face it) four appts for a termination. I am torn between the circumstances being nothing like I ever imagined, hurting that father immensely by going ahead and my regretting that decision forever. On the other hand, I am desperately worried and feel irresponsible for having a child who will know that their father does not want to know them ever and being entirely on my own emotionally, practically and financially, which I know will be a huge struggle. My current employment will not allow part time working (they state it is incompatible with the business needs of the operation, which is entirely legal to do - it has happened to others). I am just dreadfully confused. The maths of the potential financial situation do not add up even without the emotional and practical considerations.Whilst I have booked a 12 week scan appt, I am not sure that I will not book a final termination appt too. I apologise to all that are shocked or disgusted by that; I am just so frightened of bringing a child into the world that suffers emotionally by not being able to know who it's father is and is subject to a life far less than I would want to offer it, because of how things are.My decision to terminate is not about thinking that it would bring the father back to me. That is gone on every level. I hurt for that, but I am realistic about what it means. Someone who cares for me would not say the things that have been said; there is no going back there. It is entirely about what life I would be giving this child and whether or not that would be fair to it and whether I am strong enough to do it.I have always wanted children, but as part of a loving relationship where we had decided to build a family, not like this. I am conscious of my age and time running down for me to meet someone who I get to do that with. However, I still am not sure that that is a good enough reason to go ahead with this now; it feels selfish and possibly foolish.I have no friends to confide in or turn to for support. Circumstances over the last couple of years have left me entirely alone. I am wary, due to finding myself in such a position anyway, of making new friends because I feel a need to protect myself from feeling let down again by anyone.I hope that you work things out. However that may be. I admire those posting who had the strength to go ahead alone and are clearly joyful at their decision.I am not sure what my decision will be. It takes up every moment of my day just thinking about it.

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