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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 Sat 11-May-13 14:14:29

Oh my you really have been through the wars haven't you? Well let's focus on you for a bit and your feelings. You sound as though you want this child right? Okay well that's one decision made.

So, the practical side. Having a baby on your own isn't easy but actually there's a lot of positives. Financially you can cope but you will have to but there are a lot of benefits available to you as a single mum. Contact Gingerbread to get an assessment over the phone and put your mind at rest. If it's all looking too expensive, that's okay. Now is a great time to start your own business to wrap around the baby's waking and sleeping and an opportunity to move out of London somewhere cheaper.

There is a lot of support for you out there but you might have to go looking for it. Gingerbread are a good start but also look at the NCT a little way down the line and your midwife/health visitor and church groups. All want you to succeed in this (as do most of the people on here).

I have been in your shoes, pregnant in London and the Dad didn't want to know (still doesn't). I moved out to the home counties after the birth, started a business working from home in the evenings and two years on, we live cheaply but comfortably back where I came from originally. I was 36 too. It is the best thing I have ever done, she is my greatest achievement and I don't regret a minute of it.

With any luck your OH will come round and stop behaving so poorly but don't rely on it. You need to be very strong right now but it will get easier. I promise x

finickypinickity Sat 11-May-13 14:26:21

OMG what a nightmare for you.

You sound as though you want children, if not now, then in the future whereas he just sees children as a millstone, even the one he already hasconfused Have you considered a life without children ever which is what he wants and will be your life if you stay with him?

I think you are worrying about the wrong thing and should be more concerned that you could spend the rest of your life with a selfish idiot. He has had no life?... Pffff what an arsehole thing to say. He has got a DD already. Is that not an incredible thing to have in his life and i'm sure he didnt give up as much as his ex wife to raise her.

If you want your baby then do not be emotionally blackmailed into terminating because your relationship is heading into the bin anyway because you will be filled with resentment and grief and at some point it will all come pouring out unless your'e 100% at ease with your decision.

You are more than capable of raising a child alone, loads of women do it. its not ideal but we do it. Look at the practical side of things for now, money, maternity leave and options of childcare and then deal with the emotional side. It might surprise you how organised and prepared you could be if you do decide to go solosmile

As for getting fat, meh, give it 10 years you might be fat anyway once middle age checks in for good. Theres not a lot any of us can do about the ageing process. As least you can blame your DC like i dowink

Hopefully someone will come along and give some real advice but i couldnt leave your post unanswered.

Goodluck x

PurpleThing Sat 11-May-13 22:37:04

It IS hard having a child even if you have support, money etc. But if you go ahead, you will be going in to this with your eyes open.

You can make friends, a baby is a great tool to start conversations with people at groups. You will find people to share things and support you, you just need to put yourself out there a bit once you have decided where to live.

Personally I moved away from South of England as it was just too expensive for me. But I don't know how rare a permanent job is in your sector, maybe worth hanging on to? Look into the options, make a list of different things to research and tackle one at a time.

Sorry but I have little sympathy for your dp. Just going on what you have written here, I wonder about his story re ex and not introducing you although you live together? If he really didn't want any more children he could have done something about it himself. I would quit worrying about him and concentrate on yourself and your pregnancy.

Have you met your midwife yet? Tell her what is going on. Does your company have any counselling service for its staff? Whatever happens you need someone to offload onto.

BetterDaze Sat 11-May-13 23:57:12

I had a baby in London too and moved when she was just 3 months old to be nearer family. I was offered a house with a HA, might be worth trying to get your name down with a few, even if you want to stay in the London area.

I am in the same situation, the dad never wanted to know and it is hard but like other posters have said my daughter is the best thing I have had come into my life and I'm so glad she did. I was 38 when she was born and didn't think I'd ever get the chance to have kids.

You may not get fat or feel sick, I wasn't sick at all during my pregnancy. Breastfeeding is good for taking the weight off, as is long walks with the pram. You will manage, you can do this, you are stronger than you think.

iwantanafternoonnap Sun 12-May-13 08:54:03

First off your relationship with this guy is screwed either way as you will resent him for forcing you into another termination and you want kids and he doesn't. Personally I would remove him from the equation and get rid. I don't think you have been told the whole truth abouthis previous relationship either.

Next you can clearly tell from your post you want this child so IMO gave it, your child will bring you much joy, heartache and hardwork. You will cope because you have to and the first few years will be tough with some extremely funny moments. You will make friends, you'll manage your finances (although I would move out of London when you can) there is support out there.
No point worrying about getting fat as that's just daft really and the other stuff just happens and you deal with it as an when.
You will cope and you will have a wonderful baby.

Earthworms Sun 12-May-13 09:04:59

You might get more traffic if you ask for this to be moved to relationships. ( just click report ans ask to be moved)

Second. I don't think you should have any sympathy with his poor me attitude. If he feels so strongly about never ever having kids then he should have had the snip and used condoms. Or not had sex.

But he did have sex, knowing the risks.

You haven't ruined his life. Loads of people have kids and a great life.

Other than that iwant s post sums it up perfectly

Earthworms Sun 12-May-13 09:13:04

Posted too soon,

I don't have personal experience of seing a single mum, though I do have a few close single mum friends who seem to manage just fine, but I did get accidentally pg at 36.
It knocked my career back a little, but not massively and I do consider my amazing wonderful surprise dd my greatest achievement bar none.

Good luck. You now have the power of mumsnet behind you. If you want it, that is. smile

letsgetreadytoramble Sun 12-May-13 11:06:07

If you want to have this baby, then have it - you'll be ok. You live in a country where there is really good support (financial, emotional, practical) for parents, you just need to go and look for it - you'd be amazed by all the people out there who are just waiting to help you. You don't need to have a partner to raise a child - they're not the be all and end all.

And you won't get fat, you'll have a beautiful bump which you'll love more than you've ever loved anything before. I did feel sick at the beginning, but I was only ever actually sick once (after eating some soup my MIL made wink) and I actually didn't mind the sicky feeling - I found it reassuring that my baby was growing strong.

It might be an idea to consider a move back to Edinburgh with the wee one after your maternity leave too - it would be cheaper than London and it sounds like you we're happy there and have a good support network there.

I wish you all the very best with your decision. And also agree that it's probably best to factor your DP out of your decision, as it sounds like he is only thinking of himself and you don't need that right now. thanks

HerrenaHarridan Sun 12-May-13 12:00:28

Firstly I would like to get this out of the way. Your dp did have control over whether he got his ex or you pregnant and his control ended when he didn't put a condom on. He is behaving abominably. It is up to you to decide if its worth saving but personally I would rather do it in my own than with a selfish brat of a grow man (I finally made that decision when dd was 10mo and still wish I'd made it sooner!)

Now more importantly, do not feel bullied into a termination.

Plenty of women manage in your circumstance and you will too.

If I was you I would leave London (well I'd never have moved there in the first place but each to their own)
If you have a support network in edinburgh come back here (guess where I live smile)
You can do it without a support network but it is much much harder (my mum lives in Watford, my bf in Portsmouth!)

If that's not what you want to do (after all I haven't chosen to leave edinburgh!) you can still manage, some one up thread suggested gingerbread, also citizens advice.
There are benefits that you can get as a working parent, child tax credits, working tax credits, child benefit, partial housing benefit, child care vouchers.

So calm down, put your feet up, look after yourself. Take it all a day at a time

Oh and.... Congratulations! smile

queenofthepirates Sun 12-May-13 12:37:10

Hi OP, there's some great advice here and plenty of inspiring women with positive experiences. I hope some of it has given you some hope that it's all possible. Do stay in touch and tell us how you go xx

gettingeasiernow Sun 12-May-13 17:17:45

I had a baby in London on my own age 42, much wanted. DP duly left when ds was five weeks, not a surprise, never had a penny from him nor any help, and don't have family close by.
It sounds like you have to choose between dp and baby, but honestly, if you went through a second termination, I think the relationship would be pretty doomed anyway. So I think he's out of the loop anyway - it's a question of do you want to keep this baby or not.
I would do it all again in a shot, but I am someone who doesn't much like socialising, I'm very independent, and I have a reasonable income. It's not for everyone. And I desperately wanted a child - that's something you need to gauge too.
If you go ahead, you will find contacts with women in similar situations and you will help one another - this is a good thing about London - you'll rely on each other to cover childcare when you need to or just for chat and understanding. I found two such lifelong friendships. However money may be an issue and a big strain.
In my mind, I knew that I wouldn't ever be fine enough to find a life partner if I hadn't been a mother - you have more time than I had. I was on my own completely for seven years but was all whole and happy when I met my now dh, when ds was 7. So the loneliness and the slog are not forever, but you have to get your mind to a happy place to find the right relationship. How quickly can you move to that happy whole place with baby, and without baby?

gettingeasiernow Sun 12-May-13 17:39:27

re-read your post and have decided your oh has few redeeming features. Honestly I'd ditch him and keep the baby. You'll be fine.

crazyhead Sun 12-May-13 21:37:23

In your shoes, I would be trying to work out quickly how much of a life priority having children is for you and being pretty tough-minded about it.

You are 36, and if you terminate now, you're in a bad state of mind, in a relationship with a man that doesn't want kids. You'd have to turn things around quickly to get together (although of course it can happen) with Mr Right and be trying for children at 38/39 as a couple. Any older than that and you are skating on fertility thin ice statistically.

I don't quite know what I'd actually do and what you do will depend on priorities and whether you see potential childlessness or starting life as a lone parent as more of risk to you personally. However I do know this is how I'd think.

I don't mean to underplay the trauma of another termination, either, but I would also focus on the long term issues here. I would also forget thinking about the OH, he sounds very selfish.

girliefriend Sun 12-May-13 21:58:12

Can't believe he is being such an idiot shock

You will be fine, if you have a termination I think you will really regret it but if you have the baby you never will.

Definately look into social housing as though you earn enough now your income will go down when you are on maternity leave etc.

I have been on my own since conception and financially its fine, babies don't need to cost a lot, you can get loads of baby stuff very cheaply second hand. Plus if you are doing it on your own I found people were very generous with baby gifts!!

So my advice is embrace the pregnancy and tell the stupid bloke to get stuffed grin

AirMax1 Mon 13-May-13 22:46:17

Oh my goodness, thank so you all so much for replying. I still can't quite believe that more than one person actually took the time to read my whole long and drawn out post... I really appreciate everyone's advice.

Nothing has changed really, he's still absolutely adamant that he wants no part in it. But the more he wants me to terminate, the more certain I am that I want to keep my baby. The more he behaves like this, the more I'm convinced I can do it alone. I'm trying to focus on being well and healthy and getting through the first trimester.

He has agreed to come and meet a pregnancy counsellor with me on Wednesday, but I think he still believes that I won't go through with the pregnancy on my own. I think the only reason he has agreed to come on Wednesday is because he thinks I want to talk about the possibility of having a termination. What I want him to see from meeting with a pregnancy counsellor is that he has a responsibility here too and that no amount of shouting and getting angry is going to change that. And I want him to see that this affects more than just him, and that if he continues to put me under this kind of stress and pressure it could be harmful to me and the baby.

In any case, I'll keep you posted. It's incredible to find a community of people who are so supportive and who know what it's like. Thank you for being there for me.

AirMax1 Mon 13-May-13 22:48:17

Oh my goodness, thank so you all so much for replying. I still can't quite believe that more than one person actually took the time to read my whole long and drawn out post... I really appreciate everyone's advice.

Nothing has changed really, he's still absolutely adamant that he wants no part in it. But the more he wants me to terminate, the more certain I am that I want to keep my baby. The more he behaves like this, the more I'm convinced I can do it alone. I'm trying to focus on being well and healthy and getting through the first trimester.

He has agreed to come and meet a pregnancy counsellor with me on Wednesday, but I think he still believes that I won't go through with the pregnancy on my own. I think the only reason he has agreed to come on Wednesday is because he thinks I want to talk about the possibility of having a termination. What I want him to see from meeting with a pregnancy counsellor is that he has a responsibility here too and that no amount of shouting and getting angry is going to change that. And I want him to see that this affects more than just him, and that if he continues to put me under this kind of stress and pressure it could be harmful to me and the baby.

In any case, I'll keep you posted. It's incredible to find a community of people who are so supportive and who know what it's like. Thank you for being there for me.

HerrenaHarridan Mon 13-May-13 22:54:03

Good for you!

You absolutely can do it by yourself, it won't be a walk in the park but if any ever told you parenthood would be they were lying!

And don't forget to come and tell us how the pregnancy counselling went smile

AirMax1 Mon 13-May-13 22:57:07

I will!

russetbella1000 Mon 13-May-13 23:00:08

I just wanted to say, I was also 36....My daughter is THE best thing that has ever happened/will ever happen to me.

I can't say how anything will be for you of course but if you want a child please focus on that not on anyone else's feelings. They are just human and will do/say what is in their best interests therefore the only duty you have is to yourself and your baby. At this stage, as the mother, your feelings and wants are the priority. Whether or not the father will at one stage or another want to share that duty is up to him but cannot be the basis of your decisions.

Just do what will make you happy in the long run.

I also had a termination in my twenties- it was 'right' but I certainly didn't take into account how much it affected me...Nothing huge just real sadness when I thought I might never have the opportunity again to be the mother I wanted to be...

I hope you find the strength to be happy with your decisions.

russetbella1000 Mon 13-May-13 23:09:25

...And btw how arrogant is it when some men think 'you won't go through it on your own' ...

Why on earth not????

We need to get the message across that no man is far far better than a splineless idiot who cannot accept his reponsibility. As if we choose all the situations we come to in life...Of course not but our choice comes in whether we 'own' it or not. Sadly some men just can't.

Please don't accept the emotional abuse/blackmail and accept that how you think is just different (it's the only way to not feel angry too :0)

I have often told my ex I was more likely to have a termination (which I never would have done) if I thought he would be involved...which soon stopped him in his tracks...A low shot I know but under such provocation!

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.

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 .

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.

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

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