The instant I caught of glimpse of that pregnancy test screen, I knew my life was going to change. Starring at the words PREGNANT laid coldly on my bathroom counter I honestly wasn't sure if it would be for better or for worse. As a single 25-year-old, there was obviously the question of will I be having this child?
Deciding to move forward was a choice that I made; a choice that was solely mine to make. My decision wasn't exactly clear-cut, although I've been pro-choice for as long as one could take a political stance on the issue.
After texting the father, "we need to talk", calling twice and remaining unanswered, I did what any modern-day woman in crisis would do... I sent him a picture message of all five positive pregnancy tests sitting on my bureau (yes, five, I was in slight denial).
His response was cold and to the point, "this isn't good, I hope you aren't planning on keeping it". I was well aware this was never a potential boyfriend, but after years of "casual relations", I was a little taken-aback by his heartless reaction to the situation.
After a week of being locked in my bedroom binge watching Criminal Minds and crying, I texted him arranging to meet me in a parking lot for the abortion money. The way he entered my car and cowered down saying "hey" made me want to punch him in the face. He was talking to me like I just told him I was dying with forced pity in his voice but indifference on his face. I just took the envelope and told him to get out of the car.
That Monday I called out of work and went to a clinic with my best friend. The whole situation was overwhelming. I knew I couldn't do it, but still waited the six-hour wait to be called into the procedure room. I cried and cried reading the supportive messages written on the wall by other women forced to make this decision. I frantically put my clothes on and ran.
I would never judge any woman who followed through. This is the most personal and difficult decision and I understand that everyone has her own reasons for making one over the other. But I just could not do it. I knew the father wouldn't be involved but I also knew, I don't need him to be.
I gave him his $500 back and told him he didn't need to be involved if he didn't want to be... I haven't heard from him since. Life is about choices. That choice was solely his to make.
To admit this story now makes me feel guilty because as I nurse Rowen on one side while typing one-handedly on the other, I can't imagine a world where he isn't here. But to pretend I was completely overjoyed initially finding out I was pregnant wouldn't be fair. It was a scary, pivotal moment of my story that changed everything forever.
I'm sure there are those curious as to who the father of my child is. There are probably random girls from high school sitting at Panera trolling Facebook that see a picture of my son and ask, "Who the hell is Lizz's baby daddy?"
Sometimes this bothers me.
I've gone through an entire pregnancy and rubbed my own feet and gotten my own ice cream. I've attended birthing classes and infant CPR classes and been the only one without a partner. I've had to awkwardly answer the question, "is the father involved?" When my child is fussy, I get no break, I soothe him every.single.time.
I am not someone to pity. I am the independent woman we all sing-a-long with Beyonce about.
Rowen is one month old today. The past month has been a whirlwind of humbling firsts: the first time I walked my dog without a bra on, the first time I've been shot in the eye with pee, the first time I had to wash poop out of a towel, the first time I had to put ointment on my bloody nipple, and the first time I have been genuinely scared to look at my vagina.
Yesterday I took a trip to Dunkin Donuts while Rowen slept at his aunt's house. It was the first time in an entire month that I have left him. While I sat in the car blasting rap music and sucking down my iced coffee, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had no make-up on, hair in a bun and the bags under my eyes visible. In that moment, I just smiled.
I have learned so much. The little things do not matter. At the end of the day if my child is fed, changed and clothed, I am doing okay. If there is laundry to be done or a kitchen counter to be bleached and I get to it, good for me! Get it girl! If I am too tired, let it go!
There is no such thing as perfect: especially in motherhood. People will judge regardless of what I do or how well I am doing it. There is no person more open to public criticism and offered more unnecessary advice than a first time mother. And frankly, I am killing it!
Being a single mother was never in my life plan and if you had told me a year ago that I would be in this position, I would of laughed. I would have assumed I was too smart to be knocked-up by an asshole. I was ignorant and judgmental of other strong women who had to make a choice, who are raising their children solo. But sometimes- life happens, quite literally.
I have hard days and I have easy days. But I am so proud of myself and the immense, personal growth experienced in such a short period of time.