It was terrifying. Even at 31 I wasn’t sure I could do it on my own. I didn’t exactly “have it together” to begin with and there I was, pregnant with the prospect of raising a child without any support from the father. I had to acquire all my baby things second-hand with what little money I had. I had a healthy pregnancy and a quick labour and delivery which resulted in the most beautiful baby girl, K. From her second day on the outside, K has been high needs and spirited and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Being a single parent from the day your baby is born is a tough road, and a lonesome one. My mother held her for me every night for a couple of hours during her colicky period so that I could get a break. I had so little support, that this was a lifesaver for me. I don’t know how I would have made it through those first months without that short break every night. As the months went by K slowly began to become independent but I still felt like I was just hanging on. Doing all the night wakings alone, looking after her all day alone, holding her 24/7, walking back and forth through the house to keep her happy had taken its toll. I needed to get a job, but having not finished college, no child care, my options were limited.
Out of the blue one day, I was contacted by a friend who needed a position filled immediately at a child care centre when K was 11 months old. A friend looked after her until I got her into my daycare. It was the best setup. No stopping to and from work to pickup and drop off K at daycare. Well, the 45-minute ride on public transit proved to be too much for K to handle and after a year and a half of bringing her to work with me, I had to transfer her to a new centre closer to home.
When she was just over a year old, her father started taking her for visits for the day. I finally got some time to myself and we were both happier for it. About a year after that he started taking her for the night. Boy, did I ever feel like a new woman! I got shit done. I ran errands and cleaned the house. I sat around and did nothing. It was great.
For any mother, working adds a new challenge, but I’ve been working at the same place for 2.5 years now and I couldn’t be happier. If I wasn’t happy with my job then I don’t know how I would cope.
So here we are, almost 3.5 years later and we’re thriving. We’re not rich, but we get by. Life is busy but boy, do I love her for it.