Shame on Me If You Fool Me Twice
Single parent second time around.
Thoughs of you that have read my previous article will already know that I became a single mother at the age of twenty and battled against the odds to provide of my child alone. This is a continuation of my battle and what happened next.
I moved out of my tiny mould infested bedsit into a spacious two bedroom flat with my new baby boy Liam, I felt like things were looking up for us even though I had to start again with buying new furniture and decorating the place. Money was still pretty much non exsistant and every day was a battle. Liam was five months old by then and along with that came a whole new set of problems from teething to weening, waking up at 5am everyday feeling like I had not slept for years, the constant washing and cleaning, picking up things off the floor so Liam didn't put them in his mouth. Trying to keep on top of bills so the electric or gas didn't run out. Trying to get groceries for the whole week for less than £20 with no idea how to cook proper meals or even figure out the ingredients I needed to buy. My total weeks income was around £80 and once I had paid out for nappies, clothing for Liam and rent I was left with less than £4 which I saved for emergencies. I felt even more alone than ever at this point, my new home was much further away from my friends and family and I didn't know anybody in my local area.
I started dating the man I had a crush on when I was a teen, finally I saw some light at the end of the tunnel, I had someone to share my worries with, someone that made me feel safe and someone to give me some adult conversation after a long day of baby talk. I was like a woman renewed. This feeling didn't last long though, He was very insecure and before I knew what hit me, I was spending my days reasurring him that I would never hurt him, arguing over problems that only exsited in his head and constantly treading on egg shells in case I upset him somehow. Stupid and naïve I stood by him dispite his constant neediness and accusing me of doing this or that. Eventually I started to change, I wasn't myself anymore, I had to delete my facebook account so he didn't feel insecure, I no longer answered the phone to male friends incase he thought I was up to no good. When he suggested trying for a baby I stupidly thought it would help him to see that I was serious about our relationship so I agreed. After three months of trying I eventually fell pregnant with my second child, I felt excited and couldn't wait to tell him, I thought this time I'm going to have someone to share all of it with, this time I have someone that is going to be as happy as I was about the pregnancy. His reaction was quite the opposite, His exact words to me when I showed him the positive result were, '' I do not want a baby with you! Have an abortion!'' My world shattered, How could I let this happen to me again? I was so stupid to do this and allow another man to leave me holding the baby. Nether the less I left him and continued on with my pregnancy alone.
So now I was twenty two with a one year old and pregnant again, I still had no money and I had to now provide for a second child. Once again I went to midwife appointments and scans alone, I was very tired from taking care of liam and I suffered with servere pelvis pain for which I needed crutches but was unable to use them because I had to push a stroller. I would cry whilst walking along the street in absolute agony whilst onlookers looked at me with their all judging eyes. Who were they to pass judgements upon me? Did they have to walk in my shoes? No, I doubt they would of coped so I didn't care, I would hold my head up with pride even though I wanted to burry it in the sand most days.
I developed anxiety problems and I had convinced myself I was going to die giving birth, on top of that I was still reliving Liam's tramatic birth every time I shut my eyes and I was terrified the same thing would happen with my new baby. Trapped at home day after day with no break from being a mother, I suffered in silence with the fears that haunted me. whilst trying to act happy and keep Liam entertained and doing the job of two people.
When I eventually went into labour I remember having to leave Liam, I went into the bedroom and said goodbye to him, I honestly thought I would never see him again, I was on death row and I was going to die. This was the harderst thing I have ever had to do. I left the house in tears and headed to my mothers house once more to give birth.
My labour with Lennon went surprisingly smoothly and he was born with no complications, all that worry for nothing but I was so pleased that every thing went so well, his birth healed my scars from Liam's birth and I am truly thankful for that. A few hours later I took my new little boy home to meet his big brother and once more the slap in the face hit me, but this time it was more like a ton of bricks, I remember thinking what the hell have I done, I've got two children under three who are totally dependant on me. How on earth was I going to cope? I had little faith in myself and truth be told I didn't think I was going to be able to pull it off.
Things went slowly from bad to worse, Lennon never slept, he woke every hour, he never napped in the day and I slept in twenty minute blocks all night whilst battling to keep liam in his own bed. I reached a point where I was unsure if I was awake or asleep, I started seeing things that were not there, I would of chopped my own leg off for a full hours sleep. This went on for six months straight until one night he slept for three hours! I felt like a new woman. It didn't last though, Lennon continued to not sleep for the next 4 years but thats a story for another time.
Sleep deprived, exhuasted and alone with my baby boys I felt so trapped in the situation that I had put myself in. I felt foolish and angry at the boys fathers, How could they walk away from these beautiful children without a single care for their wellbeing? How could they go on living their lives knowing that their own child is exsisting and not care? Either way I had made my bed, I had to lay in it, I was in this for the long haul there was nothing to do but get on with it.
I started to paint children's art, I set up a facebook page and started selling my work locally through it. At first I didn't earn much, £10 here, £20 there but before I knew it I was getting recommended by people and more and more people added me every day. I was able to buy things me and the boys desperatley needed and I felt proud of myself for the first time since becoming a parent. Over the years my business grew along with my portfoilio and I was able to buy flooring for the the first time in the 4 years I had lived in my new place.
It was hard, I spent my days taking care of the boys, doing household chores and worked on my paintings at night, I was very tired but the boys drove me to go on. I learned to use the anger I felt for their fathers and turn it into a form of energy, I didn't need them and nor did my children, we would be fine, I was going to get us out of this situation even if I only had three hours sleep or less at night.
My advice to any parent faced with any of the situations I have discussed would be, no matter what happens, you can and you will get through it, you just need to take one day at a time, deal with one problem at a time and use your love for your child or children to drive you forward. It does get real tough at times, I don't think there has been one day that I haven't wanted to walk out the door and never come back, but I never walk away, I stay because these children are my very being, they are my drive and they are what keeps me going no matter what happens, I have them and they have me and that is how it will stay as long as I put in the effort and share my love with them that is all that matters.