"Single parenting doesn't have to mean you are (completely) alone"
In Athens I shared a house with my best friend. We both worked there for a Dutch company at the time. We had a good click from the beginning and our house soon became a central meeting point for all of our friends. And although we absolutely did not have any “in love” feelings for each other (in fact, we were both in love with someone else), we did share a bed.
I enjoyed every sunny day and it was really a hard hit for me when everything came to an end. The landlord came knocking on our door with news that we had to move out within 10 days because his son was coming to live in the apartment again. There we were, without a house in ten days! And having to find a new one within that time was literally impossible. We had to say goodbye to our Greek adventure. We booked a flight and said our goodbye’s at Schiphol. That is the last day that I saw "him".
A few months later I got sick. I lived with my mom and was very busy building up my new life in Holland. It was a weekend, right before we were getting ready for a holiday in Crete. I felt nauseous, couldn’t keep anything in and was super bummed that I was going into my holiday feeling sick.
I think deep down inside I knew. I had a feeling but was doing everything in my power not to think about it. Because it couldn’t be right? Something like this wouldn’t happen to me, right? My mom proposed I do a pregnancy test. “Just do it, then you can rule it out” she said. With my heart racing, I did a test that afternoon.
Positive. My world caved in. Crying I fell into my mom's arm. “I don’t know what to do, mom!” I cried. My mom cried with me. “What do you want to do?” she asked. In the midst of all my emotions, all my fear, my pain, my shame and my insecurity, I knew one thing for sure; I want to keep the baby.
Shame, fear and insecurity
My parents immediately promised that they would always be there for me and the baby. Unconditionally. I didn’t have to ask for anything. The baby’s dad, my “best” friend, didn’t want anything to do with me, the pregnancy or the baby. He insisted on abortion. When he heard abortion wasn't an option for me he blocked me so I couldn't contact him. He messaged me saying I ruined his life. His life? What about my life? And the life of my unborn child?
Those words hurt me so much. Till this day I feel my heart race when I write or speak about it. I was filled with shame about how I fell pregnant. I was filled with fear about finances. I was insecure about everything at that point and his words hit me really hard. Like a kick in the stomach that pushes all the air out of your lungs.
A different kind of fear
My parents went with me to my first echo. The midwife asked me about my personal situation and was very loving and understanding. I was told to lie down for the echo and while my midwife was looking for a picture on the scan, something changed in me. The fear I felt - for the future, others opinions, finances... those all faded away. All of a sudden, I was afraid of something else. “Please let everything be ok with my child”, I thought.
It turns out I was already 16 weeks pregnant. The midwife knew for sure that she was a little girl. She was completely healthy and perfect on all the growth curves. My mom cried and my dad held my hand. I felt safe, surrounded by people pouring out unconditional love.
Slowly but surely, I started to accept the situation. Together with my parents and my aunt I went on my holiday to Crete. In the Greek sun, we spoke a lot about my situation. My mom and aunt shared stories with me about motherhood. They told me that they knew I would be a great mommy. They gave me hope.
There, as I stood with my feet in the sand, I felt like I could breath again for the first time in a while. “I can do this.” In my student times and in Athens, I spent so much time enjoying my life, I experienced so much and was able to see so much of the world. And now it was the time to pass on that love I have for life! For the first time I toasted to my pregnancy. With a shot of water, but still!
I start to enjoy. Together with my mom I buy the first set of baby clothing. Together with my dad I choose the color for the baby room. Together with my parents we lay a new floor in the baby room and paint the walls mint green.
It’s more difficult than expected to find a job with a pregnant belly. Nobody really says it out loud, but I got turned down one job application after the other. Thank goodness I was able to save a bit and my parents offered to help support me financially when it was needed.
Asking for help and accepting it
I was always very independent. At the age of 16, I already had a few part-time jobs and was very proud I could afford my own room during my time studying. And I was even prouder that I moved to the capital of Greece all on my own.
But this I couldn’t do alone. I had to accept help. There was no option. It helped that as the unconditional love for my unborn child started to grow, I started to taste what unconditional love really felt like. It was a kind of love that I had never felt before, and that’s how my parents felt for me! If my child were ever in a similar situation, then I would do everything I could to help them.
(Not completely) Alone
I did not feel alone that often. It helped that I had an easy pregnancy and that I had so much support and love from my family. Of course, at times I wish I had a partner by my side. It was hard, not having someone to share the first kicks with, or to send to the shops for something sweet in the middle of the night.
I did enjoy the fact that I could make many decisions on my own though. I chose the colour for the baby room, the furniture and the first clothes. From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I already had a name in mind. A girls name! I never really thought of a boy’s name, it was like I already knew it would be a girl the moment the test came back positive. So, I named her after an actrice out of Game of Thrones, because I was crazy about that character. I didn’t have to fight for it or settle with a name I wasn't crazy about. Nope, my little girl was always Maisie.
Maisie was born at 02:44 on 7 December 2019. She was perfectly healthy! After she was born I picked her up and put her on my chest. My mom cut the umbilical cord and while little Maisie was lying there, so fragile and puur, I didn’t have tears running from my checks like you see in movies. Nope! I felt a deep rest come over me. An inner calm. As if a puzzle piece fell in place. “She belongs with me. She always did!”. My mom dressed her and she was immediately held and hugged by four people. This is how it will always be for her. Maybe without a dad, but surrounded with so much love.
Now we are almost a year further and I am happier than I have ever been. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t heavy, being a single mom. The sleepless nights, the constantly “being-on” and the struggles of juggling to provide financially and be present for all the beautiful moments at the same time. It’s not easy. But when she laughs… then everything else fades away and I just feel happiness. She is so welcome. She is so extremely welcome.
From me to you...
Even though everyone has their right to choose, I am so happy that I chose to move forward with my pregnancy, even if it was on my own. Yes, the situation was different than I pictured and yes there were definitely family members and friends that judged me. But, there were also many people that supported and loved me unconditionally. So, if you are in the same situation and you want to go for it, know that "you can do it!" Really!
And all those people who judge and have an opinion. From the moment you have your child in your arms, they just doesn’t matter anymore. Everything changes.
And of course, being a single mom can be tough. But it doesn’t mean that you have to do it 100% alone. Accept help. As hard as it is to be dependent. Ask for help. As hard as it is to be vulnerable. And don’t forget to enjoy! Because it’s so true what they say: time does fly.
How amazing is this mummy? We love Kim to bits! The power of a good support system is so key when it comes to parenting. Thank you so much for sharing Kim. If you are a single mom and are relating to Kim’s story, remember her words "You can do this!". And although things might not be what you expected, there is still a lot of beauty awaiting you. Single parenting doesn't have to mean you are 100% alone. Let others in, ask for help.
If you are reading this and you know a single mom or parent around you. We hope this inspires you to reach out and show that unconditional love Kim shares about! Because that is what helped her through. Don’t underestimate the power of BEING THERE and offering to help!
Kim is 26 years old and mommy to her little girl Maisie (born in 2019). She has her own blog www.draakjelief.nl and writes about motherhood, baby life and tasty recipes for mom & baby. She loves photography and writing and we love her devotion to her little girl and how genuine and real she is. Show some love and follow her on Instagram!