One of the first things that friends ask me when we get past that “getting to know you” phase is how did I ever become a single mom. By the time that comes up, they’ve gotten to know me pretty well. At that point, it’s clear to them that I’m intelligent, highly sensitive to energy, and not easily fooled by the okie doke.
So, how did it come to be that after years of making (mostly) smart decisions in young adulthood that I ended up pregnant and single at 30-years-old?
To start with, I was extremely lonely. I had been living in Philadelphia for about 6 years. Even though I had family there, and was immersed in several different communities, my history as an Air Force brat coupled with my introvert tendencies had prevented me from making real connections.
I was fortunate to have great people in my life, but I was afraid to get close to people. After years of building friendships and leaving them behind, I had learned how to separate my heart from relationships. That made leaving a lot easier.
But I never left Philly.
I didn’t have any friends
After years of guarding my heart, I was in a big city without any tight friendships. I didn’t have girlfriends who would come over to my place, or a group of friends to go and hang out on the weekend together. All of my best friends lived in other states, so after work, I spent most of my time by myself. Not having those types of friendships close to me put me in a vulnerable position and I ended up getting caught up when the promise of long-term companionship presented itself.
Typically I’m an excellent judge of character and see through anything that isn’t authentic. I convinced myself that being so cautious and granular in the way that I looked at people was the reason why I had trouble connecting. Instead of looking at my intuition as a gift, I made it the scapegoat for my loneliness.
I can admit now that I saw things in that relationship that set off my B.S. alarm from the very beginning. I made the conscious decision to ignore the alarm. Instead of cutting things off like I would have done in the past, I looked past behavior that was clearly problematic.
After I got pregnant, it was clear that I had made the wrong move in ignoring the signs.
Nothing really terrible that happened. I mean, there was no abuse or anything. There wasn’t even a lot of arguments or disagreements. I ultimately decided to walk away and cut things off. I know what love looks like. What I was experiencing for myself and my child wasn’t it.
Love takes work
When you love someone, whether it’s as a friend, romantic partner, or between a parent and a child, you are consistent. You’re present. You care. You sacrifice if needed. Loving someone is work and it takes effort, energy, and time.
None of that was happening. There was movement that might have looked like it was happening. A closer look revealed that it was just a facade.
I might have been able to keep pretending that what I was experiencing was love. Once I knew I was bringing a child into the world, there was no way that I was going to fake it. I knew that I had to be a model for her. Everything that she believed about how she should be treated by other people, and what love looks like would be based on what I showed her. That’s a huge responsibility and I took it very seriously.
I chose to be a single mom
So I left.
Walking away ended up being the smartest decision I ever made in my life.
I released all of my expectations and placed my intention on parenting alone. There was bare minimum financial help (sometimes) and completely absent physical support, but everything was all good.
I put my trust in myself and in God and believed that I was doing the best thing for my daughter.
Being married now to someone who is the epitome of what love in action looks like proves to me that I made the right move.