When I was 22 I found out I was pregnant. I had been with my boyfriend for just under a year and was terrified. I didn't want to tell him. I've always wanted to be a mom but I wasn't ready. It wasn't the right time.
We were just getting the hang of living together. A month before we found out we were pregnant we decided to get a dog. What's significant about this and why I'm adding it to this post is that this dog was Chris's dog. He bought the dog and named the dog, this was his dog. That way if the relationship didn't work out and we broke up, 'custody' of the dog wouldn't be an issue. It was his dog so he would keep the dog. We weren't ready to commit to something that was forever and we both knew that.
Telling Chris I was pregnant was the hardest thing I've ever done, I didn't even say it out loud, he read it on my face and knew. We felt stuck and guilty. Our biggest fear came true and there was nowhere to place the blame but on ourselves.
Once we finally decided to start telling people we were expecting, we were immediately pressured to get married. I couldn't go a day without someone asking me "Are you going to get married?" "How long have you been together?" "Was it planned?" "When's the wedding" and so on. I came up with a good cover to shut them up and make an excuse as to why we weren't married yet. The truth is - we aren't ready to get married, and a baby isn't going to change that. If anything marriage is one of the last things on our mind. We're busy with trying to navigate new parenthood. Of course, I wish we were married before we got pregnant but that's not how it turned out.
All we feel is judgment from those around us.
Like many little girls, I imagined the white dress and thought of all the fun ways I could surprise my parents and family when telling them I was pregnant. It was always my dream to one day get married and have a beautiful baby. Instead, I was caught off guard and felt heavy with the weight of guilt and fear.
Now here I am, still an unmarried mom. I still feel pressure. I still feel guilt when someone asks if Chris is my husband. It still hurts to see the judgment on their face when they hear we're unmarried. I still resent our situation and how it unfolded. I still feel embarrassed.
What is with all the judgment and negativity towards unmarried mothers? Can we not live our own lives without others prying in and judging? I wholeheartedly believe in marriage and family - I hope one day that will happen for me - but sometimes that's not how life turns out. Right now my job is to be the best mom I can be to my daughter, I can worry about everything else later.
We need to stop judging and start understanding.
We need to stop pressuring and start accepting.
We need to support and encourage each other.
I want to add before closing how blessed I am with accepting, loving and supportive family on both his and my side. I really couldn't ask for a better family. They've been my strength through it all and continue to be my strength. I have a beautiful BEAUTIFUL baby girl who is my life.
Here I am being open and honest in hopes that other moms will know they aren't alone and hoping the pressure put on unmarried moms and dads will end.