For the last four years of my life I knew I wanted to be a mother. My best friend just had her little boy, and a few months later my boyfriend’s little sister also had a beautiful baby boy.
They were gorgeous, and for the first time in my life babies didn’t disgust or scare me! Instead I was enamored, and I immediately started craving one of my own. I was 24, and my boyfriend was 25. We had been together a couple of years, and I was in love. Our relationship was rocky, but with childish things that I knew would become inconsequential once we were a family.
It took another rocky few years during which our life unfolded as some sort of soap opera. Engagement, affair, mental health breakdown, break-ups and getting back together, and the whole time I never stopped wanting to be a mom. It burned in me more than anything. Finally, we both agreed it was time to try. We had begun a fresh start in a beautiful new apartment. The six months we had been back together seemed a dream compared to the terrifying four years prior. Amazingly, the first month trying we were pregnant. I was in shock, I was so ecstatic. I hadn’t even been sure if I could get pregnant! We had our moments of bliss. We cuddled and we kissed and we dreamed about the future. We adopted a dog together to help with my recovering mental health, and as a companion to our baby-to-be.
Things continued this way for a magical month, and then he quit his job one day. At first, I took it in stride. The way he quit concerned me, but with a baby on the way I was confident he wouldn’t waste time. The days started creeping by that he never left the apartment. I started working extra days and longer hours in preparation for maternity leave. I wasn’t sure what I could expect for EI if anything, so on top of being the sole person currently paying the bills, I also wanted some savings put aside. When I would return home from work, I would find him in the same place in front of the computer. Oftentimes still in his pajamas, or just a pair of boxers. The dog wouldn’t have been taken out to the bathroom all day, and the dishes would still be in the sink from when I made breakfast. My stress started to build, and I tried talking to him about picking up other chores until he was able to get another job.
It was the beginning of the end. No matter how I tried to talk to him, or ask his help, he was obviously struggling. I asked him to seek help for his mental health, but still he refused and even became violent during our talks. On the day he threw our computer chair across the apartment I asked him to stay with some friends until he was better. By now I was just entering my second trimester, and I was terrified. I was starting to realize that it was very likely I was going to be doing this alone. The father had seemed to mentally check out, and I couldn’t reach him. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to before the baby was here. Having just recently recover from a serious mental health breakdown, I knew I was in danger of relapsing. Something had changed though. I couldn’t let it happen. I WOULDN’T let it happen. I was going to be a mother. That baby needed me, and he needed me NOW.
The day I asked the father to leave I went to the local free mental health clinic and told them my predicament. They were extremely quick in offering me support, and I started what was going to be months of cognitive behavioural therapy taking me right up to three weeks before my due date. I had done it before, but never with such commitment.
As the months went by, things with the father degraded even further, and it was obvious I was going to be doing this as a single mother. He wasn’t in a position to offer any sort of physical, emotional, or financial support. I struggled, and I spent a lot of nights crying in fear that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but I never stopped trying. I kept going to work, and I kept going to therapy. I stubbornly continued to put one foot in front of another, and all because of that life growing within me. He gave me a drive I had never felt before in my life. Just thinking of him filled me with a lightness and a sense of hope. I was going to give him a beautiful life. No, I was going to give both of us a beautiful life.
I promised the father he could be there for the birth, and I meant it. He was the dad, and we had conceived this child purposely and in love. With the help of the midwives and doulas, I gave a natural birth to Myles Samuel Haaksman on December 29, 2015 at 8:51pm, weighing 7lbs 5oz. Early the next morning my mother took me home, and we dropped the father off along the way.
Flooded with hormones, and in love with my new beautiful boy I became hopeful the father and I could do this together. Just because we couldn’t be a couple didn’t mean we couldn’t raise our son together, but his personal life started to fall apart. Repeatedly he came over to spend time with us, and he was struggling with personal issues that he let overflow into our lives. Finally, one day he broke down and started cursing and yelling, and refused to leave my apartment. It became clear that I needed some strong boundaries. It may have been selfish, but I didn’t want to expose Myles to that so young. I called family and children services and told them what happened, and that I was going to be going for sole custody and supervised access until the father was more healthy. Having informed FACS of a concern with Myles’ safety, they continued to come over for a month to check on his health. The father disappeared to another city, promising to not come around until he was healthy.
Last week I celebrated my son’s first birthday. The father and I are still struggling to get along, and have him in his son’s life, but that has faded into the background. The first few months when Myles was super small were the hardest. Learning to understand what his cries meant, and how I was supposed to juggle this new life was a struggle.
It’s obvious now though, what I was fighting for. I was there. Emotionally, physically. I was there for his first smile, and the unfolding of his personality. I’m watching him learn and grow every day, and it just blows my mind how much I love him. It’s like I’m a never ending well of love. No matter how much I’m struggling in any aspect of my life I know I can get through it, because it’s impossible for this light to be extinguished. I feel confirmation for my actions. For being selfish and stubborn. I was just being a mom, and I’ve been a damn good mom. This is Motherhood. Plowing through any obstacles to give your child the future you know they deserve, and coming into yourself as you do it. Accepting the very plain truth that my son can’t have happiness and health if I don’t, because to him I am the world. What I do, he does.
And it’s the best journey I’ve ever been on in my life.