For a few days in January I thought that I had lost my unique selling point of being a single mother doing it alone and making all my own decisions.
I chose the baby’s name, where we lived, what religion, what activities, what school the baby attended etc. It was all mine. My baby, my choices and no one else to worry about.
Then there was an evening where the baby’s dad told me he wanted to be a dad and be involved in the baby’s life. I was initially a little wary but started to picture how having someone else share the decision-making responsibilities could be a relief.
I wanted him to play a role and at the same time I didn’t want to share ‘my’ baby. I think I said no to every suggestion he made that night about baby’s middle name and some other things.
I tried to work the words ‘our baby’ in some sentences. I wanted to see how it would feel. For certain things it was wonderful. I had so many dreams and aspirations for the little one and it felt different talking about it with someone who had as much interest as I did. Things like taking baby to Greece to meet grandma and grandpa and pick up some of the language, to visit Brussels and her auntie who lives there, take the baby swimming, to the library, and various other things.
I would be up at nights reading about women who had killed their children through neglect and email to tell him never to leave the baby in the bath alone. Never, ever. I sent him articles about newborns and what to do, I told him about the clothes my parents and friends had given me and I wondered whether he’d like to pick out baby’s first outfit.
For a few moments it was nice to share all of those things. One of my worries, about burdening the baby with an absent father figure, was starting to disappear and I was getting more comfortable with the word ‘our’.
Then two days before my due date he came over so we could talk. It turns out there wasn’t to be as much sharing as I had anticipated. The dad’s involvement would end at getting to know the baby and he would not necessarily be there for the responsibilities, the decision-making, the day to day commitments.
In one conversation, in which admittedly I spent more time listening than talking, the baby went from being ‘ours’ and back to being ‘mine’.
My intention was to love as much as I could, all the parts of the baby’s life, and this included the father, his family and all the wonderful things they brought to the equation. It feels a bit more of a challenge now but much less than before he wanted to be involved.
At the end of all that, baby still gets to know a father, which is great, and I got to see how much I wanted someone to share the decision-making and the responsibilities. I had lost track of how much love and support I already have and became a little too wrapped up in believing that I couldn’t handle it all. It will still be ‘my’ baby but this was a lovely reminder that I was never doing it alone. Now I just have to deal with all the thank you cards once little one arrives. There will be many.