“When you choose to have a child alone, there is guilt that they will miss out on that other parent.” Tena LeBeau, Clearfield, Pa.
The first time I got pregnant, I was 30. I had just broken up with a man I was dating while living in California, and he made it clear he did not want to be a part of our lives. So I returned home to Pennsylvania and moved in with my brother. My pregnancy was uneventful until I went into labor. The baby was due in February, but I gave birth in November at 27 weeks. My daughter, Scarlett, was in the hospital for 63 days, but I had a set of girlfriends who really gathered around me and offered support.
I was lucky that when I asked for help, there were people who responded. I am generally a very independent and selfsufficient person, but when you need diapers and don’t want to take your premature baby out to the store, it’s important to have someone you can call to ask for help. When Scarlett was 4 years old, I started dating someone new and got pregnant unexpectedly. I wasn’t happy; I was embarrassed. (But, there was never a time in either pregnancy that I considered not going through with it.) My second pregnancy was difficult from beginning to end. I had terrible morning sickness. And, at five months, my doctor advised me to stay off my feet because my cervix had started to thin and I was having contractions.
As the single parent of a 4-year-old, I really depended on my friends for help, again. Looking back, I wish I had asked for help more often, but that was hard for me. I ended up in the hospital at 24 weeks and put on bed rest. Thankfully, some very good friends invited Scarlett and me to stay with them for the rest of my pregnancy.
I was on strict bed rest until I was induced at 40 weeks. I pushed for six hours and my girlfriends supported me during labor. I couldn’t have done it without them. Now my son, Declan, is a happy and rambunctious 2-year-old.
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