The bigger I got, the more emotionally challenging pregnancy became for me. I always pictured having a partner beside me every night in bed, ears and hands glued to my burgeoning belly, reassuring me that I looked beautiful while fetching me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the middle of the night, but instead, I was totally alone, sleepless and feeling fat, ugly and unloved.
I quickly learned that there was no pregnancy guide that outlines how to survive the nine months of gestation manless. Every single book assumes that you have a “partner,” “husband,” “significant other,” or “baby daddy,” which added to that perpetual different feeling that had been living inside of me ever since fertilization.
I spent many nights crying to my patient and loving friends about my my hopeless situation and feeling majorly sorry for myself, but one day, my friend Kristin told me to stop whining.
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“You’ve always done things different than everyone else,” she told me. “You are a strong, independent woman and that’s what people admire about you. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and being embarrassed, wear this with pride and be an example. Stop being a victim and take control. If anyone can do it, it’s you.”
She had a point. There was nothing about the last three decades of my life that was anything close to traditional. I had always shunned normalcy to a degree and taken pride in the fact that my journey had been a colorful and somewhat confusing blend of mistakes and victories and twists and turns that always seemed to make sense in the end. This was just another chapter in the book of my unconventional life that I would someday write, and the hopeless romantic in me still had faith in a happily-ever-after ending.
Another close friend of mine encouraged me to “go where the love is,” which meant that instead of focusing on the people who weren’t showing up for me, supporting me or who had hurt me in the past, to invest myself in my healthy support system and seek out nurturing, loving and emotionally stable people who would be there for me and love me unconditionally and without judgment during this tumultuous time.