When the first week of pregnancy and telling the baby daddy is less like a romantic comedy and more closely resembles an episode of a really bad reality show.
The night that I learned I was pregnant, I didn't sleep at all and the next morning I started stalking my doctor as soon as the sun was up.
Hours later, I was sitting in a sterile office filled with women with burgeoning bellies and the men who loved them, pamphlets on cord blood banking and baby books I had seen on the shelves of my friends with kids, waiting for my friend Helen * who was coming for moral support.
I felt like a leper – ringless, manless and knocked up. "You're pregnant! Congratulations," the ecstatic nurse told me after peeing in a cup, confirming what two EPTs had already made crystal clear. "Or not?" she nervously added as soon as I burst into tears. 45 minutes later when the doctor finally made her way in, I was volcanically erupting in floods of salt water. I told her about my situation and how I didn't think Jason was going to want this baby. "You can do this on your own," she dryly reassured me. "You should have seen my last three if you think YOU are in a bad situation. You are educated, employed and intelligent." She showed me the first image of my baby: a white blip on the screen, and estimated that my date of conception was most likely the first time Jason and I slept together – the night I sent him home because I didn't want things to go too far, only to have him irresistibly show up on my doorstep hours later. This was really happening; a life was growing inside of me. I knew that abortion wasn't an option for me, but at the same time, this moment didn't feel the way it looked in the movies. I wasn't excited. I was scared to death. And I wasn't really sure I was ready to be a mother. My work situation was tenuous and "job security" was dismal to say the least. I paid for health insurance out of pocket, and wasn't even sure if I had maternity on my plan. I lived in a really expensive and micro-sized one-bedroom apartment, which couldn't even fit a crib, let alone a crying baby, and I could barely support my bohemian luxe lifestyle with the money I did earn.
My friends were all incredibly supportive when I told them what was going on. I didn't know how to tell my parents, but it was Jason who I was really petrified of. Three weeks into getting his life back on track and just forging a relationship with his toddler daughter (the result of a one night stand) who lived back in his hometown, I knew he wasn't going to be jumping for joy to say the least. My mom took the news better than expected, as I was her only child and she had been harassing me about grandchildren for years. Although she was shocked and nervous that I was potentially going to be a single mother, she told me that she fully supported me and would help any way she could. My dad, 80 years old, was a little more difficult, using the word "abortion" five too many times, but eventually he came around.
I knew I had to tell Jason sooner rather than later as it was obvious that I wouldn't be able to sleep more than two hours at a time until I got it off my chest, and though I knew he was highly emotionally unstable and wasn't going to take this news with ease, I was not at all prepared for the tornado that was going to devastate the terrain of my mental well-being. I told him that I needed to talk to him about something in person, and he said he couldn't handle a serious conversation and requested that I correspond via email. I composed a short and direct email explaining that I was pregnant, it was his and that I was keeping the baby. I explained that I didn't think I could get pregnant because of a medical condition and that I knew the timing was bad, but that I didn't expect anything of him one way or the other. I also told him to take as much time as he needed to process everything. Within five minutes my phone was ringing and I was greeted with a madman on the other end of the line. Using words like "psycho," "c**t," and "b**ch," he proceeded to inform me that he didn't love me, in fact, he didn't even like me, that I would be an awful mother and that he didn't want to have a child with me. I hung up on him and over the next 24 hours was drowned in abusive voice mails and slanderous text messages, whispering sweet nothings like "Use the one shred of intelligence you have and do the right thing," "I hope you die you manipulative b**ch," (because obviously, I wanted to get impregnated with the child of an unemployed musician?) and "If you tell my parents, they will hate you forever." At the end of the manic spree, I changed my locks and spoke to a lawyer about getting a restraining order. This was not how I imagined the first week of pregnancy.
*All names have been changed to protect the guilty
Previously: Part 1: Sexy and Single in the City of Angels
--Leah Ornstein is a freelance writer, who recently relocated to Charlottesville, Virginia from Los Angeles. She is currently working on her first novel