I am a single mother of two boys; a 9-week-old and an 18-month-old. My relationship with their father broke down pretty much as soon as I had my eldest and I really did consider abortion out of shame when I found out I was pregnant with the second. The fear of bringing up another child in that abusive relationship, as well as the lack of support, played heavily on my mind.
At nearly 30 weeks pregnant, something clicked. I was going to bed every night in tears and I realised the situation I had been trapped in was pushing me towards thinking that this was the end of my story. I’d be trapped with an abusive partner and two children. He would come home from work and scream at me, and I’d have to constantly pick up the pieces. I thought abortion could solve the problem.
A turning point
During my pregnancy, I was referred to mental health services and it really got me thinking that I had nothing wrong with me. In order for my children to feel safe and for me to be the best mother I possibly could, I had to find the courage to walk out.
In December 2018, everything came to a head. I remember the day so clearly. I had just returned from my parents’ house with my son. I’d seen a snake in the yard and was afraid, so went to stay with them. I also didn’t want any more arguments. As I drove up to the house, anxiety flooded back through me. The lawn was still waist high. He’d promised to mow it. I walked in and he was lying on the couch like he was hungover. I got to work with the washing, folding clothes, doing the dishes. He sat there and watched me with disgust on his face. I asked if he would help. He told me I did nothing around the house, that I was a horrible mother and didn’t deserve the kids. I just sat there holding my son, crying, wondering if this is what my children would be subjected to for their whole lives. I thought of the baby in my stomach and wondered if abortion would spare him this horrible life. This horrible mother.
My now-ex then hassled me for Christmas money my family had given me for our son… I knew the only way to stop the situation was to take my son with me and leave. I packed our bags and hid them to retrieve later. He usually took my phone, ID, wallet and anything else important before I got the chance to leave. This time, before I could leave, he snatched our son from me and slammed the door on me. I pleaded with him to let him come with me. Then I just walked away, my parents picked me up and I moved out for good.
I continued working full time until I was 39 weeks. When the time came for this baby to be born, I had mixed emotions. I was scared. My ex was looking after our son as I was hospitalised for a week or so, and he wanted to come and see his child be born. The midwives saw that I was afraid and offered a lot of support until my mum came. My ex didn’t come into the room and I’m so glad. I laboured for just two hours and everything went smoothly. Another beautiful son born to me.
What I have learnt from my unplanned pregnancy
I have always been against abortion until I was placed in this unbearable and fearful situation where there was absolutely no support from the father. Just abuse. I walked away with a bank account of 22 cents, 28-29 weeks pregnant and 50% care of my eldest. I had been working very hard to save for this baby only to realise that my ex had direct debited all my pay into his account as soon as I got paid.
But there is support out there. Parents, friends and workmates, services like child support and Centrelink helped me begin again.
Becoming a single mother is not an end
Becoming a single mother is not an end to your story, it’s the beginning of a wonderful adventure, one of independence, eventually one of financial security and certainly endless love. I didn’t choose to be a single mother. I thought I’d be happily married with my children. But it’s really not the end.
I am so glad I didn’t have an abortion. It wouldn’t have fixed my situation. I fixed my situation by leaving that toxic environment. Abortion is a tool that is often justified if the situation isn’t ideal. But if you’re in an abusive relationship and you have an abortion, you’re still in an abusive relationship with the added grief of losing your baby. When you access services and support to help you leave, you’re not in that abusive relationship anymore and then you can decide what you really want to do.
People who say their children will stop them finding love again are wrong. There are many good men out there. Yes, they are hard to find, but they are out there. There are men who can’t have children, have lost children or are single fathers too. In a way, it kind of cleans your dating profiles automatically. I haven’t been looking, my kids keep me on my toes, but I’ve had what I hope could be the start of a marvellous and wonderful adventure. It’s funny how things come knocking on the door when you aren’t looking for them.
I’m sharing my story because I want you to know that it is possible to be a young single mum who is happy and thriving.
– by Adelle (not her real name)