hi! I had one of those nights last nights where I should've been doing something else but found this forum and, whoosh, hours were gone, I had tabs open to resources pages I didn't know existed...and by the end of it I was combing all the topics, craving more. Single motherhood (like 'solo' better)...solo motherhood! hard to do alone. I feel like I was to post several new threads but don't want to randomly drop in unintroduced. I sort of love you all already, and don't sort of, but definitely have HUGE, gushing amounts of respect for each and every one of you.
Ok, me: I am a young 38 writer and, for lack of a better term, creative intellectual (creative enamored of intellectual life?). I was writing professionally for a while in the art scene and have creative work (writing) in anthologies, magazines, commissioned gallery projects, etc. I've spent my adulthood in higher education in one form or another and seek out communities of artists and writers for exchange regularly. I say this because it bears a distinction in terms of time distribution, from someone who works solely for a paycheck. It's a tough-to-impossible role for a single mother.
I got together with another person of very similar interests. We were both in grad school- me, on my 2nd degree and also teaching at another post secondary institution, him in possession of a decent fulltime job and also completing an MFA. We live in the highest or second highest cost of living city in the US and dont have any supporting network of family, or old, family-like friends in the area.
He was great through the pregnancy- though there were little things, like an alarming degree of disorganization, some white lies about how much rent we could afford. I became less than enchanted with him. We'd planned to be a family, but didnt spend enough time building the relationship underneath that. I try not to be too hard on myself about that, because I think the new demands can make any relationship fall apart. It was a hard pregnancy year, school + work, plus job discrimination, plus a burglary, plus moving...I scraped together the funds for a homebirth, hooray!
The little lies became a big deal when I found out he wasnt taking the summer off after our daughter was born, like he said he would be...then a huge deal when he decided not to work part of the time from home just before I was slated to go back to work. Also, he wasnt helping with nightimes, I was exhausted, I felt like he wasnt stepping up just following orders...we began to have conflict and it got super ugly. His anger crossed the line and before you know it- bam- there is this label, "DV" which now colors my identity and family, qualifies me for grants and foodstamps, and got his custody revoked, and now I get free therapy!
If I was to try to describe that time, the only images that come to mind are a superwoman and a mouse. I felt like both. I dont think I have ever been as alone, as uncertain, as sure of right and wrong, as committed to another person (my baby), as solid, as beautiful (in the mythic sense), as vulnerable. It was sad. I had to take her to the cafe with me to prep to teach my classes (before he was forced out of the apartment by the cops that is), I had to take her to social service appointments; I had to recruit a sweet seeming Wisconsinite off Craigslist to take my baby while I taught, and bring her to me at breaks when I didnt have time to pump. I remember her telling me once condescendingly, "the day goes so much easier when there is milk ready :)" and suggesting cheerily, "when I worked at Apple, I prepared my lunch the night before!" as if, with a 6 month old alone, I had ANY time to think about doing anything in advance, or even had access to that kind of logic in a post-trauma mindset. I am sure I am projecting a bit here. I'll own up to feeling humiliation about the whole scenario unfolding before this babysitter's eyes. Suddenly, to this all-American girl, my intellectual, creative, 'eccentric' lifestyle (for the US) was nothing but poverty, tragedy.
I AP with great success. My baby started sleeping through the night in the 2nd half of her 2nd year....That last sentence deserves it's own paragraph, for all it has determined! I got layed off from teaching; then the emergency job I took at a clothing store ended when the store closed. I am back in grad school, moved in with another single mom (gay friend donated sperm, works full time, NON-AP, much more financially secure). My babe is about to turn 3 in July.
I have tons of questions, gripes, comments, etc, but I am going to stop typing. I wanted to introduce myself.