The ‘D’ Word…


I should start off by saying why I haven’t blogged in such a long time, but then I have so much to fill you in on that really I feel it makes more sense to carry on as though I haven’t missed out on weeks of posting…

Jake is unique, special, funny, smart, cute, loving- in my eyes because of course I am his mother. In my eyes there is nothing in the world that can compare to him, and though I will have other children who I will love as much as I love Jake, there is something extra that we have, a bond that means sometimes I look at him and my heart will break for him, or I might cry a little. I feel like after explaining what it has been like to have him throughout university, it makes sense to explain life before I knew he existed.

Now, because I am not angry anymore I will not mention his name, but simply tell the story of how I met the person who is also a part of Jake, and what happened. I don’t want to mention his name because though I am telling the story, I am not doing it to get people on my side, or to make him look like a victim, it is very simply a story.

We actually met whilst my friend Daryl and I were planning a block party in our first year of university. We both wanted to meet new people of the opposite sex and get to know people living in our building so we thought a party would be the best way to do this. He was just returning from outside after smoking a cigarette when I practically leaped on him and forced him to come to the party. He came, but at the time I was interested in someone else and so nothing happened until roughly a month or so after we met. I wasn’t sleeping very well due to an essay that had to be in within a few days and I got a message from him at 4 in the morning asking what I was up to and filling me in on some gossip that I was already aware of. He asked if I would mind going over to talk to him and so I agreed, because I cannot say no to needy people (remember a previous post) and we chatted and watched CSI for the rest of the night. And that is how it started.

We became inseparable, because he hadn’t made many friends and because my group of friends are just so welcoming. But it was fun, I’d never been with anyone like him before. He was so laid back and relaxed about everything, yet passionate about the things he loved, and he was also a huge lover of wine which in my eyes is a total bonus. We got to Christmas however and ran into difficulties, so we decided to have a break. I must admit, I wasn’t easy to be with. He had the patience of a saint looking back because I was still so in love with Mike, and so he was constantly being compared to him. I should have sopped, allowed myself to get over Mike, but I was also in love with him and believed I was making the right decision. I also believed that everything was his fault so I would never have realised what I actually needed to do. When we returned from the Christmas holidays, we resumed our relationship, and though we had further ups and downs, we stayed together.

It was a day or so after my final exam that things changed for ever. I fainted in the shower. Now to some people this won’t seem like a big thing but there is a reason as to why this is significant. In our halls we used to have a wet room for bathrooms, and I always had the shower on as high as it would go because I hated being cold. I had it so hot that he could never have one with me because the steam was just too much for him. So for me to faint, it meant that something wasn’t right. When I came to, the first thing that came into my mind was that it could be a sign that I was pregnant. This of course, is ridiculous on my part because of all the things to think of first I would never have thought it would be that. Besides, if you look on websites regarding tell-tale signs that you might have a bun in the oven, fainting is one of those ‘it’s rare for it to happen and if you do, it doesn’t mean you are’ type of signs. So I told him, and we agreed to get a test, even though I wasn’t that late, I was in fact a week late and this didn’t strike me as odd because if I get really stressed it throws my entire cycle out the window. Anyway, we bought a test and of course, it was positive. Now if I am a hundred percent honest, I was both completely shocked and also happy. I remember looking into his face and knowing instantly that I had to act like this was not a good thing because I knew then, though I of course never said anything, that he was never going to be happy about it. Ever. I saw the dread in his eyes, though he hugged me and smiled awkwardly.

I’ve tried to block out a lot from those last few days just because the reactions were so mixed and some of the things that were said were just awful. But I came home to Sussex and he returned to be with his family. I got phone calls from him going from supportive to afraid, and it wasn’t until the night before my appointment with the clinic that the truth came out about what he wanted me to do. I went to the clinic, but obviously I made a different choice because here I am compiling a blog about what it is like to have a child at university.

In the last two and a half years there has been no contact, not from him or his family. No money has exchanged hands, he has never inquired as to how Jake is getting on, and I personally don’t believe that he ever will.

Mike was the only person I was really afraid of telling about my pregnancy. They had not gotten on with each other for obvious reasons, and I worried that our friendship would not take the strain. But he went above and beyond, he has never let me down, not from the moment I told him. He took me to scans, helped me find baby essentials, and drove through two feet of snow to watch me give birth to another man’s child. He has loved Jake from the very first moment and I have no doubt that he will continue to care for him even if we do not make it in our current relationship. But the point is, he has been there. The sad thing about Jake is that he was let down before he even entered the world, and I will have to explain it to him sooner rather than later. He has started to call men that he meets ‘dad’ something he is obviously being taught at nursery, and the other day he asked me where daddy was. It breaks my heart because I know that I will have to tentatively explain it to him. But what does this make the person who was never there, and how am I to explain Mike’s role in all of this without stating that the actions he has carried out are what a dad normally does?

I am sitting in the lounge on the floor, and Jake has fallen asleep on the rug, snoring heavily due to a bad cold and as of yet unaware of what I shall have to tell him. I realise I might be sounding slightly dramatic, and I apologise because I realise it is something that is now becoming a common factor in many children’s lives. But the thing you need to understand is that it isn’t something that I have ever done before. I hate letting people down, even those I don’t know that well. Since having Jake I have not stopped feeling guilty. Guilty for not being careful, guilty for having put my friends and family through all this. Guilty for him, for making him deal with something he was never ready to deal with and probably never will. What I feel most guilty about is knowing that I will have to explain to this perfect little boy that somewhere out there, there is someone who has a connection to him who doesn’t want to know him, who will never want to know him.

But I have him don’t I, and I have Mike, my amazing family and friends, so really I won didn’t I? I suppose you are probably rolling your eyes, or yelling at the computer screen telling me to get over myself, because there are bigger things going on out there in the world. The thing is though, that Jake is my world. He is everything and always will be, so perhaps the guilt can be justified?

Who knows, I shall find out soon enough.



A slight conundrum…


Have you been enjoying this wonderful weather? I don’t think I have ever had this much time to actually enjoy such beautiful weather here in England, it has been such a wonderful treat. I have been able to go to a sandy beach twice, and I do believe that sand makes all the difference in the world to a wonderful beach experience. Jake has absolutely loved it, he hasn’t ever been able to go to a sandy beach and just run around naked and splash everywhere. The tide was out and so it left warm pools of water which he would not leave. So all in all a rather wonderful two weeks so far after university has finished. And I have settled in so well here in Horsmonden. I am surrounded by wonderful countryside and family, so things have been pretty good.

There is sadly a slight downside to all of this and it is affecting, or has the possibility of affecting, everything. I realise I sound slightly melodramatic, but it is true. I am not the only one in this conundrum (see what I did there?), there are other people in the same situation as me but it’s frustrating because there is very little I seem to be able to do. I want to work more than anything. I want a wage, and the feeling of doing something more after achieving my degree (hopefully). However, if I want to work I need to find a job that pays me well over £40,000 a year because otherwise I will not be able to afford the nursery fees or fees for a child minder. Now before you say anything, no I know that you cannot walk out of university and walk straight into a highly paid job, because unfortunately no one is that lucky. At least I hope they aren’t, which I know sounds mean but I would like someone to cut me some slack. So what do I do? Do I apply for lots of different part-time jobs to try to make ends meet, or do I just sign on to benefits until I find something better, or can set something up at home?

I had my trial shift at the restaurant last night, and it’s made me realise a few things. Though there is potential to have full-time work there, they can’t give it to me because I don’t drive, and though they finish serving food at 11, closing up and clearing up means I wouldn’t finish till 1 and obviously there is only taxis around at that time of night, which means I would be working to pay my taxi fare. The other thing I realised is that working night shifts and then having Jake all day the next day is just not doable. I don’t have the energy and it’s not fair on Jake to have to deal with a tired and snappy mummy. The other problem is that full-time at this restaurant means working from 10 am right through till 1 am, which means I wouldn’t see Jake at all and have to arrange lots of extra care to have him sorted both day and night. And also, would my wages even come close to covering the bills, rent, and fees? I think not. But you can’t fit in extra jobs in either. There are talks apparently about making nursery free for two-year olds, but only up to 16 hours a week, and again this is only a rumour. So maybe working from home would be the answer. Except that to work from home, you still need free amounts of time to get on with the work, and you can’t do that with a two-year old running around your feet who just wants to play and explore, and doesn’t shush about trains or buses (that’s his new thing you see). Even as I’m trying to write this, Jake is upset because I won’t give him a yogurt and let him play with the horses in the field. So he would have to go to nursery, but where will the money come from? I am trying to set up free lacing things on-line for my proof reading on a specialist website, and my mum has talked about us going into business together, but what I really need for now is just a 9-5 job that just about covers things.

Or I could go on benefits, have everything paid for and leisurely work out what I wanted to do and only apply for jobs I actually wanted. The problem with that is that I don’t want to be on benefits. It would also make my having worked hard at my degree for the last two years seem like a total waste of time. And it doesn’t teach Jake a very good lesson does it? I just hate the expense of everything, and I think it’s slightly ridiculous that its harder for someone to get working, than to just sit on your arse and have the rest of the country pay for you. I understand if you have legitimate reasons, such as a disability or you have to take care of someone who is ill, but having Jake was my choice. I fought hard to keep him, to convince people that going ahead with the pregnancy was the right thing to do, and that despite the inevitable bumps a long the road, I would manage it and be totally successful. Not working just means that everyone who doubted me was right, and that I failed Jake. I can’t live like that, I wasn’t brought up to falter at the first hurdle, and I will keep going and find a solution. The first one being getting a driving license sorted. The rest will hopefully come.

For now, I am off to sort out my CV and hope for the best.

I hope posts such as this inspire those of you who might be faltering to keep going, it will be worth it. It has to be.

Have a good day, and don’t forget you can still vote for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2012 in the links posted on previous posts.


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