The day I found out I was pregnant, I had mixed feelings: happy, confused and a little scared. To be honest, I didn’t expect the pregnancy, because I was still young (24 years old) and not married at the time. But when I saw the sonogram for the first time, I instantly fell in love and decided to keep the baby.
When I told my boyfriend about my pregnancy, he was furious and he told me to abort it, but I refused his request.
“If you continue this pregnancy, I will not support you and I will have nothing to do with that baby. You’ll be by yourself,” he warned me.
Without hesitation I said, yes. I believed that I was strong enough to raise a kid by myself. The problem was how to tell my parents about the news. They would be furious, disappointed and heartbroken.
Months went by, I regularly had my pregnancy checked alone, or sometimes with my best friend. My doctor advised me to tell my mother as soon as possible, because my tummy would grow bigger and bigger.
My mother is conservative and religious. I was afraid that she would judge me and preached me about all the sins that I’d done. My father has always been the moderate one and the parent I go to every time I need help or advice.
So I asked my father’s best friend to talk to my father. When he came to my house, I waited in my room, praying and preparing myself for the reaction to come. He explained to my father about my situation and how my boyfriend didn’t want to take responsibility for the pregnancy. My mother wasn’t in the room, but she was listening to the conversation behind the wall.
After about an hour, the three came in to my room. My mother was angry and said she was disappointed in me. My father softly said: “How could you do this to me?”
But he added: ““From now on, we would never talk about that guy and we would focus on raising that baby inside your tummy.”
Since that day, he always accompanied me to the doctor and to shop for the baby’s needs. He spoiled me and bought me everything I wanted. One night as I was falling asleep, I felt him holding me from behind, whispering, “Oh my little princess, what has he done to you?” I cried a little. I was so happy that my family accepted my condition, though sometimes I felt sad that I had no partner to share my joy.
My father then decided to call his and my mother’s families to break the news. He concocted a story that I was married and got pregnant, but had gotten divorced. He had to lie because my mother’s side of family would’ve been judgmental of my situation, and he didn’t want them to think bad about me. But he told his mother, my grandmother, about my real situation and she became really angry. Ahead of her birthday, she called to tell me she didn’t want me to come to her birthday party because she was ashamed of me.
I had to cope with all the judgment. They said I was not a good girl because I got pregnant without a husband, but I didn’t care about what people said, because I had all the support that I needed from my family and my best friend.
One night I felt a tremendous pain in my stomach like it was about to explode. My mother said that we should wait to see how it progressed before going to the hospital. The pain got worse and the next morning they took me to the hospital. The doctor checked me and said I could give birth the next day. But that night when the nurse checked my baby’s heart beat, she found a problem and they didn’t know what it was. They scheduled me for operation at 6 AM. I was so scared that something bad would happen to my baby, because, apparently, his neck was entangled by the umbilical cord.
After two sleepless nights I had a C-section surgery, and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. All my pain just washed away the moment I saw him.
There’s an option to all women in my situation: we can raise a kid by ourselves. It’s not easy, but I promise you it’s worth every moment.
I decided to raise the baby by myself without any help from a maid or babysitter. I wanted to experience every single moment. I didn’t want to miss his first word, first step and his other firsts. It was not easy doing it alone; many times I broke down. Sometimes when he cried and I couldn’t soothe him, I got frustrated.
In the first two months, I was easily angered. Most of it was because I was angry with my ex, my baby’s father, and sometimes I was angry with God. I kept asking why he put me in this situation. Why wouldn’t my ex take responsibility? Why? But when I looked into my baby’s face, all my anger dissipated. Day by day, I learned to accept things. I stopped questioning and started to believe that things happen for a reason.
At first I juggled two jobs: managing my own coffee shop and giving private Bahasa Indonesia lessons to expatriates to make ends meet, but it was not enough. Raising a toddler is expensive. Then I started working as sales agent for an insurance company, because they said the money was good. While working there I lost my coffee shop, because it was hard to manage two things.
Working as an insurance agent meant I didn’t have a steady monthly income and my mother told me to look for a more steady job. Fortunately I found a media company that allows me to work five hours a day, so I can spend time with my son while earning a steady income. I’m not rich, not yet, but at least I can fulfill my son’s needs and also be there for him when he needs me.
It hasn’t been easy, but over time I’ve learned to forgive my ex and become positive. I want to raise my son in a positive environment. I want to be his hero, the one that he turns to. I’ve read many books about knowing your kid and psychology for single parents. Those books help me find my own way to raise my son.
He’s now seven years old, good looking, smart, and a Star Wars freak. And he’s also great at football (to me at least). Time and again, he exceeds my expectations. He’s an independent kid, who has been eating by himself since the age of four, unlike many children I know. He’s been taking his own bath at age six and he does his homework without my assistance. He is the best son ever.
But most of all, he helps me become a better person, because through him I learn to accept things the way they are. To be happy for the simplest thing, to be more patient and wiser and grateful for everything. If I had terminated my pregnancy years ago, I would have never had this amazing experience.
Sometimes the things you don’t plan are exactly the things that give your life meaning. There’s an option to all women in my situation: we can raise a kid by ourselves. It’s not easy, but I promise you it’s worth every moment. I’m lucky to have a great support system from my family and friends, who play a huge role in keeping my sanity. In the end, I taste my own sweetness of life.