In September 2018, I picked up my life (one of the many times over the course of my young life) and moved to Manchester, UK in pursuit of my Masters degree. Prior to this move, my travels have allowed me to not only visit but also live in several beautiful places: Philippines, China, California, seven years in France and the list goes on.
Two weeks into my move to this brand-new city, my breasts started to feel very tender. So confident that I wasn’t pregnant, I nonchalantly walked into a drugstore and grabbed a pregnancy test.
My only goal was to eliminate the possibility of a pregnancy as the reason why my breasts were aching. This way, I can also drink, be merry and enjoy my student life abroad.
Well… here I was… in my dim, small and unwelcoming student residence accommodation peeing on a stick. I didn’t even have time to wait three minutes for the stick to show results as the box instructed, because it turned blue instantly.
Disbelief. Torment. Pain. Those are the words I would use to describe that moment. I wasn’t ready to be a mother.
I was in utter fear of what this would do to my relationship with my long-term boyfriend, as I knew he was not ready either. I really felt like my life as I knew it, the fun and free life that I was living, was virtually over.
Motherhood meant dirty diapers and sleeping at 8pm. THIS IS NOT THE LIFE I SIGNED UP FOR.
I just spent 26k UK pounds for my Masters degree (calculate the conversion for yourself, it’s astounding). Was I going to knock on the University’s door and ask for a refund? My life was over.
Then the crying ensued. For two weeks, I cried. I mourned my life.
To put this into perspective, I was 29 years old and I have been with my boyfriend for almost 15 years. Technically, I should’ve been ready to have a baby. Instead, I cried, and I cried and I cried. I wanted to have a beer to soothe the pain, but I couldn’t. But then, the pain eventually stopped. It took some time, but I collected my thoughts and decided on a game plan. I was going to have this baby, but not at the cost of my dreams and aspirations.
After some calculating, I would be finished classes in the UK on my 34th week of pregnancy. The cut off for major airlines for me to fly back to Toronto was 35 weeks. So, I contacted the University, spoke to them about my situation and they were very supportive of my plan.
This meant, that I could not afford one complication during my pregnancy. A complication meant I loose and be forced to halt my studies. I attended classes, wrote papers, some morning sickness, school projects, nausea – all in my tiny student accommodation.
To top it all off, I was so convinced that I was gonna pull this off that I agreed to have my boyfriend continue to pursue his blossoming career in Ireland while I stayed in Manchester. Alone. With the help of a wonderful group of girlfriends (who have become my family), I pulled through. I made through all my midwife appointments, all of my ultrasounds, the down syndrome test.
I even, if you can believe this, travelled to 10 countries with a pregnant belly!
At 34 weeks, I flew back home to Canada and had my baby. My boyfriend came home at 37 weeks and we gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on the 38th week.
Then my life really changed. Suddenly my life had purpose. I have to be honest. It took some time. Some weeks before I truly stopped mourning my old life.
I looked at my son with happiness that I have never experience before, but I also looked at him with a hint of loneliness and realization of how quickly I had to say goodbye to what was.
Time passed and during this period is when it really sunk in – life doesn’t stop because I became a mother. I had to adapt. In between sleepless nights, burping, doctor appointments, postpartum symptoms – I continued to conduct and write my 20,000-word dissertation. Again, I kept at it.
To top it all off, I had to fly with my two-month-old son to Ireland and move there permanently. No friends. No family. No one. Just me, my son and baby daddy (who had already built a life there by the way). Now I’m sitting in another new city with no one to ask for help.
One time, baby daddy got sick – so sick – he had to stay home and I wondered, “what if we both got sick at the same time, who would watch Noah?” I couldn’t let these thoughts run my life.
I PERSISTED. After giving birth in Toronto and a move to Ireland, I successfully finished my dissertation, flew to Manchester twice in a week’s time to write my exams and concluded my Masters degree. I am scheduled to graduate in December.
I hold back tears as I write this because to be honest, it didn’t seem like this big crazy feat when it was happening. But WOW. I cannot believe I pulled this off.
Hey! Mom was born in my living room. This lingering thought that I had to inspire somehow. I would go to sleep at night wishing I could tell another mom out there that things are still possible when you become a mom. Life doesn’t end. It keeps going – in another direction but it continues.
Hey! Mom Apparel is a source of inspiration for modern motherhood. I faced a lot of judgement with what was seen as poor decisions on my part during and after my pregnancy. All I wanted to do was scream to the top of my lungs and say: THIS IS MY LIFE.
That’s exactly what modern motherhood means to me: it doesn’t mean I have to be a CEO, or a working mom, or whatever modernity means – it simply means that I GET TO MAKE MY OWN CHOICES.