I always just assumed I’d be someone who had 2.4 children to be honest. I think a lot of young women do. I used to play around with baby names finding the most eccentric-yet-acceptable ones I could muster and scribble them into the back of a notebook.
At age 31 I was broody as hell and directing a lot of theatre. I felt happy and settled and used to lie on the bed with my then partner of seven years and snuggle into him, “Can’t we just have babies now… and I can go and direct theatre with my big baby bump?” I used to ask. He’d always respond the same way. He wasn’t ready. Eighteen months later he left to ‘go travelling and sleep with more women’ so I spent the next few years financially on my arse, clinging onto a mortgage in London and, as a creative freelancer, grabbing every job I could in order to manage. He travelled for five months or so, met someone and settled down with her. They now have two daughters.
I went from the frying pan into the fire as my hormones surged and I began a hedonistic and highly unhealthy relationship with a guy I’d known for a few years on the theatre scene. After 6 turbulent months together I found out I was pregnant. I was over the moon. He wasn’t. He’d never wanted kids, he said. Those few weeks were probably some of the worst of my life as I endured a lot of emotional blackmail from him to abort, mixed with his heavy drinking and temper tantrums. In the end I decided that my child deserved a better father than that and, devastated, aborted the child. It broke my heart. I’ve always suffered from episodic depression and I plummeted into the depths of grief and pain. I cried constantly and could barely hold my life together for many months.
Because he was the nearest thing to my child, now gone, I clung to him for those same months before finding my sanity again and ending things. A few weeks after that I found out I was pregnant again. I never told him. Sadly I miscarried after 6 weeks. I felt so much shame that I kept it to myself. I felt I was being punished somehow for the abortion I’d had several months before.
I’ve dated men since then but none of them have been more than short flings at best. I have found it incredibly hard to meet decent guys. I’m pretty ruthless now if someone starts playing games with me. I’ll just walk away now. This has meant I have spent a lot of time single and have filled my world with other things – my work, my friends, my little dog and CrossFit.
I’ve grieved a lot and it has been very hard at times. I still have moments when I struggle to deal with the whooping over someone’s pregnancy. But for the most part, I’m happy and fulfilled. I’m independent and proud of who I have become and what I have achieved. Motherhood does not define women and I’m now a huge advocate of that.