Tuesday, March 13

SUNSHINE AFTER THE RAIN

I wish time travel were a real thing.  I wish I could snap a photo of my daughter's face and pop back to July of last year to show the terrified young woman (me) exactly what she would have if she could just stick it out a few months longer.  Although... I guess it really wouldn't matter, since I held out and chose to bring Sol into the world anyway.  But I'm sure the pregnancy would have been a lot easier if I had known exactly what I had to look forward to. 

I chose to keep my pregnancy a secret for a long time.  Looking back, that was pointless, because things didn't really start looking up until I broke the news.  I wrote a letter (from my post Breaking News) to tell my loved ones about my pregnancy.  And I should tell you that the letter wasn't my idea... it was my mom's (my mom is always coming up with fabulous ideas like that).  And what a great idea it was!  So many phone calls, cards, letters, texts, etc etc... the outpouring of love and support that I received in response to the letter was more than I ever dreamed would happen.  Maybe it was because I was ashamed of myself, or maybe it was because I had someone telling me from the very beginning that no one would love me if I told them I was pregnant.  Maybe it was a little bit of both.  Regardless, I never expected to have so much support. 

I'm sure the major wireless carriers had a field day after I sent out my "big news" letter. I myself received countless texts/phone calls. And I'm sure there were maaaaany others being sent out among my family/friends, given the bomb I had just dropped (from my friend Al: "I must admit, you could have probably given me several guesses about what big news might be brewing among the Bierlein clan, but this would not have made my list of top 10 guesses. I think I bruised my jaw when it hit the floor"). But every message I received was ultimately one of love/support/excitement (from my cousin Emily: "The thing to remember is that it is not HOW a baby gets to this earth, it is that the baby is on this earth!"). 

Since I've shared my story through this blog, I've heard from so many people who have either been in a similar situation or known someone who's been in a similar situation.  And each time I hear someone else's story, my heart has broken just a little because very few of them had the support that I had.  The things that some people can say to/about an expectant mother... I shudder to think that humanity can be so cruel. 

Pregnancy is scary.  And your emotions are on a rollercoaster anyway.  You cry for no reason when you're watching The Office (true story!).  You laugh at the most inappropriate times.  And if you're doing it alone, you're terrified every step of the way.  There's so much to think about, so much to know, so much that will be changing. 

I was recently talking to one of my friends who is also a single mom, and we were discussing just how much information a new single mom has to take in.  Fortunately, I'm a sucker for researching even the most ridiculous topics, so I was able to find a lot of the answers to my questions through the wonderful world of Google.  FMLA, child support, government assistance, child care databases, child care assistance, legal custody, physical custody, insurance/benefit information, tax information, affidavits of parentage, blah blah blah.  There was so much to learn and so much conflicting information.  Before Sol was born, I spoke with two different family law attorneys regarding the questions I had about all of the above.  And the attorneys even gave me conflicting information!  This whole experience has given me a keen interest in becoming a family law attorney.  I'm not sure how seriously I feel about it, or whether it will ever come to fruition, but I have an idea:

I would love to go to law school (any takers to fund that endeavor???) and educate myself on all the ins and outs of family law: custody/paternity/adoption/etc.  I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to head up an organization to support expectant single mothers.  And not just for low-income mommies-to-be.  An organization that can help pregnant women (from all walks of life) plan their future with baby.  An organization that can help all women see that an unplanned pregnancy is not the end of her life.  An organization that can offer help to women who feel forced into abortion.  An organization that can help women make a positive choice after seeing the positive test result - even if that means a knowledgeable, helpful referral to a caring adoption agency (remind me to tell you someday about my experience with adoption agencies).  An organization that's founded not only on the desire to help young pregnant women, but also on the basis that I know what they're going through and can relate to their fears, frustrations, joys, etc.  An organization that can offer legal, financial, and psychological counseling for mommies-to-be.  An organization that can help all pregnant woman see that there is always sunshine after the rain.  I've seen the rain, and I've seen the sunshine.  And I can tell you firsthand, the sunshine will make you forget all about the rain.  I wish someone had been there to tell me everything I needed to know about the legal and financial aspects of the road ahead of me.

If anyone has any advice or words of wisdom, send them my way (such as, aside from marrying a rich doctor, how to make money while doing this? pro bono doesn't exactly pay the rent...).  Any advice will be well recieved.  Maybe this isn't such a crazy idea after all.

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