On September 2nd 2013, I was looking forwards to spending the week at my boyfriend’s house. His parents had gone away, we had the place to ourselves, and we were looking forwards to a ‘practice run’ of living together – we had two weeks until we were due to start living together in a student house, as I began my second year of university, and he began his first.
Little did I know, when I woke up that morning, that by the evening my entire world would have flipped upside down. Everything I thought I knew would change; all my plans would need plan Bs and Cs and backups and substitutes. By the end of the day I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about university; whether I was even going to go back. My hopes of graduating alongside my friends certainly seemed to have vanished.
I didn’t know what the future held for D and I. Could we stick together through something like this? And what exactly did ‘something like this’ entail? Was I ready to be a mum at 19 years old? Could I see the pregnancy through and relinquish my baby for adoption? Could I go through with an abortion? Each decision would hold massive, life-long implications.
I was a slightly awkward theatre student, with no real direction in life, my main hobbies were watching films and reading books, and I had no inclination to change my life. I was selfish and drifting through life, still feeling like a girl.
And when I woke up on the morning of September 2nd, 2013, I had no idea what was ahead. I never even dreamed that one small plus sign on a white plastic stick could change the world as I knew it.
Fast forward twelve months, to September 2nd 2014, and I wake up every morning to see my daughter; this beautiful, incredible human being that I carried. I look at the growing pile of dissertation work, a reminder of the fact that I went ahead with my second year, I completed it, I passed with a 2:1 and now I’m going straight into my third year, still on track to graduate with my friends.
I see my daughter changing every day, rolling and laughing and smiling, even trying to copy the baby signs we’re teaching her, getting ready to try solids, about to go to nursery, and I remember the uncertainty of that first day of knowing. I can’t say with any degree of certainty whether either of the other two options would’ve been worse or better, and it’s certainly not for me to judge what others should do, but personally, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I look at D, the man who will one day be my husband, and I see a strong, loving father. I see it in his eyes when he cuddles her, I see it in his smile when she laughs at the faces he pulls; he was made to be a father. I look at myself and see someone who has slipped into parenting; there’s been speed bumps along the way, but there always are. I see someone who is passionate about many things, someone who has a purpose – I will make my daughter proud; I will be a role model; I will be the mother she deserves and aspires to be like. I look at myself and I see a woman.
What a difference a year makes.