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     When I found out that I was pregnant, I pretty much knew that I would be doing this on my own. Something told me that my boyfriend at the time was just not prepared for what we were about to face. And I was right. He split a mere 12 weeks into my pregnancy.

     Being single and pregnant was difficult. Lots of embarrassing questions, judgemental looks, and sometimes downright mean comments from people who have no idea what it is like to face something like that alone. And it's not like I was 13 and pregnant in high school. I was 22 years old. Plenty of married women have kids at 22 so why being single and having a child at 22 is so unheard of I am not sure.

     But, I convinced myself that the pregnancy wouldn't last forever, and that things would be easier once my son was born and people saw how truly beautiful he was (and he is beautiful I must say). In some ways that was true, in others not so much. Certain people have fallen in love with him, and now no longer feel it necessary to constantly make a big deal out of the fact that I am a single mother. Others, still throw it in my face every chance they get. I cannot begin to count the number of times, during an argument that has nothing to do with relationships or motherhood, I will hear "well at least my baby daddy didn't leave me" or "at least I had enough sense not to get pregnant." I'm sorry, I failed to realize that me raising a child by myself was a direct reflection of my intelligence or self worth?!

     I actually find it quite the contrary. Being a single mother has allowed me to find a strength in myself I never knew I had. Things that usually would have me in tears, and that would usually make me really angry or feeling really discouraged now just annoy me. It's not that I suddenly feel like these things don't matter, they do, but I just no longer allow them to take over. For example, I dont care who you are, not being able to pay your bills is stressful, but at the same time, stressing and worrying does not put money into my bank account. But, it does put me in a bad mood and prevent me from fully enjoying the joy of my 4 month old. It's hard to find his little coo's and giggles as adorable when in the back of my mind I'm counting the bills I can't pay. Furthermore, I have learned to function on pretty much no sleep. Because when my son is sick, and I have work in the morning, there is no one to take over one of his midnight feedings for me, there is no one to get him ready so that I can get a few more minutes of sleep, and there is no other check coming in so I can't afford to take a day off. So I have learned to get through a shift at work even if my son woke up every two hours last night. Before I had my son? I would have called out sick because I would say I was too tired.

     Now please don't get me wrong, I am not in any way trying to say that married moms have it easier. They have their own set of unique challenges I am sure. What I am trying to say, is that people should not judge me and assume that I am less of a person because of my status. I feel like I have earned more respect because I am a single mom. I know what it means to have another person depend solely upon me. I know what it means to have to figure it out because there is no one else out there who can. I think I have earned a little of respect.

     So to all the single moms reading this, Kudos to you!

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