I never would have believed that I would be a single mum. I’ve always had huge respect for mums who go it alone, but it was something that for a while I was determined to avoid. That was until one day it became a much more appealing option than spending a single minute more with a man I could barely even look at. Jason had gone from being a man I couldn’t live without, to a man I would be happy to never see again.
I met my husband when I was only 16 years old. Like most teenagers I thought our love was forever…and for 14 years it looked like I was right. I don’t know when things started to fall apart for him, and honestly I don’t care.
I can tell you EXACTLY when things fell apart for me. The moment is burnt into my brain. And to say it caught me by surprise is an understatement of epic proportions.
Our first child came along when we had been together for over a decade, but he was a surprise. A beautiful surprise. The pregnancy was perfect, the birth went well and he was a beautiful, healthy baby. To the disgust of many other mums Jay slept through the night from when he was only 6 weeks old. Honestly, it was a blissful time. I was deliriously happy. The next couple of years just floated by. It was around this time that I told Jason I was keen to have another baby. He loved the idea and couldn’t wait to add to our little family. Unfortunately this time things didn’t come quite as easily. I don’t know if it’s because I was so desperate for a baby, but it just wasn’t happening. I’ll admit that around this time I was struggling. I was desperate to give Jay a little brother or sister and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t happening. I know that Jason struggled with it as well but his attitude was more “if it’s meant to be, it will be.”
After 12 months of trying I booked us in to see a specialist.We decided to stop trying and see what the professionals had to say. As is the case with a lot of couples, as soon as we stopped trying we fell pregnant naturally. I couldn’t have been happier. But this pregnancy was different. I was sick, I lacked energy…and this time around I had another little human to care for. It was hard. The deliriously happy bubble I had been living in had burst. But here is where it gets a whole lot worse. Things with Jason had been a bit trying for a while, but we had hit rocky patches before. We had always found our way back to happy. I had no reason to think it would be any different this time. We had been dealing with a lot, so it made sense that things weren’t perfect. At this stage my marriage was over…I just didn’t know it yet.
One day when I was about 6 months pregnant I had started to feel really unwell. My boss sent me home early so I could have a rest. Jay was in care for the day, so I agreed to take the opportunity to go home, get into bed and just have the afternoon off. When I got home, to my horror, my bed was not empty. Instead, it already had two occupants…one was Jason, the other was Amy. A girl from his office who I had met on a number of occasions. I stood there frozen. It was like my brain could not make sense of what it was seeing. To make matters worse they didn’t even see me at first. It was awful. It was Amy who saw me first. She screamed. Jason looked over and all the colour drained from his face. The excuses started immediately. I just turned around, ran out of the house and drove to my best friends place where I fell to pieces. Jay and I camped out there for a few days. Eventually I agreed to meet up with Jason to work out how we were going to move forward. I’m ashamed to say that he managed to convince me to try again. He promised the thing with Amy was a one time thing and he didn’t know what he was thinking. He loved me and was committed to our marriage. I guess I was emotional, hormonal and vulnerable – so I agreed to give it another shot. Amy had quit and was off the scene. I had nothing to worry about.
By the time Sasha was born everything had changed. The trust had gone, the love was gone and my ability to pretend everything was okay was definitely gone. So you can imagine how I felt when I saw Amy’s name pop up on Jason’s phone. He didn’t know that I saw it but he grabbed his phone and hid it as quickly as he could, just to be safe. I was done. I waited for him to leave for work, I packed his bags and had them waiting for him on the front lawn when he got home. He spent the next few months trying to convince me that he was a changed man and it was definitely over with Amy this time. But this time I didn’t fall for it. That was a year ago now. I can honestly say that I am the happiest I have been in a very long time. I’m proud of the example I have set for my children. I would be devastated if my children put up with that sort of behaviour, so why should I? I have chosen to be a single mum and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the author.