As you can probably see from my last post, I've been feeling pretty down tonight. I tend to underestimate myself and feel like I wont be good enough for my son. I also feel like, I just want a happy family and I'm scared that when my son comes along, although he is my world, it still wont fill this gap. So, roaming the internet for support I found this story. It really made me smile, so I thought I'd share it. Kinda long, sorry.. As a 22-year-old student, Ella Scott got pregnant by mistake. She was horrified but decided to have the child, who has inspired a wonderful new life as a single mother May 2005 I'd just come back from holiday. I sat an exam, enjoyed a wild night out and the following day, work took me to Cyprus. I was 22, single and in the second year of my degree. I had a brilliant part-time job, my life was exciting and unpredictable and that's just how I liked it. It's also how I landed myself in a bit of a mess. July 2005 When I found out I was pregnant, I was thoroughly ashamed. I had always been so strict about contraception. Then I let my guard down when I slept with an older friend who claimed to be infertile. I asked him if I should get the morning-after pill and he insisted there really was no need. I had known him for two years. Why would he lie about a thing like that? I did the test in the office toilets. The line appeared immediately. I shut my eyes and hoped it would vanish. It didn't. I rang a pregnancy advisory clinic and booked in for the soonest appointment, in four days' time. I told Ben over the phone. We met in a pub and I held him as he sobbed into my chest. Shouldn't it be the other way around? "I am a monster," he said. He had lied. He was still with his "ex" girlfriend. He had never been diagnosed as infertile. Amazingly, that night he wanted to have sex. As I pretended to sleep he hovered over me and whispered, "Do you have any condoms?" I paced his flat all night, re-reading back copies of the NME and chain-smoking. In the morning, he snapped at me. I left in a cab and have not seen him since. The pregnancy advisory clinic offered no advice on pregnancy, only how to end it, which was what I wanted anyway. It was my only choice. Annoyingly, the nurse confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. She then had to hold me down while I was examined by a doctor. Usually pragmatic about unpleasant medical procedures, I found myself wailing, clamping my legs shut and kicking the doctor in the face. "Calm down, Ella, it is only a ball of cells. You are doing the right thing for this stage in your life." I know, I thought, but I was shocked to hear myself crying. I was booked in for an anaesthetised termination in a month, giving the ball of cells time to grow big enough to be surgically removed. After the clinic, I cried in a heap beneath a statue of Queen Victoria, assuring concerned passers-by that I was completely fine. August 2005 I gave up smoking and drinking. Friends found that a bit strange. There was a bomb scare on a bus and my first thought was, what about the baby? It was ridiculous. I needed to get rid of it and move on. Ben made it clear in no uncertain terms that he would never speak to me again if I had the baby. I tried to tell him that I was having reservations but he misconstrued them as threats, saying, "We both know you can keep this child and get the CSA on to me, but if you're willing to ruin my life and your own just to prove a point, then you must be completely mad." He was right. I didn't want to ruin my life by becoming a single mum. I had never been even remotely maternal. It was a just a ball of cells. I booked a couple of incentives: flights to Thailand that Christmas and tickets for me and Ben to go to a gig after the operation. I needed help. I didn't feel qualified to make a life or death decision. I wanted the correct answer to come from someone else. My friend found me a counsellor at Brook Advisory. I booked in with another one at university. I rang the Samaritans in the middle of the night. They all said "Hmmm" a lot. Not good enough. Even my mother (who is a Christian and not keen on the idea of abortion) just said, "I will support you whatever you decide to do." Desperate, I went to a psychic to see if he could give me the right answer. He said abortion was not in my cards, which made me want to go off and have one to see what would happen if I messed with destiny. The day before the termination, I cancelled it. I decided I wouldn't enjoy travelling the world and dancing all night if I had got rid of a baby in order to be able to do it. I didn't want a baby but I didn't want that guilt either. I had been a silly girl but I was 22, not 15. I would have to deal with the consequences of my actions. Ben's response to my decision was: "Enjoy your snotty, vomity 20s And you've been smoking and drinking, so enjoy looking after a dribbling cabbage." Five days later, I went to the gig without Ben. I felt completely out of place and thought, "This is the last time I will ever go out." October 2005 Instead of going back to university, I took a year out and went full-time at work. I decided to find out the gender of the baby at the 20-week scan. I was having a boy. "It" became Max. I lay awake at night feeling Max wriggle. I hated my housemates for partying till dawn. I despised women on "helpful" internet forums for talking about their "DPs" (darling partners). I was so lonely and angry that I detested women in pregnancy books for having men to rub their backs. I hated students on the bus for worrying about trivial things like exams and deadlines. I really hated Ben. Most of all, I hated myself. December 2005 Despite the insistence of my stoned housemates that I could keep Max in a cot in the corner of my room, I knew I would have to move. I returned to Mum's house just before Christmas. She bought me a smaller bed to allow space in my room for a cot. Now I was afraid. I didn't want to live with my mum. I didn't want a baby. I spent New Year's Eve sober, with family. My auntie hugged me at midnight and said "Oh well, Ella, this is going to be an interesting one for you, isn't it?" I went to bed that night and sobbed until I fell asleep. February 2006 I didn't go to antenatal classes. I didn't want to be around couples. Afraid of sustaining some sort of horrific damage during the birth, I begged for a caesarean section. I was denied one because there was no medical justification. What did it matter? I was certain I'd be celibate for the rest of my life. Friends, relatives and midwives kept telling me that Max's father was the loser. What did they know? I was stuck in a sleepy town, ballooning by the day, while he lived the life I wanted in the hurly-burly of the city. I was the loser and no one could convince me otherwise. Mum dragged me round Mothercare, me complaining: "How am I supposed to know the difference between a vest and a Babygro? I don't know anything about these things!" Then there were the breast pads, maternity towels, nipple cream. Ice packs for the nether regions. What was I doing? What was he doing while I was doing all this? March 2006 Labour lasted 26 hours and was as dreadful as I expected. Max got stuck and arrived by caesarean after all. The midwife held him up to me and he frowned, looking as though he knew everything. I just felt sorry for him. I wanted to breastfeed because I thought it was the least I could do for him, but I found it incredibly hard. I stayed in hospital for a week trying to get it right and cried when I was discharged. I didn't know what to do with myself or my baby when we arrived home. April 2006 It took me three weeks to get the rush of love that is supposed to come straightaway. After that, I was smitten. Max was happy and placid and I was surprised by how easy motherhood was. I had to cope with judgments about my position, but I began to feel proud instead of ashamed of myself. At a baby group, when I mentioned the fact I was single, one mother burst out laughing and said, "Where did he come from then? It wasn't the immaculate conception!" I learned that some people still have a very low opinion of single mothers and took it upon myself to prove them wrong. September 2006 I went back to university. I wanted to move back into student accommodation, but couldn't find a landlord willing to take on a single parent with a child. One asked, "I thought you said you have a baby; how can you be studying for a degree?" I decided to commute, leaving Max with a childminder near my Mum's. It was hard, but I did it. I had more drive than I had ever had before Max. My social life returned and I began to go out after my Friday afternoon lecture. I felt euphoric as it hit me in the middle of a packed dance-floor: "I've got a beautiful baby boy and I am still having fun." I never thought that would be possible. July 2007 I was elated when I posed for my graduation photographs with Max in my arms. I couldn't believe I had done it. Rather than relax, I began to think, "What can I do next?" I had always wanted to write so I enrolled on a writing studies MA. I needed an income, but found employers reluctant to take me on. One even stupidly asked: "What do I do if your son gets sick and you need time off? You're perfect, but I can't risk taking you on." Using my experience, I set up a business from home. November 2007 When my dear nan passed away, I wanted to use the money she left me for something unforgettable. I booked the trip to Thailand I had meant to make two years earlier. This time Max was coming with me. My family have always been supportive but I could tell that they thought I was mad. When I asked my uncle for a lift to the airport, he said "Oh God, you're actually going aren't you?". Thailand was a turning point. It was a fantastic adventure. Max was the perfect travelling companion. The flight was long and, like the whole experience of having a baby, it wasn't easy but it wasn't impossible either. Max was so happy and adaptable, it was exhilarating. If I could do this with my son in tow, I knew I could do anything. It was time to move out of Mum's and regain the independence I thought I'd lost. March 2008 Max and I celebrated his second birthday in our new home, close to my friends. I had a team of babysitters queuing up to have him overnight. On the nights I didn't have childcare, I could entertain while Max slept. I went away to Cyprus for a work conference. I couldn't believe I was doing all the things I'd done before Max came along. July 2008 Max was becoming brighter and more interesting every day. It was a joy to be woken at dawn, to go into his nursery and see him beaming. He was calm and independent, allowing me to retain my autonomy. When I went on holiday to Japan, I ran up a huge phone bill calling Mum's house every day and listening to him run away from the phone laughing. I loved him dearly but I did feel sorry for him not having a father. I had boyfriends but never introduced them to Max; I wasn't trying to find him a replacement dad. I was plagued by the knowledge that Ben was out there somewhere and that if he could only meet his son, he would adore him. September 2008 I opened the CSA case when Max was born, because it felt like the only way to make Ben face his responsibility. He gave up a successful career for the dole and we got £5 a week. Then he disappeared from the system completely and we began to get nothing. He became expert at avoiding the CSA, moving all over the country and once claiming to be a beggar who slept on the street. His sole purpose in life seemed to be to avoid the CSA and his son, at whatever cost to himself. Finally, he got a legitimate job and the CSA deducted a hefty chunk of his earnings for arrears owed. He called me, furious, accusing me of ruining his life. I told him that it wasn't about money but about him acknowledging his son. For the first time since Max was born, I plucked up the courage to send Ben a video of his son. When he received it, he broke down: "He's a beautiful child and I do want to see him eventually, but right now I would just be a visiting alcoholic." I began to realise that Max might be better off without his dad. July 2009 It's four years since I found out I was pregnant. What felt like my biggest nightmare turned out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Max has just started nursery school and I'm already bursting with pride as he begins to learn to read. Sometimes he asks about his dad. I tell him that everybody has a daddy but some men are better at being fathers than others. He accepts that. Money is tight, but I work as hard as I can. I have a part-time job as well as the business I run from home when Max is in bed. I volunteer as a mentor, helping single parents on to the career ladder. I am nearing the end of my MA and plan to write a book about my experience. Hopefully I can inspire women in a similar situation to me and help to dispel the myths about single mothers that are still very much alive. The support I get from family and friends is endless. They help me to have a great social life. I am Max's mum, but I am still Ella. I can't wait for whatever comes next. Life is still exciting and unpredictable, but now I have a bright, loving, happy son to accompany me on the ride.