Autumn Leaves

In her own words, Tina’s story

It is National Parents Week, a time to celebrate all the wonderful parents out there who are raising happy, healthy children in all kinds of circumstances and family structures. The routes to lone parenthood are many and varied, and everyone has their own story.

Recently Tina wrote to us after the birth of her little boy. His father has opted not to be a part of his son’s life. This is Tina’s story.

My name is Tina and I’m from Offaly. I’ve recently become a single parent and when I stumbled across this site I shed a few tears of happiness to see that I’m not alone.

My story started back in November 2013 when I started dating someone I’ve known for a while and thought was genuinely decent. After a few months together I started to get the inkling that I could be wrong and so stopped seeing him. When I split with him I came off the pill as I noticed I had started to gain a few pounds and wanted to trim down a bit but after two months with my tummy only getting bigger I decided to do a pregnancy test to rule out that reason. When the test displayed a positive result I was fit to collapse with the shock! I had been taking a contraceptive pill yet a little life was growing inside me.

I confirmed the result the next day with the doctor and felt the next step was to inform the father. I had already realised we weren’t a good match but I thought there was no reason why we couldn’t get along for the child’s sake. Then I met with him.

He spent hours trying to convince me to abort on the grounds that he had gotten back with his ex who he loved very much, that his mother would disown him for not being in a committed relationship with the mother of his child, and that he already has a dog who he considers his child.

When he realised I wasn’t going to do what he wanted and have an abortion, he then decided to hammer home how important it was never to reveal his identity and how this included my not pursuing him for maintenance. The last I heard of him he tried to get me to meet him to sign something that’d release him from paying maintenance.

I was now starting into my third trimester and also in the middle of trying to renovate my very dilapidated home on a very small budget. I was living in a house that had no doors, no kitchen, bare concrete floors, hardly any furniture and constant problems with pests. I had my aging father living with me who needs caring for as well. So I cried my tears and got over the shock and got on with it.

I dedicated the last few months to getting parts of the house ready and ensuring a healthy lifestyle. Two weeks ago I gave birth to a healthy little boy who is currently thriving. He has filled my heart with love and made all the pain and hard graft seem worth it. I have the support of a wonderful family. It is my mission in life to do whatever it takes to make sure that my little boy is loved and never feels an ounce of rejection as a result of what his father did.

When I see the blatant disregard for single parent families in this country it makes me sad and angry at the same time. My son doesn’t deserve to be a statistic or the subject of a study into the harsh implications of single parent life on a child’s wellbeing. When I came across this site, I was delighted to see that there’s someone fighting our corner.

I would like an Ireland where my son won’t have to be ashamed of how many parents he has. He has one sitting here writing this who would do anything in the world to protect him. I’ve done all I could and continue to do so for his happiness.

* The name and location of the author have been changed. Everything else remains her story in her own words, as told to One Family.