May 24, 2018

The reality of being a young, single mum

The reality of being a young, single mum

I signed up to the parenting forum before I even knew I was sticking with the pregnancy. If the counsellors, Samaritans and the doctor couldn’t give me the answer, maybe some strangers on the internet could. (Among the scant replies I received, I’ll never forget an amazing, reassuring and knowledgeable email from a woman in New Zealand who’d found herself in the same position, had the baby and turned out happy.)

Once I got into the swing of being pregnant, or at least tried to, I decided to log in again. The forums were arranged by the month babies were due, so that women at the same stages of pregnancy could talk to each other about all the weird stuff that was happening to their bodies. I signed up to “Due in March” and quickly realised that most of the threads were indecipherable. On them, it turned out, people spoke in a strange code, whereby abbreviating every other word for the sake of a few letters was preferable to just writing it. I knew that mothers were busy people, but it was ridiculous. PG was not the rating of a film that might have the odd rude word, but the abbreviation for “pregnant”. After my first visit to the board, I found it necessary to consult the glossary, which left me a little wiser but no less irritated. When reading the posts about morning sickness and which maternity jeans to buy, my internal voice spoke the acronyms and never the full-blown words. It was like virtually conversing with robots. DS was not the name of a popular handheld games console, but the shortened version of that well-known, often spoken phrase “darling son”. Similarly, DD was not a bra cup size, but stood for “darling daughter”. Things got really confusing when people had multiple numbers of offspring, which is when numbers came into play and people started going on about DS2, DD25 etc. What was wrong with just writing “daughter” or “son” was beyond me. Read more

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