Single Moms

It's not easy being a single mom. As a single parent, you have to take on double the parenting duty. Other issues can make this even more complex. For example, some young moms write about what to do if my boyfriend is an alcoholic. Please share your experience and wisdom. As you will see, these problems require a great support system, time management skills and top-notch parenting techniques. If you have tips to share with other single moms or just want to help other single mothers and single parents out there, then tell us your story.


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I love you, my baby


I was 14 when I met my then boyfriend Jordan in the eighth grade and he was 16 and in the tenth grade. He was friends with my cousin, who introduced us at school and we became best buddies. Jordan was on the football team and I started going to all of his games. Before long, we started dating and started having sex three months into our relationship. Because he was first boyfriend and it was my time being sexually active, I was making sure he used a condom but he sometimes didn't because he said he hated wearing them. So we started using the pull-out method. We dated for a year and our families got really close with each other. After the summer ended, I found out I was pregnant after I realized my period didn't come on time. Jordan at first said he was too young to be a dad and asked me to get an abortion. I said no and we broke up, and I went home crying. A couple of days later, he said he was sorry and promised he would support me, and we got back together. Our families were really upset and, after all the crying and screaming, they said we had their support to raise the baby. I got bullied at school from kids who kept saying I ruined my life and I got pregnant to trap Jordan. So I began home-schooling and Jordan started working part time after school. Jordan was very supportive throughout my pregnancy and attended all of my doctor's appointments. I gave birth to a healthy baby boy, whom we named Hayden after my older brother who died when I was a baby, on May 2, 2014. Instead of being happy, Jordan got really scared and distant, and he later said he couldn't do it after all. I was devastated and asked him why. He said seeing the baby being born made him realize how real it was and he wasn't ready to settle down, and said he was sorry before he left me and the baby in the hospital. I was more upset when I later found out he gave up his full rights and started pretending I didn't exist. His parents defended him by telling me he was too young to be a father and he had his whole life ahead of him. Still, they wanted to have the baby over at their house on weekends, but I refused. They threatened to have the baby taken away from me, but after a while, they moved on and never bothered to ask about Hayden. As much as I loved my baby, I was overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a mother and I couldn't do the things I wanted to do, and I felt guilty for relying on my parents for support. Every time I wanted to go somewhere, Hayden had to come with me and I started falling behind on my schoolwork. After four months, I decided to give him up for adoption and I gave him to an amazing couple who can give him the love and things he needs. Jordan and his parents knew about the adoption. Jordan didn't seem to care but his parents at first said they would stop it but never did. It was the hardest thing I ever did but I made the decision because I love my baby so much I want him to have the best life he can ever have and I wasn't able to give it to him. Its an open adoption, and I get to see him and get pictures of him all the time. I may not be raising him but I will always be his mom and I will love him forever.

Mariah






The pregnant freshman

I had met Deon in November 2014 of my freshman year (I was 14 and he was 17) through his friends and we started talking right away. I was on the cheer tram high school at the time and the day we met was the day of the Thanksgiving pep rally, so I knew that he was watching, especially since Kiley and Shannon (friends of his and mine that also helped introduce me to him)were on the cheer team. He had also asked if me and him could hang out the next day (Thanksgiving) so he could meet my family. I agreed and I made sure that it was okay with my aunt, and she was surprisingly fine with it. After we came back from Thanksgiving break, I overheard someone saying that Deon ended up in rehab because he was on drugs. I haven't heard from him since then until April of 2015 when he decided to drop out of school. We had dated on and off for a month and we were sexually active. Then on June 12th, 2015, I found out I was pregnant with Deon's baby. I had found out that I'm having a girl and I decided to name her Valerie Scarlett. I'm excited to have her but I'm just so scared about if she would be born drug dependent because Deon only needed up in rehab for heroin and not the other drugs he's on. He's on cocaine, he smokes, he drinks, he's always out partying, I heard he's back on heroin again and he's been arrested twice. Me and him aren't together and he doesn't even know that I'm pregnant. Only his family, my family, friends and my principal, vice principals and adjustment counselor know about it. Hopefully I can switch schools for my junior and senior year of high school because Deon had decided to come back to school and I don't feel comfortable around him

Taylor






Teen dad

You hear a lot of stories of teen girls getting pregnant and having babies, and the fathers are complete deadbeats or they leave their girlfriends after the baby is born. I'm not one of those dads. I became a father when I was 17-years-old and I can say that I am proud of being a dad because raising my children has brought me nothing but joy and happiness. I was 16 and a junior in high school when I met my girlfriend Ashley at the movies. We were in the same grade and attended the same school, but we weren't in the same circle of friends so we didn't know each other beforehand. As funny as it sounds, it was love at first sight. We started dating two weeks later and we had a good relationship. Ashley said she was saving herself for marriage (not for religious reasons but because it was so important to her). I understood what she meant and we didn't have sex right away. But, after 10 months together, we both couldn't resist any longer and decided to take that big step, but Ashley wanted our first time to be perfect. That summer, we went on vacation with our friends to Florida and there, we made love for the first time. We made sure to use protection. Ashley was on birth control but we used a condom as extra precaution. We continued having sex but I can remember a few times we forgot to use protection, but since Ashley was on birth control, we didn't think pregnancy was a possibility. On my 17th birthday in November, we found out that Ashley was pregnant. She gave me a small box with a big ribbon wrapped around it and inside was a positive pregnancy test. A dozen emotions ran through my mind - I was happy, scared, upset, and confused. Ashley was really scared because she was afraid what her parents would say and that they would kick her out. I assured her that I was going to be there for her and support whatever she chose to do. At my birthday dinner, we sat with our parents at the table and broke the news to them, and they were shocked. My mom asked "Are you sure?" while my dad held his face in his hands. Ashley's mom started crying and her dad shook his head and looked really angry. Ashley's parents said that they would take her to the doctor later in the week but if there was still time, they wanted her to have an abortion or else she will ruin her life. My parents were against it and suggested adoption because my family doesn't believe in abortion. They got into a big fight but Ashley and I stood up for ourselves and said it was our choice, and we left to stay at a motel to let them cool off. The next morning, Ashley's mom called and said everyone was ready to discuss the baby with us. Her parents still felt abortion was best, but Ashley and I said we were going to keep our child, and I felt that it was my responsibility because I helped create this baby. But the reality of parenthood scared us - we were still in school, we had no income, no jobs or home of our own. Our parents still weren't accepting of our choice, but our mothers accompanied us to our first doctor's appointment, where we heard the baby's heartbeat. Ashley and I fell in love right away with our baby and knew without a doubt keeping it was the right thing to do. Our friends and teachers were supportive, and helped Ashley with homework when she had to miss school when she was sick or had to see her doctor. It took months, but our parents came around and accepted they were going to be grandparents when our 16th week appointment revealed we were having a boy. Ashley's dad was happy because this was the first boy to be born in her family in 20 years. Ashley and I searched high and low to find jobs that would earn us enough to support a family and household. I started working at the local power plant after school from 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.. Ashley worked a Bath and Body Works. When Ashley was 5 months pregnant, she had her baby shower the day after her 17th birthday. I wanted to go, but she said baby showers for women and I said it was baby too. So she let me attend, and I was the only guy there, but I had fun opening presents with Ashley and getting so much baby things for our son. I also appreciated all the good words the guests gave us, despite our young age. Our son was born on August 8, 1997, and we named him Brandon Ryan. Ashley and I got married on July 1, 1998, right after our high school graduation. We moved into an apartment and, at the advice of my parents, I enlisted in the Marines. It was tough being apart from my family while I was in basic training and then I went on my first deployment. But, I was bringing in enough income that Ashley was able to stay home with our son and we bought our first house in 2000. By 2003, things were going so good that we had our second child, our little princess, Kaylee Michelle, on April 10, 2003. When most people ask me how old I was when I had my kids, they assume that I regret having them because I had to give up so much for them. I did give up so much - my dream of going to college and playing football - but I will never regret my kids. They are my pride and joy, and the reason why I breathe. Ashley and I may have had to grow up at a young age, but we have lived like adults since we learned she was pregnant with Brandon. Our parents spoil Brandon and Kaylee rotten, and her parents thank us all the time for not choosing abortion and they feel terrible for even pushing it on us. Brandon just turned 18, graduated high school with honors, and is now attending university with plans to be an engineer. He does football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. Kaylee is 12, in the seventh grade, she makes good grades, and does choir and volleyball at school. Ashley and I are still married and although we have the typical fights like all married couples do, we still love each other and devoted to our children. My main priority has always been making sure my wife and kids are happy and provided for. Never for a second do I second guess my decision to be a teen dad.

I love you forever, Ashley, Brandon, and Kaylee!

Thomas






Nevaeh's Story

My name is Rachel and I'm 25, and I have a 8-year-old daughter. I was 16 when I met Caleb at my older sister's best friend's birthday party in January of 2006. I was instantly attracted to him but I was told by my sister that he was 23 and he had a tragic past. I found out that he had just got divorced after he and his wife suffered a late term miscarriage, and the baby was a boy (I later found out that they named the baby Grayson, after Caleb's grandfather). Caleb was still mourning the death of his son and didn't want to start dating or get close to anyone. Still, though, I approached him and we talked for most of the party. He didn't talk much about himself and I didn't push him to, but we got a little drunk that night and we ended up at his house. We had sex about 3 or 4 times and he made sure to use a condom each time because he didn't want to have anymore children, as he told me. The next morning, I had to get back home before my parents got up and he gave me a quick kiss and said goodbye. We didn't exchange phone numbers and I was disappointed that he didn't ask me to give him my number or email. I figured it was hopeless to get him to date me while he was depressed, so I just left it at that and went on with my usual routine.

I found out I was pregnant 2 days after Valentines Day when I got sick at my part-time job and threw up in the bathroom. My best friend, who worked with me, asked me if I was late after she noticed I didn't have a fever. I realized that I was a few days late and we went to the nearest store to get a pregnancy test. When it came back positive, I was scared and confused. I was only 16, unmarried, and going to have a baby. I told my sister first and when she asked who the father was, I told her it was Caleb. She was upset that her baby sister was pregnant by an older man who likely wouldn't have anything to do with me but she was supportive of whatever I chose to do. She helped me tell our parents. I was so scared to tell them that their honor roll and college bound daughter was pregnant by a 23-year-old. They gave me two options: abortion or adoption. At first I said adoption but I knew deep in my heart that I couldn't give my baby away. I waited three weeks to tell Caleb, and I went to his house to tell him. When I told him, he was not happy and accused me of either faking the pregnancy or pinning the baby on him for money. I told him that I didn't want any money from him and I thought he deserved to know that this was his baby. He said he didn't want to be involved because he was still not over his son's death but he would pay child support if a paternity test proved him as the father. At the end, the test proved that I was right.

When the time came for me to look at profiles of adoptive parents, I announced that I was keeping my baby no matter what. Of course, my parents were not happy but they came around once I found out that I was having a baby girl. Caleb stayed true to his promise and provided me money for doctor's bills and maternity clothes, but I stayed firm in how much he gave me. I didn't want him to give me too much that was more than what I needed. He didn't attend the doctor's appointments but asked for weekly updates on the baby because he said all that mattered to him was that it was healthy. He never told his mom about the baby because he didn't any of his family to be part of her life. Eventually, my mom got angry at him for this and found his mom's address and told her. She was also upset about not being told she was going to be a grandmother. His mom, Ella, came to my house to give me a hug and told me that she was excited about the baby, and she would be part of its life, whether Caleb approved or not. Ella even threw me a pink-themed baby shower with my parents, sister, and friends attending and gave me lots of good wishes. When I was 7 months pregnant, I started having complications and I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks. Caleb found out from his mom and he came straight to the hospital. I was surprised that he came and more so when he told me that he was sorry for pushing me away and that he was happy that the baby was doing good. He also told me that he didn't want our daughter to grow up without her father. After that, we agreed to give our relationship a chance so that our baby would have a family.

Our daughter was born on October 19, 2006. She weighed 7 pounds and 6 ounces and was 19 inches long. She was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen in my life. She had my light brown hair, fair skin color, and chin but she had Caleb's blue eyes, nose, and face shape. Caleb came to the hospital as soon as I called him that I was having contractions and I was going to the hospital. As I was in labor, I noticed that he was uncomfortable being in the room with me and I told him that he didn't have to be there if he didn't want to, but he stood up and said he was going to be in there for the delivery 100% and he wanted to be the first person to hold the baby. He held my hand through the process, rubbed my head and back, and kept me calm. When the baby came out, he started crying as she was put in his arms and I think he finally understood how guilty he felt for insisting he couldn't love her. He wanted her to have a name that meant something and suggested Nevaeh (which is heaven spelled backwords). Her full name is Neveah Elizabeth McCay - she has Caleb's last name. Caleb never let her out of his sight and he insisted that I move in with him after we left the hospital. He wanted to be the one to feed, dress, and bathe her, and he would watch her sleep in her crib almost every night. When Neveah was 3, Caleb proposed to me by saying he wanted to give back for everything I've given him and he loved me so much for giving him the greatest joy ever. We had a small and beautiful wedding ceremony in his mother's backyard, and Nevaeh was the flower girl, and Caleb insisted that she stand beside him during the ceremony. He supported me finishing high school and going to college, but he was against putting Nevaeh in daycare, so Ella hired a family friend who worked as a nanny. I got my bachelor's degree in teaching and I secured a job as a second grade teacher last year. With Caleb's job as a salesman, we are financially settled and we have a beautiful house. Caleb and I would love to have another baby, but we've been putting it off once I finished school and got a job. We have told Nevaeh that she had an older brother who died, and we've taken her to his grave and everything. Although I was a kid having a kid, Nevaeh is the best thing that ever happened to me - she loves dancing, singing, and is an honor student in the third grade. Caleb and I couldn't ask for a better outcome in the situation we made by accident that night we met, but we don't regret having Nevaeh and she is our precious little princess.

Rachel






Unplanned but wanted

I was 15 when I met my boyfriend, Zak, at school. He was the popular guy with tons of friends and came from a well-off family. I was shy and didn't have many friends, and I was focused on school because I wanted to be a veterinarian. I lived with my mom, who had me when she was 17 and my dad deserted her when she told him she was pregnant with me, and my grandma had to help raise me. My mom was always tired and resentful of being a single mom, and not getting the freedom she felt she deserved, and often left me with my grandmother, who was also resentful to have to take care me while my mom did whatever she wanted to do. I never had a boyfriend before and I didn't care much about having one because I thought I wasn't really pretty but it was really because of my shyness that made me unattractive to the boys. It was the first day of ninth grade when I first saw Zak in the parking lot when he was talking to his friends, and I was instantly attracted to him because of how good-looking he was with his black hair and blue eyes. But I didn't dare to speak to him because I thought he would never give someone as shy as me a chance, so I simply kept to myself. I heard around school that Zak had had tons of girlfriends since he was about 10-years-old and had slept with most of them before dumping them (but this was obviously a fake rumor, I knew it a lie because I hardly ever saw him around girls). We were in math and history together, but never spoke or looked at each other. One day in October, I was eating lunch on the campus when I saw Zak walking towards me and asked me if he could sit with me. I wanted to know what he wanted from me and I let him. He told me that he noticed I was always alone and keeping my face in my books, and I told him that I just liked studying and about my plans for the future. We then properly introduced ourselves to each other and he offered to be my friend. I was surprised that he was interested in me, but I was careful to make sure he wasn't trying to take advantage of me. We started eating lunch together and he studied with me, and then, around Christmas, Zak confessed to me that he really liked me and wanted me to be his girlfriend. As doubtful as I was about why he wanted to date me, I accepted. We dated for two months before we had sex for the first time. We carefully planned it; we told our parents that we were spending the night with friends and got a hotel room, which he paid with his allowance, for the weekend. He was my first and Zak said that he had slept with two girls before me but said that he loved me the most. I was happy to have a boy who loved me and I fell hard for him too. We used a condom because I wasn't on birth control and my mom didn't think I would be sexually active.

On our six month anniversary, I started throwing up in the mornings (which was strange to me because I never get sick) and my breasts got really tender. I thought nothing of it until late July when I realized that I was a few weeks late on my period. Still, I was so scared about the possibility that I was pregnant that I ignored it and tried to carry on with my life. Me and Zak were so happy and I never told him about my suspicions. I was forced to admit to myself that I was probably pregnant when I got sick at the sight of tuna sandwiches, which I love. I went to the drug store and bought a pregnancy test. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried my eyes out when the positive sign appeared on the stick. I wouldn't believe that I was pregnant with Zak's baby. I was petrified and happy at the same time; scared that I was going to be a 16-year-old mom and happy that I was carrying the child of the person I love. I knew Zak was going to freak out once I told him the news but I was hopping that he would take me into his arms and assure me that he would be there for me. I called him up an hour after taking the test and calming myself down. I asked him where I could meet with him because I had something important to tell him. He asked me to come over to his house while his parents were out, and I went over there, with the test in my purse. We sat in his living room and he asked me what I had to tell him. I didn't say anything and pulled the test out to show him. He looked at it, his eyes widened and in shock. He then started laughing and accusing me of playing a trick on him. I started crying and he realized it was real, and freaked out far worse than I imagined. He said I shouldn't be pregnant because we used condoms each time we had sex and accused me of sleeping around. I got angry and said I hadn't been with anyone but him. He still ranted that I was lying and I was a slut, and I shouted at him for his betrayal. Needless to say, we broke up that day and I told him that I never wanted to see or hear from ever again, and he said the same thing. He made it clear that he didn't think the baby was his and even if I proved it was his, he still didn't want anything to do with it. I left his house balling my eyes out and cursing at myself for falling for this guy and giving him everything before he turned his back on me when I needed him the most. When I got home, my mom asked me what wrong and I sat her down in the dining room and told her. She screamed and cursed at me for being shame and disappointment upon her. I expected this reaction from her and I honestly wasn't surprised when she told me that I was to be out of her house by the weekend. I had only my grandmother's house to go, so the next day, I called her and told her that I was pregnant and been kicked out of the house. She was also really angry and asked me if I considered my options. She and my mom wanted me to have an abortion but I made it clear that I wanted to keep my baby and I was willing to do whatever it took to be the best mother I could be. My grandma was still doubtful of me but she said that I was allowed to stay with her on the conditions that I get a job, stay in school, and save some money because she would only let me live with her for a month after the baby is born. I quickly moved in with her, got a job as a receptionist at a hotel, and put all my focus on school and staying healthy for my baby. A friend's mom helped me apply for Medicaid and a couple of my friends threw me a small baby shower. That was the only time during my pregnancy where I felt so happy and thrilled at having a baby. I still saw Zak at school and I was disgusting to see him act as if I didn't exist, even as my bump grew. He never asked me how was I doing or offered me anything when I would have to go to the nurse's office if I felt sick or when I checked out early for a doctor's appointment. He never once asked if he could go to the doctor's with me, which I often went alone. My grandma was too busy with working and my mom wanted nothing to do with me or her unborn grandchild. It tore me apart that my poor baby didn't have anyone but me who truly loved and wanted it. It didn't matter to me what the gender would be, but I was excited when I learned the baby was a healthy baby girl, and I decided that her name would be Madeline, but I called her Maddie. I never texted or called Zak when I learned we were having a girl because I knew he wouldn't care. My mom and grandma didn't care, they were only more concerned about her following in our footsteps in becoming a young mother, and I got pissed off at them to the point where I didn't bother to update them on my appointments or anything related to the baby.

On March 20, I was in bed when I felt contractions and called my doctor who said that they were likely Braxton hicks and told me to stay home until they got stronger. So I stayed home and tried to wait them out, but after three hours of constant pain, I started crying and shouted at my grandma that I couldn't take it anymore. She called my doctor and he told me that I better get to the hospital. My grandmother drove me to the hospital and we got there at 5:30 that night. She helped check me in and got me settled in, but she said she didn't feel comfortable being there and I wasn't in the mood to argue with her so I told her to go if she wanted, which is what she did. I labored alone 7 hours, the doctor and nurses felt sorry for me but never said anything and they were great with me as they helped me breathe between contractions and rubbed my back to get me comfortable. By 1:05, it was time to push and at 1:28 A.M on March 21, 2008, I gave birth to Madeline Amber Phillips. She was so beautiful when the doctor laid her on my chest. she has my face and green eyes, but she had Zak's black hair and nose. At that moment, I didn't care that she was part Zak's, I concluded that she all mine to keep and I loved her with all my heart. As I held her, after the nurses cleaned her up, I vowed to her that I would be the best mother possible and I would see to it that she had a happy life. I learned to feed her, bathe her, and change her pampers from the nurses. My grandma didn't see Maddie until the day we were discharged and she came to pick us up. My mom said she didn't want to see the baby. Grandma commented how pretty Maddie was but she was overall distant with the baby and me, and looked at me with bemusement as I sported a proud and joyful smile at my baby.

I ended up living with my grandmother longer than expected because I hadn't saved enough money to get my own apartment. She firmly told me that I would have to get a babysitter to watch Maddie while she worked and I was at school because she was not going to watch the baby. Luckily one of my friends' older sister worked as a babysitter and volunteered to watch Maddie while I went to school and worked. I kept true to my promise to finish school, in fact, I earned enough credit to graduate a year early at 17 and that allowed me to work more hours and make more money. By that fall, I was thrilled when I got a promotion at work and earned myself enough money to get me and Maddie an apartment. My grandmother seemed eager for us to go because she helped me pack and insisted that I get everything of mine ready to go, even though I had a few days to prepare for the move. It was hard to make ends meet and living off of paycheck after paycheck. I have to admit that I wasn't prepared for the mountains of bills I had to pay, and I worried that I would be able to get enough food and clothes for the two of us. My grandma tried to pressure me into taking Zak to court for child support and was angry that I was forcing him to take responsibility. But I felt it was pointless to pay for an attorney and take him to court when he likely wouldn't pay anyway. Sometimes, I was forced to leave Maddie with my grandma when my regular babysitter couldn't watch her. When Maddie was 2, I fainted at work and was rushed to the hospital, and the doctor said that I was suffering from low blood pressure due to over working. I tried calling my grandmother to ask how Maddie was doing but I got her voicemail and I was getting worried. Then, I couldn't believe it when the door opened and there stood Zak with Maddie. He told me that my grandma had dropped my daughter off at his house and berated him for being a deadbeat. He still accused me of being a slut and denied that Maddie was his, even when she looked just like him. We got into a shouting match as I insisted he was the father and he got sick of it all and decided to settle the matter with a DNA test. I was taken aback that he would be the first to suggest it and it only proved his certainty that Maddie wasn't his. He paid for the test himself at the same hospital I was at and we were told to wait 10 days for the results. During that time, Zak refused to tell his parents about Maddie and he said that if the test proved he was the father, he would pay child support but he didn't want to be part of her life. I told him that I didn't want his money and I would rather have Maddie be raised with no father than a father who didn't want her. He was surprised when I said that but he acted like he didn't care. When the results came back, they proved that Zak was the father. Zak broke down after reading the results and couldn't understand how he could get me pregnant when we were using protection. I reminded him that I didn't want anything from him and I was prepared to continue raising Maddie alone. I guess the revelation that he was a father caused a drastic change of heart in Zak because he quickly said he was sorry for all that he put me through and he would take full responsibility as a father. I still didn't believe him and asked him to do me and Maddie a favor by signing his rights away. He refused and told me that us arguing over Maddie will only end up in court, which is what both of us wanted to avoid. Still, I avoided him and didn't answer his calls in the weeks after the test results. After 3 weeks, I finally decided to answer his call and my intent was to tell him to leave me alone, but he said that he told his parents about Maddie and they wanted to meet her. I again refused to listen to him but after talking to him for an hour about how his parents were shocked to learn they had a granddaughter but were eager to meet her because she is their first grandchild, I agreed to let his parents meet her on the weekend. I took Maddie to his parents' house, where I meet with Zak and his parents, who right away hugged and kissed her. Zak took me aside and asked me to forgive him and he wanted us to get back together because he wanted Maddie to have both of her parents. I said I no longer loved him and still didn't want anything to do with him. I still asked him to give his rights up because I doubted he would stick around, but he refused. We still argued over him revealing himself as Maddie's father to her and him having visitations with her. I was even reluctant to let him come to her 3rd birthday party, but he did anyway and brought her tons of presents. At the advice of his parents, we attended a mediation session with a counselor, who said that she didn't condone Zak for his actions but she believed he was being sincere in his attempts to be a good father and that me denying him the opportunity to have a relationship with Maddie was based off of my personal hatred towards him rather than me doing what was best for Maddie. After two months of meetings, I finally agreed to a joint custody agreement with Zak; I would have her on the weekdays while he got her on the weekends and we would split on holidays and summer vacation. I finally told Maddie that Zak was her dad and she took it all on board and she was simply happy that she did have a father. Four years later, Maddie is a happy and healthy 7-year-old girl, who is an honor student in the second grade. She does cheerleading, dancing, soccer, and softball. She loves art, playing outside - whether its sunny, rainy, snowy, hot or cold -, animals, and playing with her friends. She loves both me and Zak, and has been settled into her routine of splitting her time between us without complaining. Zak and I are very civil with each other for her sake and, while I still have trouble forgiving him, I am thankful for him stepping up to the plate. Its' so cute when I drop Maddie off on a Friday night at Zak's house and she runs into his arms hollering "Daddy! Daddy!". Zak is interested in getting married, but he says that Maddie is the love of his life and he has yet to find a girlfriend. I would also like to get married one day but my main concern is Maddie. I sometimes wonder how Maddie would've turned out if I had given her up for adoption and I'm glad that I don't know because I don't know how I would've survived without her.

Jenna







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