“I would have killed my un­born child and then my­self”

Find­ing her­self preg­nant out of wed­lock and dumped by her boyfriend, Lily* would have com­mit­ted sui­cide if not for a stranger’s help.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Panasonic Special - BY AZLINDA SAID

“I ’ve al­ways been a dreamer. When I was young, I imag­ined my per­fect life – I would meet my soul­mate at the age of 24, get mar­ried be­fore 30, and have three kids by the time I was 40. Well, part of that dream did come true. I did meet some­one at age 26 – and got preg­nant.

Preg­nancy Scare

I met Jack* at a friend’s birth­day party 10 years ago and we started dat­ing a month later. I thought he was per­fect – I could pic­ture us set­tling down and start­ing our own fam­ily. Ev­ery­thing went smoothly un­til I got preg­nant two years into our re­la­tion­ship.

Jack and I had al­ways prac­tised safe sex, so we were both shocked when it hap­pened. I took three preg­nancy tests to make sure, be­fore con­firm­ing it with a doc­tor.

A week af­ter that, when I couldn’t deny it any­more, I pan­icked – I called Jack at work and asked him to marry me. I told him I didn’t want to be an un­wed mother and shame my fam­ily. Jack asked me to calm down and said that we’d dis­cuss it later.

Over din­ner, Jack said he still couldn’t be­lieve I was preg­nant and kept ask­ing if there had been a mis­take. When I in­sisted that it was true, he re­mained silent.

Then he dropped a bomb­shell by ask­ing me if the baby was his. I was stunned. I couldn’t be­lieve the man I loved was ques­tion­ing my fidelity. Look­ing him straight in the eye and strug­gling to keep calm, I told him that he was the only man I had ever slept with dur­ing our re­la­tion­ship and I was of­fended that he would think I was car­ry­ing some­one else’s baby.

I said we had to get mar­ried so that we could start a fu­ture with our un­born child. We had to do it soon, I added, be­fore my bump started to show.

But Jack just sat there qui­etly, look­ing dis­tressed. When I pressed him for an an­swer, he said he was overwhelmed by the news and needed time to think things through. He paid for din­ner and saw me home, say­ing he would call soon.

Aban­doned By My Love

Three days later, Jack still hadn’t phoned, de­spite my nu­mer­ous calls and text mes­sages to him. I re­alised he was avoid­ing me, and I felt an­gry and hurt.

Out of des­per­a­tion, I left work early that day to wait for Jack out­side his of­fice build­ing. I cor­nered him and begged him to talk to me. I threat­ened to cre­ate a scene and em­bar­rass him in front of his col­leagues, if he didn’t. Left with no choice, Jack agreed.

But be­fore I could get a word in, Jack said he was break­ing up with me. He wasn’t ready to set­tle down, he said. There were still many things he wanted to pur­sue in his life and ca­reer – get­ting hitched would just slow him down.

He apol­o­gised for let­ting me down and wished me the best. He gave me one fi­nal hug and left. I was too shocked to give chase.

I don’t know how I man­aged to get home in one piece that day. I was shat­tered by Jack’s ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity and cold-heart­ed­ness – how could I have been so wrong about him?

Down in the Dumps

I sank into de­pres­sion. I didn’t feel like go­ing to work or meet­ing people. I pre­ferred to stay cooped up at home, bawl­ing my eyes out. I lost my ap­petite and barely slept. My par­ents and friends were wor­ried about me but I was too ashamed to tell them the truth. I just said that I was un­der a lot of stress and wanted to be left alone.

I called Jack at work and asked him to marry me. I told him I didn’t want to be an un­wed mother and shame my fam­ily.

In truth, I was tread­ing a fine line be­tween stay­ing sane and los­ing my mind. I had mo­ments of clar­ity where I knew I had to take care of my un­born baby. Yet, there were as many mo­ments of doubt – could I raise my child alone as a sin­gle mum?

I even con­tem­plated sui­cide. I thought about it ev­ery night be­fore go­ing to bed and ev­ery morn­ing when I woke up – I just couldn’t de­cide how to go about it.

Three weeks af­ter Jack dumped me, my par­ents burst into my room and dragged me to church. They said they couldn’t stand by watch­ing me self-de­struct – they were tired of my non-com­mit­tal an­swers each time they asked what was wrong. They sus­pected I had bro­ken up with Jack, as he wasn’t com­ing by for din­ner any­more, but they couldn’t con­firm any­thing since I re­fused to open up to them.

They felt that if I didn’t want to talk to them about my prob­lems, then I should talk to God in­stead. I re­sisted at first but caved in when my mother started cry­ing – it broke my heart that hers was break­ing.

My Guardian An­gel

That was how I met 30-year-old Ed­ward*, who vol­un­teered at the church. He was a highly in­tu­itive man and sensed that I was in trou­ble – I had been car­ry­ing my woes on my face, he told me years later, and that was how he knew I needed help.

Ed­ward urged me to ban­ish thoughts of sui­cide and abor­tion, and to come clean with my fam­ily and close friends so that I could lean on them for sup­port.

When Ed­ward first ap­proached me to wel­come me to the church, I wasn’t keen on con­nect­ing with him. I thought he was in­ter­ested in me ro­man­ti­cally, and hav­ing just come out of a bad re­la­tion­ship – and preg­nant at that – I wasn’t ready to meet any­one new. So I gave him the cold shoul­der and left in a hurry.

But over the next three weeks, he kept try­ing to reach out to me when­ever he saw me in church. There was some­thing about his kind per­sis­tence, soft-spo­ken man­ner and gen­tle de­meanour that fi­nally won me over. I didn’t think he meant me any harm and de­cided to trust him. He worked as a coun­sel­lor, I found out, which ex­plained why he was so con­cerned about me.

Af­ter weeks of keep­ing my se­cret, I re­alised that I was in over my head. I needed to tell some­one. I was so overwhelmed by emo­tions that I broke down in front of Ed­ward. I told him about how my boyfriend had left me af­ter I had got preg­nant with his child. I shared with him how I’d tried to abort the baby – I had made an ap­point­ment with a doc­tor twice within the first month of preg­nancy – but changed my mind at the last minute. I even ad­mit­ted that I’d thought about killing my­self, and told him I had come close to over­dos­ing on sleep­ing pills.

As I poured my heart out to him, Ed­ward re­mained at­ten­tive and non-judg­men­tal. He kept re­as­sur­ing me that things would turn out okay, as long as I re­mained pos­i­tive. He en­cour­aged me to pick my­self up and find the strength to move on, for the sake of my in­no­cent, un­born child. He urged me to ban­ish thoughts of sui­cide and abor­tion, and to come clean with my fam­ily and close friends so that I could lean on them for sup­port.

I told him I des­per­ately wanted to share my predica­ment with some­one close but I was afraid of be­ing judged, or even worse, aban­doned by those I loved. “If your fam­ily and friends truly love and care for you, they will help you, no mat­ter what,” he said.

His sooth­ing voice and en­cour­ag­ing words calmed me. For the first time, I be­gan to see things from a new per­spec­tive. What Ed­ward said was true – my world didn’t have to end just be­cause I was heart­bro­ken and dumped. I could be strong and make a bet­ter life for my­self and my baby. I might not be sure about it now, but I would man­age. I just had to take each day as it comes, I told my­self.

Life Goes On

I mulled over Ed­ward’s words for a week be­fore I con­fessed the preg­nancy to my par­ents – by then, I was al­ready two months along. They were dis­ap­pointed with the sit­u­a­tion, of course, but promised to help me through it. I also told a few close friends and was glad when they pledged their sup­port. I de­cided to quit my full-time job for part-time work, un­til I had given birth.

In the mean­time, Ed­ward and I con­tin­ued talk­ing, over the phone and in church. He be­came my cheer­leader and ‘Aunt Agony’, so to speak, through­out the preg­nancy. When mo­ments of de­pres­sion and self-doubt set in, I turned to Ed­ward – I was so grate­ful to have his shoul­der to cry on.

I never doubted that his in­ter­est in me was pla­tonic – he was in a steady re­la­tion­ship with some­one in the church, so I never ques­tioned his sin­cer­ity. I knew that he was help­ing me be­cause he gen­uinely didn’t want to see me throw my life away.

I did ask Ed­ward once why he had both­ered about a to­tal stranger back then. He ex­plained that ini­tially, he had just wanted to make me feel wel­come. But my ad­verse re­ac­tion made him won­der if I was strug­gling with some­thing and needed help.

That was a decade ago. I’m now hap­pily mar­ried to a lov­ing man whom I met six years ago, who ac­cepted my child and me whole­heart­edly. We even went on to have kids of our own.

Both my hus­band and I re­main close to Ed­ward and his fam­ily – he too is now mar­ried with kids. Also, Ed­ward and his wife are god­par­ents to my lit­tle ones. In a way, I sup­pose you could say that I did even­tu­ally achieve my child­hood dream of hav­ing a per­fect life – I just needed to get over the hur­dles first.”

*Names have been changed

Do you have a real-life drama to share or a true story that would in­spire other read­ers? E-mail us at magsim­ply­her@sph.com.sg and we’ll get in touch with you for more de­tails.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.