I sat on my housemate’s bed trembling as she read the back of the box. “It looks like it’s definitely positive” she said, “do you know who the father is?”
I had been on a three month bender after a very sad breakup with my boyfriend. He did not want a family and children. I did. We had no future together, so went our separate ways. Since then, I was fired from my former job, started a new job, I had worked my way through five men, one of whom was married, and broken it off with two of them. I had sought out, met, and fallen in love with my biological father for the first time in my life. It finally looked like I had some sort of ‘career path’ mapped out for me and things were falling in to place. I was starting to get to the point where I was ready to get back on my feet and continue living my life after the end of one of the most hectic years of my life. However, I’d had a couple of days of nausea. I had passed comment to Married Man that I hadn’t had a period in a while, but that must have been due to all the stress that I was under.
6.30pm Wednesday 18th June 2014 was that day that I was proved wrong: that it wasn’t just stress, the dodgy chicken that I ate, or new-job fatigue. I was pregnant. I could hardly believe it.
Consulting a calendar, we established that it was one of four potential candidates. I immediately contacted candidate 1: Games Boy. His response: “the dates don’t match up and the state that I was in that night, it couldn’t be me.” Fair point.
I Whatsapped candidate 2, Army Boy, asking if he was free to meet up any time soon. He immediately questioned why and was son panicking. Despite saying that I didn’t really discuss this over Whatsapp, he messaged “Just to put my mind at rest, is this a pregnancy thing or go to a doctor thing?” We spoke on the phone a couple of hours later and he made his position clear: he wanted me to keep him updated but he wanted me to abort it. I suppose that the inbuilt army training in him instinctively wanted to annihilate the threat. He came across aggressive and cold. To be fair, I was nothing to him; he knew nothing more about me than how my vagina felt and that was that.
Candidate 3, Married Man, was a brief phone call that gave the impression that he would actually be quite solid about things. He wanted to focus on me and wanted to make sure that I was OK. He said that it wasn’t the end of the world and to not let anyone tell me what to do. He then said that if I needed anything, then I was to call him. I wouldn’t, however, as I knew that beyond 8pm his wife would be home. The next morning, he called saying that he had woken at 1am in a cold sweat and it had hit him. He knew that he couldn’t step up to the mark and that he didn’t want to know anything more. He asked where that left us. My response was that if it was a case of ‘let me know if you have an abortion so that we can keep hooking up, otherwise I don’t want to know’, then I was out and that I hoped that he had a nice life and sorted out his marriage.
Candidate 4, Barcelona Boy, was available to meet the next evening, so we met and despite the initial shock of it all, he was the most supportive of them all. He said that he wasn’t going to influence my decision, but that if I did decide to keep it and it turned out that it was his, then he wanted to know; that he would be a father and would want to be involved. We then sat and watched television for a bit, which was, after the drama on the past 24 hours, actually really nice. He told me that I wasn’t alone, and I believed him.
Due to logistics, it happened that all of the candidates were informed of the situation within 24 hours. I had met up with a friend, told a few people, including my father, and decided to get out of town for a bit to think things through.
So here I am in a coffee shop thinking things through. Thinking what to do, who to turn to, if I have the capacity to be a mother, if I had the strength to go through an abortion and to recover from the guilt, what kind of food I should be eating, where I am going to live, what everyone else is going to think about me and how I am even going to begin facing the Christian community that I was once part of but have been pushing away for months in an attempt to isolate myself from the love that I felt unworthy of.