‘’I Don’t Consider My Baby An Accident, He’s A Miracle….’’
We all know how difficult [and expensive] it can be to raise a child. We know of the time and energy that it takes from our own personal needs and the self-sacrifice one makes in order to give to their child. Most of us know of a single parent or two who have to face the daily challenges alone.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Lavanya Patrick—a 23 years old single mom residing in Damansara, Malaysia—and discussing the hardships she has to face as a single parent raising her almost 6 month old, Arya Joey. When she first found out she was pregnant, she was in her final years in a local University, preparing to finish her studies and graduated. While others are busy thinking about the life and freedom awaiting them, Lavanya on the other hand, the reality of her life eventually has ended and started, all at the same time.
I may not have been prepared to be a mother but that doesn’t mean I’m not capable
What’s the backstory of your past relationship? When and how did you two meet?
Well we met through tinder somewhere in November 2018 and after a few dates we sort of became a couple. Honestly at first, it was nothing serious or major about our relationship but after a few months we decided to make things official and we somewhat became a couple.
When did you find out that you were expecting? What was the first emotional response from both parties?
I found out I was pregnant in July 2019 and by then I was already four months pregnant. I didn’t notice I was pregnant as I was busy with work and studies. Also my period is never consistent and my bump was not showing. I randomly took a pregnancy test in July because I eventually noticed that I was not getting my period at all, the test came back positive and I went to get an ultrasound to confirm it. Me and my partner were both scared and emotional because we were not expecting this at all and after a few months of ups and downs it unfortunately came to the decision that I would be a single parent.
Though my boyfriend at the time was on board when he first heard the news, it didn’t last very long; we parted ways—as he said he doesn’t want to be responsible
Scared and confused, she admitted that she once considered for abortion because it was pressed upon her. It’s human nature to look for the nearest exit when the heat is on and the heart is broken. Not only did her ex doesn’t want to be responsible but he also questioned whether the baby is his. It’s a big call to separate from the one you love—and to believe that both of them would be in each other’s lives for eternity. But she was strong enough to realise her strength, and respect herself, her worth and happiness and decided to leave.
Did you notice in any ways that you were treated differently while being pregnant?
Well honestly yes. I noticed that I was receiving stares from strangers and I guess they were trying to guess my age and if I was married because they kept looking at my fingers trying to see if I was wearing a ring. Some would even whisper to their friends/family while pointing at me when I was taking the public transport.
I had extended family members who told me I would only be respected and welcomed to their house if I was married
Can you talk about a time when you felt terribly angry, upset, or shocked by the way you were treated as a single mum?
I had extended family members who told me I would only be respected and welcomed to their house if I was married. This made me really upset—I understand that getting pregnant especially when you are not married is not something that is easy to comprehend but at the same time people should learn how to be compassionate and phrase their words properly. There were also so many people who rarely talked to me who had the audacity to ask me personal questions on who the father of the baby was and some of these people never even congratulated me. They just wanted to be so kepoh. Honestly I did not expect random people texting me just to ask who the father of the child is. Isn’t it obvious enough that I am a single parent?
Lavanya also noticed how socially unpleasant it is to be a young mom and pregnant especially in Malaysia. She received so many unwelcomed stares from strangers and they kept looking at her fingers trying to see if she was wearing a ring. ‘’Some would even whisper to their family or friends while pointing at me when I was taking public transport’’, she said.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions people have about being a single parent? Or about being a young single mum, for that matter?
Well people usually think single mums/young mum’s do not know how to be a mum. Just because motherhood came to us unexpectedly, older people think we’re not capable of handling our baby. In my opinion, motherly instincts are real and I am able to know what my baby needs just by hearing his different cries or sounds. I may not have been prepared to be a mother but that doesn’t mean I’m not capable. I’ve done research by reading countless mum blogs and talking to people with experience. Also, the more time I spend with my baby the more I learn about him. People shouldn’t stereotype single/young mums as incapable because we’re just as capable as anyone.
It only gets better. This mantra reminds me not to give up and it gives me motivation to move forward
Now, what’s the best part about being a mother? Or, what’s something you wish you would’ve known when becoming a mother?
The best part about being a mother is seeing your baby go through their firsts. The first time they open their eyes, their first yawn, their first smile, their first laugh, all of that. These moments are amazing. I don’t consider my baby an accident, he’s a miracle.
If you met someone who was faced with an unplanned pregnancy, scared, and considering abortion, what would you tell them?
Well I am Pro choice so obviously I would not force the mother to keep the baby if she is really not capable of doing so. However I would advise the mother to seek proper medical advice and do not do anything rash out of fear. Going through an unplanned pregnancy is scary but do not go through it alone. Talk to someone you trust or seek help from a professional.
Lastly, what do you hope for your Arya’s futures?
I hope he’ll be happy and I hope he’ll be himself no matter what. I always want my lil baby to feel loved and nothing less. By being a single mum I aspire to set an example for my baby that he should not force himself to live with someone if he isn’t loved.