When an unplanned pregnancy happens, women in relationships have a reasonable expectation that the baby's father will be around and help out with the child-rearing, even if the relationship doesn't last. However, that isn't always the case. While pregnant women will carry a very public notice of their impending motherhood nestled under their shirt, men who choose to skip out on parenthood can just go on with their lives.
Fortunately, women also have options: abortion, adoption or motherhood.
When faced with that decision in 2006, author Christine Coppa chose motherhood. She explores her road from the sexy life of a young editor in Manhattan to single motherhood in her new memoir, Rattled!, due out from Broadway Books on April 14.
Although she has shared much about her life on her popular mom blog Storked! on Glamour's website, the book takes readers from the uncertain and frightening moments peeing on the proverbial stick to watching her son's father slip out of her life to a dramatic move back to the New Jersey suburbs that she grew up in to finally bringing home her son and starting her new life.
So, Coppa was left in a situation that many women have faced: pregnant and alone. The fact is that single mothers are everywhere.
There are 9.8 million single mothers living with their kids under age 18 in the United States, according to 2008 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That is up from 3.4 million in 1970. It's become a far more accepted societal norm to have a child and remain single. Even with such strength in numbers, the decision to become a single mother is a hard one. It presents an array of challenges, concerns, feelings, worries, wonders and hopes … and, most of all, uncertainty.
Coppa's book gives readers a glimpse into what it was like for her to be 26 and pregnant. The account is at times raw, with Coppa describing in vivid detail the panic and uncertainty of a panic attack while on her babymoon in Palm Springs. At other times, she delves into the comforting powers of friendship and the ultimate desire and determination to be a successful mother with a baby. Met with challenge and resistance again and again, Coppa stands up in the face of opposition and figuratively shoves it aside as she makes room in her world and her life for her child.
Her brothers, in particular, stepped in to fill the void left by A, her son's father. "They've been like mini-fathers," says Coppa.
Coppa's older brother, Carlo, helped her map out her finances and work on getting rid of unnecessary debt. As a single woman in Manhattan, Coppa lived pretty much paycheck to paycheck, saving little. But that changed when she was faced with the responsibility of motherhood. She says the mental change to being more money conscious wasn't too hard. "It wasn't as hard as people might think it might be. It was just a new way of thinking of things," she says.
And she has spoken with him since their son was born, however A (very Scarlet Letter-ish, eh?) hasn't met his son. "I have extended the olive branch and my son has never met his father. He is a grown up. He is a 30-year old college educated man. I reached out to him," Coppa says, adding that while she thinks it is important for her son to know his dad, she's done what she can to make that happen.
Nonetheless, Coppa's memoir lends a glimmer of hope to women who find themselves in an similar situation. Still pursuing her dreams of being a writer, she now does so from her New Jersey apartment with her son nearby. Coppa says that she plans to continue writing for Glamour, but isn't sure what her next big project will be. "I am very optimistic and hopeful."
However, she is the first to admit that while her situation has worked out so well, what worked for her wouldn't necessarily work for another woman. "I can't tell [other women] what to do because every situation is different. I am making it work. Everyone is not able to make it work," Coppa says.
Her only advice? "Take a deep breath and think about it because whether you have the child or have an abortion or give the child up for adoption, everything is going to change."
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!