Humans of Toronto #SingleMother

By Deniz A.

If there is one thing I can say tell you about life, it would be that you need to make sacrifices to see the most important things in your world to thrive. In this case my baby boy. Before I can get to that, let me explain where it all started. My life was quite simple back home in Turkey. I was a graphic designer for a successful magazine firm by day and a party animal at night. I had many friends and family that I would spend tons of time with in a lively city, going on many adventures everyday. My favourite thing to do though was to watch my boyfriend (now husband) on stage acting in many comedic and dramatic plays. Although we were in our early twenties, we had fallen madly in love with each other. One day he got offered a role in New York City to perform in an off-broadway theatre. Now the producer of this play being Turkish was quite familiar with my husband’s work. This was extremely exciting especially for a couple of kids eager for a journey to embark on. In a matter of weeks we were all packed up and prepared. My husband had to fly out earlier in order to secure his role in the play. 2 days before I flew off I had to quit my job and say goodbye to my friends and family and to start on a journey that I had no idea would change my life.

Having to leave everything behind, I bawled my eyes out for the entirety of the flight. Once we finally landed, I went through basic airport procedure then waited outside the airport for my husband to arrive and pick me up. As the hours went by, still no one had shown up. For hours I couldn’t stop crying because I felt I had been abandoned in a country far from home. I didn’t have much money nor did I speak the language. It was the most traumatic few hours of my life until my husband finally arrived. With an awful look on his face, he had told me that the reason he flew me out here was to end things between us. As if he couldn’t have done it over the phone before I had left everything and everyone behind. To this day he still believes it would have been dishonest to do it over the phone. As if it weren’t already bad enough I had discovered that I was 2 weeks pregnant. Now at this point I had been abandoned in a country with a fetus growing in my belly! I didn’t know what to do. I could’ve easily called this jackass to figure something out, to maybe help me through with it but I didn’t. I didn’t want help from a man who didn’t want anything to do with me. I also didn’t want to confuse things between us since he already had so much on his plate. On top of that, I didn’t want to go back home. How could I? I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, especially my parents. So instead I decided to live in New York City, alone and pregnant. I have no idea what I was thinking at that point in my life,  I just knew one thing and  that I would be a mother. I was living above a pizza shop in Brooklyn which is where I worked to pay the rent. It wasn’t ideal but I managed to get by.

As months went by my husband’s play premier was approaching. I had finally come to my senses and decided to tell him however I thought it would be best after his play. So I saved up some money and bought a ticket in advance. I was extremely excited and scared. I mean what do I tell a guy when his baby is due in a few weeks? I decided to not think about it too much and instead just tell him in the moment after the play. Now fast forward to the night of the premier my baby boy was due in a week. Of course with my luck, that sucker was ready to pop out on our way to the premier in the cab! The taxi driver in a panic rushed me down to the hospital as I laughed hysterically to the predicament I was in. It was all fun and games until I actually arrived in the hospital. I was having a panic attack! Was I really going to give birth to this baby alone? After many months of trying to be strong for myself I decided that I needed help and came to accept that I can’t do it alone. In fact I really, really didn’t want to. Especially since I still barely spoke english. In the pizza shop it was just cleaning so I still didn’t have any experience actually speaking with Americans. So after minutes of them trying to explain to me my situation I told them to stop and wrote down my husbands number on a napkin. Now this was moments before his play would begin so I highly doubted he would pick up the phone. After all my bad luck I guess some higher power knew that it was time to finally give me a break. My husband answered and rushed to the hospital. Right then and there his career was over as he rushed out the theatre literally 5 minutes after everyone was seated. Once he arrived at the hospital he knew there was no time to ask questions and to my surprise he didn’t. He was calm and lifted an immense load on my back. He translated me through what the doctors were instructing and after 72 hours of labour our baby boy was born.

Now the rest wasn’t easy. After three long years after we had moved up north to a new city known as Toronto in an attempt to forget our mistakes made in New York. Regardless of the change in setting my husband started to resent the fact that I didn’t tell him earlier that I was pregnant. That he had to find out that he was going to be a father right as the baby was going to be born. In fact if he had known earlier he probably would still have his career. We could’ve planned it out together. It would’ve definitely been much easier. Sohe  up and left in the middle of the night. Now he was still a good man and he couldn’t bring himself to abandon his son completely. So although he wasn’t there physically he was there financially. For nine straight years he put himself through physical labour as a construction worker just to give up 75% of his paychecks to me and my son every week. Me and my husband gave up our wonderful lives for our son and although he was doing it from afar he still had a major impact on our son. As I dressed, fed, and took to him school everyday, my husband made sure our son had enough food and enough clothes to get by. I still felt a void all those years. As I suffered from postpartum depression for the following 8 years after my son was born. I wasn’t happy. The only thing keeping me going was knowing that I would get to see my son grow into a man.

Shortly after my son turned 11, my husband decided to return and that all his effort and work wouldn’t be worth it if he wasn’t completely apart of our son’s life. So we decided to put our differences aside and life started to get a lot brighter. My son finally had a father he could physically touch and not admire through a picture. As well as the feeling of security with my husband started to rid my depression away. It was as if he was the only medication I ever needed. As if it hadn’t gotten better my husband was promoted and we finally had the income to completely change our lives. We moved out of Scarborough into Midtown Toronto and it was as if we had started anew. My husband finally forgave me after all those years and to this day I can reassure you, we both have no regrets. In fact it was all worth it to see my son growing into this amazing person. That after all that time and pain I can look at my life and be proud of what I accomplished. As if our sacrifices made our accomplishments all the better and more satisfying. This journey had been the ice cream my mother told me to eat after dinner, in the sense that it tasted better waiting rather than having it right away.

#FamilyStruggle #SingleMother#DistantSupportiveFather #ImmigrantStruggle

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