Going Solo: Single Parenthood


One of the most important things I’ve learned as a new mom is that the best way to get poop out of clothes is to put them in the sun. It is really that simple. I tried oxy, shout, and tide. I scrubbed and scrubbed. Then another mother told me to just put the clothes in the sun and voila! The poop was gone. To date, the sun has saved 6 outfits and 3 blankets.

Since I spent the majority of Grad School turning everything into a metaphor, I couldn’t help but apply this lesson directly to my own life. When I found out I was pregnant and that my daughter’s father wanted nothing to do with me or the baby, I felt like poop. Going to doctor’s appointments alone and telling your family and friends the news alone is not how this is supposed to work. You are supposed to be able to shout from the roof tops that you are pregnant and then the father of your child should bring you flowers while you dance around your kitchen. That’s what Hollywood tells us, so if things don’t pan out that way, we end up feeling like poop during a time when all we should feel is happiness.

When all was said and done and I was alone in the hospital room with my precious Isabella, there was a still and quiet feeling of poop. There is another half of her that was not there to soak in those amazing wonderful moments. Her father did not bring me flowers, tell me I did a great job, or get me ice cream from the hospital cafeteria. He didn’t hold her and look in her eyes and fall in love. That absence was poop.

Tonight I was giving Bella a bath and she was smiling and splashing in the water and was over the top adorable. Here I am alone with her in my parents’ house and all I could think about was how much I wanted to call out to my dad and show him how freaking cute his granddaughter was. But he’s not there anymore. As much as I want him to walk through the door and as much as I can see him doing so in this house, he never will. This was not just a feeling of poop, but a full on blow out.

Now before you start feeling bad for me and want to wipe all this poop out of my life (pun intended), let me tell you about the sunshine.

When I found out I was pregnant I told a few of my friends before I even told my family. This group of friend’s threw their hands up in the air immediately and squealed with delight. One of them sent me flowers and a beautiful card the next day. Sunshine. Another took my trash out when I was 9 months pregnant and also brought me ice cream. Sunshine. They all threw me a baby shower even though they knew there were already two others planned for me. Sunshine.

In the hospital I got more flowers and a friend brought me ice cream. During my pregnancy I got emails, cards, and gifts for Isabella from Florida, California, Chicago, Jersey, New York, Guatemala, Philadelphia, Kenya, Montana, Alaska, and all over PA. I had 3 baby showers from 3 wonderful groups of people. Sunshine. Sunshine. Sunshine.

And despite the fact that I have barely spoken to any of my high school friends since high school, they came out in droves with gifts, support and encouragement. Sunshine!

And yes, my dad is gone. I miss him terribly. I still hold some anger towards doctors and towards God for allowing him to die. However, for 34 years I had a dad and he was incredible. His jokes stick with me, I see his smile when I look at my daughter, his lessons of love and forgiveness are played out in my daily life and will be passed down to her, and I feel his presence each time I lay my daughter down in the cradle he made. And that night alone in the hospital, I could hear his voice saying, “great job! I’m so proud of you!” when I got a text with those words from my mother.

Sunshine. Pure sunshine.

So yes, there has been a lot of poop in my life lately. Some of it was brought on by others and some was my own fault. Still, when I sat down to think about it, I realized that there isn’t enough poop in this lifetime that can’t be erased by the overwhelming amount of sunshine.

So, thank you all for being my sunshine.


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