Friday, May 25, 2012


I was working hard outside today, pulling weeds in the hot sun, when a stranger saw me (in all my sweaty, exhausted, pregnant glory!) and said "You poor thing. Your husband should be doing that!"
"I don't have one," I explained, "he ran out on me."
She looked uncomfortable for a moment and didn't know what to say.
"It's OK. He was no help anyway," I mused and flexed my arm muscles, "Who needs him? I'm better off alone!"
"You're a very brave woman" she replied.

I'm not. I've never thought of myself as brave. I'm scared of a lot of things. Though I did hear that courage isn't the absence of fear, it's feeling the fear and doing it anyway... I guess by that definition I am one brave mo-fo! Except it's not bravery. Just necessity and stubbornness. It's amazing what you can do when you have no choice.

I once moved a mountain (16,000 pounds) of soil from my driveway into my backyard by myself. One wheelbarrow at a time. It took me eight hours. It was a couple of years ago. My boyfriend at the time, who had offered to help me with landscaping, abandoned me mid-project so I had to continue without him. Running out on me when I needed him most. Making promises he didn't intend to keep and leaving me with a truckload of work to do alone. Seems to be a theme! I hated him at the time. The anger gave me energy. Afterward I was grateful to him for leaving because it forced me to realize I can do things on my own. Even things that seem impossible. I learned that I was stronger than I thought. And one stubborn bull! When I first looked at the mountain I thought, "This is crazy! I can't do this!" but you can. You just tackle it the way you do any overwhelming task in life. One wheelbarrow at a time.

In a million years I never imagined I'd be having a child and raising her on my own. This is how things panned out. I know that it was meant to be. I accept it. And I'll do whatever I have to do. Taking care of the house. Taking care of a baby. Anything that needs to be done I have to do myself. There's no one to help. I am grateful for the support of friends and family. They have been wonderful. I am especially thankful for all the gifts and donations which saves me having to purchase all the big things I'm going to need (crib etc). I'm glad that my Mom and sister will be with me for the delivery and to help me the first few days after I have the baby, but after that I'm on my own. 90% of the time, I'll be going it alone.

One of the most brave women I ever met was one that I knew years ago who had a child with leukemia. Between working and trips to the hospital, she had almost no time, got almost no sleep, was going through hell but she always seemed to have a sunny disposition. She managed to stay positive and strong for her daughter. She didn't have a choice. She said "I allow myself half an hour of self-pity a week. That's it." So once a week, she would take half an hour to be by herself, to just bawl her eyes out, to feel frustrated and scared and angry and overwhelmed and then she would come out of it and go back to being sweet, funny, resilient and put on a brave face for her little girl and everyone else she encountered. You do what you have to do. Life presents you with challenges. You meet them. You don't get to curl into a ball. There isn't time. Not when you have a child to take care of. You have to focus on the positive. There is always something beautiful, at the end of the pain. There are always moments of joy that make it all worth it. You do it for love. That's what keeps you going.

My mother told me the other day that I've seemed happier lately than ever before in my life. It's true. I have reached a level of peace that I don't think I've ever had before. I'm happier now, pregnant and alone, than I've ever been. How could I have imagined that what I feared the most (having a baby, being alone) would make me the most happy? Apparently this was who I was meant to be. It just took a very unusual turn of events to get me here.

Today I was tugging at the jungle of weeds in my backyard, feeling somewhat discouraged, back aching, perspiring profusely under the sun, when I started to uncover the little plants and flowers, groundcovers I had planted that had been buried under the weeds. And I kept going. It was worth it to clear a path, to find these hidden treasures. Sweat dripping from my brow, belly weighing me down like lead, legs about to give out, I kept pulling. To let the shy, fragile and beautiful things breathe and to banish the big, ugly weed bullies was worth it. Many of the plants I'd forgotten about or didn't even know were there. I was surprised to find them, quietly growing underneath the big monster weeds. The ugly spiky ones are the worst. Dandelions and other weeds. So many of them. Invaders. They just come in and take over. M (my baby's father) had been a weed in my life. He even had spikes! (His hair. Yes he was a prickly character. Darkened my world. Collected swords. Wore chains. Was a scorpion to boot. With a sharp sting.) Invited himself in. Took over my house, my life, my body. Drained me. Overpowered me. I was lost in his shadow. With him gone I have found myself. I have room to breathe again. I can bloom.

I love the sun but when you're working outdoors, it can be unbearable. Especially with the added weight of being 7 1/2 months pregnant. At one point I asked God "Please, can you just turn down the sun a little, to give me a break?" and on cue the sky clouded over for a few minutes. Just over my house! "Thank you" I whispered, enjoying the shade, feeling a delicious cool breeze against my skin.

The garden is worth the work. The magic of perennials is that you almost forget what you planted the year before until you see them come back in the spring. I found so many treasures. Lupine, ligularia, lavender...
The irises took my breath away. Beauty is our glimpse of Heaven here on Earth and I'm so grateful for it. There is something otherworldly about flowers. They are Zen for me. They remind me to stay in the Now. They embody peace, stillness, perfection. They make me feel close to God.

 "Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace."
May Sarton

When I was done, I was so sore, so exhausted, but utterly satisfied. The garden to me is like a living painting, one that is constantly metamorphosing, evolving. It is a work in progress and you're never really finished. You revisit it. You take away what needs to go (darn weeds!) and rejoice in the magic that remains, splashes of colour and texture.

I treated myself by relaxing on my swing and reading my book afterward. My toes buried in the sand. Enjoying a slight breeze under the shade of the swing awning. Ali, my cat rolled around in the sand, contentedly. The baby danced around in my tummy. I sipped a glass of orange juice filled with ice and thought how very lucky I am.

M (my ex) was a coward. He let fear govern his life. He probably never made a decision that wasn't based on fear. He didn't have a life. He had an existence. Basic survival. He didn't know how to love, only to control. And when he felt out of control, he ran. It's understandable. He never got to have a normal life, never had a family. His early childhood lacked the nurturing that would have allowed him to develop into a whole person. I can't hate him because I feel sorry for him. Perhaps he thought that running away would make him free. He's in a prison of his own making. I don't know how he could not be haunted the rest of his life. How do you abandon a child and the woman carrying your child, without a word and live with yourself? How would it not cross your mind every day? He had a chance at a full life, a home, love, everything he'd missed out on. Perhaps he didn't know what to do with it. It felt too foreign to him. We tend to cling to what's familiar, no matter how bleak it may be. He left the life he might have had with the baby and me and went back to the life he knew. A drifter.

Although in a different way, I let fear run most of my life too. I avoided risks, challenges. I wouldn't even attempt anything that I felt I was incapable of or wasn't worthy of. Being a Mom was entirely beyond the realm of possibility for me. I didn't think I was mature enough, strong enough, reponsible enough. It scared the living daylights out of me. Now here I go! Woo hoo! I'm so far outside my comfort zone but it feels good. It's stretching me. I was afraid to be alone. I was afraid of pain. I was afraid of commitment, responsibility. Now I've been abandoned. I've been without a partner since February (that is a new personal record! I was addicted to having a boyfriend. Now I've gone cold turkey!) I have to tackle my phobia of pain. I survived my first needle without fainting. In a couple of months I'll be going through labour. (Doesn't get more painful or physically taxing than that does it?!) And now that I'm a Mom, I will be committed to and responsible for another human, my child, for the rest of my life. Instead of shrinking in fear, it feels like I'm awakening, stretching my wings. I didn't give myself much credit. I didn't think I could ever handle being a Mom. Now that it's happening, I see that it was my destiny all along. I was just hiding from it. Avoiding it. I have so much love to give. Many times it was misplaced, in romantic relationships with the wrong men. Now I can shower my child with love. That is deeper and more meaningful than any other relationship or experience I could have hoped to have as a single woman. I thought I was looking for Mr. Right. It turns out what I really needed was to find myself and now, without a man in the way, I have. I am a mother. I am creative, loving, nurturing, passionate, positive, blissful. I am what I always wanted to be. No one else could give me that, I had to find it on my own.

So thank you M, for the crucible, the trial by fire that you put me through. Thank you for unravelling me and my life, ravaging my soul. Thank you for giving me this precious, unexpected gift, a miracle baby, a love beyond my wildest dreams. And thank you for knowing enough to get out of the way.

After the darkest night of your soul, comes an awakening. Enlightenment. If you can survive facing your greatest fear, you come out of it stronger, empowered. You see that you are so much more than you thought possible.

I already love this baby so much and I haven't even met her yet. I was inspired to write another song for my baby, if you want to check it out...

"Already Love You" -- music and lyrics by Ann Marie Pincivero:

I will be a brave woman because I am going to be a Mom. And they are the most powerful, brave, extraordinary creatures on Earth. To do what they do, they have to be. And thank God they do. Where would we be without them?


  1. It surprised me how many people told me how brave I was for choosing the SMC path since I was so scared about it all. I love what you said about being able to do things on your own without a man. I want my daughter to have the strength & independence I lacked in my younger days.I want her to have strong female role models.

    1. Definitely as an SMC you are as brave as it gets, honey! I blundered into my situation unexpectedly. For you to have chosen to embark on the path of single motherhood showed herculean courage! Trust me, your daughter has a strong female role model -- her brave, beautiful Mommy! :) xo

  2. Ann Marie, this is so beautifully written, so glad you see it this way. Remember when I used to tell you, if you had a child you would know a love far stronger than you could imagine from any man!! You already know without seeing her face to face...can you imagine how much more is yet to come!! So, so, so, happy for you. And as a P.S. I don't know why your blogs don't get emailed to me anymore?? Mom was talking about one that I hadn't seen, so I went on and I hadn't been forwarded any since the Bachelorette??? Do I need to re-subscribe??

    See you soon, love you,

    1. Thank you so much! Yes I love my little girl without even meeting her so I can't imagine once I do. I may explode!

      That's a shame my blogs aren't getting emailed to you? I don't know why that would be. What a nuisance. I wondered why my last few blogs hadn't had many views. Maybe people aren't getting them... I've written several since the Bachelorette one. Maybe they're going into your spam folder or something? Yes I would try re-subscribing I guess it couldn't hurt.

      I love you too. See you soon (next Sunday if not before!)

      Ann Marie