Olivia Yang, Tax Consultant, Orange County, California, her son was born in July 2018
I’ve only dated my partner for three months when I found out that I was pregnant. I was still in school, pursuing a master’s degree in media. It would be the most rational decision for me to have an abortion. After analyzing my situation with my family and my best friends, everyone agreed that I should not keep the baby.
I was very anxious. I made an abortion appointment with the hospital, only cancelled it the very last minute. Then I made an appointment a few days later and cancelled it again. I did it three more times. For the last appointment that I did not cancel, I drove two hours to the hospital. Luckily because of an issue with my insurance document, I left the hospital without having an abortion. As a Christian, I was clandestinely very happy about the new life that was growing in me, despite the massive amount of anxiety I had to face due to the completely unplanned situation. At one might, I decided to take a walk around the church I normally went to. At the end of the walk, I made up my mind to give birth to the baby.
My relationship with my partner was not stable at that time. When I first told my partner about the pregnancy over the phone, he hung up immediately. He cut off all his communication for the next two days. Although we started talking again after that, I felt so vulnerable and dependent on him as I desperately wanted a stable family for the baby.
But my baby made me strong and pushed me think about my priorities. I decided to prioritize learning new skills and looking for job opportunities while I was pregnant. I learnt about a free coding bootcamp in San Francisco but the enrollment was closed. I wrote to the person in charge and persuaded them to take me in. My time at the coding camp was a turning point in my life. I made friends with people from all over the world and felt more confident about taking control of my own life and my baby’s life, with or without a father for my baby. I opened myself to more possibilities of what my life could be like and what boundaries and requirements I should have for anyone who wanted to enter my life. I shifted from being vulnerable and expecting a lot from other people to being much more centered and confident. I had no doubt that I could take the full responsibility of raising the baby even on my own.
I did feel lonely during my pregnancy because none of my friends was pregnant and I felt nobody would understand how I felt. I wish I had more chance to talk to people about how I felt. I was a lot more emotionally unstable during my postpartum when I had to attend to my naughty boy all day round. His hysterical crying made me cringe. I felt I was too young to take care of a baby at 27. I cried a lot in the first month. Exercise has been my saviour. I started jogging every day six weeks into my postpartum. It was the much needed my “me time”. Slowly I became a lot more calm than before and I learnt to organize things and solve problems quickly as there are so many things to deal with with a baby around.
My advice to new mothers is that get all resources to help you in the first month of postpartum and learnt as much as you can beforehand about how to take care of a newborn. It does take a village. There is so much to learn at a short period of time, so be prepared. I did not know what it meant for my body and my emotions to breastfeed every two hours around the clock until it really hit me. That was hard.