525,600 Minutes to Single Motherhood
By Guest Blogger Janet Tarasofsky
Single mothers are created in all different ways– some through divorce, some by choice and some by pure chance. I struggle to decide exactly which category I fall into… perhaps you can help me to decide?
The year is 2004 and I was living in London working for a very large company, when suddenly my amazing boss was abruptly fired and asked to leave the building. I was devastated and I began to re-evaluate staying within a large, cutthroat company without my boss. It didn’t take long to reach the decision to change jobs. Thankfully, after some searching, I found a promising new job.
But before resigning, I decided to take a holiday. I booked a 2-week trip to Nepal where I would spend one week meditating in a Buddhist monastery, meditating, and another week in a 5-star hotel, relaxing.
There is 347,200 minutes left in the year, I’m in Nepal and I’m meditating with 50 people from around the world, when I start to feel extremely nauseous. I run to the most prehistoric toilets you have ever seen (which does NOT help), and stay in there for about an hour before I manage to crawl back to my room, and wait for whatever horrible bug I have to pass.
But after 4,500 minutes, I realise that it is not passing! I have not eaten anything in days and I decide that it is time to see a doctor. I leave the monastery and go to the hospital in Kathmandu. After some basic tests, the doctor speaks the words that will change my life forever: Janet, you are not sick, really. My dear, you are pregnant.
After 3,000 minutes, I regain my ability to speak, and I immediately start thinking: OMG! OMFG! This can’t happen to me! I am about to start a new life. A new job! Having a kid is not part of the plan… Especially because I do not have a boyfriend!
I book myself on the first plane back to London, where I intend for this nightmare to end. But then I have this sudden realization: I have never been pregnant before, and I am 32. What if this is my only chance? Within a split second, I know for certain that I am going to have this child.
When I get back to London, I make 3 very difficult phone calls:
1. The first was to my parents. I should tell you that I come from a very conservative Jewish family where I was bred to grow up, get a career, get married and move within 5 minutes of my parent’s house. So when I call mom & dad from across the ocean, to tell them that I am about to become a single mother, it may not surprise you that they started crying: “Oye Gavolt Jan, how can you do this to US?! Where did we go wrong?!” And then my very favorite: “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?”
I’m thinking… I’m not strong enough for this.
2. The second dreaded call was to my ‘friend,’ where I had to tell him the very exciting news that he is about to become a father. Suffice to say, he is in no way excited, and he reacts in a similar way my parents do… asking me the same ridiculous question: How this could have possibly happened?? I began to wonder what part of sex-education these people never really grasped.
At the time I remember thinking… I am really not strong enough for this.
3. The third phone call is to my future employers. I tell them the news and then I quickly assure them not to worry, I will not take more than 3 months off and that I will continue to achieve all our agreed objectives. They thanked me for my honesty, and promptly send me a letter of withdrawal for the position offered. Apparently the company felt that I was no longer suitable for the role after all, and they wish me the very best of luck in my future.
I now felt quite certain that I am NOT strong enough for this!
So just to sum up: I am pregnant, my family is not speaking to me, my ‘friend’ is not talking to me, I no longer have a new job, I am constantly sick, and to top it all off… I am told that I have gestational diabetes. This means that I cannot indulge in any oversize chocolates during the ONE time in a woman’s life that she actually has a valid excuse to do so.
There are 20,000 minutes left in the year and I am in the Royal London Hospital in some serious pain, despite having been given enough drugs to sedate several horses. The midwives are exhausted, the doctors are close to tears wondering when I will get out of their labor unit.
There are 525,600 minutes in each and every year. Can you remember a difficult year in your life? A time when you felt weak, alone and scared? Because that is how long it took me realize that strength can be found in the most unusual of places.
Almost 9 years have passed since the birth of my daughter. If I can pass on any wisdom on to you it would be this: It is only through love that we find strength to get off the fence and become extraordinary.
Thanks for reading,
About Janet Tarasofsky
Meditating in a Buddhist monastery in southern Nepal, Janet Tarasofsky received the unexpected news that she was pregnant. After traveling through India on a motorcycle, teaching English in Tokyo, studying Aromatherapy in Australia and starting her own business in Montreal, becoming a single mother seemed impossible…
For the past 8 years, Janet has learned to juggle an executive career in the beauty industry, working across 2 continents, with ensuring enough time to spend with her little girl. As a woman in business, as a single mother and as a human being, her mission is to inspire, motivate and find strength unknown. You can follow her on her blog, SingleMumWorking.Wordpress.com.
This is now one of my favorite posts to date. Janet, you’re the tower of strength I long to be.