Pregnant and then dumped

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It was a moment she'd played over and over in her head.

Finding out she was pregnant had been a shock but Laura Pauley was in love and thought she'd found the man she'd build her future life with.

They already lived together, they'd even tentatively talked about getting married.

In her dreams, boyfriend Mark would take her in his arms when he discovered she was expecting their child. He would kiss her on the lips, then he would kiss her bump and tell her how much he loved her.

Sadly the reality wasn't as romantic as she'd hoped. In fact, it wasn't romantic at all.

Mark simply turned his back on her, told her she'd have to get rid of the baby and went to sleep, leaving Laura sobbing on the pillow beside him.

'He wouldn't talk to me. He just said: "It's ridiculous, you've got to get rid of it, we're not in the right place financially, I'm starting a new career".'

The pregnancy wasn't planned, in fact Laura was taking the contraceptive pill. By the time she realised she was expecting a baby she was around four months pregnant.

In a bid to give Mark time to come to terms with the life-changing news Laura went away for a week. But the time spent apart only made the already heart-wrenching situation worse.

'I hoped that he would come round,' says Laura. 'But he just said "I'm not interested".

'The arguments were so bad. He just wasn't the same person any more. It's not like I'd done anything wrong.

'I think he expected me to turn around and say we'd get rid of it but I didn't share that opinion.'

Today, as she sits at home cradling her beautiful baby girl Summer in her arms, Laura knows she made the right decision.

But going through the pregnancy alone and facing up to life as a single parent was the toughest challenge she's ever faced.

Refusing to have an abortion meant the end of her relationship with Mark and she had to move out of the home they shared.

Back at her mum's house Laura began contemplating life on her own as a single parent. Dumped, pregnant and distraught, she was grieving for the loss of her relationship and all she'd left behind.

And that's when she started writing down all her thoughts and feelings about her pregnancy in her diary. In the privacy of her bedroom she could put pen to paper and let her emotions come tumbling out.

The pages of her diary charted how she felt at being rejected, her excitement at feeling her baby move inside her for the first time and the turmoil she went through every time Mark hinted that he'd had a change of heart – only to tell her that he didn't want to be involved after all.

She always hoped Mark would change his mind but in the meantime she had to get on with preparing for the birth of their child. And that's when she discovered there were constant reminders that she was on her own every step of the way.

Laura found herself telling strangers who noticed her bump in the supermarket about what had happened because she didn't want to lie when she was asked about her baby's dad.

Babies are expensive – but Laura had to foot the bill for everything herself. Doctor's appointments and ante-natal classes had to be faced alone. And she missed just having that someone special to share her growing excitement with.

'There was no material for women who were going through pregnancy on their own,' she adds.

'Every book and TV programme showed the dream couple and those pictures when the man's holding the woman's bump. They all talked about what it was like to go to ante-natal classes as a couple.

'That was the thing that really got my back up. Nobody seems to talk about it when you're on your own.

'The only material that I could find was stuff that spoke about adoption or abortion or self-help.'

In the end it was the lack of any literature aimed at women like her that made her feel even more alone.

'It made me feel like I'd done something wrong, like I was an outsider,' she explains.

'When I went to my ante-natal class I went with my brother and his wife. I was so nervous about going. I'd worked out this whole story, I didn't know whether to say my partner was away on business.

'In the end it wasn't too bad but in terms of material there's nothing out there at all.'

After Summer's birth, Laura decided that she could use her diary to help other women like her.

She'd always wanted to be a writer and decided to self-publish her diary – in its entirety – so that others could find out what going through a pregnancy alone was like.

Apart from giving her boyfriend the pseudonym Mark, she felt it was important the content went unchanged.

The book, called My Summer Bump, will be launched next month and Laura's proud of what she's achieved.

Summer was born on June 23, 2009, and she and Laura now live together in Selsey, near Chichester.

'I wasn't planning on turning it into a book, I didn't decide to do that until after she was born,' says Laura, 24.

'If I hadn't kept a diary I probably would have gone slightly insane. I would sit there for hours just writing.

'It's a massive achievement that I've written a book.'

She adds: 'If there's a girl out there who is pregnant and feeling all these emotions I want to tell her that it will be fine. If people are feeling like it's the end of the world then I want to tell them it's really not.

'Going through this has made me the person I am today.'

Laura says she probably will show Summer the book when she's older and she's also pleased that Mark's given her his blessing to reveal what he put her through.

'About a week before Summer was due, Mark came here and said he was sorry and that he wanted to do it all after all,' she explains.

'It was a really difficult decision to make because I'd been through it all on my own but I let him be there for the birth.

'He still sees Summer about once a month, he's there for her, he's quite a good dad now.'

She adds: 'For me the most important thing is he's some sort of role model for Summer.

'If this helps other guys who are going through the same thing then I think that's good.'

Laura and Mark are now working hard at being friends for the sake of their daughter.

'I'm quite a strong person,' adds Laura, who is now busy writing her first novel.

'At the back of my mind I did think about an abortion, but literally for about an hour.

'The more Mark reacted badly to it, the more it made me determined.

'I always knew I would be fine on my own – I just didn't want to have to be on my own.'