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четверг, 16 марта 2017 г.

Single, pregnant and DATING, so what?

Teen mum-to-be Amie Rogers explains why she shouldn't be judged for looking for love
Pregnant and looking for love

I'm a normal 18-year-old girl - into fashion, boys and dating. There's just one difference: I'm pregnant too. Don't worry, I know what you're thinking. I've seen it in the looks I get approaching a boy at the bar.

You might frown on the fact that I'm dating, but before you condemn me, ask yourself - just because love didn't last with Danny, the father of my child, should I have to wait 18 years before I get the chance of happiness again?
I'm not looking for someone to be my baby's dad. Nor am I ignoring the fact I'm due to give birth to a little boy in three months' time. But I'm not ill, I'm pregnant. Surely there's nothing wrong in wanting a bit of company and affection?
After my relationship with Danny, 23, collapsed three months ago, I could easily have become a hermit, worrying about how I'd cope. Instead, I decided to get on with my life.
Danny and I met last August at a house party. While we were careful, there was one time we didn't use contraception and a month later I missed my period. I've never really agreed with abortion, so planned or not - I was keeping my baby.
What do you think about Amie's story?  
My parents had split when I was 14; I didn't keep in touch with Mum, instead I stayed with Dad and my brother, Joe, 12.
Dad wasn't happy when I told him my news, but said he'd support me and do whatever he could to help. And I hoped, naively I suppose, that Danny and I would be able to make it as a couple. But we soon started bickering and I realised we weren't meant to be together forever. Two days before my three-month scan, we split up. Danny vowed to stand by me and be there for the baby. It was a tough decision, but deep down I knew it was the right one.
By that time, my hormones were all over the place - I couldn't stop crying and was constantly moody. Last Christmas, I'd never felt so alone. Sitting at home, thinking about my future, I felt empty. All I could see was a life of being lonely. I couldn't help feeling jealous when my best friend Jenny, 19, called and recounted stories of drunken parties and snogging guys. As I put the phone down, I started to wonder why my life had to come to a standstill just because I was pregnant. I made the decision to stop moping. I needed to embrace my freedom for a few more months. I could still go to the pub with friends, even if I couldn't drink alcohol.
In January, a group of us went to the seaside. There, I was introduced to Simon*, 18, who works in the navy. My friends had told him I was pregnant, and he didn't flinch. In fact, he was really caring, hugging me when I shivered and offering me his jumper. I was surprised when he messaged me on Facebook the next day to ask if I wanted to meet up.

Teen mum-to-be Amie is still dreaming of Mr Right
Until then, I hadn't even considered dating, but my mind changed as I read his email. I had nothing to lose. For our first date we met in a local pub. Without a drink, I was nervous. But Simon was so attentive as he listened to me gabble on about the baby. And, at the end of the night, when he hugged and kissed me, it felt so comforting that I agreed to meet up with him again.
He said it didn't bother him that I was pregnant. I hoped he meant it, then worried he thought I'd be easy to get into bed. But he didn't press me for sex. Instead, he constantly told me how beautiful I was, and it was a boost to my self-confidence.
But although I really liked him, the timing wasn't right. After three weeks, when I saw he was falling for me, I decided to end it. I explained how I wasn't ready for a relationship and I didn't want to make things complicated.
Simon had made me realise that I was still desirable. A month later, I was out with friends when I met Jamie*, a handsome 22-year-old soldier. By now, my hormones had me in a spin, my sex drive was through the roof and when Jamie started flirting, I couldn't help but respond. Four months gone, my bump was visible but not prominent. Presuming he was after no-strings sex, I decided there wasn't much point telling him I was pregnant. I had my first one-night stand with him. Having sex felt natural, I knew it wouldn't harm the baby and we made sure we used a condom.
I stayed the night. It felt lovely to have his arms around me. But the next morning, when he asked for my number, I was hesitant.
He sent me a Facebook message that same day telling me he was going to be in my local pub that night. We had some mutual friends and I suddenly realised he might find out from someone else that I was pregnant.
I'm aware that people gossip
I didn't want him to think I'd deceived him. So that evening, I went to the pub and quietly and quickly told him I was expecting. His jaw dropped, he politely asked about the father and, not wanting him to think I was easy, I explained my situation. I said I'd had a great night and didn't expect anything else from him. He seemed relieved. I understood his reaction, but I didn't feel guilty. We were consenting adults and we enjoyed ourselves.
Over the past few weeks, since my bump's started to show, men don't approach me in bars. I don't mind, but it's made me realise it's going to be harder to date now that I'm obviously pregnant.
On one occasion, a guy started chatting me up while I was sitting at a table in a bar. He seemed keen, but when I got up to go to the toilet and he saw my bump he looked horrified. He wasn't there when I got back.
In the past month I've been out on a few dates, usually with men I've met through friends - they're normally more accepting of my pregnancy than strangers. Men are still interested in me, despite my bump. They seem to want to look after me. And that feels nice.
I'm hesitant to take dates further now unless I really like somebody. While a kiss and cuddle at the end of the night is comforting, sex will make things complicated. I've dismissed the idea of more one-night stands, but if I really fell for someone I wouldn't rule out a sexual relationship before I give birth.

Pregnancy hasn't stopped Amie dating
I'd have to trust my partner implicitly though and know his feelings for me were genuine.
For now, I'm just taking it a day at a time. You never know who you might meet - the man I'll spend the rest of my life with might be just around the corner. But I'll soon be starting antenatal classes and preparing for the birth, which is my main priority.
I'm aware some people have been gossiping since I've been pregnant and dating, and have labelled me promiscuous, much to Dad's embarrassment. But I can count the men I've slept with on one hand.
It's my body, my life and I'm not putting my baby at risk, so I don't see why going on dates is a problem. I'm making the best of a bad situation. I refuse to stop believing that one day I'll fall in love and have a successful relationship. Dating keeps that dream alive. And what's wrong with that?"
Danny Butler, 23, says: "As much as I care for Amie, our relationship didn't work out. It's for the best that we're apart. If dating makes Amie happy, I'm fine with it. We've both got to move on and I accept there will be another man in Amie and the baby's life."

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