I love when people make suggestions for my next blog posts. My friend Adrienne made a great suggestion a few weeks ago. She sent me a sweet message that read, "I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading all of your new posts and learning more about what you have gone through and continue to experience now. I think it is great you are being so open and honest! I would love to hear more about how this has affected your dating life. I have a friend who is a single mom, and I know she has run into many different guys who have handled the news of her having a child in a lot of different ways. I have always wondered how it is to tell someone you are dating that kind of news."
What a great question. I didn't really start dating until almost a year after Robbie and I broke up. I definitely needed that time to figure out who Amy Hutton was and what the heck she was supposed to do with her life. When I was finally ready to jump back into the old dating pool again (I hadn't dated anyone besides Robbie since I was 16 years old), it was pretty scary, and being a birthmom made for some pretty interesting encounters. One of my favorite things about being a birthmom is having the awkward "guess what...I had a baby" conversation. *Sarcasm*
Should I tell my prospective boyfriend now? Or should I wait until he knows me better? Wait a minute, this is only our first date! I don't owe him an explanation. Actually, I should probably just come clean and tell him now. Is that going to make it awkward for the rest of the night? No, no, he doesn't know me well enough yet. Wait a minute, maybe he already knows!? Does he know? I'll just put it off one more day. Do I have something in my teeth? This bra is waaaayyy too tight.
You get the idea. As you can tell, I was back and forth quite a bit on the issue. While I was in no way ashamed of the fact that I have a daughter, but I was tired of being judged by people who didn't know anything about me except that I had a child out of wedlock. It was so incredibly frustrating. I never knew who "knew" and who didn't know about little babe. To set the record straight, there is a lot more to Amy "Amstel" Hutton than just being "the girl with the kid." Unfortunately, that's all that matters to some people.
The first boyfriend I dated after Robbie took the news great. I told him about little babe a few weeks after we started dating. I knew that secretly hoping he would never find out wasn't a logical solution, so I told him one night while we were hanging out on the swing set at a local park. It was tough to bring up, but I eventually took the plunge. I think I blurted, "I have a daughter!" Major word vomit. And I think his reply was something like, "Really? What? That's awesome." He didn't seem too shocked which leads me to believe that he probably already knew. Nevertheless, huge relief.
A year later, I began dating a different guy whom I met from the swim team. We had only gone out a few times, so I didn't deem it necessary to tell him about little babe unless things got more serious. I didn't anticipate that happening anytime soon because I was still in lackadaisical Amy Hutton dating world where I didn't take dating anyone too seriously. A week later, this guy's ex-girlfriend took the liberty of telling him the news. I found this out because he stopped calling me and then we had an extremely awkward encounter at a party later that week. I pulled one of his friends aside privately at the party. "Why is asshole (pardon my French) acting so weird towards me? Things were going so great last week..." Now his friend was really stuck in the middle. "Uhh, you see, asshole kind of found out that you have a kid. His ex told him last week." I was stunned. Silence. Then tears. And more tears.
I didn't really like this guy very much in the first place. I was overreacting. In fact, as my best friend Angela pointed out, his chest was wayyyyy too hairy. We didn't know this because we had ever seen him without a shirt on, but rather, because his dark chest hair was always spewing from the neckline of his tightly pressed collared shirt. I think the reason I got so upset is because I knew that the day would eventually come when somebody would not accept me because of the fact that I have a child. It wasn't like I was actually "raising my child" or struggling as a single mom. Now that can be a lot of pressure for a prospective boyfriend to handle. But I was shunned was because of the mere fact that I had been through the experience of having a child before he had. And that was upsetting to me. What if I end up really liking a guy in the future, and he doesn't want to date me because of this? I was so conflicted; I was so proud of Deanna, but his attitude made me feel like I should be ashamed. It messed with my head for a long time.
A few months after the infamous hairy-chested asshole debacle, I made a decision. I was approached by a reporter at NC State Technician, and they wanted to do a story about me and our open adoption. I immediately agreed. The Technician article came out, and then another article in the News & Observer. It was such a blessing to finally be able to share my story and to show people how incredibly proud I am of Deanna Marie Dollar. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me! After both of the articles came out, I wasn't afraid anymore. I didn't have to worry about having that awkward first date conversation, I didn't have to wonder who knew, and more importantly, I came to the realization that if a guy doesn't want to be with me because of the life experiences I have had, then he is not worth dating anyway.
Thankfully, I have found someone who is so incredibly accepting of the fact that I'm a birthmom, and he actually encourages me to blog and to share my story. He often tells me that he actually respects me more because of the decisions I have made and because of the things I have been through. Isn't that refreshing? It's nice to finally feel accepted for who I am. Yes, I may be a birthmom, there is so much more to me. I'm a Jesus loving, family oriented, watermelon craving, coffee addicted, pro-life advocating, open adoption educating, news intrigued, accident-prone, recovering perfectionist...who happens to be birthmom to the most perfect little girl in the entire world. As Ben Stiller would say with a swift judo chop and a ninja kick, "CAN YOU DEAL WITH THAT?!?!?!?"