Saturday, 7 August 2010

Young, Pregnant And Dumped

 A welcome addition to Summer reading

When her boyfriend dumped her after she got pregnant with his child, Laura Pauley didn't mope about -- she wrote a book about it. Journalist Claire Stapleton reviews My Summer Bump, a baby book with a difference

AN honest and personal account of her experiences, and easy reading too, My Summer Bump is a non-fiction diary that shows how a 23-year-old woman coped when she found herself single, jobless and pregnant.

The author, Laura Pauley, decided to self-publish My Summer Bump as a support to young mums that find themselves in a similar predicament.

Now before I go any further, I should make a confession. I have a vested interest in this book. The author is a good friend of mine and because she couldn't afford to pay for a professional editor to proof the book, I edited it for her.

Despite the fact that many women are forced (or choose) to go through a pregnancy by themselves, there isn't much support material available; most pregnancy-related books speak of 'mum and dad' and Laura felt very isolated by this, so she decided to publish this book to help others.

Laura and I used to work together in Manchester and I will always remember the day when I was summoned to the local coffee shop during our dinner break. I knew something wasn't right. She hadn't been herself for weeks and once we'd sat down she told me her news -- she was pregnant.

This was a shock to Laura. She was 23 and at the start of her journalism career so the timing wasn't perfect, but when is the right time to have a baby? Laura hadn't even told her boyfriend at this point. I knew him too, as he was also a colleague and I was sure that he would support her. After all, their relationship seemed pretty solid and he always treated her well. However nobody could have predicted Mark's reaction -- he rejected Laura and their unborn child. He chucked her out their shared home and she was forced to embark on her pregnancy journey alone.

My Summer Bump tells Laura's story and documents the ups and downs she went through as her baby bump grew and her world fell apart. She desperately tries to rekindle her relationship with Mark and she takes numerous trips up to Manchester in an attempt to get him to accept their unborn child. We also read as she goes to antenatal classes and scans, without the support of a partner and watch how she deals with her sister's and her sister-in-law's pregnancies (all three babies were born within a three month period).

Laura shows how she deals with the her feelings of abandonment -- she picked herself up and got on with things for the sake of her baby and she slowly started to rebuild her life. She also explains how she coped when people asked intrusive questions and how she responded to barbed remarks about her predicament.

This is very honest account of a pregnancy and Laura doesn't hold back. She explains exactly what she is thinking, feeling and experiencing.

The book is really easy to read and it is very fast paced. Each diary entry has an intriguing title and every chapter is emotive and moving. The advantage to this book is that it isn't a retrospective account. The entries were written minutes and hours after each event happened, so her true emotions really come across to the reader.

After the birth of baby Summer, Laura explains how she coped during the first few weeks of parenthood and she lists the things she wishes she'd known while she was pregnant. I think that a lot of expectant mums would find this section particularly useful because pregnancy seems to expose you to a whole new world.

I think this book would interest all pregnant women, but it would especially benefit those that are going through a pregnancy alone. I also think that men that are finding an impending pregnancy difficult to cope with would find this book insightful.

My Summer Bump is a very intimate, personal account of what Laura went through and a lot of people could learn from her experiences. If you are single and pregnant then I highly recommend that you read this book.

The book is available on Amazon. To find out more, visit Laura's website:




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