Life as a pregnant single mum-to-be is not easy

It wasn't remotely malicious, but it was still deeply hurtful – one of the many ways, time and again, the rest of the world made Laura Pauley feel excluded.

Laura had an appointment with her midwife.

She waited and waited and still she wasn't called in.

When she checked what was happening, the receptionist told her the midwife had probably popped her head around the door, seen Laura sitting alone and assumed she was waiting for her partner to arrive.

A simple, innocent mistake, but as Laura says, it still felt devastating: "I was even being blanked in my own medical centre."

There was no partner on the scene; and nor would there be.

The only person Laura had to talk to was her diary – a diary she has now published to offer hope and guidance to everyone else who finds themselves facing a single pregnancy.

During the pregnancy, Laura felt convinced she was the only woman in that situation. Now she has published exactly the kind of book she wished she'd had at the time.

My Summer Bump is Laura's deeply-personal account of all the heartache she endured in the months leading up to the birth of her daughter Summer in June last year.

Twenty-four-year-old Laura, who now lives back in Selsey, had moved to Manchester in 2007 with the aim of becoming a journalist. Things went well, with plenty of freelance and other work: "There were lots of opportunities up there.

"I was living with my partner and then I found out I was pregnant. My partner was absolutely devastated. He didn't want it at all. He was

just starting out on a new career and he finished with me."

Almost overnight, Laura found herself jobless and homeless, forced to move back to Selsey, camping out on a sofa at her parents' house. She'd been away too long to still have friends in the area: "I had to completely start from scratch.

"And so I started writing a diary. I didn't write it with the intention of it being published. It was just my way of coping. I felt like there was no-one else to talk to.

"My sister was pregnant; my sister-in-law was pregnant; but they both had partners. I just felt really, really lonely.

"Everything I read was talking about couples. There were always pictures of a guy holding the bump, and it just made me feel worse. There was nothing there for the single expectant mother.

"And when I tried googling about single expectant mothers, all I got was self-help and talk about giving the child up for adoption. I thought: hang on a minute!"

Making it even worse was the embarrassment. It seemed everyone in Selsey knew she'd gone off to Manchester to make her way as a journalist – and now here she was, back again, single and pregnant.

And so the diary became increasingly important – though it wasn't until after Summer was born that she actually sat down and read it back. It was fascinating.

She was up all night reading, realising it was exactly the kind of thing which would have helped her at the time. And so the plan evolved to publish it.

But the point was it had to be published exactly as it was. There are plenty of embarrassing bits, but Laura felt she would have been cheating if she had censored it in any way.

Some names have been changed, but the incidents and the emotions are exactly as she first expressed them.

"I want it to feel like you have walked into someone's bedroom and have picked up their diary..."

Laura launched My Summer Bump at Waterstone's in Chichester.

The store is stocking the book which is also available through online outlets including Amazon, priced under 10. More details on www.laurapauley.com