I met Ben at a mutual friend's party in October 2010. Handsome with a wicked sense of humour and what I call an 'old soul', I was amazed when he told me he was only 21.
He was very flirty from the outset. I was flattered, but I've never been into younger men - I'm no cougar - so when he contacted me on Facebook, initially I tried to rebuff him.
But then, as I looked at the future I'd set myself, I figured I could allow myself one last fling.
My plans were to head to the clinic to start trying for a baby in the New Year, so I thought I could have three more carefree months before settling down to a more sober, sensible existence.Though Ben and I got on well superficially, there was never any question of us becoming serious. As a realist, I knew he'd soon tire of an older woman - the age gap was as much a novelty for him as it was for me.
He worked in retail and we weren't really on the same wavelength. We had been dating for two weeks when I told him of my intention to become a mother the following year.
He didn't raise any objections. I suppose he didn't think it affected him either way; there was, as I say, a tacit understanding that it wasn't serious between us.
Then on December 4, I had a party for my 37th birthday. The wine flowed and afterwards that's when we threw caution to the wind. We had always used protection, but that was all forgotten.
As tipsy as I was, it struck me what could happen, but I never imagined I'd get pregnant first time - particularly at my age. But then I thought, what if I did? It would hardly be a disaster, would it? I'd also save myself a few thousand pounds at the clinic.
It was never my intention to trick Ben, but did I point that out sex was risky? Did I mention I wasn't on the Pill? Did I try to warn him I could get pregnant? No, I didn't.
My attitude at that moment was opportunistic. If it happened, it happened. And joyfully, it did. I took a pregnancy test on December 23. I'm a very open person and had told Ben I suspected I could be pregnant, and he didn't seem that interested. Not necessarily the best attitude towards such a momentous life-changing event, but I had no intention of making him play father to my child, so I wasn't unduly worried.
When I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test, I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe how lucky I'd been.
When I showed Ben, he just smiled. 'I guess this is what happens when we don't use contraception,' he shrugged.
I was under no illusion: I knew things would peter out between us as a result, but I didn't want to push him away. I wanted him to reach the decision of his own accord.
During the first trimester, I suffered badly with morning sickness and couldn't tolerate anyone or anything. Overnight I went from something of a socialite to staying in drinking smoothies - the only thing I could stomach. And unsurprisingly, Ben's interest in me began to wane.
In January, he went on holiday for a week, alone. I suppose he needed time to think. On his return, he came to see me.
'I don't want to be involved in the child's life,' he told me solemnly.
I was elated that I had got what I wanted. He had his whole life ahead of him: he needn't be tied down, particularly when I was sure I could do a better job alone.
And I wasn't going to ask him for financial help, which must have been a weight off his shoulders.
There was no argument. Ben left and that was the last I saw of him for six months. He didn't attend one scan or antenatal appointment, or check how I was, but that was fine by me. When I broke the news to my parents, they were delighted because they'd never expected me to have a baby. I had mentioned the possibility of going it alone via a fertility clinic, but I don't think they'd taken me seriously.
Mum actually said she was proud of me for 'going out and getting what I wanted on my own'. There was no admonishment about not being married or fears over my child not having a father.
Throughout the rest of my pregnancy, I was fired up with determination to go it alone. But at 38 weeks, doctors expressed concern over a scan - my baby was small - and decided to induce labour.
Terrified, I fell to pieces. I phoned a friend, a mother of three, and begged her to come with me. She was brilliant, and not for a moment did I wish I had Ben or any other man to hold my hand.
Hannah was born by emergency Caesarean in August 2011, weighing 5lb 2oz. Holding her in my arms was the best moment of my life.
Later that night I called Ben and told him he had a daughter. I was so elated I can't even remember what his reaction was.
He came to see Hannah - just the once. Watching him hold his baby daughter, I honestly didn't suffer any pangs for what might have been.
I wasn't heartbroken when he left: I actually couldn't wait to get on with life - just me and my baby.
I felt so proud of what my body had created. And for those first weeks and months I was on a high - as if I was walking on clouds.
I went back to work on reduced hours when she was nine months old. Hannah, like many children of working parents, went to a private nursery.
She is now four and we are very happy together. There are no rowing parents for her to contend with. It is all very peaceful. She has never asked about her daddy, but I know the time will come when she does. I haven't planned exactly what I will say, but it will be age appropriate.
When she is old enough to properly understand, I will explain in full. I will, of course, put a positive spin on the story: she was very much wanted and I would do anything for her.
And if she wanted to track down Ben, I'd help her. He hasn't so much as sent a birthday or Christmas card, but if he turned up on our doorstep, I wouldn't turn him away.
Meanwhile, I don't worry about Hannah lacking a male role model. We are sociable people and have lots of male friends.
I am also open to a relationship should the 'right' man come along, but I'm not interested in another 'accident'. Our life is perfect and I really couldn't afford another child.
So to all those single women longing for a family, I would say there is more than one option.
I don't advocate going to a nightclub, finding a man you barely know and having unprotected sex. But should the opportunity arise in safer circumstances, then so be it.
Names have been changed.
Source: Daily Mail
Source: Daily Mail