I was just days away from welcoming my daughter into the world, when I suffered the worst betrayal possible…
By Steph Hollis, 20, from Portsmouth
“Hello, baby girl,” I whispered as I stared at the image on the screen.
I was at my baby’s 20-week scan, and my fiance, Connor, 20, gripped my hand tightly as we watched her move about. I felt completely in awe of our little jumping bean.
“She’s amazing,” he said, his eyes filling with tears. “I love her so much already.”
“So do I,” I replied. “She’s incredible.”
Connor and I met in July 2014, after we met on Facebook. After we had messaged each other a few times, he asked me out and we got on brilliantly, laughing over the slightest of things.
Connor was so handsome, I fancied him straight away. In addition to that, he was kind and genuine. He was a perfect gentleman, always taking me out on dates and he was really considerate and affectionate towards me. I couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with him.
I was besotted, so it was no surprise that my best mate, Steffi, 24, approved of him too.
“You are so cute together,” she beamed after reading one of his text messages to me. “He adores you, I can tell. You’ve got a good one there Steph.”
I had known Steffi since I was 12 years old. We both grew up in foster care and met in a social group for foster children. We clicked straight away, and from then on we were as thick as thieves. She had always been there for me, and I would do absolutely anything for her – she meant the world to me.
I had no doubt that Steffi was going to be my bridesmaid at my wedding and a godmother to my kids, and she had already lined me up to be a bridesmaid at her upcoming wedding to Jon, her fiance. I felt very lucky to have her in my life.
In December 2014, Connor and I spent our very first Christmas together. It was perfect, we exchanged gifts and spent days snuggled up together watching festive films.
On Boxing Day, I plucked up the courage to ask him to marry me, and I was thrilled when he said ‘yes’ straight away. We went out shopping for a ring that week, and when Connor slipped it onto my finger I floated up to cloud nine.
“I love you, my beautiful girl,” he grinned, planting a kiss on my cheek. “Or should I say fiancee now?”
Life was good – Connor made me feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world.
In March 2015, I found out I was 13 weeks pregnant. It was a huge shock, and as I held the positive pregnancy test in my hand, my hands shook with a mixture of fear and excitement.
I texted Connor and told him we needed to talk, and then sent him a picture of the test. To my surprise, he was absolutely ecstatic. He rang me straight away.
“Does this mean I’m going to be a dad?” he blurted out as soon as I answered his call. “I can’t believe this is happening. I’m going to be a father. Oh my god Steph, I’m so happy.”
Hearing his joy was the only incentive I needed to keep the baby. I couldn’t wait for us be a little family, and as soon as I knew I was pregnant I wanted to hold my baby in my arms immediately.
My next move was to phone Steffi, who screamed down the phone in excitement.
“I’m so happy for you!” she squealed. “I get to be godmother right?”
“Of course you will be, “ I laughed. “I’ve always promised you that honour haven’t I?”
When we discovered it was going to be a girl, Connor was even more thrilled.
“My little princess,” he kept saying as he showed people the scan photograph. “She’s going to want for nothing.”
My pregnancy was rough – I suffered with terrible morning sickness – but Connor’s enthusiasm for fatherhood kept me going. We moved in together one month before my due date, and started getting things ready for our new arrival. We painted the walls, got the nursery ready, and talked about baby names over dinner every night.
“How about Onyx?” I asked him one evening. “I received the gemstone one year for my birthday and I looked up the meaning. It represents a light at the end of the tunnel and people believe it keeps negative emotions away.”
He mulled it over for a few minutes and then nodded.
“I like it,” he said.
One night in October 2015, when I was 38 weeks pregnant, Steffi called me in tears over a family row.
“Can I come over?” she sobbed. “I really need to talk to someone.”
“Of course,” I soothed. “You can stay the night if you like, I’m sure Connor won’t mind.”
Steffi and I spent the night talking through her problems and giggling over happier times, before we went to bed. In the morning, I asked Connor to drive her home.
“No problem,” he said, grabbing his keys and kissing me on the cheek. “I won’t be very long.”
I was expecting him to return after half an hour, but when he was gone for almost four hours I started to worry. I knew something was wrong, so I tried calling him, but his mobile phone just rang out.
When he finally returned home, he looked sheepish.
“Where have you been?” I demanded.
“I went to a friends house for a bit after dropping Steffi off,” he shrugged. But alarm bells were ringing. We were just two weeks away from meeting our little girl. Why was he acting so shifty?
A week later – just one week before my due date – Connor started to pace through the flat, looking anxious.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, nursing my huge baby bump. He sat down next to me and drew in a huge breath.
“We need to talk,” he said. “I’ve got something to tell you. I slept with Steffi last week, after I dropped her off. I’m so sorry – it was a huge mistake. She came onto me and I should have said no.”
My whole world collapsed around me in that moment. My fiance and the father of my unborn child had slept with my best friend. How could they?
“I’m about to give birth,” I stammered. “How could you do this to me? What were you thinking?”
“I’m so sorry Steph,” Connor said, tears rolling down his face. “I made a terrible mistake and I’m so angry at myself. I still want this to work.”
I was devastated. I knew my friendship with Steffi was over in an instant, but I decided to confront her anyway, texting her a message asking why she had done it.
To my disgust, she admitted to sleeping with Connor and begged for my forgiveness – she even asked if we could still be friends! I told her where to go, and Connor cut off all contact with her too. He couldn’t stop telling me how sorry he was.
On November 7, 2015, Onyx came into the world weighing 6lbs 11oz. As soon as I set my eyes on her, I fell in love, and so did Connor – he cried his heart out when he held her for the first time.
After all the chaos had passed, Connor and I enjoyed a moment of tranquility with our beautiful bundle of joy. He held my hand and gazed at me intently.
“I really love you Steph,” he said. “Will you give me another chance?”
I desperately wanted to keep our family together, so I agreed to give our relationship a chance. But as the months went on, Connor’s betrayal kept going around in my head. Eventually, I had to accept that the trust was broken and we split in February 2016.
I still find it hard to believe that my fiance and best friend slept together just days before I gave birth – now I realise I’m much better off without them.
Connor, 20, said: “It would be fair to say I regretted what I did. I don’t remember the type of person I used to be, I was quite young at the time. It was the stress of growing up at a very fast pace and I became childish and irresponsible. I cut contact with Steffi pretty much after it happened. Steph and I tried to make it work afterwards but what I did was a thing which couldn’t really be forgiven. It built up over time for her, and for the sake of Onyx I had to leave. Since then I’ve been down the self-destruction route, but I’m trying to rebuild everything. Steph deserves a lot of credit for looking after my baby girl as a single parent. If I could turn back the clock then I would, but it’s impossible, so now I can only work on carving out a better future.”
Steffi, 24, said: “I do not want to be part of this. I have no interest in dragging up the past. I refuse to allow you to use my name and/or any pictures of me. Any unauthorised usage will find you hearing from my solicitor.”