“There and Back Again” with Me and Paul Anka

“Do you think I should have an abortion?”

“When the kid turns 18 are you gonna tell him what I said?”

“No.”

“Then yes, I think you should have an abortion.”

[Paul:]
Havin’ my baby
What a lovely way of sayin’
How much you love me
Havin’ my baby
What a lovely way of sayin’
What you’re thinkin’ of me
I can see it, face is glowin’
I can see in your eyes
I’m happy you know it*

I think this is the moment my heart stopped beating, the world swirled around me, and the tears started.  The tears that take breaks, but continue to pour down 24 hours later.

The truth is, I cannot be angry at him.  His feelings are legitimate.  We have been together less than six months, and we are not financially stable.  How can I argue with either of those points?  Abortion is the rational decision.  His feelings are no less important or relevant than mine.

You’re the woman I love
And I love what it’s doin’ to ya

However, what has hit me like a ton of bricks after his admission is how much I want this baby.  In my last post I wrote about how conflicted I felt about this pregnancy.  It is scary and uncertain and I do not know how I am going to do this.  When he said he wanted me to terminate the pregnancy, I realized instantly that the thought of terminating this pregnancy is devastating.  I cannot do it.  I will not do it.

Something else became clear to me as well.  The reason I have been pulling away from him during the last five weeks is because I knew, deep down, that he does not want this baby.  I knew he was talking himself into it, and every time he would make a snarky comment, I would cringe inside and my heart would crack a little more.

Havin’ my baby
You’re a woman in love
And I love what’s goin’ through ya

The most recent incident was on a trip to Powell’s.  We were walking out of the store and passed a book on making moonshine at home.  He picked it up and said, “Oh cool.  This would be fun… since I’m going to be spending a lot of time at home now…” with a tone that implied how much he loathed the very thought.  I stood there and looked at him as he flipped through the pages.  “Wow, could you say that with a little less bitterness?” I replied.

He laughed.  “Since I’m going to be spending a lot of time at home!” he said, with a fake happy voice, and he put the book down.

The crack in my heart deepened.  I bit my lip.  “You don’t have to do to this at all,” I said in a very small voice.  He chose not to respond.

Finally, last night we got into a very deep discussion about the pregnancy, and I knew, more than ever, that we are heading in the same direction, but are not on the same page.  The more negativity that came out of his mouth, the more certain I was that he felt deep unhappiness. After going around and around in conversation for what now seems like an eternity, I mustered up the courage to ask the fatal question.

[Paul:]
The need inside you
I see it showin’
Whoa, the seed inside ya
Baby, do you feel it growin’
Are you happy you know it
That you’re
[Both:]
Havin’ my baby

I should note that this was not the first time I asked him.  One week after I found out I was pregnant, he made a bitter comment about how we are not going to have any more fun.  I flat out asked, “Do you want me to have an abortion?”

“God no!  No, not at all.  I don’t even like that word,” he responded vehemently.

[Odia:]
I’m a woman in love
And I love what it’s doin’ to me

[Both:]
Havin’ my baby

[Odia:]
I’m a woman in love
And I love what’s goin’ through me

I now know the power of his poker face, because I believed his emphatics and therefore took his falsehood at face value.  As the weeks went on, I was much less inclined to buy into this untruth, so last night when he responded to my abortion question affirmatively, it was not a surprise.

The fact that it was not a surprise does not make the truth any less heartbreaking.

I have spent the last five weeks looking for signs he was coming around, and occasionally he would show signs of it: the pregnancy book for dads that he purchased on his own; the times he would rub my belly and smile; the text message that read, “love you both.”  But these were just fleeting moments in his otherwise apprehension towards the pregnancy.  I wanted to believe him when he said, “I didn’t want to be an old dad, and now I won’t be.”  I wanted to believe him when he said we would be okay, that he was excited for our impending family, and that he wanted to be a dad.  I even thought about asking him if he thought we should get engaged before the baby came, that way even though we were not married, the commitment would be there, and that baby would come into the world with two parents not only devoted to him or her, but also devoted to each other.

[Paul:]
Didn’t have to keep it
Wouldn’t put ya through it
You could have swept it from your life
But you wouldn’t do it
No, you wouldn’t do it

But, for better or worse, I am an excellent reader of between-the-lines.  It was written all over his face so many times.  Once we were out with my friends, and one of them was like, “Oh wow, you’re having a baby!”  And he replied with a half smile, half grimace, “Yeah, she sure is.”  All I could do was look away and pretend to my friend that everything was okay.

With the difference in our feelings becoming increasingly obvious,  my anxiety began to spin wildly; I became anxious and depressed, worrying about anything and everything, pushing him away for the smallest of things, because this is my defense mechanism.  Then came the night that my cat was sick and I had to take her to the emergency vet at 9:00 pm.  I texted him the situation.  He responded, “Okay, drive safe.”  I then barely heard from him the rest of the evening.  I was so hurt by this lack of any concern or empathy for me, and knew at that moment that he cared more for going out and being with his friends than he did about being a partner.  When we discussed the situation, he claimed this was untrue, that I should have known he cared, but that he was unable to help so he just did not say anything at all.  I took little consolation from this, but wanted to put the situation behind us and move forward to make the relationship work.

[Both:]
And you’re havin’ my baby
[Odia:]
I’m a woman in love
And I love what it’s doin’ to me
[Both:]
Havin’ my baby

That was a week ago.  Now I find myself at a crossroads.  I feel like Tom Hanks at the end of Castaway, standing at the dusty Midwestern NoWheresVille, wondering which direction to take.  I know I want to be a mom.  I am scared and uncertain of how I will do this, with whom I will do this, and how well I will do this.  But I know this: I will give it everything I have, and at 31, I know enough about poverty and single parenthood and the difficulties of upward mobility to make sure my child will not end up in the same situation.  It takes a village to raise a child, and I have a village.  A wonderful supportive village that will not let me fall.

[Odia:]
I’m a woman in love
And I love what’s goin’ through me

I want to take this journey with a partner, and not just any partner, but one who is ready for fatherhood and commitment.  I want a partner with whom I can share my joy without worrying about upsetting him or hearing snide comments.  I want to talk about baby stuff and feel excited and the good kind of anxious.  The harsh light of the day has revealed to me that I do not have this, and that it seems all but impossible to sustain a partnership with someone who does not want this baby.  He has said so many times he wants to be a dad; I guess this is not a good enough time for him.  I wish I could change his mind, but I cannot control the feelings of others.  I cannot make him want to be a dad to this baby.  To my baby.  For the past five weeks he has said, “This is YOUR decision. This is YOUR choice.  YOU know the risks of having a baby.”

It has rarely ever been “we” or “our.”  Your your your. 

So that is the reality.  This is MY baby.

[Paul:]
Havin’ my baby (havin’ my baby)
What a lovely way of sayin’
How much you love me

[Paul:]
Havin’ my baby
(havin’ my baby)

I am pulling out everything I am capable of in order to stay strong right now, but I cannot deny the most painful truth: My heart is broken beyond any short term repair.  I have a life growing inside of me that is half me, half him.  I know eventually my heart will be whole again.  Still, I am not angry or hateful towards the father.  The timing, the finances, the lack of readiness- he is entitled to worry and feel that this is not the right time.  I am entitled to continue moving forward with the pregnancy, and that is exactly what I intend to do.

I do not know what this journey is going to look like, but do not all great journeys begin that way?  This is my own There and Back Again.  Me, the baby, and a little light 70s am radio.

[Odia:]
I’m a woman in love
And I love what’s goin’ through me
[Paul:]
Yes, you’re havin’ my baby

Until next time, I’ll be here, with the immortal Paul Anka:

Image

~B and little B

*Paul Anka (You’re) Having My Baby (featuring Odia Coates)

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