The Chains I Have Forged

Friend: “So, what happened?”

Me: “Normally, for the sake of brevity, I tell the truncated version of this story, which inadvertently leaves him looking like an asshole.  But the truth is, a lot of what went wrong is my fault, and it’s hard to explain that to people.  Even when I say, ‘Really, he’s not an asshole,” they don’t believe me.  So it’s just easier to keep it short and simple.”

Friend: “Well, you know that I’m going to be biased for you no matter what you tell me.”

Me: “That’s fine, you can be on Team B.  The real story is that I spent my entire pregnancy looking for reasons, any possible reason, to push him away.  And I did push him away, over and over again.”

Friend: “Okay, well now it’s really hard to be on Team B.”

Me: “Right?  I told you so.”

Last Thursday I reconnected with someone I met over the summer, via OkCupid.  Back then we had gone on a few dates, but realized we were looking for different things and ended our brief, uneventful affair amicably.  I reconnected with him over the phone a couple of weeks ago about a job I was looking into that is connected to his department, and as we were catching up, I was being very vague about my life.  He must have heard the strain in my voice, because he kept pressing for the truth and asking, “Are you really okay?”  Finally, I told him the brief version of events, and he expressed his sincerest apologies.  We made plans to catch up in person and be real friends this time, not the fake kind of friends you say you will be after a failed courtship.

The following week, over Old Fashioneds in a dark little bar in North Portland, we had the above conversation.  I explained to him the entire saga, as it is so much easier to talk to someone about life troubles when they are not a part of your close inner-circle.  It’s easy to be strong and impassioned and tell a story in a sterile manner to an acquaintance or stranger, rather than letting your emotion loose by breaking down in front of your bestie or your mother.

But I digress.

A few days before I had this conversation is when I realized the extent to which I played a part in driving away my Ex.  I have spent a lot of time focusing on his actions and short-changing mine.  It wasn’t intentional, as I had recognized some of what I did and apologized for it.  But what I really should have been apologizing for is something that I had not yet understood, and that is the following:

I pushed him away.  Every single day, I was subconsciously looking for reasons to break up with him.  Whether it was his drinking that I once shared in, his jokes that I once found funny, the extensive cell phone use that I had once tolerated, or the night my cat was sick, I picked at him like a scavenger dissecting a newly discovered carcass.

And despite this treatment, he kept trying to stay with me and make it work.  But he was right- nothing he did made me happy.  When he tried to keep me positive, I increased my negativity.  When he agreed with that negativity, I used that against him.  It was a vicious cycle that I perpetuated until the miscarriage.

Why did I do this?   Think about it- why does someone push their partner away if he or she loves them?  It is the fear of intimacy and commitment.  I am afraid of intimacy and commitment. 

There is the harsh truth in black and white that I have buried underneath a façade of smug relationship arrogance.  I have pushed away every man that was trying to legitimately give me what I claim to want.  Six years ago, there was the boyfriend who tried to atone for two years of emotional distance by asking me to marry him.  Four years ago, there was the man who was so emotionally available that it scared me into breaking up with him after less than a year.  A few months ago there was the man with whom I conceived a baby, and was prepared to do right by me and start a family.  How did I react?  By doing what I do best: panicking and finding reasons why he wasn’t right for me and we shouldn’t be doing this.

And between those men, I dated men who were either geographically or emotionally unavailable.  There was the California-based former classmate from college, the older married man with three kids, and the politician who lived three hours away.  In some way, either my partner or myself was inaccessible.

I am not sure it’s possible to put into words how I felt when this epiphany struck.  I was in the kitchen getting my things together for work and literally stopped moving, yogurt and water bottle in hand, and stood there for who knows how long, letting it sink in.  My throat closed up and my stomach burned, and the headache began to creep in.  When I was pregnant, I was scared, but I don’t think I realize how much of that fear was gaining energy and fire from events of my past.  I had already been to counseling twice about my father, and thought I had quelled those demons and put it behind me.

When I entered grief counseling in early January, I thought it would be focused on getting through the miscarriage and the breakup.  However, it became clear very early on that there was much more going on; emotions I had buried so deep that I was thoroughly in denial of their existence.  Yet again, in counseling I am working through a lot of my unresolved issues with my dad.  I told my therapist that I choose emotionally unavailable men in order to perpetuate my self-fulfilling prophecy: That all men will eventually leave, just like he did.  That I was not enough for my dad to stick around, so why would I be enough for any other man to stick around?

Having had one impasse with my ex earlier in the relationship, it was easy to peg him into the “Emotionally Unavailable” category of boyfriends.  I was originally going to write a column about how I choose the same types of men over and over again, and that I need to end this awful cycle.  However, it never occurred to me that I am also emotionally unavailable until now.

So after pushing him away for nearly two months, I miscarried the baby, yet remained in “family mode”, plowing full-steam ahead into the future.  I even had decided when I wanted to try for kids again, and I was planning all of this with him in mind, not understanding that he was free to do the opposite.  I just expected that we would stay together and be a family.

When he said he wanted to separate, I focused on his issues, his problems, his insecurities, all the while not taking note of my own.  I was so hurt that he was rejecting me.  I look back on that and cringe, because all I did during my pregnancy was reject him.  Of course he wanted to escape the woman who made him feel like he couldn’t do anything right.  With what I know now, I don’t blame him for leaving.

I want to pause and say that I am not attempting to martyr myself.  We both did things that we shouldn’t have, but this blog is not about his actions.  I’m done writing about that.  This blog is about recognizing my actions, and how I played a part in this breakup.   I am a deeply flawed human being who behaved in a manner that hurt another person without understanding what my hidden motivations were.  I accomplished what subconsciously I set out to do during my pregnancy: I pushed him away, and he took his freedom.

I thought about reaching out to him and saying, “I understand what I did, and I’m so deeply sorry.  I wish I could go back and change how things played out between us.   I have so many regrets.   That is not who I am.  That is not the partner that I want to be.   I want you to know what I am working really hard to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be.  I want to be the girl you gave the resume to again.”

I could do that, but what would it accomplish?  He has chosen his path, and I promised him that I would not contact him again.   Nothing I say will change the past or fix the present or bring him back.  We will still be broken up.  I will still be that deeply flawed person who is not ready for a relationship.  And seeing him or hearing his voice will likely just make me hurt more and set me back on my own moving on process.  I did the bad thing and checked his Twitter feed.  He is doing well.  He is happy. I saw a recent picture of him, and he looked quite handsome.  His smile was genuine.  I’m not going to barge in on that with my special version of crazy and disrupt his life.  Instead, I’m just going to keep working on letting it go.

(I mean, Saturday night he went dancing for fuck’s sake.  D a n c i n g.  I saw that and my jaw dropped.  Now, I’ve seen his moves.  I’m not sure how that translated to a Portland dance club.  I imagine there was whisky involved, him dropping a line like, “I just got my new Benz,” and some skanky twenty-something bleach blonde bitches who just got their nails did for the weekend.  ‘Cause y’all know any broad that comes after me is a downgrade.  Amiright?)

*Ahem*  I digress.

One more ugly truth for the evening: I am still just as terrified as I was during my pregnancy.  This is my third time in counseling to work through my unresolved emotions regarding my father.  His abandonment has scarred me so deeply that I expect everyone to leave me, and thus I act accordingly.  I feel like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol.  When Marley visits Scrooge, he warns him of his impending fate.  He shakes his chains at Scrooge, the chains he forged in life, chains that entwine his body and drag behind him on the floor.  For twelve years I have carried similar chains forged from unresolved pain, and I swing those chains at anyone who dares get too close.  I push people away in an act of self-preservation, and when they leave, the abandonment has come full circle once again.

How many times will it take to truly move past his abandonment and betrayal?   What will it take to dump these chains, to lift the emotional burden I have carried with me for so long?

What if this is it for me?  What if I will never really move on, and this is my life?  I want to be a wife and a mom so much, but what if that is not in the cards for me, because I will be ruled by the past, continuing to forge new chains for the rest of my life?  I am terrified that this is my future, and that I will either continue to cycle through self-fulfilling prophecies with men, or I will just abandon the idea of a family and live my life alone, living in an old house with cobwebs on the ceiling.  I’ll go to Bingo on Wednesday nights, play Bridge on the weekends, and the rest of the time hang out at home with the pitbull I will have saved from death at the local pound.  I’ll give him some kind of hyper-masculine name like Zeus or Black Dynamite, and we’ll watch TV on the couch together while I drink cheap wine in my purple sweatsuit and feed him Milk Bones.

I know that it doesn’t have to be like this, that I can work through this and make a future for myself in which I am happy and emotionally settled.  I have to keep telling myself that I am doing the right thing by examining all of this, by moving forward alone and letting go of the past.  I have to keep telling myself that I am capable of a healthy mind, body and soul.  I have to keep telling myself I can do this.

I fucking hope I can do this.

Until next time ~ B

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Bitterness And Avoidance: My Life After Miscarriage (M Word Part IV)

I am so, so bitter.  So bitter, in fact, that I cannot bring myself to share in the pregnancy joy of others.  I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t want to know about it, I want to pretend their pregnancies don’t exist.  I feel awful for admitting that out loud, but each time my friend brings her pregnancy up to me, it feels like any progress I’ve done to stich my heart back up is unraveled.  I know two pregnant women, and I had to block them from my FB newsfeed so I don’t have to read their updates and see their pictures. 

How long is miscarriage grief supposed to last?  When will I be able to see baby bumps and not feel a lump in my throat the size of an orange?   When will I walk past the baby section of a store and no longer fight back tears?  When will I see a young couple with a baby and no longer imagine what my family would have looked like?  When will I see a man holding a baby and not flash to the image of what it would have looked like with my ex holding our baby?

I do my best to compartmentalize my life so I can get through each day.  I spend one hour a week talking about my loss in therapy, and then the rest of the week I shove the pain into a box, only to be reopened at the following session.   While I think about my ex all the time, it’s somehow easy for me not to think about my miscarriage until I am triggered.  I don’t know why that is.  Perhaps it is because there is no bringing my baby back, but my ex is still walking around living his life.  Details on his life are just a social media click away.

I would have been four months pregnant on Saturday.  I told someone how sad that made me, and they said, “don’t be sad about that.  You just need to live your life and move forward.”  If healing my heart and moving forward was that easy, I would.  Believe me, I don’t like feeling this way.  I don’t like reaching milestones that will never be realized because the baby died and feel an ache reverberate through my body.  I have to choose my words carefully these days, because it’s like I can’t even be sad anymore.  People either say, “oh, don’t be sad, just move on,” or they say, “Oh, well, maybe you should go to counseling/talk about that in counseling.” No one wants to hear about what I’ve been through.   

Because no one wants to talk about dead babies and lost loves.

So, So bitter.  I just want to fast-forward to a time when this no longer breaks my heart over and over again.  I need something, anything, to go right. 

Fuck.

Until next time ~ Bitter B

Shhh… It’s The M Word

This blog is raw.  It is real.  It is not for the faint of heart.

Miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, is estimated to occur in 25% of recognized pregnancies.  There are various reasons for this awful heartbreaking medical incident that no one talks about.  50-60% of miscarriages are chromosomal abnormalities of the fetus.  The rest is a mix of something wrong with the mother, or something happening to the mother while she is pregnant.   When I got pregnant, I was shocked to read the statistics of loss.  No ones talks about the shattered hopes and dreams of miscarriage, because who wants to talk about dead babies?  Who wants to talk about their loss?

Well, I want to talk about it.

Continue reading

“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)

The Other Truth

I have learned something recently that perhaps I have always known, but now am living the reality day to day:

Sex is: Fun. Hot. Unique. Beautiful. Dirty. Amazing.  Two people colliding together, becoming one for a short (or long if he’s in his 20s *zing!*) period of time, and then breaking away.

Sex also results in procreation.  As those two people collapse in after the heat of passion, biology keeps moving forward.  One sperm heads down the right fallopian tube and finds the golden egg.  Just like the two people that came together in the act of sex, that egg and sperm collide and become one.  Shortly after, it tumbles down the fallopian tube into the uterus and finds a cozy place to implant itself for the next 9 months.  If all is well, life begins.

I have known how babies are made since I was nine years old.  I begged my mom to tell me the truth, and when she finally did, I thought it was the most disgusting thing I had ever heard in my entire life.  I could not fathom why two people would EVER want to do that.  Just completely gross and reprehensible.  It was impossible to wrap my brain around the process of procreation.

As an adult, I never thought much about actually making babies.  I was just focused on participating in the activities that produce zygotes, and doing what I could to prevent conception from actually happening.   Sex was fun.  It resulted in sweaty bodies, heavy breathing, and connecting with another person.

That is, until I found myself pregnant.

Pregnant.  Bun in the oven.  With child.  Knocked up.  In the family way.  Pea in the pod.

Now I am trying to wrap my brain around the concept of procreation happening my body.  The right time, place, sperm, and egg struck together one night in October, and the process to form life began.

So back to what I’ve learned.  Sex is amazing.  The biological process in which life begins and forms is amazing.  Deciding to keep the baby and move forward even though I am in no emotional or financial place to have that baby?  Not so amazing.

I have been alive for 31 years, and in those 31 years, I have never felt so emotionally conflicted as I do now.  As a child I was pro-life.  That changed to pro-choice as an adult.  Now that I find myself building a baby in my uterus, that pro-life conviction has become even stronger.  I could never tell another woman that she would be forced to continue a pregnancy that was unwanted.  It is her body, as this is my body, and ultimately it is a decision to be made by a woman, and only by that woman.

And there is the part where I hate myself because I’m going to admit on paper that this pregnancy is unwanted.

Unwanted.  What a terrible word.

I always imagined getting pregnant would be this beautiful, exciting, and amazing time with a husband.  We would decide it was time to have children, and I would find out that we were having a baby and decide what kind of cute way I would deliver the news to the dad-to-be.  Would I get a onesie with some kind of adorable pun on the front?  Or maybe I would wrap up the pregnancy test in a box and tell him I wanted to surprise him with something, and he would open he box and get a big smile on his face, and we would hug and be teary eyed and talk about how excited we are to be having a baby together.

This was not my reality.  There was no husband, no decision to start a family, no onesie.  Just me, two positive pregnancy tests, and the crushing realization that I would be telling my boyfriend of four months (and not four smooth months, either) that I was pregnant.  Instead of figuring out what cute way I would tell my husband, I was desperately searching for the words to inform my partner that he was going to be a father, that we were not careful enough, that for the past month my body was building a zygote we made, and his life never going to be the same.

I have known I am pregnant for 4 weeks.  These have been a rough four weeks.  They run right up there with cancer, my dad leaving, and the loss of my first love.  I am 31, husbandless, with too much debt, less than $100 in my savings account, a 13-year-old car, unmarried, living at home, and surviving off an AmeriCorps stipend.  As pro-life as I am, I have always known that abortion was not an option for me, but the reality is this:  I would be lying if I said that it has not crossed my mind.  I would also be lying if I said that in the event of a miscarriage, it would probably be for the best.  I feel shame and self-loathing for having those thoughts.

Those feelings have been particularly acute since I had my first ultrasound and saw the heartbeat.  There is a growing human with a heartbeat inside of me, and I am desperately trying to keep it together as I move forward.  My life is changing and I am doing what I can to keep up.  I have to look at everything differently now.  I have to think like a mother and prepare for the arrival of this baby by doing what is best for him/her.  And in doing that, I’m forced to ask tough, uncomfortable, and potentially hurtful questions.  I do not like doing this.  I do not like feeling this way.

Unless you have been unmarried, pregnant, and financially f*cked, it’s hard to describe the tidal waves of emotions that flow through you at any given moment (thanks, hormones).  The first two weeks I was excited about this baby.  I was enjoying the odd symptoms and imagining what it would be like to hold my baby in my arms and relish in the moment that I made a human.  I thought about baby’s first laugh, what birth might be like, what I would name him/her, what he/she would look like.  I monitored every new feeling like it was life or death.

And then around the two week mark, reality really set in.  Finding a job, saving money, paying off bills, finding a place to live, paying for a baby, maternity leave, going back to work, leaving my baby in daycare, being in a young relationship, and so on an so forth. I panicked.  Hardcore.  One night I just lost it in my bedroom, and I have felt unsettled ever since.

On top of those feelings is the abject fear I have about making a commitment to the father.  I am now tied to this person for the rest of my life and it is terrifying.  I now not only worry about being left in the middle of the night, but I worry that I am going to be left with a child.  He and I are so different.  I knew that going into the relationship, and I have dealt with it in some way or another every day.   But the relationship was young, and I was having fun and seeing where it was going, and I was taking it all day by day.  He and I were definitely moving forward, but no major decisions were being made.  We were getting to know each other and figuring out what makes us tick.

But now, now that there is a baby involved, I feel like decisions have to be made immediately.  I have all these thoughts going through my head.  How compatible are we?  Do your wants, desires, lifestyles really match up?  Do we fulfill each other’s needs?  I am trying to be realistic about it because I do not want us to be unhappy together just because we have a child.  I do not want us to be a cliche: two angry parents who stayed together when the best option may have been to split up.

Just like me, I know he is having difficulty with the concept of this pregnancy.  It was unplanned, and neither of us were ready for it.  The weekend before I learned I was pregnant, he made plans to move in with four men in their 20s.  Right now he has the opportunity to live it up, to enjoy being single and childless until the baby is born.  “Gotta do this while I still can, I only have six months left,” he says in front of me and his buddies at the bar.   It was an embarrassing moment.  Yeah, boys, gotta get the last of my living out because this old broad trapped me into fatherhood.  

I know he did not mean it like that, but I certainly took it like that.  Unfair?  Probably.  He is doing the “right thing” by me and continuing with the relationship and preparing for baby.  But I feel like he has been talking himself into it.  “I’m excited for this.  It was unexpected, but I never wanted to be an old dad, and now I won’t be.  What if we had waited until marriage?  We probably would not have started a family for another couple of years.  So this timing actually is good.  It will be fine.  It will be an adventure.  We got this.”  Thirty minutes later: “Well, we’ll see how it plays out.  You need to get a job.  I had different plans for the next year.  I am doing the best I can.”

When he says negative things, I get upset and take it personally.  I worry he feels trapped and tries to emotionally escape, like he is trying to get whatever is left out of his system because there will not be any more fun had once the baby is born.  I worry he will resent me and the baby because we took away the lifestyle he preferred, and he’ll never get it back.

When I say negative things, he tells me, “It will be fine.  You made a choice to keep the baby, now deal with it.  Get yourself together and get a job and do this.  You know the risks of having a baby.” When I push back, he tells me that he does not like seeing me be hard on myself.  He tells me that I can do this.  He tells me he fell in love with a feisty, foul-mouthed woman who had big plans, and that I need to grab life by the balls and move forward.  Some days I just want to push him away and deal with this by myself, because it is too hard to think that I am making him miserable with the pregnancy.  (Yes, I know it takes two to tango.  But I chose to keep it, and my choices affect the both of us.) I wish I believed him, and I wish I could get out of this funk and and get back that feistyness, but right now I am just really struggling to wake up and get through the day.  Growing an unplanned human is emotionally and physically exhausting, and when you add stress on top of that, some days just feel really bleak.

The repercussions of an unplanned pregnancy are difficult.  I am suddenly having to make big changes for which I was unprepared. The relationship with my boyfriend has been strained.  I am mourning the loss of the experiences I thought I would have.  I am taking it really hard.

This is not how it was supposed to be.  It was supposed to be happy and wanted and beautiful.

But hey, I made this choice, so it’s time to just deal with it.  I knew the risks.

An unwanted, unplanned pregnancy with a new boyfriend and no money.  Maybe I should have known I would turn into some kind of welfare queen cliche.  A couple of years ago I said to my mom, “I have this feeling that I’m going to end up as a single mother.”  I am eating those words right now.

These are the words that not many pregnant women admit out loud.  These are not the words you find on happy baby blogs where people are glowing and excited and having the best time.  You are not supposed to admit out loud that a baby might not be wanted.  You are not supposed to admit out loud that you have thought about abortion.  You certainly are not supposed to admit out loud that a miscarriage would not be the worst thing in the world to happen.

I realize there is a risk to putting these thoughts out into the internet world.  Some people may think I am selfish.  Some may think I am unworthy of being pregnant when there are so many couples struggling with fertility.  Some may think I am nothing but a heartless bitch.  But you know what?  I am writing all of this and putting it out there anyway because I know there are other women who are conflicted.  I know there are other women who are struggling.  Someone has to speak The Other Truth.  And that person might as well be me.

This is also the truth: I want this to get better.  I want this to go from unwanted to wanted.  I want this to turn into a happy, beautiful pregnancy and then into a happy, beautiful family.  Before you pass judgement, know that I am not a horrible person.  I am a real person.  This is a real pregnancy.  And these are real feelings, whether you like it or not.

And until next time, I will continue doing the best I can.

~ B