Journey to 30: The Decision
I have struggled with posting this, it is incredibly personal. After much meditating this evening I came across three blogs that each made a statement pushing me in the direction of sharing. I am hoping my admission helps anyone in a similar situation make the decision best for them. Although I eventually made my decision, this decision is your personal one to make.
I thought it was the most terrible night of my life…
When I was 26 I moved to Dallas, TX for a promotion in my career, this incidentally placed me as a support system for my junior high sweetheart just as he was suffering through his own incredibly difficult divorce. He had a son, B, and I thought he was a cool kid. I was excited he already had a child, ‘That will be best’, I thought, ‘I can have a career, and get my experience in mommy-hood through part-time parenting’. We lived the high life in a downtown Dallas apartment on the 10th floor with a perfect view of the reunion tower. We went out to dinner parties and expensive restaurants. We went to large local events such as meet and greets with great authors and Josh had lunch with huge businessmen, Kroger and a big wig at Rolling Stones magazine, just to name two. Josh would pick me up from work on any given Friday and drive us to the airport, destination unknown to me. I would buy or be gifted things of luxury I had never known before and life had never been more exciting or fun.
Five short months after my big move and promotion Josh began to notice changes, I traveled often and worked incredibly longer hours than the average person. I attributed my exhaustion to jet lag or 12 hour days. I attributed the nausea to poor eating habits from living on the road. “I think you’re pregnant,” he would say. I had, had enough scares in my life, and one night was not going to scare me so I proceeded with life as is. I went out with friends, I worked two-fold to try to prove to my employer they made the right decision in choosing me.
One March evening I decided to give in and take the test. I sat with my childhood friend while Josh was still headed our way from work. I had never passed this test before, well before that night. “PREGNANT”. I wailed in agony, there went my career, the career I loved, I knew they would just cast me aside the moment I couldn’t travel anymore. There went fancy dinners and seeing the world. Josh was concerned for my well-being but happy for the news. He went to our favorite roof top restaurant and ordered my favorite, mushroom bisque. The chef was flattered and offered his good wishes our way. This was the most terrible night of my life.
“Are you going to keep it,” asked my friend, who is never afraid to be outright.
“I don’t know,” was all I could manage. I was going to keep it a secret.
After only an hour of my College Station store visit the manager of that store, who just so happened to be my mentor when I first started with the company looked at me with the biggest grin, “girl look at you, you’re flushed. You are so pregnant.”
I just glanced at her, and as I held back tears I whispered, “It’s a secret.”
She nodded but went on to tell me how beautiful and wonderful it was to be a mother, and just how excited and proud she was of me. I didn’t feel like anyone should be proud of me, I felt wrong and dirty. I felt that I let down my boss, and as if my life might as well be over with.
I spent nights alone in hotels agonizing over the decision between bouts of vomiting. Every prenatal pill I seemed to take only made the sickness worse. I would think of how embarrassing it would be to walk into the Planned Parenthood. I thought the shame I felt the first time I went to one, with all the judging eyes. I felt sick when I acknowledged it as a life, so I preferred not to see it that way just yet. I wanted to keep my job, it was the job I loved, it was the one thing I had achieved completely on my own, it was my ultimate source of confidence and self-worth. I wanted my freedom, I still felt too young to take on motherhood, though so many of my amazing friends from high school had already been doing it for years. Perhaps worse was the heartbreaking thought that if I did hold this life that we created, I would be looking into those eyes as an excited first time parent, while Josh had already shared that deep, spiritual, once in a lifetime experience with some other strange woman. I would not be sharing this on the same level as my partner, which I didn’t know until that moment was a big deal to me. This haunted me for a long time.
In May my parents had come to town to meet, my now soon to be stepson, B. During their visit I planned to tell them the news. As strong christians I was afraid they would meet me with gazes of disappointment. I sat across from them at El Chico, staring down at the giant bowl of tortilla soup (the only thing I could manage to digest for the past two and a half months), but now the sight of it made me want to vomit. I was absolutely consumed by electric nerves. They were so blissful in their ignorance as they carried on their casual conversation. My step-dad made some silly remark about a future grandson and I burst into tears. “I’m pregnant!” The news seemed to light up my mother’s entire being, and turned my stepdad pale (he felt responsible for the tears). My mother showered me with good cheers and vibes, but still I did not want this baby.
I would wake up each morning and my first thought would be to jump off the tenth floor balcony, a fellow resident had just done it only a month or two before. I got to the point that I stopped waking up, I stopped caring for myself, I stopped everything, nothing in my being wanted to be a mother.
“Why don’t you just have an abortion,” my roommate just asked flatly.
I actually finally had an answer. “Whether I feel like it or not right now, this is a precious life inside me, and though today I do not seem to want it, there will be a day 8 years, 10 years, 20 years from now, and for the rest of my life that I will sit back and wonder:
‘who was that supposed to be? Where would they be today? What changes would they be making in the world? What hilarious thing would they be doing? What suffering will they be gaining strength from? What would their hugs feel like, or their laugh sound like? Who, oh who would they have been?”
Today: All those terrible things I was scared of came true but somehow they didn’t seem so bad. I lost my job over my pregnancy when my travel restriction came up as predicted. Josh was the father that I shared that intimate moment with, and it didn’t matter that it wasn’t the first for him all of the sudden, because this was the first for us. I did lose so much freedom that I had before, but I honestly wouldn’t trade a minute watching her for ten years of freedom.
Three Years after that fateful night I have the most amazing, loving, sassy, little toot on the planet. It took about four days after birth for the shock to wear off before I was able to really just embrace my baby girl physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She was a miracle, just a little life that was created inside me. And now she is a running, talking, playing, hitting, Pine-Sol gulping sassy pants. She has the best hugs and kisses, a heart of joy, is goofy as can be, and when she cries there is nothing more heartbreaking yet fulfilling then to grant her love and comfort. The only regret I have is spending the first 7 months of my pregnancy feeling so much misery, but that is a forgiveness I can only seek in myself. The best blessings can come from the scariest places.