Just to warn you, the piece is 8 pages long in Microsoft Word, so if you don't feel like reading so much, don't. It should flow smoothly and be at least interesting enough to not feel like a chore, though. Excuse any spelling errors or typos (I know of at least one word that's missing a letter) I am too lazy to go back through and edit it.
I couldn’t be, I though as I climbed the stairs to go to the bathroom, the test in my hands. So many other times I had scares and each one of them ended in a negative. So I couldn’t be. Not possible. I’ve been careful.
A few minutes later I stood in the bathroom staring at that second pink line. My heart, oddly, was beating evenly. My brain didn’t know what to think, really. I just stared at it. Then this crazy happiness bubbled up inside of me. I could get pregnant! I am pregnant! I had worried for so long that I just couldn’t get pregnant. Like I said, so many other scares and yet all negatives. I was told by the nurse practitioner at the clinic where I got my birth control pills from that there’s really only a 24 hour window that conception is possible. Though, thinking on it now, I think mine is 48 hours thanks to two days every month where I’m given creepy attention by all kinds of men who would normally never even look at me. Those two days always happen a week before that time of the month. From all the things I’ve seen about the science of sex I figured that’s what was going on. My body was ripe for the taking and every man could tell. The thought always makes me shudder. I’ve never liked that kind of attention, it irks me. Not to mention it sets off my nervous habit of giggling, which only makes guys think they have a chance and that I like the attention.
Well, after I stood there for a while, contemplating how happy I was and how crazy this all was, I took the test downstairs to my friend. I stood there to the entrance to the living room, the test held in one hand, and stared at her with this silly I-can’t-believe-it grin. Her eyes grew wide and she squealed as she jumped up and ran to hug me, crying out, “I knew it!” It was so nice to have such a positive reaction to the news. I knew I had at least a few negative ones waiting for me down the road. I was going to enjoy this positive one.
Immediately my friend began rummaging around in her storage closet for all the baby books and articles she’d found or been given when she’d been pregnant with her daughter. It was one lump of information after another. My head was spinning by the time I went to bed that night.
The next day a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. What do I do about the father? Back when I’d first dated him things were amazing and I could see myself having a child with him, but now, after all that had happened, I had decided I never wanted to be tied to him in any way, especially not with a child. What the hell was I going to do about it? It certainly put a damper on what should be one of the happiest times of my life.
At first I decided I wasn’t going to tell him. Somehow I was going to make him leave me alone – like I’d been trying to do for weeks by then – and I was going to enjoy my pregnancy and my baby without him messing things up.
You see, a week before I conceived we somehow got to talking about kids and he went off on this spiel about how if I gave him two years to get his crap together, we could have a kid. But he wasn’t, not for any reason, going to have a kid before then. I remember just sitting there, nodding and thinking, There’s no way in hell I’m going to have a kid with you. No offense to the baby but maybe I should have knocked on wood or something as I thought that. You know how life just loves to play little jokes like that. I can hear it now, “Oh, no kid with him you say? Well, we’ll just see about that!”
Along with the talk about waiting two years, he just had to go on about how he wasn’t going to have a kid before then. He ended up making comments that put me on edge. Comments that meant that if I got pregnant, I’d fear for the safety of myself and the baby. I don’t think he’d ever do anything like that, but he should really learn not to joke like that. I’ve had to talk to him a few times about making horrible jokes like that. They’re not funny and no one but he (or some evil person) would think they are.
I thought I had it decided. I wouldn’t tell him. He’d never find out. If he ever saw me pregnant or with the baby and thought it might be his, I knew I could use this one night where I’d gone and hung out with a guy friend to my advantage. The man thought I was sleeping with said guy friend so it would have been easy to get away with that little lie, especially since the friend had moved to another state and had stopped talking to me.
With that decided my friend took me to the clinic where I get my birth control pills so I could get a confirmation on the positive. Had I money or insurance I would have gone to the doctor’s and gotten a confirmation by blood, but the clinic and their urine confirmation was what I had to take.
I was so nervous. I was happy about the positive, even if there were little negative things in the back of my head. All I could think was what if I’m really not pregnant? I’d gotten so happy for nothing. My heart was beating so hard and I felt like crying at the thought of the home pregnancy test being false. But minutes later I was given another positive and plenty of information about what to do next.
We went out to breakfast then, going to a place that I used to go to every other Thursday with my old boyfriend and his work buddies when they got paid. It was the only place me and my friend could agree on that was open so early.
While there I texted my oldest sister about the news, making sure to put in the text that there was no need to worry and I hoped she wouldn’t be mad. I just thought she was going to feel like a mom and be a bit disappointed in me. Course, the first thing she said when I answered her call minutes later told me she seemed far from disappointed. She was the third person to find out. Before I’d gone to bed the night before I’d called my best friend to tell her. We had talked for a while about how things were going to go and how I felt about it all. Now I got to tell my sister everything all over again- not that I minded.
Later that day, as I waited for my friend to pay a phone bill, I had a three-way call with both my sisters so I could tell the middle one about the news. I felt bad about telling her, though. It didn’t seem like so long ago that me and her were sitting on the floor of my room talking about how she felt left out since I and my oldest sister had a guy in our life. At the time I’d been with mine for years and my sister was married. This whole pregnancy thing was like that talk all over again. My middle sister was in baby mode and I wanted her to have the next child. I didn’t want to beat her to something else so important. At least she beat me to marriage since my long relationship crumbled like so much ash. But all my sister said about it was that she was jealous. Of course, she was always one to hide most of how she felt if it meant that someone would feel bad about the truth. So I don’t doubt the emotions were a bit stronger than jealousy.
After the phone call, all I had left to do was tell my mom, at least, as far as the hard part went. I figured my dad wouldn’t be a problem. But I couldn’t bring myself to tell her so soon. I had to figure out how to tell her in such a way so that she wouldn’t worry. The first step in that was to show her I wasn’t as irresponsible as she thought. I had to start getting things under way so I could get a well-paying job that would enable me to take care of myself and my baby since I wasn’t going to let the father know. I also needed a much better job than the piddly one at the mall. I’d just gone for that job to get some quick cash so I could hopefully take a trip to Ireland in a few months. Guess that wasn’t going to happen now.
Life went by as normal as it had been, with the exception that I knew what was growing inside of me. It was, and still is, odd to think that I’ve got a little human in me. A human that will grow to have their own personality. Their own likes and dislikes. It’s one of the things that I just can’t wait to witness. That and I wonder how they’ll look. Whose eyes will they have? How tall will they be? What color hair are they going to end up with? Course, I could only hope my baby looked more like me than the father. If not, it meant I’d have a little one with black hair and dark eyes with the ability to tan. I don’t really care how they child will look, but I’d just rather it look like me while it’s a baby. I’d gotten used to people telling me whatever baby I had in my arms looked like me. This has happened quite a few times as I either helped take care of my cousin when I was 15 or helped a friend out with their niece or nephew or their own baby. Despite my not being the mother, I still felt a little pride. I want to feel that with my own baby. Well, I know I will, regardless, but I think it’ll just be wonderful to hear people say something like, “Oh look at those blue eyes! They look just like yours,” or even a comment about the hair color being similar to mine.
But as the time kept going by I had the stress of hiding this from my mother, whom I lived with, and the fact that I kept changing my mind on whether to tell the father or not. One minute I’d feel it’d be the right thing to do, the next I’d be angry and remember all the horrible ways I’d been treating and all the horrible remarks he’d made and I’d decide he’d never know! It was the only real stress I had in my life then.
It was a Monday when I told him. I’d just got done with hanging out with him after a week or so of barely even talking to him. It had been a good night. We’d watched a movie and then gone to Denny’s because he was hungry and I wanted ice cream.
When I dropped him off at his place I thought he’d been really good, so much better than all the other times. Maybe I should tell him. On the long drive home I decided once and for all that I was going to do the right thing and tell him. When I got home I sent him a text and the picture of the positive.
It took a while for him to respond but he did so by calling me. He didn’t yell or anything. In fact he did something I didn’t even think he’d do, he went into a panic attack. He kept repeating himself every once in a while about how he just couldn’t have another kid. I felt so bad. I shouldn’t have told him. All I did was cause him grief. I never wanted that for him. As much as I didn’t care for him, I did care about him, at least in the human sense. He isn’t the worst guy in the world, despite his comments and the ways he’s treated me, he deserves happiness, just like most everyone else in this world. He was finally getting back on his feet after years of everything falling through for him. Here I was making him become depressed because he thought I was going to be like the other two mothers of his children and try and get money out of him.
I kept telling him I didn’t want anything from him. I didn’t care if he was in the baby’s life or not. But nothing got through to him until the next day when I texted him and told him, yet again, I didn’t want money from him and I didn’t need his help and that I was cutting off contact with him to prove it. He’d never hear from me again unless he contacted me first. Despite how awful I felt at upsetting him, I felt like this huge weight had been lifted. I’d been stressing so much about telling him and now I didn’t have to think about it anymore.
I can’t remember if it was the next day or that day but he texted me asking if I was serious about not wanting anything from him. I said yes and that to prove it I could try and get it so he could sign his rights over. He said that wouldn’t be necessary, that all I had to do was write up a document stating I wanted no child support from him and we could sign it and have it notarized.
Over a month later and I still haven’t written that damn thing up formally. It’s not that I was lying, I wasn’t, it’s just I’m trying to make sure it’ll hold against the government saying I should get child support should I try applying for some assistance or another. I just don’t know how to go about it.
It took me two days to recover from telling him about his baby. I have a good way of shoving things so far back in my head that I don’t feel anything from them but I know they’re still there. Though it does help that he’s constantly making me angry and so I keep feeling like I don’t care if he’s worried about this because he’s stupid! I’d like to say that’s pregnancy hormones, but I’ve gotten off easy. So easy that I feel horrible if I even slip into conversation to other pregnant women about my lack of nausea and how I mostly crave water and fruit. While other women are suffering from all sorts of awful pregnancy stuff, I got to keep my mouth shut or else I feel like they might think I’m bragging. Not only that but I’m afraid if I do talk about it too much I’ll get another lovely joke from life. “No nausea, eh? Well remember that bowl of cereal you had for breakfast this morning? No? Well don’t worry, you will in a few minutes.”
Anyway, after the father mentioned the notarized paper, he said he’d like to be there for me during the pregnancy. Course, that didn’t last long. I got an ultrasound a week early thanks to a little bit of bleeding and the lack of symptoms. I thought he might want to go so I let him know. He didn’t say anything back until I reminded him the day before the ultrasound. Then, all he said was, “This is just a confirmation right? Well just tell me how it goes.” I had a mind to drag him from work the next day and force him to look at what he had a hand in creating! But then my anger got the better of me and I didn’t want him around me at all, so I just accepted it.
When I got the ultrasound, my heart was beating so fast. I’d see so many woman already have miscarriages with either excessive bleeding and cramping or just the lack of a heartbeat. I’d had some more bleeding the night before and the lack of symptoms was still eating at me. All the other women I’d met who were due the same month as me went on and on about all their symptoms, which made me feel like something was wrong.
But when I saw the little one up on the screen I nearly started to cry. As the tech was looking for something off to the side, I saw my baby at the edge of the screen, wiggling. Its little hands were just to either side of the bottom of its head. Its little tummy was so round and it was just wiggling from side to side, like it was dancing. I giggled at it, thinking, Silly baby. Course, it’s just normal movement, not like it exactly has control over it.
I felt like it was awful that it was just me and the tech seeing this. How unfair to everyone I knew! They should see this too! Why should I have been the only one to get to enjoy the first site of my baby? Then I got to hear the heartbeat. It was so fast! I mean, I knew it would be but it was still a surprise. I remember wanting to laugh and ask, “Are you sure that’s the baby’s heart, cause I feel mine beating pretty fast.” Despite seeing everything was fine I still was so nervous. What was more amazing was the fact that the baby was facing the little wand the tech was using, so I was seeing its front. I’m sure there are plenty of other women who’ve gotten to see that with the first ultrasound, but I still felt special.
As I left, the tech handed me the photos of the baby. Three from the wand and one from the abdominal scan, which made the baby look like a blob and I couldn’t even tell what I was looking at. Now that I had those, I would be telling my mother. I had made the decision earlier that day. It seemed like since I’d gotten pregnant my mom kept offering me alcohol and having me help her carry heavy things. I was running out of reasons why not to drink the liquor and I never was able to refuse to carry things for her. One of which was a bag full of cans of soup that made my whole left side ache the next day. Another was an incredibly heavy chest covered in brass with dangerous corners. I was so glad when she decided to make her husband and his friend carry it upstairs. It was hard enough getting it into the back of the truck, I didn’t know how on earth I’d carry it upstairs.
I always knew how she would react. Whether it be from worry or from happiness I knew she’d cry. I knew she’d be worried and that she’d let me know. The only unknown was if she was going to feel disappointed in me. Being only 23 and unmarried and the fact that the father was 80% of the time awful, I felt that she’d be disappointed, even though I had tried to prevent it. Sure I wasn’t on birth control, but there’d been condoms. If you’re wondering why I wasn’t on birth control, well it’s the simple reason that I was tired of being on it. I feel like there wasn’t a time I wasn’t on them, but I know that’s not the case. It’s just the years all blur together. I hadn’t had libido problems like some women have when they’re on birth control for years, no, I wasn’t so lucky. I felt like my body wasn’t normal. I wasn’t allowing it to do what it was naturally meant to do. I began feeling off because of it. I felt wrong. So when I broke up with the baby’s father last November, I didn’t bother going to get more. I’d finished my pack in October. I didn’t think I’d ever be doing anything with the guy after that. But curse my hormones I ended up seeing him off and on until sometime in December when I admitted to him I had no romantic feelings for him and he was upset by it and stopped talking to me for a month. A lovelier month I haven’t had since.
Of course, before I went home after the ultrasound I had to go by the store and grab a car charger for my phone since it had died and I wanted to send a picture of the ultrasound to everyone who already knew. Yes, it went to the father as well. While I got loads of positive feedback all I got from the dad was, “What is that?” I told him it was the baby and said it sounded like he’d never had other kids. He then said, “This is a joke right? You’re joking? This is just one big elaborate prank.” That’s when I got mad and said if he wanted it to be then yes and I reminded him that I didn’t want anything from him so he could walk away any time he wanted. I don’t remember if he texted anything back. But after sitting in the car in the parking lot forever, answering texts from everyone I finally had to head home, the knowledge of telling my mom sitting in my head, making me feel queasy.
So when I got home I told my mom I wanted to talk with her before she went to bed. She ended up coming into my room after she got her clothes for the next day from the guest room. I started out by saying this wasn’t the best situation but I was happy and if she had any negative feelings about it, to keep them to herself please. The look she gave me told me she thought I was being dramatic but that in the back of her mind she feared the worst. Then I pulled the ultrasound photos from the book I was reading at the time. As soon as she saw it, one hand went to her mouth and she started to cry.
She knew who the father was but still asked if it was and I said yes and told her a bit about what had happened between me and him recently. She grew mad and said, “If you ever have anything to do with other than this I will smack the shit out of you.” That just made me laugh, no one needed to tell me to try and cut him out of my life, I’d been trying to for weeks before I got pregnant.
Then she sat down on the bed and hugged me tightly saying, “Do you know how hard this is going to be?” Of course her crying had me crying and through my own tears I said yes and began to explain about all the things I was doing to ensure it would all be just fine.
I knew it wouldn’t help much but it would sink in for her later that I was heading in the right direction. By the next day she had gone from worried to making sure I was getting the vitamins I needed and had all the doctor stuff in order. I know I surprised her when she heard I’d already had an appointment scheduled and I was taking the Flintstones Complete vitamins. When I found out, I didn’t have insurance and only had $8 to my name which was enough for the children’s vitamins.
I later surprised her by how much I already knew about the pregnancy. She said, “Wow, I knew nothing when I first got pregnant.” I just shrugged and said I’d been reading a lot, which wasn’t a lie. I’d already gone through most of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
With another day or two she was happily talking about the pregnancy with me, but I could tell she was still a bit apprehensive about it all. She still consoles me sometimes about how everything will be just fine even though the father won’t be much help, as if I’m stressing over it. I’ve concluded the consoling me about it is more her consoling herself over the awful situation, so I don’t tell her she doesn’t need to make me feel better, I just let her do it.
The most shocking response to my pregnancy came from my granddaddy. He was talking to my middle sister about it at the time and said something like, “It’s not the best situation in the world and she’s probably very worried about it. She may not have planned it but God did and He knows what’s best for us.” When she sent me the text of what he said I was working at the time and had a very hard time not crying. I’ve been a bit more emotional than normal and the things that really get me to crying are people being supportive of my pregnancy. I feared my granddaddy would be the most disappointed of everyone. Well, he and my uncle since they both are so traditional. I get the feeling part of this is the fact that my grandma passed away last June and that seemed to have changed him. I remember a few days after the funeral I got up to see him wearing jeans. Jeans! I nearly had a heart attack right then and there. I don’t ever remember him being in anything but slacks. And I think that the thought of new life after the passing of one made him at least somewhat happy.
Sometime after all that I got a text from the father asking if we could have lunch together the next time I was able to. This was the first time he’d wanted to see me since I’d told him, so I said sure. While having lunch he told me he’d been thinking and he wanted to do the right thing by making an honest woman out of me. I nearly got up and left right then and there. If there’s one thing I hate it’s people getting married because there’s a baby on the way. To me, that’s a surefire way to create resentment towards a child should the marriage not turn out so great, not to mention it can lead to divorce because both parties are miserable since they most likely feel trapped.
Part of this whole marriage thing was from a dream he’d told me about the day before. He said in it we were married and life was great and our baby was so cute and chubby and had the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. It was a sweet dream but it did nothing to make me feel for him.
He was explaining his reasoning to me and just as I was thinking he could be more okay than I thought he made the worst comment he could make to me. He said, “If it’s a girl I want nothing to do with it. But if it’s a boy, you’ll never get rid of me.” The first thought in my mind was, “You’re such a bastard!” The next was, “Please, God, let it be a girl!”
Later, as I was taking him with me as I went to the bank, we got to talking about how I had been planning to go to college this fall for Japanese studies and how I couldn’t do that now. He said I still could, there was still plenty of ice on the ground and I could accidentally slip, with a little help from him. I could hear it in his voice he was joking again, but still. I wanted to kick him out of the car in the middle of the road. You just don’t talk about crap like that! I did tell him later that I didn’t like him talking like that and he just couldn’t understand why. The man can be so dense.
Since then he’s asked me to hang out more. I’ve only seen him maybe three times since then. I still don’t want to be around him. He’s said he wants to make things work between us and I’ve told him over and over again that I don’t feel anything for him. I’ve given all I have to give to him and there’s nothing left, at least not for him. But I’m being nice and allowing him to try. I won’t marry him. That’s set in stone in my mind. I just want to see how much he’ll change.
He’s been really nice to me, but it’s nothing like he was when we first started dating last year. Now it feels forced and fake. It feels like he’s just going through the motions. Each night when he tells me goodnight he has some pet name for me like sweets or beautiful or dear one. I’d be lying if I said they didn’t make my skin crawl. Just this morning when he texted me to say good morning, like he’s been doing lately, and he called me dear one, I asked him to please stop with the pet names. To which he replied, “So what it’s back to you not liking me again? WTF?” See how easily he gets angry? I told him it wasn’t that (because the truth was that I’ve not liked him since the week I conceived), it was just that we aren’t dating and the pet names make me uncomfortable.
You see this conversation we had has been on my mind since last week when we went out to lunch. He was really quiet and just ruining my good mood at having such a yummy lunch of salad with chicken and ice tea. I was ignoring his bad mood, trying not to let it get to me. Though it did annoy me that he was acting that way when it was his suggestion we go out to lunch. Why are men such babies? Well, not even that! Babies have an excuse for giving into their emotions, grown men do not, especially if they’re pouting or being a party pooper.
Finally, he just up and said, “How can we be just friends if you’re having my child?” I said, “Is that what’s been bugging you this whole time?” Earlier in the ride to the restaurant we were talking and I was stating something that happened to have me saying me and him were just friends.
I gave him this look and said, “And what were you talking about just a minute ago when you were saying you don’t want us to be official because you might have sex with that chick in Arizona?” That’s right. He’s had this trip to Arizona planned for a few months. He’s going there to get out of town for a bit, to pick up his friend’s kid, and to see the woman he once told me while we were dating that if she ever told him she wanted to be with him, he’d drop everything to do so, even if it meant breaking up with me. He told me a bit into our lunch that he felt we should hold off on being more together until after he gets back from Arizona because he had a feeling he’d end up sleeping with that woman.
I admit I do lead him on, allowing him to think he has a chance with me. Yes it’s cruel but I don’t do it on purpose. I just hate confrontations and I hate the reaction I know I’ll get out of him when I tell him there’s no way I’d ever marry him. I wrote my best friend last night that I’d rather die an old unmarried than ever marry him. Hmm knocking on wood sounds good right about now.
So you see how much of an idiot this guy can be? It’s so frustrating to deal with him. I’ve already told him I don’t want him at any of the appointments and I’m still debating on whether or not he’s allowed to attend the birth. I’m strongly leaning towards him not being there and no one disagrees with me.
I’m sorely hoping he does sleep with the chick. I haven’t told him, nor will I tell him, that if he sleeps with her he’s ruined every chance of ever being with me. There’s already no chance but he doesn’t understand that yet, despite how many times I’ve told him I have no feelings for him. He seems to forget I tell him that by the next day. One day I’d love to have the courage to tell him I just want to be left alone.
Well, needless to say the rest of the lunch didn’t go well. He sat there brooding while I happily finished my salad, ignoring him. I swear he’s worse than a woman that way. He’s got to blow everything way out of proportion and then stew about it.
This is what I have to deal with. I know my situation isn’t the worst in the world but, for me, this is a struggle. All I want is to be happy during this pregnancy. If the father wasn’t around at all I could pretend the mess with him isn’t happening and be blissfully ignorant in a way.
I see so many other women around town or on the internet who have the support of a loving boyfriend or husband. I see the man being happy about what’s going to come. I even saw one woman complaining about how her husband is controlling a lot in her life right now by asking her what she’s been eating and telling her to go rest and whatnot. I know that has to be annoying as all get out but I wanted to tell her that she’s lucky. It could be like the father of my child who can’t bear to talk about my being pregnant. When I’m with him he normally acts as if I don’t have his child inside me. I hate being around him just for that. I want to talk about it! I don’t want to act like this child doesn’t exist! It does! It has a soul, it has a heartbeat, it wiggles, it wants freaking chocolate chip cookies with ice cream sandwiched between them! It’s there and it’s not going away! I may not be happy about who the father is and this whole situation but I’m ecstatic that around my birthday this year I’m going to be a mommy!
I don’t have to worry about asking anyone to hold this baby because it’ll be mine! I get to teach this child manners and rules. I get to read to them and talk to them and hug them and kiss them to my heart’s content and no one is going to stop me! I’m so happy to get to shape this little life, knowing that one day they will make their mark on the world, leaving it a better place than it was before they came. I don’t think anyone fully realizes that this is how I feel. Even though I’ve wanted this since my cousin pulled my maternal instincts to the surface when I was 14. I have only three dreams. One is to be a wife, the next to be a mother, and the most extravagant is to have something I wrote published.
But right now, what I would love more than anything is a caring man in my life who will put his hand to my stomach and smile at me. A man who will just hold me and let me cry when I feel the weight of the world bearing down on me. One who will tell me I’m the most beautiful woman in the world and mean it. The support of my family is so wonderful, but there’s just something about the intimacy between a man and his pregnant wife/girlfriend. It’s something I crave more than the homemade ice cream sandwiches and the mango slices I really wanted last night. There’s nothing like a pair of strong arms around you to make you feel safe and loved.
One day I will have that again, but I keep feeling like that’s so many years from now or maybe that I’m not meant to have that again. That I already had that love and I don’t get another chance. But I’m holding out hope for it, even if it is small. Without hope I don’t know who I am. It’s how I live my life. I’m lost without it.
The only thing keeping me going right now is the thought of the life that’ll be in my arms by the end of this year. It’s for that life that I trudge forward, trying to make the most of this awful situation that’s come with something so wonderful.