Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hope, and What Might Have Been

I'm not sure why, but I've been thinking a lot lately about the future. Well, not the future, exactly. More specifically, the future I thought I would have when I considered things a year ago. The future that could have happened but didn't.

Reading back over my blog from last year, it was around November 3rd that I really started to consider the future. When I started thinking specifically about where I would be in a year, and whether H would be there too.

He hadn't given me much hope at that point, but I hadn't been able to simply give up on him, as much as I'd wanted to. I tried telling myself that I could put him firmly behind me and move on with my life, mine and my baby's. But the fact remained that it was (loathe as I was to admit it) his baby too, and it felt wrong just then to cut him out completely.

I got advice from everyone and every place I could think of. The consensus seemed to be that I needed to tell him what was going on, tell him that I was pregnant, and give him a chance to change, to grow up and be responsible. Oh, how I hoped he would. I did not want to be single and pregnant and alone. But I didn't expect it. I think I knew deep down that nothing in the world would change him. I just felt that he had a right to know what was going on, much as it killed me. He was free to do what he wished with the information, but he couldn't do anything with it until he had it.

And so I told him. He wasn't thrilled at first, but later said he was strangely excited. He eluded to wanting a relationship again, and he told me he loved me, something he hadn't done in months. I knew why he said it. It was because of the baby, not because of any feelings he really had for me.

And yet I allowed myself to hope. I thought perhaps we might get married. In my mind I created a lovely picture of my life in a year, living with my husband and child in a cozy little apartment, holding a fat baby on my hip while I made dinner, falling asleep safe in H's arms.

I keep thinking about that, lately. I keep wondering if there is anything I could have done to make things different between us. If I could have said something to make him want to stay, to grow up, to be a man. Despite his poor treatment of me I still have times when I wish I could have said or done something, anything, to make him love me.

And now I wonder if a man will ever love me. H was the first (and only) man to ever take an interest in me, and I was 24 at the time. Before I met him, before I did things I can't take back, I despaired of ever marrying. Now that I have made so many mistakes, I find it hard not to give up. What good man would ever want me when he could have a woman who has kept her virtue? I never had much to recommend me to begin with. I am not tall or thin or beautiful, I don't dress well, I don't have a good singing voice or any athletic ability to speak of, I'm not very clever or flirtatious or sociable. I am hopelessly insecure. I find it hard to speak to people I don't know, to strike up a conversation and make a connection.

Being a birth mother doesn't leave a physical mark, though the emotional scars are there. If I ever do manage to meet a good man, at what point do I tell him of my past? I find it hard to believe that he would be able to see past that.

Which makes me think of the other life that might have been, if I'd never strayed, never erred. Would I still be single and lonely? At least then I would be chaste, and feel that I had that going for me.

But then I would never have had Roo, and as hard as the past year has been, I can't bear the thought of a world without Roo. If I hadn't had her, P and M wouldn't have her, and I think they need her as much as she needs them.

I try not to dwell too much on the past, but I find it difficult. My future is uncertain and at times it seems the past is all I have. My past's future was much rosier than the future I'm facing.

Hope. I need to have hope. I need to believe that it will get better, that I will marry. The Lord wouldn't tell me to place Roo and then never give me the chance to be a mother again. I don't want to believe that. So I will do my best to believe that I will marry and have replacement Roos, to believe that what will be is infinitely better than any what might have been.


J. said...

I just read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is amazing and might give you the hope and strength to know that you will meet someone who is perfect. Your past is your past, what matters now is how you handle today, tomorrow and the hiccups along the way :) Don't be too hard on yourself! I have to remind myself everyday of this!

jgirl said...

I have found over the years and with many bad decisions behind me, that the day I decided that I was worthy of the love and affection I truly deserved, was the day I had it in my grasp. Work on being the very best version of you there is and the rest will fall into place...it really will. Don't be so hard on yourself! You are so clever and gifted with the written word, that alone should be enough to catch the eye of the guy that's out there for you...

Anonymous said...

I just happened to run across your blog. I find your story amazing and heartbreaking. You seem like such a strong, loving person.

I was raised LDS, but don't identify myself as a member anymore (by way of my background), however one thing you wrote in this post made me ache for you.

"Now that I have made so many mistakes, I find it hard not to give up. What good man would ever want me when he could have a woman who has kept her virtue?"

I feel like that thought process is really reinforced by those object lessons in YW where they ask who would want the chewed up gum or the cookies with dirt in them. You obviously believe in God and in the doctrine of the LDS church. (I know this is weirdly preachy sounding coming from someone who identifies as atheist agnostic) I hope you can find the knowledge through repentance that while the lessons you learned through these experiences will never leave you, you are NOT inferior for making the choices you made, no matter how poor you may think they were. Plenty of people make mistakes and you as a person are no less valuable and no less worth loving and being with than someone who did not make those choices. There are many men out there, some of whom I know, who are now married to women that have made the same choices you have. You are worthy of love and there are men out there who will be able to see that and who will appreciate the strength you've gained from what you've been through.

(Gah. Seriously. I hate how preachy this sounds but it really does make my heart hurt when people, women especially, see themselves as damaged goods. You're not. You're amazing.)

Jill Elizabeth said...

@lifeofdi: Welcome to the blog, and thank you for saying such nice things! I am working on a post about those absolutely rotten chewed-gum, licked-cupcake lessons teenagers seem to get, because I think they're rubbish.

You will be pleased, I think, to hear that I very rarely feel this discouraged any more. On occasion I think that I will never find a man who gets it, but now I am more of the opinion that if a guy doesn't understand, it's his lack and not mine, because it means he doesn't understand his own religion at all.

I have also reached a place where I don't feel like I absolutely have to have a man in my life to be happy and fulfilled. I would dearly love to marry and have children, but I'm not going to waste my life in the meantime. I know many single women who lead amazing lives, and I am trying to follow their examples.

Thanks for your awesome comment!

Anonymous said...

Yay :) It makes me so happy to hear all of that. And you've totally found a new reader. I love your articulate, intelligent writing. As a writer for a living, I think it's totally awesome that P and M's profile caught your eye because of the lack of spelling and grammar mistakes.

I've also developed an increased interest in adoption since meeting my husband, who, along with his three sisters, was adopted. His was a closed adoption and I wish he would have had the opportunity to know his birthmom in a relationship like it sounds you have with Roo's parents.