My sister came to visit over Valentine’s Day weekend.
We’d never gotten along very well, owing to the fact that when we shared a room during our formative years, I was exceptionally obnoxious and she was exceptionally strong-willed. We’d learned to play nice as we got older, but I suspected that had as much to do with her moving across the country as it did with any real maturity or understanding.
We’re five years apart – 4 years, 10 months and 2 days to be exact. It’s a difficult age difference for sisters, and I always got the impression that in my sister’s mind, I stopped aging or maturing at around age 13, when she left for college. I was stuck forever as the bratty little sister, and it was only in the last two or three times we’d seen each other that we actually started to enjoy each other’s company.
The visit went well, for the most part. We got along swimmingly, and I dreaded the announcement that I knew I had to make. In light of my sister’s recent fertility issues, I was especially anxious about sharing my news.
Each day of my sister’s visit my mother asked me when I was going to tell her. I told her not yet. How on earth do you begin such a conversation? I didn’t know, so I put it off again and again. Finally, the last day of her visit, I decided to spill. My mother, my sister and I went to my brother’s house for dinner. And after dinner, when we were all sitting around and talking, I finally blurted it out.
My heart was hammering faster than my baby’s, I swear. It was awful. I felt like I was saying some sort of expletive. The word “pregnant” felt dirty in my mouth. But everyone was so nice about it, and no one seemed too horribly disappointed.
My sister called her husband a few minutes later, to tell him, and she relayed the message, “He says to tell you we’ll adopt it,” only half-joking. Which was awkward. Then my mom called my brother in Canada to tell him. I wasn’t sure how he’d take the news, either. His wife was due with baby #4 just a few weeks after I was due.
It felt so nice not to hide things anymore, though – to not have to suck in my stomach or worry that someone would recognize my clothes as being from Motherhood Maternity. I still wasn’t sure about adoption, although I did tell my siblings that I’d met with a few couples, when they asked what I planned to do.
I wrote to H – a nice long letter, sort of an airing of grievances. I waited anxiously for his response. And waited, and waited. His inaction made me worry about what sort of future we would have together, and what sort of father he might be. And yet to place my baby for adoption just because of H … inconceivable.
I wrote this in my journal a few days later: “Part of me wishes I could be pregnant forever. As long as you're in my belly, you're mine. I wish you could always be mine.”
And the next day: “I can't even begin to describe how the thought of adoption makes me feel. It's like my heart is being ripped out. I can't bear it.
I spent a good portion of the day crying. Things went poorly with S, I haven't heard back from H and ... just a million little things. I've never felt so alone. I have nothing. How am I supposed to give up the one good thing I have in my life?
I wish I could keep my little banana baby inside me forever and never let her go. How am I supposed to let her go? To some other family, to be their daughter. Their parents and siblings will get to pick her up and play with her and love her and I won't. It kills me. I die.”
I didn’t get an e-mail response from H, but finally he contacted me via instant message. It wasn’t pretty.
He told me, “I pretty much realize that when you have this child, it's up to us to have a good friendship , because I don't feel I can ever be what you need in a relationship setting.”
Well, I thought, that would have been nice to know a few months ago.
(Aren’t you glad, dear reader, that I’ve saved all my Instant Messages?)
He didn’t have much useful to say after that – more excuses, things about how he was distancing himself to keep from getting hurt. Apparently it didn’t occur to him that his distance might cause me any hurt. The conversation devolved. He mentioned that he’d been a big baby despite his mother smoking throughout her pregnancy, and then made a remark I’m not even sure I should mention (so here’s your EXTREME TMI warning) to the effect that I should take a photograph of a rather personal place to show to my next boyfriend, because I would never be the same after I birthed his spawn.
My jaw just about hit the floor. I teared up. How could he be so crude, so flippant? My next several responses were monosyllabic while I gathered my composure. He asked if I was showing yet, and if it was “uncomfortable to walk yet, or just kinda like a fat chick at a mall?” We debated the efficacy of therapy (don’t ask) before he signed off, saying “ok, i'm getting tired, and, well, admitingly, drunk.”
End of conversation.
I wasn’t sure if he’d signed off yet, so I typed this out for him to see the next time he logged on:
you still there?
i'll take that as a no
well for the record, i'm still mad at you.
you treated me like crap for five months when i was really vulnerable and that's not easy to forgive.
and i've got ultrasound pictures but i don't feel like you deserve to see them because i still don't think you really care.
i just wanted to tell you that.
and you said you think you could be a good father but the fact that you were drinking while having this conversation with me says otherwise.
so ... yeah. i think that's it.
The next night he messaged me again, telling me that he didn’t think his drinking had anything to do with what kind of father he could be. He said he had poor stress-handling mechanisms or something like that, and I pointed out that children can be stressful. He didn’t see the connection. I gave up trying to explain it.
The month ended and I was no closer to a decision, or to any answers, than I’d been the month before. I was getting tired and depressed and my patience with H was wearing thin. I wasn’t sure what to do about him. I wasn’t sure what had happened with the papers he’d been served with. But I’d survived another month of pregnancy, and I decided that was something to celebrate.