It was hot. I was tired. My baby was wiggly.
To stretch out without pain, and to combat the heat, I’d begun swimming every day at the neighborhood pool. The water was cool and lovely and it was so nice to have a break from carrying around my baby weight. My baby seemed to enjoy the water, too – I noticed that when I swam, she wiggled a little differently in my belly as though she could feel the sudden weightlessness of her home.
The car seat and stroller set I’d had an eye on went on sale at Target, so I bought it. I had fun putting the stroller together and attaching a few toys to the handle of the car seat. I knew my baby wouldn’t appreciate them for a while but I thought they were cute. I also had fun (yes, fun) finishing up the last of the pre-baby laundry, folding it and putting it away. All that I needed was a crib and a baby. I was nervous but excited.
Having almost everything ready for my baby gave me time to worry about other things. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s worrying. My newest fear scared me, though. I already loved my baby so much, but I knew that half of her came from H. What if I loved her less for that? What if she looked just like him and it hurt me to see her face? I hated that thought. I never wanted my baby to feel I was punishing her for the mistakes I’d made. I hated that I was in a situation where I hoped my baby didn’t look like her father. This was not the life I’d planned, and this was certainly not how I’d hoped to become a mother.
From my journal: “I was reading on the ParentsConnect blog today about the best things about being pregnant, and someone commented that one of the nice things is that they were never really alone. I liked that. I thought about that when I was home alone tonight. That I wasn't alone, because I had you to keep me company. You wiggled then, too, as if to remind me that you were there.”
My emotions were all over the place. I would have these moments of great joy and excitement followed by the worst sort of depression and fear. I was going to have a baby – a wonderful, happy, exciting time – but no one was excited. No one was happy. I was curled up on the couch one night, crying, and my mother tried to cheer me up. She asked me what baby names I liked. As I rehearsed my list (with pros and cons), it occurred to me that here I was, three weeks from my due date, and this was the first time anyone had asked me what baby names I liked. How sad was that?
Neither my sister nor the younger of my brothers spoke to me on the phone. My mother would talk to them and report that they’d asked about me (more likely they’d asked if I’d come to my senses yet) but she never mentioned specifics and they never asked to speak to me directly. Each time one of them called and told my mother what a horrible mistake I was making, I felt more and more alone. It seemed like my mother was the only person on earth who cared about me and my precious baby.
I cried. Because each time I went to the store, I bought one more baby item alone. Because only my mother had asked about baby names. Because I had no friends to talk to about anything. Because I was single and my ex was a jerk and our relationship had been so messed up that my skin crawled at the thought of a man even looking at me again. Because even if that wasn’t so, I was still alone. Because I felt like I was relying too much on my mother and it wasn’t fair to her, and because if I didn’t rely on her so much, I would be completely alone in the world.
I cried because no one thought I should keep my baby, because no one cared how I felt about it, because no one would ever be happy for me, throw me a baby shower, buy my baby cute little gifts. Because no one would want a baby announcement from me and I bought them anyway because I could not bear for my little girl to not feel loved and wanted and like the whole world was dying to know exactly when she got here and what she was like. Because this little girl I was going to deliver was precious and sweet and innocent and good and everything seemed so unfair to her – she deserved a million times better. She deserved the world and I didn’t have the strength to give it to her.
I cried because she was all I had, and because there should have been two parents, happy and in love, excited for her to be born. I loved her desperately, and I hated the thought that she might ever think anyone I know didn’t think she was the best thing in the world. She deserved all the love in the world and then some. Why couldn’t my family see that?