Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nerves - A Confession

I'm a little hesitant to talk about this, because I'm not sure exactly who reads this blog. There are a few people who I think might read it, and I'm not sure what they'll make of this or think about it or do with the information. I'm also not sure I want to admit to being this neurotic and ridiculous. But in the interest of recording my life as a birth mother, I'm going to write it out anyway and hope that no one's IP has changed (I block a few), and that none of my readers are feeling judgmental. So, here goes.

I almost had a heart attack at Wal-Mart on Saturday night.

Oh, probably not a real heart attack or anything. But I definitely felt like I'd been kicked in the chest, and all the blood in my body shot straight into my cheeks. Another few seconds and I think I would have passed out cold on the filthy floor.

I thought I saw H standing by one of the checkout counters.

I shouldn't have been as shocked as I was, really. The Wal-Mart that I was at is right by his house. I never used to go to it before, but the place I moved to is not at all - at ALL - far from where H lives. Happenstance, really, but the place is perfect for me and I really felt strongly that this is where I'm supposed to be now. When I realized the proximity to H's apartment, I hesitated briefly. I thought to myself that it was only a matter of time before I ran into him somewhere. Could I handle it if I did?

I told myself that I could, that I was a grown-up, that I'd been in therapy for years, that I was mature and calm and collected. I envisioned several scenarios in which I would see H somewhere, and in each one, I was respectful and level-headed and escaped relatively unscathed. I thought, I've got this. I can do this. I can look at and speak to the man like a civilized adult. I felt confident. If anyone ought to be worried, I thought, it was H. How would he react to seeing me? Yeah, I thought, that's what I want to know. Me, I can handle. I can be the bigger person.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am full of crap. Because when I thought I saw him that night, I had a vagal nerve reaction the likes of which I've never dreamed of before. I realized after a few seconds of gaping that the man in front of me was not, in fact, H. I realized after a few more seconds that he didn't even resemble H that closely. I tried to calm down, to shake it off and find what I'd come into the store to buy. But I was spooked. I now half-expected to see H in every aisle. I all but sprinted to the back of the grocery section to get my French toast sticks. Three times more I thought I saw H. Twice it was a man pushing a cart with two small children. The third time it was a woman.

I scanned the store so many times while I was in line that if anyone had been watching me they probably would have expected me to bolt from the store without paying. When I finally got out to the parking lot, I searched anxiously for H's car before dashing for my own and hightailing it back to my place.

I feel like the biggest freaking idiot in the world. What is wrong with me? Why should the thought of seeing H again terrify me so much? He's not a monster. He's just an immature, stubborn man ... and, in a manner of speaking, I took something from him that I can't give back, nor would I give back, which is to say, his daughter. He's bound to be angry about that, isn't he? Or maybe he's shoved that down the way he seemed to do with all of the other emotions he didn't know how to deal with. Maybe he doesn't even think about it any more.

Would that be worse, I wonder? Which would make me feel sicker - knowing that he is still seething with rage, or that he is completely apathetic? I'm not sure. And although I was wrong about being mature and able to handle seeing him again even if just in passing at a discount store, I do still wonder what his reaction to me would be. I mean, we had a baby together. Surely I must cross his mind occasionally, right?

I think I'd feel like less of a spaz for freaking out if knew that the thought of seeing me again freaked him out too. But then, I'm not sure I want him thinking about me often enough to have considered seeing me again. I know I'd be happier if the thought hadn't occurred to me. Until I moved, I thought about H really very little. It was nice. I was happy that way. I love my new place, but I hate that moving here has made me think so much about H again.

Then again, as I said, we had a baby together. I'm probably going to think about H on and off for a very long time. I sort of hate that. I mean, I am appreciative of his genetic contribution. I am very pleased with the results. Roo couldn't be any more adorable or clever or cute or sweet or smart. But I wish that I could think about Roo without having to think of half of the reason she's here.

This is one of those weeks where I really wish my therapist hadn't decided we should cut back to one session a month. I mean, I thought I was quote-unquote over H, for the most part. I really thought I could just be cool about him. What does it mean for me that I'm not, that I can't? How am I ever supposed to have a relationship again when I feel like the specter of H is always hovering nearby on account of my having had a baby with him? I mean, it's probably going to be a heavy enough thing for most guys that I'm a birth mother. The fact that I almost threw up when I thought I saw my ex? That just can't be healthy. It can't be normal. Nothing about being a birth mother is normal, of course. But I figure many birth moms have a wee bit more closure and resolution than I do. Things ended strangely and rather abruptly between me and H. I reckon I'm as much to blame as he is.

The last time I saw him was at the end of November 2008. I was barely two months pregnant at the time. We were supposed to get together again to talk things over but it never happened. We didn't talk on the phone at all. It was either e-mail or instant message or text. After a while, even that stopped. I don't blame H for that. I'm pretty sure I told him to be fruitful and multiply (but not in those words) and to never contact me again. It felt like the right move at the time, but in retrospect I guess I just wish I had a bit more closure. I think that if I did, I wouldn't have had such an insanely extreme overreaction.

I like to tell myself that I am done with H, that I am completely over him, but when things like this happen I am reminded of how many things went unsaid and how unsatisfactory our break-up was. But I'm never going to get that closure, and I have to learn to be okay with that. I have to learn to let go. I have to learn to handle difficult situations. Most importantly, I have to learn to check the parking lot for H's car before I enter a store.


Rachel said...

I love your honesty!! I think your reaction is totally understandable. It would freak me out too.

Amy said...

Perhaps the first run-in will be awkward and difficult, but then... after you get through it, the next one will be easier. Maybe once you realize you saw H, spoke a few words to H, you will leave some feeling of closure that seems so allusive right now. It is funny how we can create movies in our head about how something will occur only to react totally differently in real life. Good luck!

BobandColista said...

I haven't been in your position but I do know what it's like to search the aisles, specifically in a Walmart, for someone you don't want to see. H can't hurt you, you are above that. Don't give him the satisfaction of showing him any fear or insecurity. If you do see him, take a deep breath, smile politely, tell him hello, and then proudly walk past him.

You are an amazing person, Jill!

Savannah said...

I think closure is something we all seek because that is what we need. A nice little answer to explain why things happened why they did. But I also feel if we don't get the answer we want, we will keep looking for it.

ME said...

Oh hun. I feel for you. My sperm donor and I don't talk. I wish we did because we were once good friends but I was happy to at least get an e-mail from his wife confirming that he did think about our birth child(now 11) every now and then. I think that helped me. I do know what you mean when you wish you could think about the child without thinking about him. Most of the time I am able to accomplish that but for the last 11 years he pops into my head at random times. I was happy to find out he's doing well and although I don't wish him well I would like to know he does feel even a portion of the pain that I shoulder.
Recently he had a death in his family and I briefly considered going to the funeral. I reasoned that my presence wouldn't be appreciated there but also I think I was afraid of seeing him. Anyway I just wanted you to know you're not alone.

Candace said...

Me and my babys daddy broke up 1 week before finding out I was pregnant... when I was 9 weeks I finally told him. We have not spoken since. When I was 9 months pregnant I saw him at the store. Ask my mom, she was a witness, I went completely pale and clammy and begged her to walk faster and get out of the store ASAP. My reaction was dumb. So I am glad to know I am not the only silly girl out there ;)

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

Sounds like a totally reasonable understandable response. It's huge to be left holding so so so much.

Love your honesty. I hope you see it's reflected back & rewarded by such empathy.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Your reaction was nowhere near abnormal, at least in my experience. Actually, it sounds almost EXACTLY like my own birthdad run-ins. Hey, at least we can be crazy together. ;)

A Life Being Lived said...

Sister, I COMPLETELY feel your pain. I moved out of state- actually to the other end of the country- for many reasons, but one was to avoid my daughter's biological father. I've had the same exact reaction thinking that I've seen him or his relatives or other people that I would rather not see.

S said...

I think I would be the same if I were in your situation. And I am sure he does the exact same thing every once in a while. He has probably played in his head what he would say to you when he saw you face to face after so long. I have found that even after I had rehearsed what I would say to someone if I ever saw them again I would still be really nervous and not say what I really wanted to say. Nerves always tend to get in the way!