Something happened to me, a pregnancy scare, or the possibility of a pregnancy scare, that broke the lock and flung wide a door I hadn’t realized I’d closed. It was suggested to me by a man I had slept with to “take plan B- so we don’t have a baby”. A statement that I’m sure would unsettle any woman, especially via text message in the middle of work. The non-chalance of the message was a resounding statement of his indifference toward me. That alone hurt. But “so we don’t have a baby”- that’s the line the blasted me, like sonar under water, in a silent but destructive way that roused something deep within, something dormant. I took the plan B pill. As soon as I got out of work I high tailed myself to CVS. I’d never wanted to see one of those pills again.
The last time I’d taken one was a year and a half before. I was one of the lucky 10% of women whose usage of the pill had resulted in an ectopic pregnancy. And I’d been on birth control too. All that preparation and still I’d gotten pregnant. But in such an unhealthy way. After a month of heavy bleeding, testing of all kinds, a miscarriage (with ectopic pregnancies these are actually blessings) and a shot of chemo I healed slowly over another month and didn’t want to be touched by a man again. But I fell back into my son’s father’s arms. They’d been unexpectedly open wide and comforting; so unlike the real him, but so much like the him I’d dreamed of. It was silly and self-abusive to let myself fall back into that trap. My 2009 wrapped up with our last rump in bed (Christmas morning), being called another woman’s name. This after the months of pain and fear of an ectopic pregnancy by a man who was using me for a green card. I was done. Really done with men. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see daylight again. But I slowly healed. I gave myself time and step by step repaired by focusing on my studies and working hard to complete my bachelor degree in May of 2010. The accomplishment made my heart grow by a thousand times. I’d found pride and security in myself. There was no greater reward. My son and mother came to my graduation, along with my son’s father’s sister (an absolutely lovely girl). It was a small celebration, but a BIG DEAL for me. I found work, luckily, right out of school. Three jobs, but all together they paid the rent. I was feeling really good. Then came September when I lost one job do to a cut back and the others due to the changing season. I had nothing but subbing left over. It wasn’t enough. It never got to be enough. That’s why a few months later, in March of this year, I lost our apartment. So much had been going on. My mind was spinning in so many directions I hadn’t focused or been aware of these buried emotions,
until that text.
It shook me.
And awoke something that began to churn the waters deep below my belly.
I didn’t know what it was. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t figure out what.
I’d taken plan B again, despite my unhappy memories and fears.
And every day after that I’d felt like I’d exited my own skin. Like I was standing outside of my body.
I couldn’t feel myself as vividly as I usually did, like I was living underwater; everything was muted.
I’d cry when I saw blood on my maxi pad. The cramps from the pill were mild this time but my heart felt like it was being ripped apart. I brushed it off as heightened emotions brought on by the hormones in the plan B pill. I ignored my saddness. I ignored my feelings. I went numb and grew so detached from myself. Which must be how I came to feel like I was living outside of myself. I’d left my own skin so I didn’t feel all the hurt swirling around beneath it. I’d left my emotions to one side and walked along side of them, like they were a stranger walking shoulder to shoulder with me on the street. I could see them, but didn’t KNOW them. They were real, but not familiar. It was the strangest fog I’d ever been in.
And then it happened.
One day, again at work, while I walked back and forth from one table to the next, taking orders, typing orders, delivering food and drinks and laughing with my co-workers: I mentioned this phenomenon to a patron, the best friend of one of the girls I worked with. I told her how weird I’d felt lately; that I felt as if I was walking outside of my own skin. She was very intuitive; lucky for me. She asked if something had happened to me lately, something with a man. I told her no, nothing really big. And then she asked me the strangest, most outlandish, and horribly accurate question:
“Are all your friend’s having babies”?
It’s as if I’d almost not really heard her.
“You keep looking at all the babies that you pass -you don’t stop… do you want to have a baby”?
What had she just asked me?
And suddenly as if from God a deluge of awakening fell upon me from miles above and I was washed away by the reality.
I hadn’t realized it.
Because, I already am a mom. I thought my biological clock had stopped ticking. I’d fulfilled my drive to procreate. I was done. Finished. And absolutely fine….
I was absolutely wrong.
She was ridiculously right. This random girl I’d never met splashed this wake up call on me within a few minutes of observing my behavior. She’d hit it on the head, and me with it.
I WANTED to be a mom again. And taking that plan B made me feel like I was, well, almost raping myself. Forcing my body to do something that was against it’s deepest desire to do; forcing it to get rid of a baby.
Not that I was pregnant. And not that I rationally wanted to be. But the idea of having a baby and how I hadn’t thought about it, really, for years, it shocked me. When I was diagnosed with the ectopic pregnancy, all I’d thought about was my survival and getting well. I’d never considered my “condition” as a baby. It never really was. I’d been so sick I could barely get out of bed. I didn’t feel a loss in miscarrying I felt like I’d been saved and in fact I had. If the miscarriage hadn’t occurred my doctor would have had to operate on me. Seeing my blood levels drop made her feel safe in deciding to treat me with the non-invasive chemo therapy treatment. BLOOD. PAIN. FEAR. PAIN. That’s all I’d felt and known in those two months. This was the first time I’d realized, I could be pregnant. I could be a mom again.
And I loved the idea.
But risking another pregnancy with another man who didn’t love me was out of the question. And I knew that the man I’d just slept with didn’t love me. I doubted if he cared about me. So deciding to take the plan B didn’t take long and I am happy that I did so. But this was about me. I realized in that split second that I could be a mom again. His text message exposed his fear that something might have happened that evening that could have led to a pregnancy. It was all supposition. But it catalyzed this reaction in me. This mothering, clock-ticking reaction that completely side-swiped me.
I wanted to be a mother again. Maybe because I wanted a chance at doing it better.
Honestly, I hadn’t realized it. I’d wished, years before when Douglas was two, that I could have another baby. It would have been the perfect time and so wonderful for Doug to have a pier-sibling. But his father and I did not work out. And it was a blessing in disguise that it never happened. Douglas was more then enough. And I was so happy with my little boy.
But he grew. And kept growing. And didn’t need me the way he used to. He was pushing me away and acting like someone I’d never met before.
I guess I got to longing for the old days. For those precious moments when his warm little body lay like a miniature furnace, sleeping peacefully on my chest. I missed my baby and I wanted another one.
I felt a little nuts at first, but then I let all this emotion settle down. I let it settle in, this time knowing it was there, knowing what it was, realizing it had been haunting me for quite some time. I was amazed. That awakening changed me. It changed my life. It humbled me. It made me grow up in a way. Because the reality is I may never have another child but the idea of “being a mother again” is ridiculous. I’m a mother already. And though he’s not a baby anymore he needs me just as much. Taking care of Douglas became all that more important. Which made our being homeless all that more painful. This summer was not the best for me. Emotionally it was a natural disaster. But rebirth is part of the power of destruction. It leaves room for new things to grow and develop. And new things have grown and developed inside of me. And inside of Douglas.
If, and hopefully when, I have another child I wonder if Douglas will feel attached to it. He’s so much older now. It would be like an entirely different family. But it’s silly to think about things that haven’t happened yet. It’s a waste of energy that I don’t want to engage in. But I was happy for the awakening I experienced this spring. It helped me learn more about myself. I do want to have another child. But with the right person. And I’m more then happy with my life right now. Desperation isn’t setting in, though I admit, sometimes I worry that I won’t get the chance to have another child.
Babies are so lovely. I’m smiling right now thinking about one. And about Douglas, when he was that age. Never a more beautiful thing…