Tuesday, October 06, 2009


So, I was watching Dr. Phil today, and in the beginning of the show, they made a big deal about a family announcement they needed to make. It was determined that this family announcement was so huge that it required the presence of the whole McGraw family (Dr. Phil, Robin, their sons, and daughter-in-law), and I thought perhaps the rumors were true, and they were going to announce that their divorce proceedings had begun.

I was wrong. In one sense, I was relieved. If Dr. Phil and Robin can't make it, nobody can.

No, there was no divorce in store for Dr. Phil and Robin. Rather, his son, Jay, and his son's wife (my apologies, I do not recall her name) are expecting their first baby. This, of course, was cause for pride and celebration within the McGraw family, and it was something they wanted to share with the viewers.

Dr. Phil asked Jay to explain how they found out. I don't recall all of the details, but Jay's wife said that they had been on vacation in France and she had not been feeling well. She had been feeling nauseated, very tired, somewhat bloated, etc. She told her husband they needed to get a pregnancy test, and they both went walking all through town from store to store, desperately searching for what they needed in order to explain her fatigue and nausea.

I felt sad as I watched this, as memories of my own "pregnancy discovery" played in my mind. In the days before my pregnancy test confirmed what I already suspected, my home had been one of tension, and explosive anger on the part of my husband...not the blissful expectation described by the McGraw family.

I had been feeling sick for a long time, not having a day of feeling completely well since cancer treatments, surgery, numerous trips to the ER, and so forth, had been the highlight events during the last two years. However, now I was feeling more sick than usual, so when I received a phone call telling me that the ct scans my oncologist ordered showed there was something small growing in my uterus, I was not aglow with dreamy anticipation of motherhood. Rather, I was a little terrified, and wanted to know what that small thing was.

By the time the phone call came, I had figured out that my marriage was an abysmal failure. I was terrified of my husband, and rarely spoke to him unless I needed to, finding that even the most innocuous of things could set off a verbal tyrade. While my husband never raised a hand to me, the mental and emotional abuse he doled out was brutal, and he never let me forget that he was more than capable of killing me with one hit. Where he was once compassionate regarding my health issues, he made it a habit to verbally tear me apart for having health issues, calling me a drug addict because I needed medication to manage pain. By the time the small something had been found in my uterus, I did not feel safe sleeping in my own bed, and used over the counter medicine to help me sleep. My fear was so great, however, that I rarely slept even with that help. By the time the mass in my uterus showed up on the ct scan, I was afraid to breathe, lest I do it incorrectly. Raising a child with the monster I was married to was the furthest thing from my mind when I thought about our future together.

So, when the mass in my uterus showed up on the ct scan, I closed further and further into myself. Emotionally, I curled into a ball so I could contemplate all the implications of that mass, absorbing the emotional blows he dealt in the least damaging way possible.

As usual, he was angry with me for talking so little. In his anger, he sought to hurt me as deeply as he could, sharing with me many stories about an ex-girlfriend that he wished he could have worked things out with so they could still be together. He even shared with me about stories about his ex-wife, never failing to remind me that she was an excellent cook, had her masters degree, had a high paying job...all of which were the precise opposite of what I had to offer. He told me repeatedly that I am a lazy cook, I should be going to college (even though he didn't, and won't), and I should be making more money (even though I brought more money into the home than he did). In the days before my pregnancy test, I was terrified...terrified of raising a child with this monster I had so foolishly married.

Back to the McGraw's...When Jay's wife took the pregnancy test and it was positive, they took a sweet picture of the two of them smiling with pure exhileration, and holding up the pregnancy test. This was a truly happy moment that they both shared.

When I told my husband I wanted to take a pregnancy test, he laughed a smug laugh and told me I was pregnant. I told him I wanted to take a test, and he told me we couldn't afford to buy one. He came home the next day with beer and whisky, but we still couldn't afford a pregnancy test. My mom told me about a place that would give me a free pregnancy test, and I called my husband at work and told him that we could go on his lunch break. (I had my own car, but he made a habit of making up excuses why he couldn't drive his, and he needed to have mine. He would give it back to me when it was out of gas and I couldn't go anywhere, which was the case on this occasion.)

He told me we couldn't go, because he hadn't been planning on doing it and didn't bring a lunch. Then he said, "What's the rush? It's not like it's going anywhere."


A couple of days later, he grudingly gave me money for the test. When I took the test and it came back positive, his response wasn't thrill or even the least bit of excitement. It was simply, "Good. Can I have my wife back now?"

I did go to the pregnancy care center to do another test, and of course, it was positive. I remember feeling devastated. The counselor talked with me a bit, asking me if my husband was happy about the baby. I said he was. Shame on me for lying.

I left him about two weeks later, and never went back.

Since then, it's been difficult for me to watch other couples happily celebrate bringing their child into the world. In fact, a friend of mine announced that he and his wife were expecting a baby, shortly before my son was born. On Facebook, they often posted sweet little things to each other, and it was so difficult for me to watch, I had to block the posts. It was so incredibly painful to see how things should have been, and then remember the hell I lived with.

I wonder if healing will ever come. I wonder if I will ever be able to look at happy couples without feeling jealous of their happiness. I wonder if I will ever be able to see a couple preparing to welcome their child into the world, without wondering why the hell I ended up with a man like my ex-husband, who didn't love me, and surely would not have loved our child. Even as I write about this now, I feel the tears ready to flow. I was not with my ex-husband very long. Our whole relationship, start to finish, was just over three months. I was a foolishly hopeful romantic when I met and, shortly thereafter, married my husband. Our marriage only lasted two months and one day before I left. Not long enough to build a lifetime of memories, thankfully. Still, the pain of broken dreams runs deep, and I wonder if the pain will ever stop.

There are many days when I feel the weight of being a single mother. I do not miss my ex-husband, and wouldn't invite him back into our lives for anything. Still, being a single mother is incredibly difficult, and there are many days when I wish I was not doing this alone. We weren't meant to raise our kids by ourselves. If nothing else, having someone doing this with me would mean that my entire day is not dominated by singing baby songs.

Perhaps I am feeling all of this so keenly because of the other circumstances in my life. With surgery coming up next week, I am working with my mom to coordinate care for Jaden while I am in the hospital, and to coordinate care for both of us after I come home. I won't be able to lift him for several weeks, which means I am going to need help with everything.

I feel angry as I think about it, because none of this would be happening if I had been more selective in my choice of a mate. Then again, had I chosen someone else, I might not have Jaden. Of course, I wouldn't know the difference, so that's a poor argument for justifying my ex's intrusion into my life.

Anyway, since my ex was part of my life, I feel angry that his response to my admission that I am terrified of him was, "Grow the fuck up and deal with it, or leave. I'm not going to change." While I appreciated his honesty, I often feel so angry that he made such a selfish choice.

I don't miss him. I just really hate this single mom gig, sometiemes. If I had someone doing this with me, I wouldn't have to find volunteers to take care of my son for me after surgery. If I wasn't doing this alone, we could probably get away with a couple of people bringing us a casserole now and then. I feel angry and cheated, and I want to stomp my feet like a four year old and yell that it's just not fair!

It is times like this that cause me to feel the depth of the loss that took place, not in losing my abusive husband, but in losing the dreams I used to have of living my life with someone who loved me, who would love our children, and who would work in partnership with me to give our family the best life we could possibly have. As it is, I am exhausted, and sometimes the best I can give my son is just to get the basics done during the day.

I hate days when I have strong flashbacks, like I've had all day today. I was supposed to go to Divorce Care tonight, but I was not feeling well physically, so I stayed home with my baby. I enjoyed the time with him, as I always do. Still, despite the joy, there is always that shadowy spectre of loss that hangs around in the back drop of my life, threatening to make its presence known during my most vulnerable moments.

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