The Anatomy of Single Motherhood
Boy meets Girl. Boy and Girl fall in love and get married. Boy and Girl have two miscarriages. Boy and Girl spend the next two years trying to get pregnant when finally, one day, two little pink lines show up. Everything seems great on the outside. They finally have their rainbow baby! On the inside, though, a panicked chaos ensued. The doctors classified the baby as a threatened miscarriage-a large subchorionic hemorrhage threatened to kill their child. The girl (in case you haven't figure it out yet, that was me) was placed on strict bed rest at 5 weeks pregnant. The boy (my husband) waited on me hand and foot while he dived into his work to stay away from the stress.
My anxiety spilled over onto everything I touched. Our world was painted red with it. My husband didn't know how to keep up, so he continued to delve into his work, never expressing his own unresolved fears, anxieties, and grief from our miscarriages until one day when he met someone. Someone who didn't have those problems. Someone who- though just as broken- seemed easy. Someone with whom he had no history.
That is where our fateful story begins.
Two hundred and fifty-four. That is the number of days it has been since I came home to what appeared to be a war zone. The home we shared looked as though it had been robbed. I thought he was dead. Then, I saw the note. "This isn't about you. It's about me... I'm sorry. My heart is breaking, but I have to do this. I'm sorry. I won't be answering calls or texts."
48 hours later: "This doesn't have to do with Her. It has to do with me. Things I've kept secret. Things I've never told anyone. Things I should have made clear a long time ago."
Two hundred and twenty-two days. That's how many days it took to finally receive a phone call. Three weeks after our daughter's birth. The number of days to finally hear from your own voice why you actually left.
Sixty-six. The number of days since our daughter's birth. The number of days since you've seen her.
Despite it all, you gave me the best thing in my world. Adelaide is incredible. She's the most beautiful human being I've ever met. Her tiny, long fingers. Her beautiful big blue eyes. She has your lips and my nose-just like we had hoped. She laughs so much. She is already trying so hard to roll and crawl. She has the most joy out of any child I've ever met. She already sleeps through the night. She is mesmerizing. Every little thing she does is so amazing and she is so proud of herself when she can tell she's done something right. She changes every single day. I get to be the one who sees her smiling face every morning.
But you don't know that, do you? One day you will realize what you missed out on. One day, it will hit you like a giant pile of bricks what you chose to do. One day. I tried to protect you and tell you that, but what do I know? I'm just her mom. Just the person that held her tiny body in my womb. Just the person who knows her better than anyone aside from her Creator. You will see. One day.
Does it scare me to be a single mother? Does it keep me up at night thinking about how I'd answer our daughter's inevitable question: "Where's my daddy?" Absolutely. I never dreamed I would be doing this without my husband by my side. But even as I type this through blurry vision and tear-streaked cheeks, I know I can do this. I watched my own parents' marriage fall apart as the demons creeped and crawled in. I will play mother and father, and I will do a damn good job of it.
Thank you for the good times. Thank you for those stolen kisses, secret love letters, and tender touches; for teaching me how to love. Thank you for showing me what it is to forgive and forget and that my security doesn't rest in the fragility of human beings. Thank you for showing me what I don't deserve and for showing me that trust has to be earned, not just freely given. Thank you for teaching me to follow my gut that day at 2am in the living room. Thank you for cheating on me and teaching me how to empathize with people who have gone through the intense pain that comes with such deep betrayal. Thank you for your broken promises and thank you for leaving me and showing me just how strong I can be without you. Finally, thank you for giving me my Adelaide.
I forgive you. I forgive you not because what you did was right, honorable, or even justified, but because I don't want to be bitter. I don't want my baby girl to grow up watching someone who is bitter from past hurts, so I choose, right here and now, not to be.
I forgive you.