(Part 1 of 2)
I wish I could make you comprehend the depths of my despair as I got on a Metra bound for downtown Chicago in April 2013. I hope you never have to feel the pain I was feeling as I sat there, crying quietly, hoping no one would notice my tears, my hands resting on my second trimester baby bump. My husband of over nine years had just told me that financially supporting his family—his pregnant wife, his disabled 7-year-old daughter, and his unborn child—was my problem, not his. I had boarded the train that morning so that I could look for full-time work for the first time in 7 years.
My husband had started an emotional affair with another woman in his life some few months earlier, and all you need to know about that is that it consumed him. His time, his money, his compassion, it all went to seeing to this woman’s needs and keeping her in his life. No amount of objection from me made any change in his behavior. There was lying, there was manipulation, there was gaslighting, and there was coercion. I would later write in my journal, “My marriage is dying as new life grows within me.”
I swallowed my pain and I forged on. My daughter needed me, and my unborn child needed me, and by God (literally), someone was going to put a roof over their heads and food on their table. It did not matter how hopeless and desperate my situation seemed; I had to try.
A woman boarded the Metra and sat across from me. She looked so beautiful and confident, like she knew exactly who she was and what she was going to do with her life. Some time passed before the realization dawned on me that she was pregnant, too. Maybe a month or two ahead of me, from the looks of it. Two women sitting across from each other on the Metra, both pregnant; how often did that happen? (I know now that the answer is, “Almost never.”) I looked at her with longing in my eyes. I wanted to be her. I wanted to be the kind of woman who could be confident and beautiful while pregnant, knowing who she is and what she is going to do with her life, and not the frightened, desperate person that I was in that moment.
Clouds rumbled overhead as the Metra reached downtown Chicago. Even though I was just going to test for government jobs, and not to a job interview, I had spent extra time on my hair and make-up that morning, had picked out a nice outfit. What I hadn’t done was bring an umbrella. As I made my way out of Union Station, I gasped in horror as the clouds unleashed a torrent of water on the city of Chicago. The kind of downpour that soaks through your clothes in mere seconds. Dozens of umbrellas went up around me and I became the only pedestrian on the sidewalk slogging down the streets without one, feeling like an idiot. A very wet idiot, with running make-up and non-waterproof cloth boots that squished as I trudged down sidewalks.
I managed to lose my way rather rapidly, then had to call my husband to ask for help with directions. He immediately began praising his emotional affair partner’s grasp of the Chicago public transportation system and recommending that I talk to her about how to navigate the city. Lovely. I couldn’t even get lost in a city of 2.7 million people and just as many vices without being reminded of the vice that had put me there in the first place.
Not too long after that, a drowned rat that bore a passing resemblance to a 6’0” tall pregnant woman walked into the government testing center. I tested. I did well. But as far as I knew at the time, nothing changed. I was still the sad, desperate, impoverished pregnant woman whose husband had chosen another woman over her.
I did not know it at the time, but everything changed that day, because God was moving in mighty ways, and God was making me mighty. Let me tell you about how God has made me mighty. Let me tell you how God can make you mighty.
God has made me mighty in that he has given me a way to provide for my children – Are you pregnant? Impoverished? Has your baby’s father abandoned you? Mine did, too, AND I had an older disabled child to care for. Consider this a pro-life push: you don’t have to give up your baby. The choice is yours, but you can choose life. God will provide a way for you.
What that drowned rat didn’t know that day was that she was going to get one of the jobs she had tested for. What that drowned rat did not know was that she was going to achieve financial independence from her husband. What that drowned rat didn’t know was that she was going to get her children off of Medicaid and SSI and onto private medical, dental, vision, and orthodontic insurance for the first time in 7 years, and that by leaving her husband and no longer supporting his indulgences, she would force him to get a decent job and start paying child support.
Are you afraid of childbirth? I was, too. My daughter’s birth had been a HORRIBLE experience. But I read up on evidence-based birth practices and God put a good Christian doctor and a supportive doula into my life. I said “no” to unnecessary medical interventions in labor. I stood up for my preferences. The result was one of the most spiritual and exhilarating experiences of my life. My son is a beautiful, happy little boy who has gifted me with an abundance of joy, and at no point in any of this have I regretted having him. (Also, he looks not a damn thing like his father, so he must have known something was up. Good for you, my boy!)
Watch this video of me playing with my children:
Do I sound broken and unhappy? Do my children sound broken and unhappy?
You can have your baby. Choose life. God will make you mighty.
“Tell Me How You’re Mighty” at ChumpLady.com