I wrote this blog tonight and felt like posting it here, in case it encourages some other mothers of young children, who have been betrayed. Mothers who have new babies. Mothers who are pregnant. We are all here for you, even when you feel alone. (It's pretty long and incorporates my own personal faith beliefs. Take what works. Leave the rest.)
The Third Child
Tonight, I read two blogs about how parenting basically evolves from having your first child to having your third. I could relate to a lot of it, and, as it was meant to be humourous, found much of it funny, too. The whole idea of how your first child is the only child to have ever been born on the planet, which is how a mother feels when expecting her first. It is all-encompassing and amazing, and we have plans up the wazoo for how the next 18-20 years will go. I chuckled along with the second child progression and how you're just happy to have 5 minutes to yourself in the bathroom to "enjoy" your pregnancy, even if it means you're gagging or puking with morning sickness. You may or may not baby-proof. Your goal of not letting them watch TV as toddlers is out the window. With the third child, you read no magazines or books and the baby simply joins the fray and has to go along with the family life that is clearly set.
In both blogs, the writers mention their husbands. These are two quotes that stood out to me:
"You will look at your husband and be grateful for three precious gifts he has given you, and forgive him for (almost) everything else."
"Your husband hasn't taken much time off work as such, but instead rearranges everything so he can be there to do the daycare and pre-primary pickup and dropoff. He makes lunches, packs bags, plaits hair, and then heads off to work. He is utterly exhausted and falls asleep in front of the TV with the baby in his arms and two little girls by his side."
Those are lovely sentiments, and I know many, many wives and mothers who have experienced that joy. I sometimes wonder when I'll be able to read stuff like that without my past smacking me in the face or punching me in the gut. When will the healing finally cover THAT?
I don't write this to evoke sympathy for what I went through. I write it because maybe a betrayed wife or single mum will read my blog and not feel so alone. I write because the grief is still there, to a small degree, and in my world, grief should be out and not in. So, here it is. You may always choose to skip my writings if they are too melancholy. (This also, isn't expressing what those other blogs did, with the progression, but I'm using their "template" so to speak. Please allow the creative license I'm so freely taking).
The Third Child
With the third child, you have no idea how anything is going to go, because 2.5 months ago, your husband walked out the door to go live with his teenage girlfriend. You spend the last few months of your pregnancy making life as normal as possible for your two young children and trying to remain excited about this much-wanted and much-anticipated baby.
Your husband is not welcome at the birth. You have two midwives and a doula and you will do this on your own. He wants to be there, but you cannot even fathom how he can treat you with such contempt and then be any support at all during labour. Labour is about you and you need to surround yourself with love and generosity and focus on you. Your husband cries when you tell him he can't be there. You have a hard time drumming up sympathy for him. He begs you to at least call him when you go into labour.
The week before the baby is born, you realize this baby is the light in the crap-storm you've been in and you start to feel the delight that you felt in the first half of your pregnancy. The night you go into labour, you phone your husband, as you promised you would. He does not answer. You labour a little more and call him again. This time, no answer again, but you leave a message, stating that you are in labour. You wonder what the purpose of all that is. But you are in the throes of heavy labour, which have come hard and fast, and you are being supported by 3 amazing women, who care very deeply about you, and you revel in the very real presence of the Lord, who also promised to be your "husband".
After the baby is born (at home), you phone your husband and it goes to his answering machine yet again. You tell him the baby is a girl and what time she was born. He doesn't deserve this courtesy, as he is off doing who-knows-what with his phone OFF, just days after begging to be informed, and knowing the baby is due at any time.
Your husband shows up at your house 3 hours later, and without a word or even a knock, enters your bedroom. He doesn't even look at you, as he scoops up your tiny swaddled baby, who had been lying beside you, and holds her and coos at her for a little while.
He comes and goes as he pleases, showing up when it isn't convenient, but not being there when his two sons need him; when you need him. Your best friend stays the night, because your two year old still wakes at night and you cannot tend to both him and the baby. Your best friend confronts your husband and tells him that he needs to sleep at your house at night for the next little while, to help with the two year old. He reluctantly agrees but doesn't show up until he knows everyone will be in bed, and leaves before anyone is up. You still have to get up and get the older kids ready and get breakfast and tend to the newborn, and try and sleep when you can. He only stays for a couple of nights, anyway.
The days he took off work, he spends coming in and out, but not doing anything that is required or helpful. He maybe holds the baby for a minute or two and turns the TV on for the boys. He keeps leaving for hours at a time to go home to his girlfriend, who is "distraught" because of "all the time" he is spending at his wife's house with his children (and his wife, of course). You ask him why he needs to be over there. This is his "paternity leave". He tells you "this is really, really hard on HER." You resist the urge to throw something at his head.
Three days after your baby is born, it is your husband's birthday. He refuses to come back to the house any earlier, to help put the boys to bed at bedtime. He refuses to bring toiletries with him, so he can shower in the morning before work at your house, and at least get breakfast for the boys. You get so angry at his refusals that you punch him, very hard, in his back, as you leave the room, sobbing. He storms out. You know you were wrong to do it. You call your best friend and ask her to come over. You know, in your heart, you must apologize for physically lashing out. You call his phone. He is out for his birthday celebration. You can hear loud music and voices in the background. You apologize for hitting him. You also apologize later, for calling his girlfriend a skank. You apologize. He never apologizes. For anything.
You take care of your boys. You take care of your baby. Your friends step up in amazing ways. You watch him take all of his personal items and papers out of the house, signifying he is never coming back. He will not tell you he is not coming back. You have to actually ask him if he's done with the marriage. He won't look you in the eye when he cowardly confirms that he is.
You get strong. You apply for your daughter's Canadian citizenship. You apply for her passport. You make plans to go home to your family. You can and will be everything your children need in a parent. You count on God every second. He truly is your Husband as you experience unfathomable peace. He causes everything to fall into place in ways that are foreign to your life. He orchestrates every step and your Husband brings you out of your adopted country and back home to your birth country (OH, the scriptures related to THAT are astounding and numerous and comfort you again and again). He is with you every second of the 24 hour journey (18 hours on airplanes) with three children, by yourself.
He is with you always. He is your Husband. You leave behind a most selfish, hollow, callous man. But you are with the Husband who loves and cherishes you beyond measure. You are a proud mother of three children. You cannot do it all, but through Christ, you can do everything.