This is PART 2 in a two part series of blog posts. If you haven’t read PART 1 yet, you can click the link to go back and read it now.
During this time, writing blog posts was the only thing that kept me sane. It made me forget for a blissful hour or two how sick I was. I started this blog because I had a total what the fuck moment where I realized I just didn’t care anymore. What anyone thought of my writing or if they would even read it. If I would ever make money doing this or make an impact on anyone’s lives. If I would fail or succeed, whatever that looked like. None of that mattered because that wasn’t why I was going to write. I was going to write because I just had to write. There were no longer any other options.
I wrote about Lizzie and Mia and the fourth of July – our country’s birthday and now coincidentally the birthday of our blog. I wrote about failure and faith and the pain and joy of the life of my food truck, Munchies.
I don’t know how many nights I slept alone, but it was most of them.
When you fall in love with a blob…
At the appointment, we got to see a tiny blob that was our baby, still only the size of a poppyseed. More importantly, we narrowed down my ovulation date, now our conception date. We weren’t entirely sure if we’d conceived in June or May.
It turned out to be May. According to my calendar, I had ovulated on May 27th. The nurse doing the ultrasound gave us the date of May 24th, but since that doesn’t make sense according to my calendar and temperatures, I’m more inclined to think that the ultrasound measurements were 3 days off.
After the ultrasound, we looked at the dates I’d recorded us having sex and decided that the odds were enough in our favor of having possibly made a boy. That made us both feel a little better about the pregnancy. José still likes to be negative though. Pretty much every time I choose to eat something sweet, he says, “You’re having a girl.” Holy fuck man, shut the fuck up. Women who have boys do not go their entire pregnancies eating no sugar.
To be fair, it’s not just José’s gender comments that irritate me. It’s anyone’s. We’re not finding out and personally I’d rather not think about gender til the baby’s born.
Even during the ultrasound he asked the nurse if it was common for women to crave sugar during pregnancy because glucose gives us energy. She said no. I interjected, “I keep telling him that I was craving Kona ice for the ice, not the sugar.” I was very irritated that he wouldn’t believe me. The nurse said, “Well actually, craving ice is a thing during pregnancy, and it’s quite common. It means you’re low on iron.”
Even though it wasn’t great news to find out that I was low on iron, it was kind of nice to say “I told you so.”
After weeks of misery, I’d finally decided that there was just no way I could end my pregnancy. The tipping point was when I realized that I burst into tears every time I thought about doing it. Some decisions we have to make based on logic, but others must be based off of emotion. I couldn’t explain in words even now how I made this decision, because it wasn’t a decision made in words.
We finally started talking to each other again.
Pregnancy makes you crave weird things, but also completely random things. Pretty much every day I feel like eating something different for some inexplicable or stupidly obvious reason, and I am 100% serious when I say that literally every other possible food option does not even seem edible to me.
One day it might be a bagel, the next day corn on the cob because I saw grilled corn on the cover of a magazine, or Kona ice. My poor family has now eaten corn 4 nights in a row. On one particular day I felt like eating a burger and fries from Five Guys.
If you know me, you’ll know how bizarre this was. I had never eaten a burger from Five Guys in my entire life. I hadn’t even eaten a burger in over 15 years. I have been vegetarian for 17 years. I also hadn’t eaten bread like their bun in over 2 years. So this was pretty extreme.
But we went and I actually ate a burger and fries from Five Guys. And liked it. About halfway through I started crying.
That was when I realized that I was scared, and maybe José was too. I realized that for the past 7 and a half years of our marriage I had expected him to hold me and take care of me emotionally and be there for me and support me, and blamed him when he didn’t, yet I had never questioned my own resolve to do the same for him.
Had I even been there for him? When was the last time I’d held him when he was upset? I racked my brain, and was distraught when I couldn’t think of any stories.
There had been lots of times when I’d endured his insanity. When I’d “put up with him” and his irrational rage and his periods of extreme isolation. But there had never been a time I had intentionally reached out.
I turned to José and I said, “I’m sorry. I just realized that you might be scared too. I never realized that husbands need to be held too.” I couldn’t stop myself from crying probably over 30 tears in under 3 minutes under my sunglasses as we sat there at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
I was angry that it had taken me so many years to figure this out. I was angry at myself and full of regret and guilt. What made it worse was that with this brick wall up around José’s heart, I couldn’t see any possible road to redemption.
It didn’t feel real.
He hugged me and then we talked about how the pregnancy was very real to me, as I had been experiencing intense mood swings, cravings, sickness, and extreme body changes for over a month. While for José, the pregnancy was still surreal, since I wasn’t showing much yet.
Just as there were many things I hadn’t realized, he hadn’t realized many things either – like how very intense my symptoms were and how very real it was for me. This casual confession was a very small clue to discerning how my husband felt – a bone thrown at a famished dog lurking in the corner. But it was something to chew on, and start picking apart.
Talking is not my primary means of communication, but José doesn’t like to read things I write to him, so sometimes I suck it up and try to explain things by talking. It’s hard and I don’t do a very good job of it, but I try. On this day I was finally able to explain verbally how alone I felt in my sickness and my pain. José shared with me how he didn’t view his feelings as fear, but as confusion.
The past 3 weeks had been an emotional roller coaster for me as I worked through the highs and lows of my psyche with a microscopic intensity through self-awareness and a deep understanding of where my feelings were coming from, how they affected me, and how to define them. What I am only now beginning to understand was that José couldn’t even get on the roller coaster in the first place.
I didn’t know what to say.
So the conversation ended. Many times during our marriage I’ve thought that what my husband has always needed is a wife who is warm and loving and care taking, like a nurse. That is not who I am.
I am not an empath and I am pretty much oblivious to other’s emotions most of the time. If José was upset, I probably wouldn’t even know it unless he said something explicit to me.
“I often wonder,” I said a few nights later, “why the universe thought it was a good idea to put us together, when I am so clearly not what you need.” I lamented to him that I couldn’t be what he needed for him, and that I had never been able to fulfill a care taking role. His response surprised me. He said, “You shouldn’t have to. You shouldn’t have to be my mother. You’re my wife.”
It’s still a mystery to me why I ended up with this man, and why he ended up with me. Maybe someday when we’re in our eighties we’ll finally figure it out. Or maybe it’ll just be a mystery forever. We may not be able to be all things for each other, but as Angela so eloquently explains in her recent blog post, no one can do that.
Either way, there is one story I tell myself that brings me solace. And that is that when we are old, we will be surrounded by many loving children and grandchildren. I look at my grandparents and see how full of love their lives are today, just as Angela reflected on the light of love in her grandmother’s life. If I had to choose one thing I want for my life, it would be to have that kind of love.
Perhaps our children will teach us more about love than we can ever hope to learn from ourselves, or even each other.
I don’t know exactly what it is I am for José. But one thing I do know for sure. We will never be alone. And we will never be without love.
How have you been able to support your partner in your relationship? Has it always been easy? Share with us in the comments below.