I’ve been here before. Almost three years ago, to be exact. I was engaged at the time, but I took off my ring if I knew any eligible guys would be around.
I was 24 years old and had finally built the courage to leave my hot-headed, simple-minded fiancée.
I had just been promoted and started working downtown. I had been looking for apartments for a few months, and I was ready to finally walk away from a decision that I knew I out grew.
I walked down to a Jewish deli and had a reuben. I don’t like reubens, but my fiancée loved them; I think this was my parting ritual. I had bought a pregnancy test a few weeks prior just being overly cautious, I knew I wasn’t pregnant. I peed on it mostly because I was sick of carrying it around in my purse. This way, I would have no loose ends. I’d finish my reuben, throw away the negative pregnancy test, and kiss my sweet, well-intentioned and so-wrong-for-me man goodbye. The chapter was closing, and I had finally grown comfortable with the concept of him finding someone else to adore.
As I sat on the toilet swiping on Redfin apartments as if they were Tinder, I looked at the test right before I wiped.
And there they were, those barely visible pink lines that tattooed my future. I sat there for another few seconds. Wiped and walked back to my office. When I walked in front of my office, I called Planned Parenthood, scheduled my abortion for a week from that day, and then went back to work.
I did that four other times before I admitted to myself that I couldn’t put my body or my thoughts through that.
I told him a week later after a baseball game.
He didn’t make me feel better. He was excited, but in a way that I could tell he wasn’t ready for. My sweet and simple fiancée had always been yearning for a life he wasn’t ready to begin.
I knew all of this. There wasn’t an enlightening for me. It wasn’t a moment that switched our light off. It was a decade of rainstorms that rotted out our wood — everyone saw it coming, but it was too much trouble to deal with.
We got married two months later. I was three months pregnant.
The wedding was a blast — not because I was ecstatic for my future, but because I love my friends and family so very much, and having them all there was a pretty incredible distraction.
Six “I am not living like this” fights later and my perfect, dark-haired boy was born.
He turned two last week.
That is one thousand and three days. 1,003 days that I have let my fear of being alone and laziness stop me from sharing my life with someone who will genuinely make me laugh or entice me to think.
I have poured my happiness into my dark-haired mini-me and have genuinely loved my husband more than I thought I ever could have. Our favorite thing in the entire world is the same entity and that is something that no one beside us will ever understand.
And that is where the dilemma lies.
I find myself looking up birth announcement ideas one hour, and then natural ways to miscarry the next.
And I know what that means. It means I am selfish.
I am a mother — what mother doesn’t inherently want to give up every single thing they could to protect their child? Even if that child is the size of a poppy seed?
I’d like to think it’s more complicated than that. I’d like to think that the fact that I went from being someone’s daughter, to someone’s mother with very little transition time earns me the right to contemplate these paths. But maybe I am just not good. Maybe I am not as good as my husband.
I know he isn’t happy either. I don’t believe that you can be on the other side of a relationship this colorless and not notice. But he’s good. He’s a martyr. He’ll do the right thing.
He’ll stay until he dies at 67 way before me, and then I’ll be a little relieved. In my head, this is the only happy ending my marriage has. I’m no doctor, but I know that can’t be how this is supposed to go.
And now I am pregnant. Again.
Ambivalent. Terrified. Certain. Settled.
These are the words that haunt my thoughts with every move that I make.
My son is my favorite part of my day. And I am sure the little poppy seed would make me just as happy. But would it help with my fulfillment? Or would it only deem my marriage interminable?
I’d like to say that only time will tell. That maybe this dilemma will work itself out. Maybe on day 1,004 or, perhaps, after a few more silent sobs, and a few more seeds of resentment bloom. But leaving it to fate only perpetuates my current game plan. It only reiterates my behavior, which can only mean I will feel this way in another one thousand days. If I choose to let fate work its magic, I am choosing to do nothing.
I don’t think I can do that again. I don’t think I’d survive another 24,000 hours of this sunless carousel. It’s my turn to be fate; it has to be.
But how on earth do I purposefully take away my son’s chance to have a brother? (I can only imagine having boys now that I have one?) How in the world do I deny my mom another chance to love something just as much as she loves me? If I do have poppy seed, how do I ever explain to my son and my poppy seed, that settling is never acceptable? How do I encourage them to reach for their best selves? Won’t they know I settled? How will I ever stop my sunshine from marrying someone because they crossed off all of the criteria on his list, but they aren’t all that interesting?
All of these things on paper sound so petty. So insignificant. People might even say, “being bored isn’t the worst thing!” But… isn’t it?
Only time will tell on this merry-go-round.