I have read a lot of self-help books lately. I mean a lot. So many that I could stock the entire self-help section at Barnes & Noble. If they hadn’t been run out of business in my town by the economy and e-readers. And why have I read so many books of this variety lately? Well, I have had a run of bad luck in the past two years that the writers of Greek Tragedies would have literally vibrated with excitement to have conceived of and written about.
Two years ago, I quit my job as a successful sales rep to pursue my dreams of “finding my bliss.” I was good at sales, but couldn’t find happiness with the day-to-day responsibilities, and so, with the support of my husband, decided to take some time to look at other options. I was considering lots of jobs and trying them out with no real pressure to settle on one. Several months later, he came to me and said that we should begin “trying.” I had been talking about my ticking biological clock for a while, and he had been a little slower to come around. But this news made me think he had truly reflected and changed his heart, and I felt that things were slowly falling into place. I was happier, more relaxed, and things seemed good.
Unfortunately, four months after we began “trying,” my husband sat me down to tell me that he didn’t want children, didn’t love me anymore and wanted a divorce, among other, even more hurtful things. I felt the immediate impact, as if I had been kicked, square in the teeth. I asked why, pleaded for more discussion, cried and begged. But in the end, his cold refusals to even discuss it shattered me, and I got in my car and left. I didn’t know where to go, so I did the only thing I knew to do. I called my sister, and as all family should do, she said “come here right now.” And so I drove to family, and still didn’t believe that I was going to be a divorcee.
But I was going to be a divorcee. And two days after my husband wrecked my whole world, I found out that I was pregnant. Our efforts, dubious on his part though they were, had been successful, and I was now faced with the threat of being a single mother. After all, he had made it clear that we wanted different things, and for him, that meant, painfully, that he didn’t want children. When I told him of the joyful news, his reaction was not exactly the stuff of dreams. He was stunned, but not so stunned that he couldn’t cuss and question and generally act the part of the douchebag that he was showing himself to be. He left, leaving a note saying that he “needed a little time to think about this,” and that he’d be in touch in “a few weeks.” Yep, a real prince charming.
From that point on, I had begun to recover a bit, or at least bury the pain of my failed marriage, so that I could focus on growing this miracle child within me. But on the day that I was to visit the OBGYN for the gender scan, a spot was found on the baby’s heart. The doctor assured me that it could be nothing, that her own children had shown the spots and been born healthy, that I shouldn’t worry until I saw a specialist. So, I tried not to worry, but three weeks later, in the office of a perinatologist, my son was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. I was warned that the implications could include everything from a normal birth and a minor surgery, all the way to heart transplant or even death in-utero. I was dizzy with the gravity of what I was hearing, and in the place where my husband should have been, was my mother. Tiny and silent, with her hand steadfast and firm on my own, she was keeping me from crumbling.
The exact CHD wasn’t diagnosed for a few more weeks, but from that point on, I became convinced that God had forsaken me, and my son. We had been abandoned by the man who had vowed to love me forever, and were now in danger of never even meeting.
This blog will reflect on the happenings in our life, from his birth a year ago this week, ten weeks premature, to his second birthday, a year from now. I will describe his struggle from the tiny, fragile start, and then I will discuss how I am making each week in the present a step toward regaining our footing and finding happiness. Actually, I will chronicle how I find happiness. My son is the happiest, most loving boy you will ever meet. He bears no visible scars, and it would seem, no emotional scars from the pain and terror of his beginning-to-life.
I am not so lucky. I am still grieving the loss of my marriage, because I wasn’t able to do so in the moment. I was always focused on growing, and then caring for my special baby. This year, I will complete projects, experience joys and challenge beliefs that are holding me back, in an effort to find the bliss that I couldn’t find in a job. And I hope that you’ll join me and, hopefully, find more happiness in your own life. I look forward to the journey.