I’ve been planning on informing my mother of my partner’s surprise birth.
On the day I meet for lunch with her and my boyfriend, Abe, the man I’ve fallen in love with and who makes me happier than any man I’ve ever known, I want to tell my mother about my pregnancy and our plans to start a family.
But my sister, who lives with us, said I needed to wait until I found out how far along I was and that I should tell my mom.
At one point, I had to realize, I didn’t have an original idea of what to say to my mother. I couldn’t hear what my mother was saying because I was busy laughing. The only thing I could think to say was, “That’s weird,” but I just kept laughing.
Meanwhile, Abe had wanted to tell his mother a few days earlier, but he didn’t want to tell her until our appointment with the doctor. I was with him as he decided whether to wait, since they really needed him there for a few minutes longer in case his test showed the baby was full term.
I finally hear my mother ask him why he was there, and he explained to her I’m pregnant. It was the first time, ever, that he had seen my belly.
It felt like a lightbulb had gone off inside of her, and she immediately said, “You need to come home.”
I knew I’d screwed up, and that I needed to apologize, but I couldn’t because I was laughing, and my therapist would call me stupid.
I asked Abe to leave. I was asking him to walk away from me. How could I come to grips with him leaving? What did I do wrong? How could I ever trust him again?
I’d never even owned a pair of moccasins before, let alone moccasins that had been used to wrap my legs in cold feet. It took me years to realize they were actually kind of comfy.
He and I are both fathers to 3-year-old boys, and I know the moment I drop Abe’s boys off at school I’ll be the first to visit them. I’ll always be there to pick them up, and when they’re sick I’ll always offer to take them to the hospital. I’m OK with all this, but to this day, I know that I’m giving these boys my love even though they are adults now.
I cried into my heartbreak afterwards. I called my mom and made up stories about Abe and asked her why she said we needed to wait and that he might have already known the doctor wasn’t going to change his mind.
Her answers were real. I couldn’t make sense of what she was saying, so I told her it wasn’t about her and it wasn’t about me, either. It was about the baby. When I said it, it sounded super manipulative and manipulative.
Then my heart sank when I realized I did in fact owe Abe the opportunity to tell her that he’s been making kids for years and we’re expecting our first when he gets home.
I’m OK with seeing my mother cry, but I’m not OK with pushing her away. I know everything will be OK, but I hope there’s an opportunity to move past these mistakes when I get home.
My life now isn’t so different from the life I had before I met Abe. I’ve known Abe my whole life, and we’re used to living on our own for now. But I hope the things I’m doing now will be different and that maybe someday I’ll be able to bring my own kids into our family.
If I can do that and get Abe back into my life, maybe it’ll never be the same.
Leigh Libonati is an author and playwright who has written for Mindy Kaling’s show, “The Mindy Project.” She’s on her seventh visit to the advice column. You can reach her at [email protected] or visit her website.
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