A friend shared some news with me yesterday, about someone we both know. Under ordinary circumstances, that news would make me happy for our friend. These, however, are not ordinary circumstances, and as a result of past hurts, I found myself filled with bitterness, rather than any good cheer.
After chewing it over for most of the day, I realised that the bitterness comes not from what currently is, but from one sentence, uttered 7 years ago, that changed the course of my life, as well as my own self-respect. 7 years ago, I was put in the position of making a decision that I swore I would never even consider, let alone go ahead with.
7 years ago, when I’d had to be taken off the contraceptive pill because it was making me sick, and my then-partner and I had run out of condoms, he uttered 13 small but promise-heavy words:
“Bri. We’ve been together for 5 years now. If it happens, it happens”.
And about 11 weeks later, when I went to take a bite out of my dinner and immediately felt like throwing up, I realised that “it” had happened.
The next day multiple tests confirmed it.
“Well I don’t want it!” he said. “I’ve just joined the band!”
I had around 4 days to make a decision. 12 weeks is the latest you can safely terminate a pregnancy. Those 4 days were a maelstrom of tortured emotions. I had options… my family would always be there for me, I could always be a single mother, but I had a drinking problem, and without realising it, I was severely depressed and not at all mentally healthy.
In those four days, I felt that child growing inside me. Now that I knew it was there, all the signs had clicked into place. All the strangeness my body had been experiencing made sense.
The day before the procedure, I said to him “I don’t know if I can”, to which he responded “I knew you’d fucking do this!”. He didn’t want it, and made it very clear each time the topic came up.
The day of the procedure, I had to be up early, and had been unable to smoke since midnight. Consequently, between that and the stress and fear and guilt and anxiety over what I was about to do, I was quite fragile.
My then-partner had decided that during the procedure, he’d buy our week’s groceries as males are not able to wait at the clinic. He asked me to write out a shopping list. I said to just get what we normally get, that I wasn’t in the headspace to write out a shopping list.
He proceeded to rage around the house in a temper.
It didn’t help that I knew he was scared for me. Worried about what I had to go through, and that his storming around came more from that than from really wanting me to write a shopping list. I knew that.
But mostly, I knew that 12 weeks prior, he’d said that if it happens, it happens and now here I was, about to go in and have an abortion. I’d always said that I’d take responsibility. And faced with the prospect of taking on that responsibility alone, I had decided I couldn’t do it.
To this day, I still maintain that I made the right decision. The truth is, I was very unwell. I couldn’t look after myself, let alone someone else and had things not panned out the way they did, well, I would never have left my ex, I would never have moved away and met Sid.
It was only later, when I began to get better that all the regret, guilt and self-hatred kicked in.
To hear that this ex is now having a baby is actually wonderful news and I am very happy for him – a baby is a beautiful blessing and I am thrilled that he has room in his life for a family now. It means he is whole and happy in a way he never was when I knew him.
But yes. It still hurt to hear it because I am still angry.
My anger comes from being left alone with that choice that I would never have had to make if he hadn’t told me it would be okay.
I was over our relationship and all the other bullshit that went on between us a long time ago, but this, I think this is the one thing I’ve never been able to let go of. This anger and hurt at being abandoned with this choice by someone I had shared my bed and my life with for 5 years.
A good night’s sleep has allowed the dust to settle, and I struggled with the idea of writing this – of making such a private thing so very public, but all my life, the internet and my little blogs have been the place I put the things I find so difficult to overcome. The process of writing it out, of putting it out there, away from me, and somewhere where other people can see it, is somehow comforting.
The last thing I want from this is any kind of reprisal against my ex. He made what was the right decision for him at the time, and I really don’t deny that it was the right decision for him. At the end of the day, it was once again a case of terrible timing. A wonderful opportunity had just arisen for him to be part of a band he had admired for years, and it was an opportunity he wasn’t willing to give up, even if it meant breaking a promise he made to me.
I don’t hate him for it. The past 24 hours have given me the chance to actually think about why I have been so angry, and I think that’s been well-documented above. There was no maliciousness involved in his choice – there was a hell of a lot of selfishness, but I do understand his reasons.
At the end of the day, a new baby is going to enter this world and he will be the guiding force in that child’s life. If he protects and encourages that child with the same ferocity with which he’s chased his musical dreams, then that child is going to be one very lucky, loved kid.
Without even being here yet, this child has given me the opportunity to come to terms with my past in a way that nothing else ever has and today, that little black, poisonous part inside my heart where all this bitterness was held feels much lighter, much softer and much easier to carry.