I think I am going to write about yesterday’s therapy session in two separate posts, because there were two very separate things that happened during the hour. The first was the talking part of the session, and the second was the part of the session where I was, literally, sitting on the wall trying to connect my mind with my body.
We started out talking about TV shows, which was fun and felt kind of deviant, because instead of me talking about my problems and my therapist analyzing them, it was like we were old friends having a conversation over coffee (or in this case, water). And while my therapist has never seen Grey’s Anatomy or The Biggest Loser, she does like Glee. I mentioned that I was excited for the new season because “Quinn won’t be pregnant anymore.”
(For those that don’t watch this high-school-drama-turned-rock-opera, Quinn is the head cheerleader and president of the virginity club, so of course she got knocked up. In the season finale, she has her baby and gives her up for adoption.)
My therapist saw this as an opportunity to bring our conversation back to where it was supposed to be going. “How do you think the show is going to deal with the fact that she gave her baby up, and the emotional effects that might have on her?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “All I’ve heard with regards to her character is that she’s back on the cheerleading squad and the other girls are pissed about it. They may not be touching on the baby situation at all.”
“Okay, then you fill in the blanks. If you had to describe how Quinn was feeling after her pregnancy and her decision, what do you imagine those feelings might be?”
I thought for a minute. “I want to say it would be hard for her, but it’s hard to put myself in her position because she’s like 16. While she was pregnant, they dealt a lot with how it affected her in that she got kicked off the cheer squad, and her body was changing, and her classmates were making fun of her… And even though she did go back and forth a little on what she wanted to do with regards to the baby, her problems and concerns seemed to be more selfish – like, her focus was still on herself because she’s still really young.
“For me,” I went on, “I never felt any of that holy-shit-my-life-is-over stuff when I found out I was pregnant. Sure, it was a shock and a little bit scary, but mostly I remember feeling excited and hopeful. And Doug – he says that that was the moment he became really, really sure that he wanted to marry me and start a family with me one day – because he didn’t even consider running away from that news.
“So for us, adoption was never really even an option. We started making plans to accommodate a baby. We were going to move back home, to be closer to our families and our support systems; Doug was going to try to get into management training at the store so he could make more money to provide for a kid; we were talking about how we could split our shifts so one of us could be home with the baby all the time…”
“Wow,” my therapist said, as though she was the one supposed to be having revelations here. “I just want to sit with that for a second. You were excited and hopeful. You embraced the idea of this baby from the very second you learned about it. So later, you would have been able to say to your child, ‘We really, really wanted you.’”
I nodded emphatically.
“Wow,” she said again. “You guys are going to be such great parents.”
She went on to talk about the profound disappointment we must have felt, then, after we’d gone into such an intense preparation mode, and been so hopeful and excited at the prospect of having a baby, and ended up without a baby. At this, I nodded too, later changing her word choice, “disappointment,” to my own: “deflation.”
“So now that you’ve told me about all this,” she said, “just check in with your body, and see how you feel.”
I actually smiled. “I feel pretty good about it.”
“You do? How come?”
“Well, because of what you said after I described my and Doug’s initial reactions. I’ve never really thought about it the way you did, and I don’t think I ever really give myself that much credit, but you’re right: we are going to be great parents. And I feel pretty good about that.”