Three years ago, when my then-husband kicked me out of our apartment, I truly felt like I had nowhere to go. Most of my local friends were also newlyweds, or in Dawn’s case, pregnant, and I couldn’t see myself infringing upon their already fragile, unfamiliar home lives. And I was too embarrassed to move back in with my parents, as a puppy with her tail between her legs. Doug was living with his grandpa at the time, and there was no one else at work that I was close to. And I couldn’t even consider signing a new lease, when I knew I wanted to run away, out of California, as soon as possible.
I turned to a girl I barely knew, Jo, who worked at my gym. She and I had gone for breakfast once before, and she’d been understanding and non-judgmental about my failing marriage and the less-than-ideal situation I was quickly coming to find myself in. I also knew that her husband was out of the state for a few months, training for a new job. So when my ex kicked me out, without really even thinking twice, I sent Jo a quick message: “Can I move in with you for a while?” And she said that I could.
During that tough period in my life, for almost three months, Jo was an angel to me. She cleared out her office so I could set up my mattress on the floor. She charged me something like $200 a month plus 50% of the bills, when I could have easily contributed more than that. She opened her home and her heart to me, even though I know wasn’t the best roommate – I was so selfishly preoccupied with my issues, I’m afraid I wasn’t always very respectful of her and her own situation.
Several months before I moved in, Jo had gotten pregnant and miscarried. And, for indirectly related, complicated reasons, her marriage wound up in jeopardy because of it. And she was actively trying to save her marriage. She was in therapy, and she talked to her husband every night before bed; they were reading a relationship book together over the phone. It was hard for me, at the time, to understand wanting to save a marriage when all I had wanted was to escape mine, and I’m almost positive I said some pretty un-helpful things on the subject.
But I remember her saying once, “I don’t just want a baby; I want his baby.” And I thought this was such a powerful expression of love for someone else. Even now, although I can confidently say I want Doug in my life, and I can confidently say I want to have a baby, I’m not sure I have that depth of devotion, to say I want his baby, only and specifically.
I haven’t seen Jo since I moved out of her apartment and on to Seattle, but we’ve kept in touch loosely, through facebook and a mutual friend. So I heard, and was heartbroken, when she and her husband ultimately separated; and I heard, and was elated, when they got back together and, per the mutual friend, were “so happy together” again.
Then this evening, I saw it: a facebook announcement, from Jo, which read, “Yes it’s TRUE. We are exspecting a little curtain crawler. WOOO WHOOO We are very excited!”
I sat back, took a deep breath, and waited for the usual barrage of emotions: the punched-in-the-gut feeling; the hot, angry tears forming; the desire to gouge out my eyes, tear off my ears, make it so I will never have to receive such news from anyone, ever again.
And then it was like the world stopped for a moment, as I waited, and I suddenly realized I felt… nothing? No. Something. But what was that strange and unfamiliar twinge?
I’m happy for her.
Not “now that I’ve weighed everything out and convinced myself” happy. Not “just as long as I don’t have to see her with a belly” happy. I’m really and truly and actually happy for someone who is pregnant.
I honestly thought this day would never come.