Didn’t See That Coming

“No way.”  I uttered the words in a whisper quietly in my bathroom that December morning.  I looked up at my own reflection in the mirror, as if the girl who stared back at me might have something to say.  But all she did was look back at me with an expression of shock, confusion and wonder.

I knew it was right.  I knew the line on the stick I was holding in my hands was real.  Of course it was.  R and I had sex Thanksgiving weekend, the last time I’d seen him, about three weeks ago.   I of course hadn’t planned on it ahead of time, not quite sure if that was appropriate considering all of the time apart and everything.  R hadn’t been sure either, and so when the moment presented itself, we’d not used any sort of protection.  I hadn’t really thought about it, though considering that I’d become pregnant with Z while using contraception, I supposed I should have.

Pregnant.  Well, this complicated things.  I sat down on the edge of the tub and tried to do the calculations in my head.  August.  It would be in August.

R and I hadn’t exactly gotten around to deciding what we were going to do about our living situation.  We’d had a great weekend, and he was going to come back to visit us here again this weekend.  We’d been talking a lot on the phone and chatting via the computer, but neither of us were talking much about what was going to happen next.  Mostly because I knew that it probably would involve one of us having to give up a job they loved.  And since R’s job was the one with the most income and potential for mobility, coupled with the fact that a teacher really could teach anywhere, I knew it probably was going to have to be me.

I had thought perhaps we could maybe do the commuter relationship for a year or two; I had even talked myself into thinking that might be a good thing considering how long we’d been apart.  It might be better to kind of ease into our relationship again instead of going full throttle.   Plus, I was scared.  I couldn’t quite forget R and the pills in the hotel room, or R holding me tightly against my will during our argument, or the awful things he and I had both said to each other in the time since.  It would be one thing to get back together here, where I had family and friends to turn to if things somehow went sour.  But to move away to a place that I didn’t know anyone, so far away from home….I had been thinking that a year or two to adjust to that idea might be best.

Until now.

I didn’t want to be a single parent of an infant again.  I’d done it once, and that was with my mother really serving as somewhat of a coparent to help me during the rough spots.  I’d been a student when Z was a baby, with the ability to be flexible with my class scheduling and the option of not showing up if he was ill.   I’d had him cared for by someone in their home; I wondered, did she still watch infants?   If I didn’t move to Wisconsin with R, then I’d be more alone than I’d ever been with Zach.  And since I’d only started in my school district two years ago, I didn’t have a lot of sick time to pad my maternity leave; I’d have to forgo pay if I wanted to be out more than ten school days with a baby.  Being due in August meant I’d be lucky if I could be with a baby until mid September; just six weeks.

The alternative would be to swallow all of my fear and trepidation and move to Wisconsin this summer.  I could take a year off from teaching, be at home with the baby, and then work to get my teacher’s certification there.  On the surface, that all just seemed to make sense.  I knew before even picking up the phone to tell R the news that it was what he would want, what he really would expect of me.  He would be thrilled, wanting to share as much of the experience as possible.

I looked back at my reflection in the mirror.  “Pull it together,” I told the girl who looked back.  “This isn’t a bad thing.  This is a good thing.  You’re married and you’re pregnant with your husband’s child.  That’s the bottom line and the rest is just details.  It’s not like it was before, so don’t start trying to make it that way.”

What was it they said about people who talk to themselves in the mirror?

The girl in the mirror nodded at the pep talk and walked smiling out of the room.


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