Finding out your spouse has had an affair or is having an affair can throw you into PTSD. It’s NORMAL to feel crazy. It’s ok not to know. Allow yourself to be unsure if that’s what you need to be.
There were days when I thought I wouldn’t make it. Days when I wasn’t sure anyone could understand the searing pain that something so common, so typical could cause. How come no one talks about it? Am I an anomaly of the human race feeling as if I can talk about what happened without sweeping it under the rug? Maybe. Yes, it’s possible that I am. I think I’m ok with that.
We got pregnant in July. I found out while he was gone hunting. Yes hunting in July, you know a man will find a way to do his hobby all year round if he can. I sent him a photo and told him to do well for his new baby. I thought he’d be happy and he was. Only maybe he wasn’t.
After taking the test I went to float in our pool. Wondering if this pregnancy would be ok. If this little zygote would be able to stand the trials and tribulations of growing into a little boy or girl. I wondered if we would have to go through the pain of loss again. I hoped we would not. While he was out with the guys in a different state, probably not thinking about anything but the hobby. Maybe he was though, maybe I assumed the worst and he was really thinking about his dead parents, his dead family and how our first pregnancy ended in death? Would you call it death? I don’t know. Some do. Some don’t. That’s probably a good question for an abortion debate perhaps? Or a good question to ponder during some fervent church group meeting discussing the merits of a life. Talking about when life begins and ends, science maybe making a show from time to time, and perhaps not. Maybe I was wrong and he was hurting and afraid. I didn’t know. Who could tell? If I asked the answer would be I’m fine anyway.
This feeling starting creeping over me. Something was wrong. I asked, he denied. I asked again and again. He denied again and again. I started questioning myself. I know I wasn’t the greatest wife. I was crabby and stressed. Various things got to me. I resented that he let me bleed freezing and cold in our bathroom while what was left of our first pregnancy flowed away. I resented that if he had taken the time to look into my face when I asked for a heater in the bathroom that he might have noticed how white my lips were, shaking. That he might have noticed the fear in my eyes. I didn’t ask for help though. How could he know? I should be fair right? It’s a double standard to think he should have told me his pain and then expect him to notice mine showing up right in front of him in a pale bloody mess. Self being stuck in its own need, its own desire for being validated and right. Self keeping me stuck in ego.
So, there were more meetings and shopping trips for him during this time. I figured he just needed to change things up. He exercised, ate differently, and even whitened his teeth. Never ever had he been interested in whitening his teeth. Not when I brought it up. Ever. I should have known, but denial’s loving arms were holding on to me tightly rocking me and singing a lullaby in my ear that should only be sung to my unborn growing baby. Lulling me into believing.
It must be my fault. I must change. I bought books. They were really good, helpful. He wouldn’t read them. I bought them electronically. He wouldn’t listen. I should have known. Dumb lies. Stupid alibis. I should have known.
I kept trying to get him to just say it. I signed myself up for counseling through work because I knew I needed to change. One day he told me it was me. I was ugly, fat, and he didn’t love me anymore. I should have known. I didn’t. Instead I internalized these truths he spoke that I had so often beaten myself up with while crying in a corner. Yes, I was ugly. Yes, I was fat. Who COULD love me? It makes so much sense. I should have known.
Then I did know. A short phone call was all it took to verify some information. Then I knew. I had been listening to a cd every day to work and from work about loving myself. I had been getting better even though he didn’t love me, I could love me. I could break those nasty thoughts that I was growing out of until they sprung from his mouth to my ears. Externally taken in instead of internally thrown out. I was growing, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. Now I knew. I should have known earlier, but I didn’t.
Pain. Lots of pain. Through it baby getting bigger. Actually, baby boy. HE was growing and hopefully healthy. I did all I could to keep this pain from him, even though I always wondered how I could shield this tiny creature from the chemicals swirling around him when I fought not to cry. When I would walk at 3am to burn off adrenaline from a bad encounter with the father. The husband who was still in our house, but not in our world. I drank smoothies made with fruits and protein powder and tried to keep him safe. My heart ached to protect him even though a part of me knew there was no way to protect him from it all.
Time. Time goes by and things change. We grow or we don’t. We learn more about ourselves or we don’t. It’s up to us. Pain. It can be used to change for the better or used to dig a deep hole to hide in forever. It’s up to me. I decided to try to learn from it. I’m still trying. The spirit questioning and not knowing one single thing about what will happen in the future. I had no idea in any direction other than I would grow and I would fiercely protect this little baby who was now in my arms instead of my belly.
Growth. Spirit. It’s easy to forget that it takes work to grow. The tree has to reach underground to grow tall, just like we have to reach inside to allow ourselves to change. Be like water I used to tell myself. Adjust to the new things in life and be like water. Strong, able to carve valleys. Things will work out better than I can even imagine I would tell myself. In many ways they have, even though I should have known.