“I believe in love because I want my daughter to know that love is limitless.”
I met my ex-husband a few months after my 21st birthday, during an incredibly difficult time in my young adult life. My high school sweetheart and I had been on a yearlong break. He had sworn we would be together again once it was over, he just needed time. When I realized he clearly had no intention of getting back together with me, I hit the lowest (or so I thought) part of my life. The year had been torture and everyday was just a means of getting to the next. Numbness consumed me, as did an uncontrollable rage for what I had lost. He was my forever, you see, and I saw us getting married, traveling, having kids, growing old, everything. His realization that he didn’t feel the same way broke me.
Then came, let’s call him, Sam. Sam was two years older, had a heartbreaking past and thought I was amazing. He gave me the attention that my ex-boyfriend had not and it was such a nice change. Everything moved so quickly with Sam, and I started building the life I wanted with my ex-boyfriend, only with Sam in his place. It all overwhelmed me, so I missed all the signs of Sam’s emotional abuse. His constant double standards and put downs masked as compliments, blurred the lines of reality beyond recognition. I lost whatever pieces of me remained. Subconsciously I think I was aware that something was amiss, so I used wedding planning as a distraction in a way, and thought that maybe he would change once we were married. For me, marriage was something serious and permanent, for him, it was just a piece of paper.
Looking back, I know I should’ve taken more time to heal and find my own worth without a man to show me, but then the journey wouldn’t have happened the way it did. Which is the whole point of my story, one that may help someone else.
Four months into our marriage, the numbness was back and some days I wanted to disappear. I was never suicidal by any means, just numb. Then I got the most shocking news of my life. I was pregnant. It was not “planned” and not something I was especially excited about like I always had hoped I would be. This baby made me feel even more trapped with Sam in our dysfunctional marriage, because his double standards only worsened, as did his complete lack of seriousness about our marriage. So many thoughts ran through my mind that day. Thoughts that I’m not proud of and still haunt me on days that are tough. They haunt me because that little baby that I wasn’t excited about is the reason I decided to live again.
The first ultrasound I scheduled was by myself. It was only eight weeks but her little heartbeat was fast and strong. All alone with her in that room was the day that my new life began. I knew that whatever happened between Sam and me, I was meant to be her mom. She was no longer an annoyance or a cage, but my wings, though I was not fully aware of that yet.
Sam and I went to counseling and prepared for her birth, but he still continued his emotional abusive behavior, and the day she was born I felt like he completely shut us out. I didn’t feel like he tried to bond with her or help me out other than washing bottles and dishes at night. Any actual help I felt I had with her was from family who flew out to see us for a week or two. When I would try to nap or shower, she would scream and he couldn’t seem to, for whatever reason, handle it. I wanted him to be a good dad, I really did. Just like getting married, I hoped that things would finally change.But despite the chaos surrounding her birth, having my daughter saved my life
I knew that she deserved a mom who loved herself and knew that her worth was not placed in how much a man valued her, but in what she valued from within herself. I want my daughter to know this, since it’s an easy trap to fall into. I want her to take her time finding who she is and to know when the right partner comes into her life. To know what to sacrifice in a relationship and when to walk away. Most of all, I want her to know that love doesn’t have to be just romantic. Love exists in many forms. Hope, bravery, courage, strength, these are all ways in which love also exists making it infinite. My love for my daughter is limitless and nothing in the world can convince me that she and I weren’t meant to find each other. This is why I choose to believe in love.