I triple checked the pregnancy test box to make sure that two parallel lines meant a negative result. What a relief. I had been terrified for days as I processed the possibility of a pregnancy from a reckless one-night stand. I was the mother of four small children, and had been struggling for quite some time with an unraveling marriage. I couldn’t think of a worse scenario to get myself into. Facing the magnitude of my actions stunned me back on track to fully face the situation with my husband. I wasn’t the kind of woman to do the very thing I suspected my husband of doing: cheating on the person I swore I loved, the other parent of my darling children, cheating on our family.
As relief washed over me, I sank down deep into the sofa. I pulled in the air of the room and forced it back out again as I expressed gratitude for escaping a game changing bullet. I began rebuilding the view of myself, and of my marriage. I thought deep into my core as to how to best navigate the marital storms to turn back toward my husband and rebuild our connection, our family. I was grateful for what felt like a second chance when the haunt of what could have been rose up inside of me again.
I dug through the trash to find the pregnancy test and check it against the instruction booklet. I had been feeling overly emotional and was a couple of days late on my period, which was odd for me. It was as though I was reading the instructions with new eyes: the line configuration on mine wasn’t negative after all. I hadn’t felt nauseous before, but barely made it to the toilet before losing my lunch. My worst fear was my reality: I was pregnant with another man’s baby and I knew I couldn’t stay that way.
The morning of my termination appointment, I took my children to school to help their teacher set up their classrooms. As the other moms worked alongside the teachers, busily organizing the room, and the children giggled while sharing stories of summertime adventures, I couldn’t help but wonder . . . If They Only Knew. If they only knew my situation and what I was scheduled to go through in a couple of hours. Would they still think of me as an amazing mom, someone everyone could always count on, all things to all people? Would it please them to learn I was far from perfect and pulled together? Would they offer me a hug and empathetically say they couldn’t imagine facing my kind of scenario? Would they judge and avoid me, whisper together in ways that delightfully fed their drama demons?
I dropped off the kids to a play date, hugged them longer than they liked, and told them I would see them in a few hours. Refusing medication so I could drive myself, I was fully present to the choice I was making, to the depths of interpersonal destruction I had allowed myself to fall into. As I lay back on the examining table and felt the nurses moving around me, searing tears raced down my cheeks. I was mad at my husband, and at myself. I was sad about choosing to take away the beginning of life inside of me, and I was relieved to have the choice. I prayed and apologized and promised my way through the afternoon.
As the medical professionals handed me the discharge papers and explained that I should go straight home and rest for the next couple of days, I smiled and wondered . . . If They Only Knew. I walked out into the sunshine, climbed into my car, pulled on my sunglasses, turned up the music, and drove to pick up my children. It was almost dinnertime, my husband would be home soon, and I still needed to make a quick stop at the grocery store. If They Only Knew . . .
“If They Only Knew” is an anonymous guest column featuring essays from the “snapshot” life moments of courage and perseverance in Spokane/Coeur d’Alene women. If you would like to share a moment of your life when you thought, “If They Only Knew,” please send an email to [email protected] or mail a hard copy to our editor, Stephanie Regalado, at 104 S. Freya, Ste. 209, Spokane, WA 99202.