“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” ~Buddha
In the last week, I have heard the following statements from people:
“My heart breaks for you”
“I am so sorry you have to go through this”
“I pity you.”
“This is going to be so hard for you.”
“It hurts us that you are going through this.”
STOP THE MADNESS AND STOP THIS PITY PARTY!
I beg you. I do not have cancer. I am not dying. I am having a baby for goodness sake! Do you understand how incredibly exciting and wonderful that is? There is a beautiful perfect human life growing inside me right now. She wiggles and squiggles and she is a miracle. There is nothing sad or ugly or bad about that. Nothing! I am not a victim, I am a mom. And, although I did not ever plan to be a single mom, I still chose this. I could have given this baby up or terminated the pregnancy months ago. No one forced this on me and there was always a choice. If I have given the impression that I want you to feel bad for me, please know that that is the LAST thing I need right now.
There are millions of starving people this very moment. There are people living on the street and losing their jobs. There are people fighting for their last breath because cancer has once again taken over another undeserving body. I was not raped or beaten or shot or stabbed. I, like more than 13 million other people in this country, and millions of other people around the world, am a single parent. This is not a new concept and it is not even a permanent condition. Just because my experience is different than yours does not mean that it’s any less wonderful.
If I was married and this baby was planned, I would still have trials and tribulations. I might end up with a husband who is no help at all or who cheats on me or who unexpectedly dies. There are no guarantees in this world and in this life. We cannot plan out a perfect little life and know that it is going to just happen. If that was the case, I would have been married years ago, my dad would have walked me down the aisle and he would have given me my first dance at my wedding. He also would have never had cancer in the first place. I would be a star on Broadway and run a school in Kenya’s Mathare Valley so every child there could have a solid and free education and food on the table every night. That is not reality though.
How many people actually experience everything working out exactly how they planned and expected? Are you married to the person you expected? Are your kids exactly how you dreamed they would be? Are you working in the job you dreamed of having and living in the house that you used to sketch as a kid? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean your life is bad. Most of us are running with Plan B or even C! Even the children who are starving and have lost their parents to disease and violence find a reason to throw their heads back and laugh once in a while. I know because I have seen it with my own eyes. Life is unpredictable and we can roll with it, love it, and laugh about it or we can be bitter and ungrateful and blame everything and everyone else for our unhappiness. I am only 35, but I have felt heart break and disappointment and fear. I know that no matter what happens that is out of my control, my happiness is the one thing that is in my control.
You want to be there for me and support me? Then join me! This is fun stuff. Ask me how I’m doing once in a while. Come paint with me or hang a picture or two in the baby’s room. Laugh with me when I talk about hemorrhoids and stretch marks and my crazy hormones. You feeling bad for me will not get us anywhere and frankly it’s bumming me out.
For those of you who get this, thank you! The encouragement I have received through messages, phone calls, cards and gifts has been beyond what I could have ever imagined and far outweighs the pity. I leave you with two of my favorite quotes from friends in the last week. Both of these men pulled me out of a funk when I was freaking out and what they said was perfectly said and perfectly timed.
“Nothing about this is bad. How this happened is not bad. You have done nothing wrong. You have actually done everything right. The initial shock of it all was scary and hard, but there is nothing bad or wrong about your situation. You eat all the right foods, you take vitamins, you go to classes and do research. You are preparing for the baby in every way and have been taking care of yourself. This is all good and everything about it is good. If people can’t see that, then that is their problem.”
“You’ve got this. Ever since I met you, I’ve thought you were brave. I wouldn’t expect anything other than you keeping this child and taking on the challenge of raising her because that is who you are. You wanted to go to India, so you did. You wanted to leave PA and go to Chicago by yourself for college and you did. As long as I’ve known you, you say you are going to do something and you do it. Why should this be any different?”