In the past I would have driven to a Walgreens in a town far, far away. I’ve done it before. I haven’t done it often, but at least a couple of times since first becoming separated a little more than three years ago. Honestly, at this point in my life, I simply don’t care who I run into. So you see my 42 year-old ass standing on line at the register holding a pregnancy test. So what. If you do, at least you will likely assume I’ve been having some fun. And that’s more than I can say about a lot of people I know, maybe even yourself. Hell, once upon a time I could’ve easily said it about myself.
True to my word, about a month ago when I realized my period was long over due (not a frequent occurrence at all), I yelled to my three kids doing homework upstairs I was running a quick errand, and headed toward my very local Walgreens. Bring it on. I was prepared to meet anybody – my rabbi, best friend, even the school secretary. Anyone. Of course, being I was prepared for that chance encounter I didn’t have one. It was only Me, Myself, and I standing in aisle three among a myriad of pregnancy tests.
I must say, even to this day, buying a pregnancy test is an exhilarating experience. It’s kind of exciting to think about the prospect of creating another life with someone who I love, respect, and admire. That would not be the case here as I know it today but, in theory, a new baby is always nice to imagine, even for a moment.
In fact, I did always want another baby, a sentiment also shared by my children. And I went so far as to tell my husband I was finally ready to have that fourth child we always talked about a couple of weeks before our marriage abruptly ended. By that point he was no longer interested, though I had yet to learn the specific reason why.
Back at home, while I anxiously waited to see if a second pink line would appear, I was reminded of those other times I saw a second, and how happy I was. This time there would be no second line (in reality, a good thing), and I headed to my OBGYN a few days later where she confirmed I wasn’t pregnant and chalked up my lack of punctuality to stress. It makes perfect sense, of course. Stress is the reason I’m late for everything else these days, so why make an exception here?
And late I was. To the party, that is. In actuality, I wasn’t even invited. Not invited to last Saturday night’s wedding (my ex’s family's) or to the rehearsal dinner on the night preceding it where my ex told our children during the cocktail hour his new wife is 10 weeks pregnant.
Though the news came as little surprise to myself and to my two daughters (despite my ex’s ardent protests to the contrary only hours earlier), my 10 year-old who particularly struggles with his father’s absence, took the news badly. Upon hearing, he immediately pulled out his cell phone to call me but was STRONGLY advised by his father not to. Thankfully, my daughters noticed their little brother standing alone crying a few moments later and comforted him.
So often when we speak of divorce, we speak of it in terms of starting a new life for ourselves. But what we don’t always take into consideration is how hard it can be to watch those around us start a new life for themselves as well. And this can be just as much, if not more, difficult than the former.
A new baby no longer appears to be in the cards for me, and that’s okay. I love my three children to pieces, and I’m so grateful to have them in my life. I also know I may become a stepmother one day, and I look forward to and welcome such an opportunity. But that doesn’t mean watching my ex start a new family with someone else is at all comfortable for me. Even worse is watching my children feel cheated because of it.
On the bright side, my children are going to finally get that little sibling they always wanted, despite he or she not being born from the mom they love and, instead, being born from the stepmom they do not love. But they do love their dad. And that has to be enough – for now.
I do anticipate how difficult it may be for my children to watch their dad live in the same home with his new child when he has chosen to live so far from them. There’s no getting around it. But I will be supportive because that’s what life after divorce is all about – dealing with the fallout from divorce and being able to glean the good from those situations that do not always make us feel so good, at least not at first.
When my ex shared his good news with our children, he told them how fortunate they are to soon have one more person in the world to love them. About that he is absolutely correct. We can all benefit from more love.
And since the best way to get love is to first give it, my children are destined for plenty.
How has second marriage affected your family post-divorce?