I was worried about what people would think. It seemed foolish, I know—a grown-ass woman caring about what people are saying about her. When I told my best friend the news and shared with her my worry about people’s judgments, she reassured me that of course no one would be thinking critically of me.
Nico and I decided awhile ago to get married—the story behind why someone with so many issues with the institution of marriage would want to marry again is a story for another time. We haven’t gotten to the ceremony yet because the whole to-do of a wedding isn’t important to us, but we’ve been wearing rings for over a year, we call each other husband and wife, he is a father to my children. Except for a piece of paper saying otherwise, we are married.
A couple of years ago, Nico started to express interest in having a baby. He’d never wanted to have children, so this was a discussion I never thought we’d be having. But falling in love with my boys changed him. I tend to be the thoughtful, contemplative person who doesn’t just jump in. So I considered. And went to specialists. I’ve got children with autism from my previous marriage, so of course that was a concern.
But the perinatologist went through all of our genetic history and found that we had a less than 1% chance of having a child with autism. And my younger son, whose autism is severe, had gone through a miracle transformation with a new treatment, so my fear that his autism would create a negative environment for a baby were pacified.
All my greatest fears managed, I told Nico that we could start trying.
Of course, the planner that I am, I had a timetable. The baby needed to be born during the summer so that I could still work during the academic year. We had a small window of just a few months. If we didn’t get pregnant then, we wouldn’t try anymore.
We got to the last month of the window and tried like crazy. I did a lot of peeing on ovulation test sticks. And then, at the end of the month, we had a faint positive sign . . . and then bleeding. Our one chance, and it didn’t work. So I got a prescription for birth control, ready to go back on at the start of my next cycle.
Except my cycle never started. Somehow after that failed pregnancy, I’d managed to get pregnant again without even trying.
But then came the people.
We wanted to make sure everything was okay before going public, but we did tell a couple of our close friends. When Nico told his best friend, the response was, “Demi’s trying to trap you into marriage with a pregnancy.” He said it to Nico in a joking way, I’m sure, but the fact that he said it at all made me wonder if that was how he truly felt. That, I guess, is when I started to worry about what people were thinking of us.
This week we went through some testing, and baby looked great! No signs of chromosomal abnormalities! With the good news and the pregnancy starting to show, we decided to go ahead and share the news with the world.
Many friends were supportive . . . others were not.
One friend sent me a message: “Even though you and Nico didn’t plan this, I know this baby can be a blessing to you both.” I spent a day feeling sick about it. This was a good friend of mine, a very liberal friend who I never imagined would be judgmentally assuming that if Nico and I got pregnant without being married that it must have been an unfortunate accident. We share many mutual friends who have chosen to have children while also choosing not to be married to their partners—why wouldn’t she understand this? Why would she judge this?
Another friend, a staunch Christian, didn’t say anything condescending, but instead just deleted me from his Facebook friends. I guess an unmarried mother is not the kind of person an evangelical wants to associate with.
2013, and yet still this. I suppose there’s some lesson to take from this, something about now knowing who my real friends are or something, but right now I just feel sad that in the 21st century that women are still judged for their reproductive choices.