This post is part of a series called the True Life Series, where we share stories written by Milwaukee area moms, but posted anonymously. By and large, these stories are more sensitive in nature or cover topics that may be triggers for some readers. Publishing the piece does not suggest an endorsement by MKE Moms Blog.
However, we want to give these writers the chance to share their stories in a safe space, in the hopes that someone else might resonate and realize they are not alone. Topics in the True Life Series are likely to draw a lot of opinions, but we want to be clear that, out of respect for the writers of these pieces, we will be monitoring comments carefully and deleting anything that is shaming, hurtful, derogatory or otherwise abusive.
I was married once. I knew better than to marry this man. My family and friends warned me but I thought I knew better. I even had a panic attack the night before my wedding — I sat in my parent’s bathroom sobbing and crying.
I woke up the next morning and made the biggest mistake of my life.
Our first year of marriage wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t blissful either. In the first few months we tried to get pregnant because “I loved him” and “we wanted a family.” By April the double pink line showed on the pee stick. By my second trimester we no longer slept in the same room. He no longer touched me or found me attractive. I was fat and he was afraid of “poking a baby in the eye” if we were intimate. Eventually I was on bedrest and was confined to the hospital. He complained about coming to visit me. The hospital was “out of the way” and he just wanted to go home so he could read, play video games and get a good night sleep. Umm hello?! I’m in the hospital because I’m having YOUR babies! OUR babies. Did I mention we were having triplets? Our THREE babies?!?
I delivered via c-section. While in the hospital, he was a new man. He loved me. He wanted to care for me. I remember the next morning when I wanted to take a shower. He told me not to call the nurse, that he would help me in and out of the shower. He tenderly washed my hair and held a towel out for me. We sat in my hospital bed at night, watching tv and laughing. I began to believe he actually cared about me. Maybe now he’d love me.
Two weeks after coming home from the hospital with three new babies in tow, the abuse started again. First it was calling me horrible names at the dinner table. Then it was telling me I was lazy because the house wasn’t picked up when he got home. THREE babies, remember? But I was home all day, so I should have the floors bleached and dinner on the table and waiting for him when he got home.
It continued on like this for months. I begged him to love me. I was shamed for the stretch marks I earned by giving birth to his children. Told I was fat; how could I eat ice cream as a bedtime snack?
I was convinced if I did more, showed him love more, then maybe, just maybe THEN I’d be deserving of his love. If the floors were cleaner then he’d be less likely to yell when he walked in the door. If I learned his favorite recipes maybe then he would call me “Honey” at the dinner table when the children were listening.
Then, one day he called me a C-Word in front of the kids. That put me over the edge. I started to get mad — really mad. I suddenly realized the way he was treating me was wrong.
I tried to tell him how much his words and hate hurt me. That I desperately wanted his approval and for him to just love me. I just wanted to be good enough for him.
This man was supposed to love me for the rest of my life — in sickness and in health. Isn’t that what he promised in front of our family and friends? This man didn’t love me. He didn’t even like me. But if he didn’t love me, who would? I was a stay at home mom with no income of her own and three babies in tow. I just wanted my marriage to work. I value marriage and the commitment I made was a sacred one. I felt trapped.
In the bathroom, while hyper ventilating on the eve of my wedding — I knew this would be my reality. Yet I still walked down that aisle and I made the biggest mistake of my life.
Finally, all that time later, I left.
Years after I left him, I still feel the sting of his words. I question my value and wonder if I am really capable of being fully loved. My mistake not only took away my dream of being married to one man for the rest of my life, it also affected my children’s future. My mistake, my consequences. I can live with that. However, my sweet babies did nothing to deserve having to grown up in a split household. That’s not something I think I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for.