The whole reason we had decided to get married was to try to get pregnant. That had been the plan all along. If you do the simple math, a pregnancy is nine months long and getting pregnant in August would have the baby arriving right after final exams of third year.
As it turned out, we were highly fertile. The first time that we tried to get pregnant resulted in a late period. To say that getting pregnant before finishing university is controversial is really understating how people felt. There had been a couple of other women ahead of me in veterinary medicine that were already mothers or had become pregnant accidentally but it was very uncommon.
It was hard for me to get my mind around the idea that I was becoming a mother. Being a biologist, it was easy for me to know exactly the day that I may have become pregnant and therefore exactly the day that I would know for sure that I was not pregnant. I had started (yes—I am a scientific person, so forgive me) charting my cycle a few months before we started to allow a pregnancy to occur and I had already developed an understanding of when each aspect should occur.
So the first time that we tried I was late. Significantly late. I was a full seven days late and even though I had not gone to the doctors or done a pregnancy test this was significant. Even in hindsight now with several years of data at my fingertips this is significant.
Bob was ecstatic. I told him that I needed some time to get my mind around the fact that I was pregnant and that I would appreciate it if he would give me some time before he told anyone. He couldn’t. I saw this as very selfish at the time. He would still get to tell all of the same people and get the thrill of sharing an awesome secret, he just was asked to wait for a while. He couldn’t. This was very upsetting for me. I had people that I barely knew stopping to ask if it was true and expressing their surprise. I felt cornered and exploited.
Then, I started my period. Of all of the emotions that could surface at a time like this, the one that Bob expressed should have sent me running for the hills. With only one week of knowing that I was pregnant and not quite coming to terms with it, I did not suffer the same loss that many women feel when they are several weeks along. To be honest, it just felt kind of normal. My period was back and things were the same as they always were.
Bob was furious. I had embarrassed him. He said that it was my fault that I had mislead him and now everyone knew that we were trying and had been unsuccessful. He was livid.
The next cycle stuck. Bob was not so eager to go out and tell everyone this time. He insisted that I go to the doctor and find out for sure. I went to the doctor and I had a test done at a clinic. It was all very disorienting. I remember already feeling light headed and having a type of out of body experience where I was aware of what was going on but I felt disconnected from my actual body. I was ill.
I doubt that this would happen nowadays, but the doctor called home with the results of my pregnancy test. I was not home. He told Bob that the test was positive and I found out from a neighbour that Bob had already told before I arrived home. Nice.
Then a strange thing happened.
Like a flick of a switch, I became less important. Bob’s new priority was his career. He would correct me at this point. He would let me know that he was not interested in a career. But, he would be dissembling. His whole self-esteem is based on people telling him how good he is and he needs this constantly. He needed this like oxygen. In order to ensure a supply of praise, he needed to be accomplishing something that people could applaud him for. It was a compulsion.
At the time I wrote journal entries trying to decipher what had happened, but I was missing some key information. I thought perhaps that now that he had a child on the way, he was worried about reaching some point in his career before the child was old enough to know about success. I guessed that perhaps he was in a particularly tough part in his research. He now had a deadline. He needed to be done before the baby came so that he could stay at home and do the childcare. The truth would not be known for many years and was not so benevolent.
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