Today is one year since I had my 20 week scan. I remember the date, because it’s also the birthday of my ex’s eldest son, and that’s still written in my diary.
|S&I at 23 weeks
It’s strange to think about how much has changed since then.
The day itself was not pleasant for me. I’d not been getting on with S’s father at all, but agreed he could come to the scan. He arrived late, tried to figure out the sex of the baby on the monitor even though we’d agreed we wouldn’t find out, and talked over the lady when she tried to explain things. We’d been arguing in the weeks leading up to it, and I think he’d only started being pleasant so that I’d allow him to come. We’d not seen each other for a while, and I found that I couldn’t bring myself to even look at him. I felt incredibly sad that for most women the 20 week scan is an immensely happy thing, holding hands with their partner and looking forward to meeting their baby. I had none of that. While I was glad the scan showed a healthy, normal baby (and so relieved, after all the stress and worry I’d been going through), the day was mainly filled with sadness for me. I had hoped that when I had a baby it would be born into a happy, loving relationship; that we would be a family. Now it was becoming clear to me that there were problems with my relationship that could not be fixed, and I was bringing a child into a very difficult situation. I felt powerless to do anything about it, though. I was sad and tired and beaten down by it all. After the scan he handed me a wad of cash before getting a lift back to town from his ex, who had waited for him in the car park.
Thankfully, I had brought my sister with me, so I wasn’t alone for the experience. I was dismayed that he had chosen his ex, of all people, to give him a lift; especially when my sister had offered him a lift with us, and the buses run every ten minutes. Looking back, it was clearly a decision taken purposefully to put me in my place – something that became a theme of our “relationship” after that point. It is very telling of my mental state that, although I was cross and upset about him bringing his ex to the scan, I only managed to be angry for about 2 days before just giving in and playing nice. Things were easier if I didn’t rock the boat.
Not long after the scan, I went and stayed in Oxfordshire with friends for Christmas. It was an almost stress-free, peaceful Christmas, like being on holiday from my life. I felt like I’d run away to hide from it all, and was petrified of returning to my life and the myriad problems I felt ill-equipped to deal with. While I was away, the ex was texting me and being perfectly nice and reasonable, kept telling me he wished I was there, that Christmas wasn’t the same without me. I found out afterwards that their Christmas consisted of going to his mother-in-law’s house, where the adults got very drunk very early, and didn’t cook a Christmas dinner, while the children presumably did their best to stay out of the way. This was my fault, obviously. If I’d been there we would have had a perfect family Christmas. The fact I went away for Christmas, took his unborn baby away from him for Christmas, was something I was still being chastised for in April.
As it was, my Christmas last year was surreal. Whenever I visit my friends in Oxfordshire, I feel like I’ve been teleported to a different planet where the usual problems don’t matter. One night there, and all of a sudden my shoulders go back down to shoulder level rather than being bunched up about my ears. To be there over Christmas was a dream. Everything was so laid back; we watched movies with our feet up on the reclining sofa whilst eating party food, visited family, went to the cinema on Boxing Day. Christmas dinner was something everyone played a part in preparing, in between watching the Grinch and listening to carols. I almost forgot what a mess my life was in, and what I would be returning to the day after Boxing Day.
Now, looking back at that time, it feels like I’m talking about someone else. It all seems so strange, to have been in such an awful position, to have been so scared and felt so alone and confused. I felt like that a lot during my pregnancy and the first few months of S’s life; it was a very trying time for me.
This Christmas though, my life could not be more different. S and I were invited to Oxfordshire again for Christmas, and I was very tempted to accept the invitation; except I don’t think my mother would ever have spoken to me again! Instead, S and I are entertaining my mother and sister A for Christmas dinner. I have all the things I didn’t have this time last year. I have the world’s most beautiful, amazing daughter (biased? Me?) who will have no understanding of what Christmas is, but will no doubt enjoy unwrapping presents and being spoilt rotten by friends and family alike. I have a home that, thanks to my fantastic brother (whose praises I will never stop singing), is now the sort of place I want to invite people to visit. We’re having people over to visit throughout the festive period, and although that means I’ll need to actually tidy up at some point, I’m really looking forward to it. I have the most wonderful, supportive friends around me who have proved their worth time and time again.
|S&I last week
If you’d told me last Christmas, “don’t worry, next Christmas will be a lot better.” I would not have believed you. Stuck in the middle of it all, I could see no way out and felt thoroughly miserable about it all. I had nowhere to live, a turbulent relationship with the father of my unborn child, little support, no money. I spent most of my time around the festive period alone in my room in a shared house, drinking soup and wondering what the hell I was going to do. Now there is rarely a day I don’t see someone I love and am happy to have around. I still have no money, but who needs money when you have what I have. Money can’t buy this.
And now I’ve made you all gag at the sick-inducing schmaltz of it all, I’m off to cuddle my little girl. Merry Christmas!
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