Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fantasy in Blue

I have been thinking about what my life would have been like if Blue had lived. Last summer when I made a drive across all of Pennsylvania, I thought about Blue and I was very sad and missing him and reliving everything I had gone through the summer before. This time I was driving over two hours one way to attend a five-minute hearing for work. I would fantasize to a certain point and then trail off and have to remind myself to keep going. Because I didn't want to keep thinking about this over and over and over. I wanted to think it out to the very end and then be done with it.

Mainly the fantasy involved a healthy version of Blue. He would have been born in DC in the middle of November 2011. His dad and I would have been slogging through a mostly unfulfilling relationship. I never imagined what the birth would have been like. Chris would have been there though. A low bar, I know. But I can say with confidence that he would have wanted to have been there.

I was making new friends in DC and connecting with old friends, including two new moms. But I realized how hard it would have been to see them, as they both lived in Virginia, which is like Brooklyn if you live in Manhattan. So close, and yet so far. Chris would have buried himself in real or imaginary work. I would have been solely responsible for caring for our home and overwhelmingly responsible for caring for our baby. Our only help would come from new, hired help, or from his friend with whom he had the weird, intimate relationship. The one whose son I think Chris would have rather had than his own.

When I was newly pregnant with Blue, a childhood friend who had moved back to our hometown suggested I leave Chris, forget about trying to get a job in DC, and come back "home." I was so convinced at the time that I couldn't have a baby alone, and that I didn't want to ask my dad, yet again, to bail me out from something I had gotten myself into.* Well, I don't think it would have been long after Blue was born that I found myself jobless, lonely, angry and sad and moving back to my hometown, telling Chris that if he wanted to see his son he could figure it out himself. And then I think, what would I be doing for work? Would I be a lawyer now? Or soon? Or would I be working at a bookstore for flexible hours and any kind of money I could get? Would I have settled down with Mr. E? I certainly would have met him, but under such different circumstances.

In the alternative, I think about what would have happened had we found out sooner in the pregnancy that Blue was sick. We wouldn't have tried to stay together. I would have been heartbroken. I would have been angry, thinking Chris got what he wanted somehow. It would have been easier on me, that is for sure. It would have been a less intimate loss at 10, 12 weeks. I'm not saying it would have been easy. At all. Just easier know. This circumstance is the most interesting to me, because in this case I might have moved back to Colorado. I might have made life-changing decisions, like having a baby with a good friend who was in his early 50s and still a little baby-crazy. I'm actually getting a little sad right now, because I think that might have worked. When I told him I was pregnant and that I wanted the baby but Chris didn't, I asked who would have a baby with me right away because now I knew I was really ready to have one? And he raised his hand. We met in Boulder right before I moved back East. We dated for a bit, and saw each other in New York a lot, but I could never get over the 18 year age difference. I see now that we don't really talk much anymore, and I miss him. I'm not going to call him the one that got away or anything, but if I imagine the two of us with a baby, it kind of works.

Finally, I think about what would have happened if I had had an abortion from the very beginning, as Chris suggested. Surprisingly (maybe), I still think that would have been the worst outcome. I wouldn't have ever known there was something wrong with my baby, something so wrong with him that I would rather he not live. And I would have never forgiven myself for not letting the unknown version of him live. I almost can't think about the outcome in this situation. I don't know that the depression that would have followed would have been something from which I could ever recover.

*It's not as bad as it sounds. My first job out of college was an internship paying $1000 a month and my dad offered to supplement my income so I could take the job. Then when I moved to the mountains and got a job selling radio ads I thought I would be making enough money in the next year to pay for the bikes I bought on my credit card. That may have happened more than once, but my point is that I wasn't, like, $50K in the hole from gambling debts or drugs.

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