Negotiation

For months, Josh and I have talked about having another baby. We would love to have another baby. I’m not getting any younger, especially considering my past fertility issues. Plus, I don’t want Tiny to be an only child.

However, my stomach tightens and my breathing becomes shallow to even write about this.

It’s not just the past infertility. It’s not just that pregnancy – or the loss of one – would be much more difficult while caring for a toddler. It’s not just that my successful pregnancy was pretty miserable. It’s not just the ever-present tick-tick-tocking of time, biological and otherwise. It’s not just that I’m scared I’ll gain too much weight again. It’s not just Josh.

But, it’s almost just Josh. At least, it’s how I feel about him that’s making me freeze.

I do not trust him. Ninety percent of that is because, well, he’s an extremely dishonest person. Ten percent of that is my own baggage. The erosion of trust doesn’t usually happen early in a relationship, so when our relationship started, any lack of trust was because of my baggage.

Not anymore. I mean, I obviously still have baggage, but he has fully earned my lack of trust.

The last couple months have been better. Things have been improving. I have every reason to believe that things will continue to improve. Josh’s work schedule is normal. He’s around. We’re spending quality time together as a family. I like him more than half the time. Usually way more.

Yet…

It’s not just the dishonesty. With the exception of not being a lunatic for the month after my surgery, he pretty much checked out or was extremely uneven while I was pregnant. Plus, within a couple hours of being home with Tiny he was being insane. Quite literally insane.

For months after that, he barely spoke to me. He usually didn’t show me any affection. Sometimes he left the house without saying goodbye. Meanwhile, I took care of Tiny 24/7 with very little to recharge my batteries. I certainly couldn’t find support in him.

He asked me to go to intense couples counseling, which was difficult for me as I had to deal with pumping and leaving Tiny for several hours over entire weekends. My mom, dealing with my senile Grandma and a baby, twice failed to give Tiny enough milk, making her horribly constipated. Meanwhile, Josh continued to lie. My only requirement was that he not lie during our therapy. He did not honor his commitment. I’m not sure how many of his promises he’s kept. I know that he almost never keeps them.

Then, out of desperation, Josh gave me a diamond as an “early 5 year anniversary gift.” The problem? I don’t want a diamond. I never have. He never discussed spending that much money with me, even though it goes WAY over a previously agreed to limit. Until this, I’d never had to worry about him doing anything financially reckless. (I decided to keep the ring as an insurance policy against any future recklessness. Cynical? Realistic? Both?)

Meanwhile, Josh’s medications were in flux. New meds were added, old meds increased. It hit a point where Josh couldn’t tell the difference between Tiny’s fussing and happy noises. Even looking right at her he couldn’t tell me how she was feeling. She would be screaming and he couldn’t see that she needed comfort. Then, following a horrible situation between us, I demanded he stop taking one of his meds. (The doctor signed off on the decision.) Things slowly improved, but very slowly. Very.

The man I got pregnant with is not the man I went through pregnancy with. Nor is he the man who I brought a baby home with. Nor is he who he was the first year-plus of her life.

Who is he? Who is he going to be tomorrow? I know he’ll be here physically. But is that going to continue to be a good thing? Is he going to be there when I need him? Or will he be a ghost again? Will he lie? Is he still lying? Will he be hostile and cruel? Will he ignore us?

I don’t think I will ever be able to satisfactorily answer these questions. I don’t see how I’ll ever completely trust him. If I ever do, it’ll be years from now, years after I’m willing to have babies.

Josh is mentally ill. He’s been diagnosed with ADD, PTSD (horrible, terrible childhood), depression and a “milder” bipolar disorder. (Plus he’s an alcoholic! Though fortunately he’s been sober since before we got together.) Any one of these problems would be challenging to deal with. All of them together? He’s being properly treated for all of those things. But if he’s unwilling to be honest, none of that matters.

2012 was terrible for me. I’m leaving out so much stuff. I could write an obscenely long, detailed list of tribulations and stresses, but that’s not the point of this.

My daughter is amazing. She brings me great joy. But she isn’t and cannot be my sole source of joy. I take motherhood very seriously. I consider as much as my brain will allow me to. I put a lot of intention behind my actions. But the best thing I can do as a parent is to be okay and healthy. Right now, I am good. My marriage is trending up. It’s gotten easier and easier to once again be present in the moment. I don’t fantasize about breaking Josh’s nose anymore. I actually did nice stuff for him for his birthday. I cared that he had a good time.

I’m scared another pregnancy will somehow cause or coincide with everything again coming undone. I’ve struggled falling asleep the last two nights; I can’t afford to give into the insomnia anymore. My fears aren’t unfounded, and yet, I don’t want them to control me. Where is the line? Where do I cross over from taking a leap of faith into making a huge mistake?

Ramble, ramble.