The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Esteemable act for this week

This has been a big week. I had a planned hysterectomy on Monday to solve a problem of severe bleeding due to fibroids. And Tuesday Husband got some big news that equals a big step forward with his project. So the time for esteemable acts is now, because I can feel the sea of self-doubt churning.

At 46 my chances of bearing a healthy child were questionable at best, but now it's a definite no. As the date for the operation drew near I was very busy with work, so didn't have time to dwell on the sadness that came up from time to time. Which was a good thing I think. (And thankfully I've been able to talk to Husband, close friends and my therapist about it.)

We both realized we wanted another child almost the moment our son was born, but it didn't work out that way. We never went to extreme measures, I had one miscarriage at 15 weeks when I was 40, and despite lots of ovulation kits and pretty consistent trying, I didn't get pregnant. Even after I found out about Husband's sex addiction, I diligently kept going to the acupuncturist for fertility treatments, but I think I was under too much stress to get pregnant for the next couple years. Then Husband had medical issues of his own that made sex challenging. And then at the beginning of this year I had the period that wouldn't stop. I thought I was miscarrying because we'd been trying and my period was late, but after a month I ended up in the hospital with dangerously low hemoglobin levels. I was, as usual, busy with work and attributed my shortness of breath and exhaustion to allergies and not enough sleep. But no, actually I was slowly bleeding do death. (Kind of dramatic, but not an exaggeration.) The fact that it took me so long to notice brought up issues that I'm addressing. But that's not what this is about.

What this is about is Who am I if I'm no longer the wife who can bear children? I'm no longer young, I'm no longer in possession of a uterus, I'm not thin, I don't look like a model, I'm not the wide-eyed adoring girl he met 22 years ago, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not...blah blah blah...Who am I if I'm not an object of attraction to Husband?

I need to answer that question more than ever now, so it feels good to be working on it.

I've been thinking about my esteemable acts as things that I can do, actions that I can take without depending on someone else, actions that leave me with a sense of personal accomplishment, with the feeling that I'm doing what I was put on earth to do, with the feeling that if I died today, I'd have been doing something with my life that was meaningful to me and fulfilling in the moment.

All big things start with small steps, so the small steps I took this week all had to do with self-care. I took the week off of work and have been focusing on resting, spending time with my family, and reading two books: The 4-Hour Workweek, which focuses on freeing up more time; and Zen and the Art of Making a Living, which focuses on "creative career design."

Oddly, taking this kind of time for myself feels indulgent, so I'm counting it as an esteemable act, because I'm declaring by my actions that I am worthy of the time to consider and plan my future, that I don't have to be working every moment to be worthy and valuable - that I can declare my value and not have to prove it by working when I should be resting.

Like I said, it's a baby step.

1 comment:

recovering jezebel said...

Wait, I have another esteemable act for you—courageously making this decision for your health, and then even more courageously posting about it here, honestly, generously sharing with us so we can benefit from your experience, strength, and hope.

Big hugs to you, and may your surgery and recovery from it go easily and simply and well—