I don’t usually write about things like this. I haven’t been this moved to write someone a personal message like this one since my freshman year of college, and that was…too many years ago for me to admit. I heard your story over the radio this morning, on a rare solo vehicle ride to my dental appointment. (Just FYI, you have to relish these mundane quiet moments when you’re a mom.)
A part of me doesn’t want to believe what I heard. According to this particular morning show, you went into labor while in your home, and it progressed very quickly. You and your boyfriend called an emergency dispatcher to guide you through the delivery process, but your boyfriend felt too ill to carry on and left the home in search of his sister for help. Is this accurate?
This story was so difficult for me to believe that I had to search for it when I got home. It took me about ten different attempts to get the keywords right, but I eventually found your story on an ABC News site for Australia. I also stumbled upon a number of frightening articles that show just how cruel humankind can be. Having that brief glance at some of the really, really messed up things people do helped me temper my initial response to your incredible story.
Before I move on… Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy. Already he is a lucky, lucky baby to have a mother like you. As a mother who birthed twins in a hospital, monitored by many doctors and nurses, and aided by the magical wonders of an epidural, I am humbled by your experience (and pain tolerance).
Most of all, yours is a story of strength, courage, patience, and resiliency. Your brave actions provide more evidence of the innate power and mental fortitude women hold inside themselves. Thank you for that. I am all for girl power.
With your story likely to go viral, I would like to send you some words of encouragement and support. If this morning’s radio show is any indication, I suspect that your boyfriend will be vilified and ridiculed for some time. I know it is not fair, and it is not anyone else’s business. Even my writing this letter feels a bit inappropriate. But I wouldn’t be able to sleep comfortably if I didn’t write it.
Since you have already proven you possess some rare, commendable capabilities, I hope you are able to easily brush off the negativity and focus on the things that are important, the things that matter. You and your baby boy are healthy, and having each other is an incredible gift. You certainly seem more than prepared to conquer all the challenges associated with motherhood, and it is wonderful to hear about women who do everything in their power to protect, love, and care for their children.
Although I am not trying to ignore the elephant in the room (e.g. your boyfriend), I have not mentioned him much because I have yet to figure out what I want to say…
The fact remains that we do not know how we will respond to emergency situations until they happen. We cannot imagine what our actions will be in the face of our biggest fears. I forgot that truth. I was quick to make a judgment about your boyfriend, and for that, I am sorry.
I think I want to tell you the nice version of what I would advise a close girlfriend of mine who had just experienced a similar event:
- See this incident for what it was; make no excuses for it. Your strength shined through, while his…was tested, to say the least.
- Forgive his choice of actions that left you abandoned in a moment when you were vulnerable, in pain, and, undoubtedly, scared. (If this is a repeated behavior, I would worry for your relationship.)
- Judging by the look of his face in the photo, I am going to guess he is probably not feeling very proud of himself. (If he doesn’t seem fazed by his recent decision-making, I would worry for your relationship.)
- He is human, and by that very fact, he is flawed. (If he doesn’t think he could have made a better decision, I would worry for your relationship.)
My hope is that his mistake was an isolated incident in your relationship, and that the lesson has been learned. I trust that a woman with your remarkable traits will be able to judge that for herself.
I wish you the best in all that is yet to come as a mother. Parenthood is both a joy and a challenge you cannot begin to imagine until you are in it. It will be full of unpredictable moments.
I have no doubt you will shine as a mother, and your baby boy will have a wonderful role model in you. And I sincerely hope your boyfriend is a true partner for you, as it will be critical in your new venture together as parents.
Happy, healthy mothering,
Carmen (aka American mother of twin girls birthed in a hospital)