I don’t want to go too in depth into my time while pregnant with you, Janie. I know that pregnancy makes you uncomfortable. So rather than talk about it day by day, I’ll cover the most important snippets.
My first trimester was largely uninteresting. Mostly because I stayed in the house, hid from the world, and did nothing. It was that I was ashamed, per se. I just wasn’t all that interested in letting the men who had shot me down see that I had gotten so quickly pregnant after their rejections. They might think I was desperate. Dirty. A loose woman.
Jane: “I’m not dirty! In fact, I’m very clean!”
My choice to stay indoors might also have had something to do with the fact that I still hadn’t told Jalen.
We hadn’t broken up. We just hadn’t… hung out all that much. Even though I wasn’t really showing-the baby weight looked enough like I had just had a few too many cakes-I was terrified that he would figure it out before I worked up the nerve to tell him.
No one will ever accuse me of being courageous.
I spent most of my time, then, studiously avoiding his calls. I answered every once in a while, just to make sure that he would still be there when I found the fortitude to tell him of his imminent fatherhood, but I refused to see him.
Jane: “You know, I’m soooo sorry, but I’m actually not home right now?”
Jane: “Oh… later works for you? Well, that’s the thing, I’m not home because I’m… um… out of the country?”
On the bright side, the motivation of my soon-be-coming little ray of sunshine had really driven me to work harder on my writing. There wasn’t much else I could do but work on that anyway, so the royalties were coming in a bit more steadily. Nothing grand yet, just a few hundred simoleons, but even that, saved over the course of my pregnancy, would be better than the 100 simoleons I started out with.
But, one day, right at the beginning of my second trimester, I was confronted with something I was not at all prepared for.
Jane: “Ummm… hey, Jalen… what are you doing here??”
Jalen: “I remembered you were coming back today. I missed you!”
Jane: “Uh, yeah, yeah. It’s great to see you too.”
Apparently, when I had told Jalen that I was out of the country, I also told him that I would be back in town. That day. Right around that time. So he had planned to come over and surprise me.
Jalen: “Is it a good surprise?”
Jane: “Oh, oh, yeah, definitely. Great surprise… I’m so happy to see you, Jalen.”
Jane: Though you’re about to get the biggest surprise of your life.
Jane: “You know what? Let’s not talk. Let’s make out.”
Jalen: “Your stomach is kind of… in the way. What were they feeding you out there?”
Jane: “Shhhh. More kissing. Less talking. No talking.”
But I could only hold Jalen off with kissing for so long. Because Jalen was not exactly a “trust and communication” kind of a lover. He was a “we’re alone, let’s take our pants off” kind of lover. The second I got him riled up, he wanted to go immediately to bed. But I couldn’t let him do that. I couldn’t let him sleep with me again, without him knowing that the first time he slept with me, he knocked me up. Despite my trepidation, I couldn’t avoid it anymore.
Jane: “Jalen, wait. We can’t WooHoo right now. I have to tell you something first.”
Jalen: “Sure, babe. What’s up? You know you can tell me anything.”
Jalen: “Though, if you wanted to wait until after we WooHoo…”
Jane: “No. Now. It’s important. Jalen, I’m… I’m pregnant.”
Jalen: “Um… say what now?”
This was a mistake. I could tell from the look on his face that it was a mistake. He didn’t want this. He wasn’t ready for it, anymore than I was. And he wasn’t obligated to stick around.
Jalen: Is it even mine???”
Jane: “Of course it is! Baby, you’re the only one I’ve ever been with.”
Jalen: “Wait, like the only one?”
Jalen: “Ohmigod I slept with a virgin. And got her pregnant. Ohmigod.”
He needed a little time to process. He asked questions. He made accusations. He told me he wasn’t ready, how could I do this to him, he still lived with his sisters how was he meant to support a baby? Raise a baby?
I didn’t have any answers for him. I had all the same questions myself.
Jalen: “How far along are you?”
Jane: “Nearly my second trimester.”
Jalen: “Hey there, baby… It’s your…”
Jalen: “It’s your daddy, I guess.”
But, as I had, he came around. From the moment he laid his hand on my belly, I could see it in his eyes-the awe, the wonder, the love. He loved you from the moment he thought about you, Janie. Never forget that. Your father and I both loved you so very, very much.
That night, we sat on my air mattress, and just talked. Talked about life. Talked about plans. Talked about how we would make this work.
Jalen: “Should we get married?”
Jane: “I don’t know… I guess we should? I think the baby should have two parents, you know? But then again, that can be done without marriage…”
Jalen: “Are you going to get a job? You know I work as a Live Tech Support Agent, but being a single-income house…”
Jane: “It might be hard to start, but I really am starting to bring in more royalties from my books. Nearly 500 simoleons a day.”
Jalen: “You spend so much time doing that though-it’s an all-the-time job. Is that the best for raising a baby?”
Jane: “We’ll make it work. I don’t have to work that hard, I just do because I love it.”
He didn’t ask to WooHoo. He didn’t ask to stay the night. When we had decided what we would do, how our life would work for the foreseeable future, he went home. I went to bed.
It was a long day. And Jalen had not reacted in the way I had hoped, that was certain. But at least he hadn’t left us. At least he stuck around.
In the moment, I felt like I couldn’t expect anything more of him. For, in my mind, that was the most generous thing that anyone could do-just stick around.