I am 38 weeks pregnant. My doctor thinks I could give birth any day now. Having a child was a big decision for my husband and me. We had a happy and healthy relationship. Why rock the boat? Being the child of a parent that came out as a gay later in life has made me afraid that someday I too will realize something about myself and that I am unhappy and I will have to burn everything in my life down and start over. For this reason, I hesitate to build anything up.
My parents met when they were nineteen years old and had my brother not too long after that. They didn’t have the opportunity to explore their sexuality or career ambitions. They decided to play house. They married and five years later, they had me. Ever since I could remember, my parents were unhappy with domestic life and each other.
When I was 11 and my parents divorced, I was happy for them. I had no idea the reason for their divorce was that my father was gay. It was 1990 and I had no idea what gay even was. It took me three years to realize the true nature of the relationship between my father and his “roommate”.
All my life I have doubted love was possible or could ever last. Maybe you could love someone for a time, but it would eventually fade. Or maybe you could love someone, but then you might learn some deep truth about yourself that made it impossible to continue loving someone else. It was never my father’s homosexuality that made me have these fears and doubts, it was his lack of self realization. What if there are things about me, I do not yet know? What if I am lying to myself and in turn lying to others?
I met my husband eight years ago. He asked me out on a date. Four weeks later he asked if I would be his girlfriend. Then a few years later I moved in. Then he proposed and now we’re married and live in the ‘burbs and have a ton of gorgeous roses in our garden that always bloom with little to no effort at all. Sometimes I look in the mirror ask myself, how did I get so nauseatingly heteronormative?
Being born in a different decade than my parents, I have been given the gift of time and options. I had a lot of time to ask myself, am I gay? Am I straight? Am I interested in monogamy? A family? What do I want to be when I grow up? After meeting my husband I had time to ask myself, do I love this person? Does he love me back the way I want to be loved back? It’s been a few years, do I still love him? Yes. I keep saying yes and thankfully, he does too.
I decided I wanted a baby because I finally came to the conclusion that I know myself and the relationship I have with my husband as well as I can for now. I think I just have to continue to be honest with myself. In turn, this is the best thing I can do for our baby. Carl Jung said, “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their children than the unlived life of the parent.” While we all make sacrifices for our children, we also have to have the courage to continue asking ourselves the questions that ultimately add up to, “Am I happy?” and “Am I living?”
*Update: Elizabeth Collins gave birth to a beautiful baby boy two days after writing this post. Her son, Axel, is pictured above with her father.*