After my pregnancy shed some light on my issues, I decided to stop being a victim and take charge of my life, once and for all.
The bigger I got, the more emotionally challenging pregnancy became for me. I always pictured having a partner beside me every night in bed, ears and hands glued to my burgeoning belly, reassuring me that I looked beautiful while fetching me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the middle of the night, but instead, I was totally alone, sleepless and feeling fat, ugly and unloved.
I quickly learned that there was no pregnancy guide that outlines how to survive the nine months of gestation manless. Every single book assumes that you have a "partner," "husband," "significant other," or "baby daddy," which added to that perpetual different feeling that had been living inside of me ever since fertilization.
I spent many nights crying to my patient and loving friends about my my hopeless situation and feeling majorly sorry for myself, but one day, my friend Kristin told me to stop whining.
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"You've always done things different than everyone else," she told me. "You are a strong, independent woman and that's what people admire about you. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and being embarrassed, wear this with pride and be an example. Stop being a victim and take control. If anyone can do it, it's you."
She had a point. There was nothing about the last three decades of my life that was anything close to traditional. I had always shunned normalcy to a degree and taken pride in the fact that my journey had been a colorful and somewhat confusing blend of mistakes and victories and twists and turns that always seemed to make sense in the end. This was just another chapter in the book of my unconventional life that I would someday write, and the hopeless romantic in me still had faith in a happily-ever-after ending.
Another close friend of mine encouraged me to "go where the love is," which meant that instead of focusing on the people who weren't showing up for me, supporting me or who had hurt me in the past, to invest myself in my healthy support system and seek out nurturing, loving and emotionally stable people who would be there for me and love me unconditionally and without judgment during this tumultuous time.
I was always one of those girls who heavily relied on the attention of the opposite sex for validation and self-esteem, so the fact that my phone wasn't exactly blowing up with potential suitors since everyone knew I was pregnant was quite difficult for me to deal with but at the same time incredibly therapeutic. A decade earlier a shrink handed me a book called Facing Love Addiction and told me that I may have a problem, and of course, being a person who only changed by hitting bottom hard, I refused to read past the first chapter. But sitting here, pregnant and single because I had picked another "winner" of a man, I knew that if I didn't deal with this crippling character defect that there was no way I could be a good mother for my child.
I hadn't heard a peep from or about Jason in several months, which I considered a good thing, but at the same time I was curious if he was still around.
"He has a girlfriend," my friend Heather informed me one day after stalking him on Facebook. "There's a picture of them kissing on his page. She's not that cute."
Though I always imagined moments like this to be traumatic in nature, I was surprised that I didn't feel a thing. It was like that Taylor Swift song "I Knew You Were Trouble" (isn't it a grand moment in life when you can relate to songs written for 16-year-olds?). I knew he was trouble when he walked in. I guess once I was able to accept the responsibility of getting involved with him again , against my better judgment, it was easier for me to let go of my resentment— for now at least.
I also had to let go of my unhealthy body image issues. For years I was praised for my fabulous figure and legs-for-miles, but after months of late night snacking and turning to carbs for comfort, I started to look average—and for a somewhat superficial and shallow LA girl, that wasn't easy to cope with. But I did. One day at a time, I learned to accept my pregnant body and I came to realize that my self worth shouldn't be defined by how good I looked in a bikini. I was the same person.
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Seeking out the root of my mental maladies, I started the process of learning how to love myself from the inside out and not the other way around. They say that you can't truly love another human being until you love yourself, and with this healing in progress and the life that was forming inside of me, I was finally starting to understand what that meant.