Parenthood

Let’s try this again, shall we?

Yesterday, I stopped at her first pregnancy. As I said, Carol was quite uncomfortable and all I could do was sympathize and help ease her discomfort as much as possible. Her pregnancy meant it was the last part of our lives where it would be just the two of us and I couldn’t imagine not having all my love and attention focused on only her anymore.

She was about ready to burst and was so tired of being pregnant, she asked for sex because she heard it might help bring on labour. And so we did it. I’ll always remember that as we were so comfortable with each other that we could awkwardly do it at nine months pregnant and laugh about it together.

A few days later, she went into labour in the morning and by the evening, we had our baby boy. I was so proud of Carol. Sam was a wonderful baby. He was so easygoing but still, it’s a lot of work taking care of a baby, and Carol and I had to adjust to our new roles as parents.

We fought a lot about stupid things. We were just so tired and cranky much of the time. Since Sam was so easy, the grandparents were happy to watch him to allow Carol and I to spend some quality time together.

Our sex life suffered some. Carol had gained some weight from the pregnancy and had trouble getting it off. I didn’t mind. I had my own weight issues before our engagement that took a lot of work to get back to normal and she just had a baby, it was perfectly natural to be carrying some extra weight for a while.

My problem with Carol was never about her weight, it was when she was at a weight she didn’t like but wouldn’t try to change it that made me frustrated. She would eventually hit a point where she’d stop just complaining and put in the work though. In the meantime, she was a lot less confident about her body.

I remember one night in particular, when we finally had the house to ourselves.

“Do you still like me?” she asked as we lay together on the couch, watching a movie. I responded by kissing her passionately. I slid the strap of her tank top down, exposing her breasts.

“You still like these?” she asked, “They look pretty good still, I think.”

“Honey, they’re great and you look beautiful,” I assured her.

I took her to the bedroom and made love to her. I was as aroused by her as ever, we just didn’t have the time like before. It hurt her to both not feel good about herself and not have as much of that special attention from me. We couldn’t do anything about that though. Our sex would now have to be scheduled, no longer frequent or spontaneous.

There are two times during the first year of Sam’s life where I did/said something I regretted.

First, we had an argument where I came close to threatening to leave Carol. “Keep acting like this and you’ll see what happens,” I said, or something along those lines. She set Sam in a high chair next to me and went to the bedroom to cry. I looked at Sam happily playing in his seat and I instantly understood that I was being a goddamn fool. Both of these people were my world and I was just having trouble adapting to my new life as a husband and father. I was so sorry for what I said, and I went and told her so.

The second time, my boss had told me of his great adventure driving across the country, just himself with no plan other than to go from one end to the other. It seemed like a great idea, so I brought it up to Carol.

“Sure, we could do that. That could be fun.” she said.

“Uh, actually I was thinking of just, uh, me going,” I responded.

“Oh…” she said.

I saw the look in her eyes and instantly regretted even considering trying to get away. How could I be so selfish, needing to go on a journey of self-discovery while my wife stays home, taking care of our child? I was trying to escape, that was all. I beat myself up over that for a long time and never dared to consider such a thing again.

Sam grew and continued being awesome and Carol went back to work at a restaurant and became a manager.

I was a black belt in Karate and I was now training MMA. I had a power rack set up in my basement where I did serious barbell strength training. I was considering amateur fighting but no matter how much I tried to work through it, I kept getting stuck in my strength training and my recovery time was always horrible. Sometimes my chest hurt and it was hard to breathe but I just thought it all meant I needed to put in more work and find the right diet and supplements.

I lost my job because the business didn’t have enough web design work for me. Then my dad sold all his farmland, which included the house we lived in.

So, I had no job and needed to buy a house. On the plus side, there was a government program that covered school and living expenses that I qualified for so I would be looking at complementing my web skills with computer programming.

We bought a condo in the city, which was decent enough and all we could afford, and with that we applied for life insurance. I was declined. I went to see my doctor to find out what the issue could be.

That is how my six month nightmare began.

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