Dear Chump Lady,
I am two weeks post partum. I was left by my husband when I was 6 months pregnant. He had been cheating for who knows how long but, before, during, and after my extremely high risk pregnancy. My pregnancy risk was so rare that I was sent to another state for procedures at 20 weeks gestation.
Yes, my cheater husband came with me both times I was sent out of state and yes, both times he flew home early to screw his girlfriend while I stayed for more testing and results about our son in another state. I was very suspicious of the affair, but he SWORE it was not an affair….until I found the explicit emails after returning home.
When the jig was finally up, (now that I had proof), my cheater husband left.
He didn’t beg me to stay. I told the homewrecker’s boyfriend about the affair and her boyfriend kicked her out. Yes, this girl (I can’t call her a woman because she doesn’t deserve that title) works with my husband. And yes, she knew he is married, knew I was pregnant, and knew it was high risk…everyone at his work knew. Now she probably has her own place and I’m sure my husband and her are together.
My husband didn’t beg to stay. He left. He told me I was always crazy and he was never happy. There was no love and he loves this other girl. I know it’s rationalization and cognitive dissonance, not truth that he is projecting. I know my truth and our history and regardless of how he has rewritten it to try his best to make the marriage invalid, it isn’t true.
To make matters more difficult, my son was born with complications. He is two weeks old and I’m already dealing with pediatric dermatologists, cardiologists, pediatricians, and endocrinologists. My baby was in the NICU and came home on oxygen. Anyway, it is hard to navigate my next chapter. My family has been extremely helpful and supportive with me and the baby. BUT they seem to think I should be over my husband already. (It’s been less than 3 months since D-Day).
I think it would be easier, but I have to see him three times a week because our situation is so fucked up that his custodial visitation is three times a week at my house for a few hours each visit. I spoke to an attorney and she told me those are my rights. We haven’t gone through the divorce or court yet. I don’t want him to have more visitation than that and I was told overnight stays won’t happen until my baby is three years old.
I have the same fears as most other chumps — will he and his girlfriend live happily ever after? Maybe they found real true love with each other? How will I stop myself from punching this girl in the throat if she gets to play house with my child someday? Right now I feel so ugly. The cheating does a number to self esteem, but I didn’t get the divorce diet — I was pregnant so my body feels so fat and ugly. I got stretch marks and a tear from childbirth that might need another surgery later to fix.
My mind is overwhelmed with worry for my son and selfishly for myself. I worry that I’ll never have sex again if my tear caused some weird abnormality. I feel unlovable and have a body that doesn’t seem to be my own with stretch marks and flab. I was in great shape before pregnancy and I didn’t need to find a man then. Will I ever find someone willing to be with me (stretch marked and torn) and also love my son?
Stretched and Torn Chump
First, just ((((HUGS))). Christ, I get some sad letters. Cheater-abandoners of the pregnant are the scummiest scum that ever scummed. I’m so sorry he was so cruel when you and your son were at your most vulnerable.
My husband didn’t beg to stay. He left. He told me I was always crazy and he was never happy. There was no love and he loves this other girl.
What shit excuse is this? Okay, let’s say for the sake of argument that he’s never loved you. IT DOES NOT JUSTIFY WHAT HE DID. Oh hey, it’s okay to abandon you and that high-risk infant there, hanging on for dear life, because I don’t has the feels.
Total STRANGERS would not treat you so callously. Your HUSBAND had a responsibility to you and the child he brought into this world. His feelings are irrelevant. YOU DON’T DO THIS TO PEOPLE. Especially people you promised to honor and love and who you let assume great personal risk (pregnancy, birth, hospitals) on your behalf.
You aren’t some cupcake on a conveyor belt and he’s King Baby Decider. Oh! He chose you! But hang on! Here comes another cupcake with sprinkles he likes better! Did he toss you in the trash? YOU DON’T HAVE SPRINKLES! Work on that!
He owns this shame. NOT YOU. Don’t internalize his rejection — this has nothing to do with you, or your stretchmarks, and everything to do with his withered dead soul.
My mind is overwhelmed with worry for my son and selfishly for myself. I worry that I’ll never have sex again if my tear caused some weird abnormality.
Oh sweetie, every woman feels this way after giving birth. Vaginas bounce back for another ride like Built Tough! Ford trucks. If they didn’t, the world would not repopulate itself.
Not to be too TMI, but I had an episiotomy scar as long as your right arm. (THREE DAYS OF INDUCED LABOR… back labor… posterior kid…went home with a catheter… one never forgets.) And somehow all that raw, bloody postpartum meat configured itself into normal anatomy eventually. Yours will too.
People don’t talk about this stuff, or they didn’t in my day. (Well, maybe they do now on mommy blogs, I’m 20 years past it.) But all new moms have these anxieties. Even ones with loving partners. So the fact your fuckwit bailed makes your natural anxieties that much more cruel. He should be there reassuring you, not insulting you and blaming you for his abuse.
I feel unlovable and have a body that doesn’t seem to be my own with stretch marks and flab.
You are NOT unlovable. You have an amazing body that just pushed out an amazing kid. A real fighter. Wear those stretchmarks as badges of honor. (And they fade. I promise they fade. My abdomen looked like a psychotic person finger-painted zebra stripes on my belly.)
Another thing they don’t tell you about childbirth is that it takes 9 months for your body to morph into this baby machine. It takes another at LEAST 9 months for it to morph back to normal. For your tummy to shrink, for your boobs to shrink, to not have a torso of silly putty. Give yourself time to heal!
Those women who leave the hospital zipping up their skinny jeans? AGENTS OF SATAN.
I was in great shape before pregnancy and I didn’t need to find a man then.
You don’t need to find a man now. Slow down, Stretch. There’s nothing to prove. You are lovable, you are sexy, you are worthy of being cherished and respected. Now is the time to heal, and grieve, and focus on that kid.
Will I ever find someone willing to be with me (stretch marked and torn) and also love my son?
The world is full of loving people. (I found two husbands and several boyfriends in between willing to overlook my stretchmarks). The real issue is knowing your own worth and not allowing anyone into your life or your son’s life who does not measure up. You are NOT damaged goods. You are AMAZING. Look at the strength you’re showing navigating this shit storm! MIGHTY!
And speaking of that shit storm — three times a week you’re tearing open gaping wounds by letting that fuckwit near your child. Talk to a lawyer, but I’d let someone else do those supervised visits with your child. NOT YOU.
Heal, heal, heal. Stretchmarks, and even fuckwits, fade.