I never thought I’d end up as one of those women who have to anxiously wait and see if their children’s father has decided he will pay his child support this month, or whose kids have a different last name than her, or would be so needy. Quite frankly I’m tired of being needy and it tears down my self-worth as people, usually conservatives, continue to blame me for my current situation. But the biggest thing I find is that people who haven’t been through it truly don’t understand it. I don’t understand it and I’m going through it.
The reason that I don’t understand it is that I did everything “the right way”. I dated a good fundamentalist Christian man, didn’t kiss him before the wedding day despite the rumors to the contrary, and went on to be the perfect submissive Christian bitch wife. The Bible said I was to obey my husband, and in fact the pastor who did the ceremony for us proudly stated that he didn’t do wedding ceremonies for couples who refused to have the woman promise to obey in her vows (he also told my husband to enjoy ravaging me on my wedding night and that sounds awful rapey to me but that’s a topic I’ll discuss here at another time).
I got pregnant on my honeymoon, had a child and then was pregnant again eight weeks postpartum which proved I was a good Christian wife who had not denied my husband sex with the “excuse” that I was still tired and hurting. I wasn’t going to be the woman who caused my husband to cheat just because I’d just had a baby and didn’t feel like having sex thus “forcing” him to get his “needs” met elsewhere, I performed my duty like a good Christian wife. I did struggle with submission to him at times and even though I no longer believe a woman has to submit to any man whether she’s married to him or not, sometimes in the back of my mind I still wonder if I’m being punished by God for my lack of submission.
I birthed the next baby and got pregnant again just a few months after my second child was born. We were a good Christian family who was “trusting God with our family size” and therefore eschewed birth control. I was miserable and depressed, but obviously I needed to repent. There’s almost two years between my last two children, although I did have one ectopic pregnancy during that time which resulted in a miscarriage, but right before the last child was born I walked away from fundamentalism. Maybe that’s what I’m being punished for.
And yet, after doing everything “the right way” I’m a single mom to four small children, I’m looked on with disgust and hear passive aggressive comments about how I’m not married and how I should have learned not to spread my legs after the first one, that I need my vagina sewn shut because I’m evidently too stupid to figure out where babies come from, that I’m a slut with four kids to different fathers. These are things people automatically assume about me simply because I am a single mom. These things hurt. Even those who know my story have maintained that my husband cheated on me because I didn’t give him enough sex, that I had gotten a bit too fat, that I didn’t pay attention to him because I had kids now, or that I married him just so I could get US citizenship.
None of those things are true about me, but those are the ugly passive aggressive things that I hear people say about me because they “accidentally” said it louder than they thought they did. I’m not asking for sympathy, but there’s a reason they say you should walk a mile in another man’s shoes before judging. Even if my kids did all have different fathers, and I had kissed my husband and had sex with him before I was married, even if I was a slut, it doesn’t make the condemnation ok. We are all people created in the very image of God, and he loves us all.