I never would have imagined when I got married on a blustery, but gloriously sunny Valentine's morning that four years later my divorce would become final. And on 9/11 at that. I always believed that at this stage of my life, I would be settled in a comfortable upper-middle class existence. I would have the husband, the house, the children and the career. Instead, I now have no husband, one child who will be an only child, a satisfying career (albeit not the one of my dreams), and I am starting over at 42.
I loved my ex-husband deeply. We shared plenty of great times. But our marriage was also wrought with struggle. Financial struggles, fidelity struggles and fertility struggles. Almost all of our short four-year marriage was spent desperately trying to conceive. Exhausted from years of failed fertility treatments, I decided to take a year off from trying. My ex vehemently disagreed. He warned that tomorrow is never promised, and urged that we keep trying. I half-heartedly agreed to a modified effort. I insisted that for the duration of that year, we abandon the word "trying;" I take no meds and see no doctors. We would simply let everything be and see if nature would take its course.
As agreed, the beginning of the new year meant the beginning of a new cycle of fertility treatments. Despite that, I made up any excuse that I could muster not to return to the doctor. I was exhausted from it all. I did not want to revisit the disappointment and despair of failed attempts. My faith was lost. And then came my miracle.
A few days before the Memorial Day holiday, I went to the doctor for a pre-treatment physical and blood work. I nearly passed out when the doctor called during the weekend to tell me that there was no need for us to go forward. I was already pregnant. My husband and I had finally conceived -- naturally.
During my first trimester, I was in a perpetual state of awe and elation. My dream had finally come true. Other than daily nausea and a little vomiting here and there, I felt wonderful.
My second and third trimesters were a whole different story. I was suddenly trapped in a nightmare. I was betrayed, alone and unexpectedly planning for divorce and the birth of my son at the same time. Throughout my marriage, there were indicators that my husband was less than faithful. I entertained leaving the marriage many times for that reason, but could not bring myself to do it. I loved him and desperately wanted the marriage to work. I wanted to have a family. So through it all, I tried, tried and tried again.
This time, however, the handwriting was on the wall. I could not overlook, forgive or salvage this one. While on bed rest during the second trimester of my pregnancy, a process server came to my home. He was looking to serve my husband with papers from Family Court ordering paternity testing for a three-year old little girl. Whether he turned out to be the child's father (and he did) was secondary. The fact that there was a woman out there who was able to make such a claim was enough for me to know that we had reached a point of no return. My marriage was over and my life as a single mother was beginning.
For me, divorce at 42 means having the will to carry on after the biggest of heartbreaks, and the courage to believe that the best is yet to come. It means remaining grateful for my long-awaited beautiful son as we forge ahead on a road that has its bumps, curves and potholes, but never leaves us lost. Divorce at 42 means for the first time ever having a clear vision of who I am and what I want as I evolve as a woman and mother.
Who knows if I will ever have a second chance at love. I certainly hope so. But in the meantime, I am loving me, my son and life because, thankfully, it always goes on.