So I'm posting this a little bit late.. Cuz I'm something like 21 weeks pregnant now but that's okay. A bunch of things came up and I ended up having to wait to post this but decided to keep the title. Enjoy.
Sixteen weeks pregnant. You don't need to ask how that happened when I've only been married for three weeks- one, because that is exceedingly awkward, and two, because I am just going to tell you.
Believe me; it is not easy for me to share these things. I have been dreading it since I found out that I was pregnant.
So why am I sharing it? That is a really difficult question for me to answer, so bear with me while I try my very best.
I believe in honesty. True blue, transparent honesty. I believe it not only leaves room to show my real character despite my decisions, but helps people trust me because they know they'll always get the raw truth. I also believe very strongly that my story shows that you can be at the bottom of the bottom and STILL make your way to the top. And that it's not about what you've done, what mistakes you've made, etc., it's about what you decide to do to move forward with your life that matters.
And on an LDS note, repentance is a process. Read the continuous atonement if you're not sure as to what I'm referring to. In short, it means that repentance is expected to be a process with bumps that continue as you continue to climb the ladder, rung by rung, of where you need to be. A person rarely just decides to repent and then never has the temptation again. Most people have to struggle to be able to learn to control that temptation, which doesn't come without the occasional mess up along the way.
I also chose to write a blog post instead of calling everyone because one.. that'd take FOREVER, and two, I'm already crying just writing this. It is extremely hard for me to pour my heart and soul out to one person, let alone millions. With all of the other extremely painful and stressful things going on in my life right now surrounding custody issues, health problems in my extended family, etc., I do not feel like I have the capacity to stretch myself any farther than this. Oh and three, I believe it's easier on you and less awkward for us both for you to have the space to read this and process it on your own time before you respond.
That being said, be patient with me, as I feel like I need to start from the beginning and work my way up. I promise I'll try not to ramble and consume too much of your time.
I met Taylor in September of 2011. He was perfect and I really wanted to date him. His good nature and spirit immediately drew me to him. I also was aware that he had just recently returned to practicing his faith in the LDS church after a messy marriage and divorce that led him eventually to drinking in alcoholic proportions. I myself having before drowned my sorrows with alcohol, could relate to him almost immediately. I also recognized how incredibly hard it is to go back to church after being gone for such a long time.
I was, at the time, just starting the repentance process with my new bishop at my family ward. Though I had found my lost faith through my pregnancy a long time before, I found it harder to practice with a big red A on my chest. I was very ashamed of my situation and let it get the best of me and keep me away from where I had needed to be. I had some not so great experiences with past ward members, bishops, with their comments and disapproving looks. I felt like I was a second class person who wasn't worthy of being in the church with them. I felt judged. I got sick of people not taking me seriously as a young, single, LDS mother, and I just gave up for a while. Seeing Taylor trying so hard to just jump back into things gave me hope and strength.
He read the entire Book of Mormon during that time which completely inspired me to step up my game and get into the scriptures myself. It showed me that there was no excuse for sitting back and not doing what every other member was expected to do. Was God judging me? No. Was every member of the church going to judge me? No. There were lots that supported me. I also realized that I could be the one that could change the minds of the members who were judging me and who didn't support me. I started diligently reading my scriptures for the first time in my life, and I fell in love. I started to go to church, alone, with a screaming baby, embarrassed or not, and stay the entire three hours. Taylor tells me that I pushed him to keep going as well. I helped him stay sober and helped him keep on in his journey to regain his faith. We quickly became each others support.
And our relationship progressed quickly- through trials, bumps, first birthday parties, extreme honestly, and letting each other in to the darkest parts of our lives. I knew very early on that I wanted to marry Taylor. I was so in love with him, it was crazy. I have the tendency to not get very attached to guys, and if I do, it takes months and months, so it was very odd to me. Rowan, my son, also adored Taylor from the beginning. He almost instantly liked him as much as he liked any of my brothers or my dad, which instantly melted my heart. I wanted so badly for Rowan to have a father in his life who was there for him every day.
Taylor later decided he loved me too and could see himself marrying me. We both were scared from the relationship moving so quickly but we both prayed about it and knew it was right. We then consulted our parents and got their blessing on our plans as well. We went ring shopping shortly after and found just the one that I wanted. We quickly started to plan our future together.
To be clear, we did not decide to get married because we got pregnant. We did not know that I was pregnant at the time that we decided to get married or went ring shopping.
Soon after we had gotten the ring back from sizing it at the jeweler, I had suspicion I was pregnant. We decided that, pregnant or not, we needed to move the wedding up because we needed to start over with the repentance process together so that we could be sealed in the temple to each other, my son Rowan, and the new baby.
We had known from the beginning of our relationship that it was going to be very hard for us not to take things too far since I had a child and he had been married previously. We were very open, honest, and proactive about it. After about a week of suspecting I was pregnant, we found out that I was. We actually found out really early on which was a blessing. We prayed to make sure that this baby was ours to keep and we both got a very strong answer that this baby was ours and chose to come to us at this time for a reason. We immediately told our families about the pregnancy and got engaged.
Although the circumstances were devastating, our families were so happy that we had found each other. My parents told me that with Taylor in my life, I was the Melissa they had always hoped and prayed I would become. They told Taylor that he was exactly what they had prayed for their little girl who they had watched struggle so much through single parenthood. Taylor's family told us to be excited for this new life. They welcomed me into their family with open arms, excited that Taylor had finally found the one. They told me that they had seen him grow so much from our relationship and also from his relationship with my little boy, Rowan.
We knew we were blessed to find each other. We knew we were meant to be a family. We knew that we had both struggled so much in our search for each other- through marriages and unexpected pregnancies- and here we had finally found each other.
I tried to hold onto that. I tried to be happy. While Taylor was excited for a new baby, I was devastated. I felt unclean and disgusting. I felt undeserving of this new little life, when so many families can't have children, I have had two unexpectedly. I dreaded the mean things people would say. I was so afraid of disappointing everyone in my life. I knew my family was behind me but I needed to find the strength within myself to be able to cope with this. My last experience being pregnant was traumatic in a lot of ways so I was terrified that this pregnancy would be the same. I had to remind myself that it wasn't. I had an amazing man by myself who has truly held me up through every step of being pregnant. He seriously knows more about my pregnancy sometimes than I do, remembers appointments better, is more aware of what week I am at and what fruit size my baby is.
About a week or so into our engagement, I got sick. It was morning sickness so severe that in seven weeks, I lost 15 lbs, was in and out of the hospital, had to go to the doctors office weekly to make sure the baby was surviving, and was basically on bed rest. Sound, movement, stimulus of any kind would instantly make me throw up. I couldn't even swallow pills or food for myself to throw it back up. I looked as disgusting as I felt. Every rib stuck out. I watched my body deteriorate along with my mind. I became really depressed about the situation. My mom had to take over every wedding plan. I was barely able to take my pictures, and was afraid I would be too sick to even get married. I finally found a medicine that kept my nausea in check an alright amount and slowly started to get better. The day of my wedding, you might remember me sitting down- at the point in time, I was only able to stand a few hours each day without passing out or starting to vomit uncontrollably.
I had to try very hard to not let all of the circumstances get to me. Taylor and I looked to the Lord as a couple for our strength. It was a huge test of our faith but with every blessing and every prayer, we got through it. I was so humbled from all the help from the Carter and Tomlinson families. I was amazed at how Taylor really was there for me and Rowan 110%, no matter what.
I don't know why we got pregnant when we did. I know that Rowan literally saved my life for coming the way he did at the time he did. Sometimes I guess it isn't about knowing all the answers. Sometimes it's just about getting back up on the horse and moving on. Now, after all of the plans have been made, and we are married, I feel like I am now allowed to be excited. I have started to let go of the "mistakes" that we made in the past and move onto our future. We are planning to be sealed a year or so from now, depending on how long Taylor's temple divorce ends up taking. Rowan is going to be a big brother. Taylor is going to have his first baby.
Yes, by the time the baby comes, I'll be 22 with two kids- a two year old and a newborn.
Yes, Taylor got an insta-family of a wife and two children.
Yes, we are going to struggle financially.
Yes, it is going to be HARD to be newly married and have stresses of children on top of that.
What you need to know is that God would not give us a challenge we couldn't handle.
He is giving us this challenge for us to learn something. Rowan and baby#2 agreed to come this way. Taylor and I agreed to all of this as well. I had a blessing given to me shortly after Rowan was born that said that Rowan chose to come at the time that he did and was excited for me to be his mother. It also said that I had other children waiting to be in my family that had chosen me and were also excited to have me as a mother.
And for the non-religious: Look how far I've come in the last two years and tell me that I can't do this. Look at how far Taylor has come in the last year and tell me he can't do this either. Spend a few minutes in the same room with Taylor, Rowan and I to see how strong our family bond is. Taylor and I have a love for each other that is fairytale status. Rowan and I have a special bond from me being a single mother to him for so long. Taylor loves Rowan like he is his own son. Rowan absolutely adores Taylor more than anyone else on this planet. I can't even get mad when Rowan is constantly more excited to see his daddy than he is to see me. Even when we got back from our honeymoon, Rowan only wanted to be held by his daddy. Anyone that knows Rowan knows that he is a happy, healthy, well behaved little boy who has never had to go without. We are good parents and we pride ourselves in that.
We are going to finish school.
We are going to get careers.
We are going to get sealed in the temple.
We are going to have a happy and successful marriage and family.
We are going to provide for our kids with everything they need.
When it comes to mean comments, I've heard them all. I believe that you are not to condemn the sinner, but are to condemn the sin. We see ourselves as an example of taking our mistakes and problems and ultimately making them into a positive thing by doing the best with what we have to make the right decisions moving forward. We are also actively working on the repentance process and couldn't be happier with how much it is changing and enriching our lives. We are so grateful to have this opportunity to improve and strengthen our faith with some extra motivation to do so.
We need your support and love. Awkwardness and silence concerning the situation doesn't help. You are more than welcome to ask any questions you would like. I am always just a phone call away. Your openness and honesty is very important to us. We would prefer that you ask us rather than ask others or wonder what the answer is. It is an awkward situation in itself in its entirety but it doesn't have to continue to be that way moving forward if it is handled correctly by all parties involved.
We love you guys.
We are happy and we are moving forward which is all that matters.
It is not where you've been, but where you're going that matters.
We're living proof of that.