Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Big Love

I've finally found a way to watch season 3 of Big Love. I love this show, it's a peek into a world that is foreign to me. The idea of really believing in something is a notion I find enviable. And believe or not, there is something very enticing about the notion of sister wives, and that whole concubine way of life that is appealing. I'm not exactly certain I could share a man's affections, but I could probably get on board with the group mothering and having other like-minded women there to share life with.

But that's not what this is about. And spoiler alert: if you haven't begun season 3, I may be blowing things for you. But I'm pretty sure that (A) there's no one actually reading this, and (B) I'm late enough to this rodeo that I won't ruin anything.

At any rate: Sarah Hendrickson is pregnant. Daughter of devout, polygamist Mormons, high school senior, bright, beautiful, her whole life ahead of her. And she can kiss her future good bye. She's only just found out, so at this point I'm mostly just speculating. Hell, for all intents and purposes, I'm projecting. But here's how I see it: She's a disappointment, she's a disgrace. She's cast her parents in terrible light. Chances are good that her potential just took a free fall. I look at her and think "What if she had been dealt another card? Something other than the dreaded 'early pregnancy' card? What could she have become?"

You see, there are times that I feel I was dealt that card.

It's not exactly a secret: I got pregnant, out of wedlock, when I was 22 years old. I had just graduated from college when it happened. To be exact, I found out the very day I was offered my first real job.

It's not like I was promiscuous. I really and truly wasn't. Obviously I wasn't virtuous until I got married, but still. Let's put it this way: there wasn't any possible way that I could have become a teenage statistic. If you catch my drift. wink wink

So looking back, I kind of think that way: I was dealt a card. The early pregnancy, change your life card. At the time, I felt like I was being punished: I had done something wrong and I had to pay the consequences. Now that I've had 18 years to think about it, I wonder: What about all those girls? How come they didn't have to pay the consequences?? Was I stupider than the other girls? 18 years and 3 other children later, I realize that no, I wasn't stupider, I wasn't being punished for doing something wrong. However, I am FERTILE. Women who have difficulty conceiving aren't being punished. It's unfortunate, and I'm certain maddening for them, but it's not punishment. I find it telling that I can feel such empathy and pain for women who have problems conceiving, but I can't issue myself any forgiveness for my own physical shortcomings. Wait. Scratch that. Couldn't. I can now. I've had time to think about it, to feel my shame, to repent, to question, to grieve, to be angry, to think more and finally to forgive.

But I often wonder: What would it have been like if I had been dealt some other card?

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