I had the perfect marriage. I met Adam* after a friend had introduced us, and things were great. We got hitched 3 years after dating. I got pregnant a year into our marriage, and that’s when he started acting up, and things rapidly went downhill.
Adam started having late nights out, always giving the reason that he had to bring clients out for drinks. I know this is an old trick in the book, but I believed him because… it was him, the man who was always honest and open with me from day 01. The man who I fell deeply in love with. The man who was the father of my unborn child.
Sometimes, he’d get calls in the wee hours, which he’d claim were from his boss, who was based overseas. I believed him. He started going for late-night drives. When I asked him to take me along, he refused and only returned a couple of hours later. I still never doubted him.
On one occasion, I experienced such bad cramps (in my 2nd month) that I had to take a cab to the hospital on my own as I was unable to get hold of Adam. He came to visit me, but ended up getting into a mindless argument about how I was becoming a burden to him. I swept all these things under the carpet – because I only wanted to see things through rose-tinted glasses – and this was not the best time to find flaws in our marriage. We were having a baby after all – we had to make this work.
Our sex life had also come to a standstill – he repeatedly told me he was tired and stressed from work. I was in the early stages of my pregnancy and read that it was safe to still have sex, but also (since this was new to me) consulted my gynae and he had given me the green light.
I initiated it a few times, but he always rejected my advances. His excuse was “I don’t want to hurt the baby. How can you even be horny at a time like this?” This happened a few times during the course of my first trimester. You only need to be turned away so many times before you get the picture. I was insecure about my changing body, but that’s part of pregnancy, isn’t it?
I felt hurt, unwanted and unloved.
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Then the day came (I was 6 months into my pregnancy), when a close girlfriend SMS-ed me saying she had something urgent to tell me. She sent me a Facebook link and asked if the man in the picture was Adam. With a knotted stomach, I clicked on the link there it was – Adam’s picture on a famous Singapore nightclub’s photo album- kissing another woman, on the lips!
Adam, my husband, the player? I had never seen that side of him. I scrutinised the picture – she was tall, charming and drop-dead gorgeous. And here I was…a round ball of pregnant. I could literally feel my usual confidence suddenly leave my body.
Yes, maybe there were signs, but I never once thought that he was cheating on me, especially not at this time when we were starting a family! I just thought he was super busy and caught up with work.
What was I to do? Should I leave him? How will I bring up this child on my own? What will people think? All the questions starting pouring in my head.
I could feel the room spinning. I couldn’t breathe. I collapsed on the floor and started bleeding. The next I knew… I was waking up in KK Hospital’s bed.
What happened to Norah next?
In the bright lights of the hospital ward, and amidst my grogginess, I could make out that Adam was there. He came to me, asking me what had triggered this and wanted a rundown of what had happened at home.
I completely lost it. I showed him the picture from my phone and asked for an explanation. His face dropped. He gave no lies, and told me he was having an affair – it had been going on for the past 1 year. Her name was Kelly* and she was a model from Thailand. They met in a club and he didn’t think that the casual flirting would turn into something deeper, and more dangerous.
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He blamed me for not being the same woman he had married. My mood swings and my ‘unpleasant demeanour’ ticked him off. Apparently, I was making him feel too tied down, even before the baby had come. “I am pregnant! What do you expect me to be? Not have mood swings, look prim and proper all the time?” I blurted out in frustration.
I felt like I was dealing with a child. How immature was he? Did he think life would be the same once the baby came? He clearly could not handle parenthood.
Taking the easy way out and chasing another woman at a time like this was his solution. And not one I wanted to put up with. He told me how he fell for her because she was ‘less complicated’ and ‘so attractive’ that he couldn’t stop himself. He realised that he wasn’t ready to be a father. My response to that: “You’re not ready to be a man.”
I didn’t want to know more details about their ‘relationship’. All I cared about was what to do next. I never planned to have this child on my own. Everything just changed, within a matter of minutes. Did I have a back-up plan? Of course not. Which mum-to-be would think that she’d be welcoming her new baby alone, without her husband?
I had so many questions…. am I financially okay to have this baby alone? Where will we stay? I have to deliver on my own? Who’s going to help me through labour? How will people perceive my child who will be ‘fatherless’, how will I support myself emotionally through this journey?
Heck, why did he have to be such a jerk and ruin everything we had? All the dreams of painting the nursery, signing up for baby swim classes, shopping for baby products – why did he make such promises when he was already wanting out?
That same night, as soon as I got discharged from the hospital (luckily the bleeding was nothing serious), I moved out and went to my parent’s house. I told them that I needed someone to care for me as Adam didn’t know how to nurse me back to health. I needed to be strong for my baby. I didn’t dare tell my parents that my marriage was over – I didn’t think they could handle the stress.
My brother packed all my stuff and brought it over for me. I told him everything, and he asked if a divorce was what I really wanted. He told me that it would not be nice for my child to grow up without a father, and I had to be prepared for people saying things to my son (I was having a baby boy). And asked if I was strong enough and ready for all that?
Of course, I wanted the best for my child, and I didn’t want him growing up without a dad. But the pain of staying with a cheating husband was too much to handle. I could never look at Adam the same way again, ever. I had to make the right decision for us.
What did Norah do and how did she recover from this blow?
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I decided to divorce Adam, and this infuriated him. He started harassing me and sending me threatening text messages. I tried to ignore these messages, but I have to admit, it wasn’t easy. I cried myself to sleep every night, and I was worried sick about how this would affect my baby.
My parents never knew the real reason why we got divorced. They never probed either. My dad’s advice was: “Your son needs you, sweetheart. Don’t harp on the past, it’ll only make you sadder. I know it’s hard, whatever the reason was that you left Adam, but you have to think about bringing up this baby, and giving him the best. Adam is in your past, and although he may not be in your future, your child will be.
My son *Greg is now a year and a half and is part of a very happy home. He is a cheerful child and has constant love being showered on him. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I do know that I am doing so much better now and having him is the biggest gift in the world to me. There were hard times (times I really struggled) when I freshly delivered and took on the role of a new mum, but having a supportive and loving family and amazing friends made all the difference. Am for that I am eternally grateful.
Dads-to-be don’t get a free pass for bad behaviour just because their wives are pregnant and ‘not the same’. They should realise that a woman undergoes tremendous physical and emotional changes during pregnancy. A little understanding—on both sides—can go a long way.
We wish Norah and Greg all the happiness and joy in the world. Hats off to her for being such a brave young lady, and taking on the role of a single mum so beautifully.
*All names in this story have been changed to protect the identity of those involved
(Story as told to Pavin Chopra)
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