When Passions Overflow
It took a few weeks for Ken and me to start talking again. With him it was due to shame and guilt. I was upset as I was victim, even though to be honest I missed sharing the love we had.
Friends had come over to visit one evening and that’s what broke the ice. It was hard to put on a mask and stay vex afterwards. The children were such good playmates and played really well in the playgroup that I took them to every Thursday. A new nursery had opened in the area and were taking on children with sibling discounts. I registered Nadia & Rishon and thankfully they were accepted. Kens work colleague that was giving him a hard time was dismissed and Ken got a promotion, so things were a little easier. It was decided by both Ken and I that it was a good time for me to go back to work. I was accepted for the first application and job interview I applied for, and the hours were perfect to fit around the children. Things were more than good, they were great. Ken and I had put the plate incident behind us. Being freshly married had its ups and downs whilst finding your feet and we just put that blip down to one of our downs.
Everyone saw us as the perfect little family, we looked great as a couple, our children were beautiful, and our home was always welcoming. Valentines, Mother’s Day and my birthday were three of my favourite days of the year as I was always showered with love. Ken spoilt me and I spoilt him even double. We were comfortable in our routine, me going back to work, his promotion and the kids settled at nursery was a blessing.
Christmas was around the corner and we decided to spend it with our parents. The family enjoyed seeing our kids and this was a time where all the little cousins could meet up.
Work was tiring the weeks leading up to Christmas, due to the dropping off the kids, the commute to work, standing up all day cooking then the journey back again had my times of eating out of whack. By the evening I just couldn’t face eating. I was glad when Christmas day came as I didn’t have to do a thing but get myself and the kids ready, which Ken helped me with. Our first stop was Kens parents. They were so happy to see their grandchildren. His sister and her family were there too. We didn’t eat too much or stay very long as we still had to drive down to my parents afterwards.
Mum as usual had cooked up a storm, her traditional Trinidadian Christmas dinner, her freshly baked breads, cakes and sweetbread made the day so special. Maybe due to eating breakfast late and then dinner, although light, at Kens parents; I couldn’t eat a lot at all and was quite tired. Mum looked at me ‘what you mean you’re not hungry, you come all the way here and not eating good food! What happen yuh pregnant or something?’ she chuckled and everyone in ear shot laughed. I smiled and said I was just over full, but inside of me a lightbulb flicked on so fast, pregnant? No way but my mind swiftly looked back at myself over the last few weeks. No no it wasn’t possible anyway, yes we were both forgetful when it came to birth control but I was taking it regardless. As for my menstrual cycle, it was as irregular as our local bus! I set myself a test to put my mind at ease, as my morning sickness was always in the evening; I told myself I would see if I felt overly tired that night and the evening of the day after. There was no need to panic just yet. Obviously I was tired and feeling a little off now but there was still the next day.
Boxing day, we stayed over at mums as Ken had a few drinks and the kids had a late night playing. During the day I clean forgot about checking myself and had a lovely relaxing day after the excitement of Christmas. Before long tiredness came upon me, mum offered me food but I couldn’t and the only drink I fancied was to sip water. Maybe I ate something bad or had a stomach flu. Then my eyes popped wide open and I looked at the time, it was 5pm, I gulped and I’m not sure if the words ‘oh shit’ was audible or if I said it in my mind. It was Boxing Day, all the shops closed really early so there was no going to the pharmacy until the next day. It was going to be a long night.
Mum & dad encouraged us to spend another night and I was happy for the extra pair of hands with the children especially feeling the way I did.
As soon as I woke up, I had a shower and went down to the shops at the bottom of the road. I brought something to hide the clear blue pregnancy test I got in the pharmacy. I hurried back, everyone was preoccupied and didn’t notice my movements. I headed to the bathroom and locked the door. Breathed in and slowly exhaled then began to take the test.
The cross was crystal clear, I was pregnant.
What would Ken say, my mum, my friends??? Baby number three. Three children under five. Wow! I know we wanted children but these were popping out pretty fast. I was happy yet nervous, the thought of gas and air didn’t quite cut it this time; I was a little nervous. Ken and I were getting on like in the early days of our relationship, I was now working and our lifestyle was comfortable. What would he say? I needed a cushion to soften the blow of his words, I thought it best to say something now while we were in mums company. I had gone downstairs, the kids were happily playing with their new toys and Ken was chatting to mum and Cam who had popped in. My sister had a huge smile as she said hello to me and I forced a smile back, I couldn’t hide my nervousness. Cam searched my face and asked what was wrong, why was I looking like I lost a pot of gold. With a half smile I said I hadn’t lost anything, more like I found something. I turned to Ken actually wishing I could’ve retract my words and just hide a while longer. ‘Ken I know this may be not the best of times but I’ve just found out our family is about to get bigger,’ Ken looked bewildered and it wasn’t until mum and Cam’s reaction that he caught on. ‘Maria oh my gosh THREE,’ Cam blurted out, ‘well girl yuh good not me mate, but you and Ken cope well so what’s one more?’ Mum smiled and quipped ‘Ken yuh real have my daughter busy’ giggling but said all children are a blessing and congratulations. Ken still looked out of sorts, he looked at me ‘Now that’s a Christmas surprise present…oh my God, three, how the heck… well girl we just gotta deal with it. It will be okay.’ He reached over and kissed me and rubbed my belly ‘baby number three huh, okay,’ he smiled and bowed his head for a minute or so, rubbed his head as he turned and looked at Nadia and Rishon. ‘Roll on the new year!’ He smiled at me with a reassuring smile and that was what made me exhale after holding a very long breath. It was what I needed. Now I could relax, hey I was married and that’s what married people do, have children…right?!
Then why did I feel so awkward telling people, their responses were more a less the same ‘Three Kids!’ Yes three, what the heck, it wasn’t that I was a baby mama with three different baby daddies. I just smiled along with them and replied, yeah me and my husband will have three.
My pregnancy was just the same as Rishon and I swore I was having another boy. By this time I didn’t mind if it was a boy or girl, well actually I secretly wanted a boy to keep Rishon company as he was surrounded by girls. I worked up until my seventh month then went on maternity leave, but I knew I wasn’t going back in three months. I needed time with my baby and time for it to grow big enough to express his likes or dislike for his childcare when I eventually got back to work. Maternity leave meant maternity pay which was much lower than my salary. We had to make cutbacks which made Ken a little on edge at times. He wasn’t the greatest dealing with change, especially with a decline of finances. There were bouts of bickering between us but not to the extent to get physical.
Ken and I moved from the temporary accommodation to a council short term accommodation. It was a two-bed flat on the ground floor on the outside border of a local estate. We were so happy not to be in a high rise, there wasn’t a back garden; but we did have a small front garden. It was home.
It was the middle of summer and Ken had gone to cricket. Some weekends we would go along for the day, but I was near my due date and running after Nadia and Rishon was not the one. I decided to stay and cook a really nice Sunday dinner. I fancied some callaloo, macaroni pie, stew boiler chicken and rice n peas. Cam and her husband Patrick passed by to see if I was ok and drop some of Patricks vegetables off from his allotment. We had a laugh and they asked again if I needed anything before they left, but I was fine. We said our goodbyes and they hugged and kissed the kids who began to cry as they went through the front door, Patricks heart went soft and said they’ll take them for a few hours so I can chill. My whole insides were smiling. I quickly got a bag sorted for them and off they went.
It wasn’t even five minutes after they left that I felt as if I was peeing myself. I ran to the toilet but just a trickle came out. This was part of the pregnancy I hated, the feeling to pee and be bursting but only a little comes out, nowhere close to what I’d expect. I needed to change my underwear, but as soon as I leant up I was trickling again. Guessing the baby was resting on my bladder I decided to put on a sanitary towel as I wasn’t going to be changing knickers every few minutes. Before long the pad was soaked, when I went to change it I saw a plug of mucus but there was no streak of blood, I was confused. Just then the phone rand it was my auntie Ann who was a midwife, what were the chances on that stroke of luck. After I told her what was happening she said my waters had broken. But I imagined a big gush when that happened, my waters were always broken by the nurse in the past labours. I told her I wasn’t in any pain and too embarrassed to ask if the waters came out the same place as my wee… well they never told us in prenatal classes! She told me to put another pad on so the midwives could see and measure how much waters had gone and ring the labour ward to let them know… Here we go again I thought.
Why did this not happen while Cam was here for Pete’s sake. Reaching for the phone again to call the cricket club and I was stopped in my movement by a pain that shot across my stomach. Before long Ken arrived and we left straight away as the pain was getting intense and the water was coming down faster, this is not at all what I imagined it to be.
After two labours I must have gotten immune to the gas and air as it wasn’t working, in addition to that the midwife offered me Pethidine which I gladly accepted. Ken said he had just hit a six when Terry the barman came running across the pitch waving and shouting ‘KEN KEN HER WATERS AV BROKEN!’ it sounded so comical that I couldn’t hold back the laugh as I thought how it must’ve looked.
I was well behaved in this labour it was relatively calm. Before I knew it, after two more big pushes our second son was born. Ken named him Ethan which means firm and strong. He was little but he had a firm grip and looked like a right little wrestler. Ken was happy, he adored all his children and was an excellent dad.
I loved Ken but when we argued an anger in me stirred up to boiling point and I would get in a fit of rage and lash out. All I wanted was a happy marriage and happy home, a man to call my husband, a devoted husband that cherished his wife. I’m somebody’s child and surely, I deserve to be treated right. Why couldn’t he see the damage he was causing. Why couldn’t my life be like the Crosby show? That couple loved each other, yes it was a show on tv but when Ken and I were out with family and friends that’s who they compared us with, we were a shining example of a good young family.
Our life fell into a cycle of Ken being silent, I would get in a strop as I hated the atmosphere in the house. I would then start to do the dishes but loudly. I would bang everything in frustration and slam the kitchen cupboards with hot tears behind my eyes. Why did we have to be like this? Why can’t we be a normal happy loving family? Where’s my fairy tale? This is not what I envisioned, I felt I was a caged bird that lost its voice, no longer a sweet song to tweet but rather a quiet groan from deep within. It wasn’t a nice environment, the children also seemed on edge and Rishon cried for every little thing. My banging would cause Ken to start cursing and would go out and smoke. He’ll come back in and I’ll start… ‘What’s wrong with you? why won’t you speak to me? what did I do?’ and all I would get is the silent treatment and my temper would engulf into flames shouting and screaming then the floods of tears. What was happening to me, to us. Ken would realise I’d gone over the edge and would take care of the children and get them ready for bed. He would read them a bedtime story while I sat in the kitchen feeling deflated with a bottle of wine. I felt useless and I was failing. Failure was not an option, this marriage had to and will work.
It was after these outbreaks Ken would come to bed and it seems his version of sorry was to be intimate, my mind however grew an army and the battle was real. A fight to separate reality from nightmare memories that were buried in the depths of my soul. Visions of hands touching me and I could identify each hand without seeing the face. I opened my eyes to look at Ken to keep me in the present. Looking still didn’t help as I felt to ashamed to visually see what we were doing. I felt dirty every time. How I had three children was beyond me as sex was difficult most of the time. Ken could feel me clamming up which I know annoyed him, he kept telling me its ok its him, but the scars were real and occasionally they bled.
It was customary that afterwards I would get up and take a hot bath. My hips would be in excruciating pain, not because Ken was rough with me but my joints just seemed to ache so much since having Ethan. The old pain in my knee came back after many years dormant. The bath seemed to calm everything down and relaxed me from the turmoil I had gone through. By the time I got back to bed, Ken was fast asleep snoring. I climbed back into bed and wrapped my body around his, he nestled himself into me so we fit each other like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and sleep came.
This was the peace I needed and craved, when I had it, I grabbed it with both hands and it stayed until the next time Ken had a bad day at work and came home with the mood that started a ticking bomb of events. I knew what would happen, what always happened.
Ethan turned 12weeks and growing well, even though there were far too much arguments between Ken & I, Nadia & Rishon were such joyful children and played together so well and they loved their baby brother.
Ken came home from work, he looked tired, but he was in a relatively good mood. There was no easy way to tell him, He looked at me and saw something was up ‘What is it Maria, what’s happened? The kids ok? I reached in my pocket and took out a white stick, opened my hand to reveal it in its entirety. There it was… a cross! He looked at me and said ‘f***ing hell no way.’