When we started all of this back in November, I didn’t care that you were in Los Angeles, where I had just moved from. I didn’t care that you were 46 years old, ended a marriage just 2 years ago, and already had a son. I didn’t care about anything except for how special you made me feel and how awesome it was talking to you for 8 hours a night, a week in a row before you flew me to LA and booked a flight to Portland. I thought, we’ll figure these things out as we go… I just hadn’t felt that way in so long… At this stage of my life, what I’m looking for is different than it used to be. You seemed to be honestly looking for someone to share your life with, and you said exactly that on one of our Skype calls. In fact, one of the things I admired about you was just how important it was to you, spending time with your son even though your marriage didn’t work out. I remember telling you so, and sharing with you a story from my own family. You replied with “I’m just this guy, you know?” A line I later realized you took off of Wil Wheatons Twitter bio. Smooth faux humility there. I totally fell for it. I flew there, you flew here, I flew there… In 2.5 months we spent more days and nights together than I probably would have if I was dating someone up the street. For Christmas I took us on a flying lesson. Flew us to Catalina and back… Probably one of the most romantic things I’ve ever done for someone. I was giving it my all, despite my fears. I’ve been single for a really long time, but you don’t get everything you want without risking everything you’ve got. So I went for it… We texted each other almost all day every day. Sent each other daily photos and videos. Constant communication and your reassurance made me feel like we were really going somewhere. Like we had potential… if nothing else.
Realistically though, it was only 2.5 months in when I found out I was pregnant. It was the night before you were leaving for CES and I asked you to get on Skype. You have no idea what it was like for me all day long, knowing about this. Taking 2 tests at home, calling a girlfriend, my grandmother… going to a doctor to confirm. I was scared to tell you, scared of how you’d react. Scared period, regardless of you. Though you were just as thrown as I was, you said you’d be there for me. You said we’d “figure this out together. You won’t go through this alone…” You have no idea how relieved that made me feel.
You asked me if I’d thought about an abortion. I mean, politically, I’m pro-choice. I don’t think the government has the right to take choices away from a woman in either direction. Because abortion is personal. That being said, personally, I couldn’t wrap my head and heart around an abortion as a last ditch method of birth control. I knew it wasn’t the way I wanted to go. You said you understood, in fact, you said had I chosen abortion it would have upset you as you were raised Catholic. I was still scared, but felt a lot better. I knew I wasn’t alone, that my child would have a great father, and that somehow… things would be ok.
A week later, I came down to LA to see you and I asked you for two things. 1. To keep the doors open where it came to us. We’d only known each other a short time, but no matter what is or is not to come romantically, for life we will be connected through this child and that’s bigger than the both of us. We should keep getting to know each other and just let the path reveal itself. We should focus on a deep friendship first and foremost. It’s what I always asked of you: we should be like best friends, honest, loyal, transparent in our fears and mature in our dealings. You agreed. And 2. I explained that since I had been consulting I did not have insurance through work, and (like an idiot) hadn’t gotten any on my own. I told you that the doctors had told me at about 8-10 weeks I’d need to see an OBGYN. Get bloodwork, ultrasound, etc. I let you know that I’d need you to cover that while I figured out how to secure healthcare, and I asked you to come with me to the appointment. You agreed.
Two days later, the night before I was meant to leave, you came back from work and had done a complete 180. You informed me that you were “not going to let this baby dictate the rest of your life”, that “if I choose not to have an abortion then you are choosing to have this baby, and you should do that knowing that I will not be involved in raising it, I won’t be a father to it”. You did, however, say that you would uphold any “financial obligations” you know you have.
I cried. I yelled. I begged. How is choosing NOT to have an abortion choosing TO have a child? Neither of us “chose” for this to happen. Just because abortion is available as an option, doesn’t mean it’s a simple “choice” or something every woman would want to do. Being unwilling to have an abortion doesn’t mean that I suddenly am choosing to do this, and choosing to do this on my own. Of course I cried, yelled… should I have thanked you? Of course, your reaction of “See? Look at how we communicate! We can’t raise a child together!” only served to infuriate me more. I mean, we had never had a single moment of stress or strain in communication, but when someone is saying the most obscene things, does a total 180 in a life altering situation… NOT breaking down would be crazy. Especially after you say that if I were to discuss this situation publicly, on my Twitter or blog, that you would sue me for “extortion”. No, that shouldn’t infuriate me at all! Extorting you for what? Prenatal care?? Helping to pay for a crib? Please.
After returning to LA, we attempted to communicate over 2 Skype calls and maybe 5 emails. I researched how much it would cost to take care of the first round of medical expenses. Including lab work, we were looking at about $1200. You stated that you would send me $300, not even half. I told you that I did not have savings to draw on to pay the difference and that $300 wouldn’t get you the appropriate tests *anywhere*. I provided you with the phone numbers of the doctors office and lab so you could verify my numbers. I explained that moving forward, we wouldn’t need to pay cash for all expenses but that I wouldn’t obtain insurance soon enough to get to the doctor in time for this first visit. You refused to budge, and to this day I don’t understand why. I mean, I spent more on your damn Christmas present. YOU spent more on the last minute flight you booked to get me to you. You’re not living in a mansion on the water but you’re not exactly poor. Aren’t you a lawyer? Aren’t you Senior VP of business relations or some such for one of the top talent agencies in the country? Aren’t you head of digital for them as well, and representing some of the top names in the digital web video space? Why would you try to nickel and dime the healthy start of this baby, even if you are choosing not to be an active parent? At the end of the day, you sent all of nothing.
After literally a couple of emails exchanged over this, you sent one last email full of ridiculous insults, accusing me of not being trustworthy. It should be said I have offered to get an amnio, at risk to the growing baby (1 in 400 amnios kill the fetus), to establish paternity even though we both know it’s not necessary - to which you have not replied. After this email, you simply stopped communicating with me.
For more than 3 weeks you have not replied to any text, DM, email, or voicemail that I have sent. You have contributed literally nothing towards this pregnancy to date. I have asked for your lawyers contact information, since you clearly do not want to communicate with me, and you have ignored that too. I did not receive any prenatal care in my first trimester, which is sadly, very risky. Last week I was finally able to make it to a doctor, because I was able to get state insurance. Luckily, I’ve been told the baby is healthy. I sent you a picture of the sonogram. You ignored that too.
I’ve held off in getting too public about this because I didn’t want to alienate you from the possibility of deciding to help. I wanted to make it easy for you to change your mind. I’d hoped that you’d realize that you don’t have to communicate with me to send a check. However here I am in my second trimester, and I haven’t gotten any help from you - morally or otherwise. I also felt humiliated. It doesn’t feel good to be “that girl”. It’s deeply effected my self-esteem… why does someone I thought (past tense) so much of think I am somehow deserving of this? How can he put me through this? What is wrong with ME that makes me worthy of THIS?
Tonight though, you unfollowed me on Twitter and that just struck my last nerve. You have no idea what I’m going through. What this has put my family through. I’ve had to ask my retired grandparents, who are on a fixed income, to help me out financially. I’m trying to plan for the 3 months I won’t be able to work after I have the baby. I’m trying to close new clients and find a job, and the clock is ticking as my belly is growing. I’m in a new city and state where I have a limited support system, (I haven’t even been here a year) but where I can raise this baby in a house with a yard rather than an apartment and smog. I would have moved back to LA if you wanted to be involved. I just wanted this child to know both their parents. I have a feeling you’re thinking, “Well if it’s that hard maybe you should have not had it.” But it will only be THIS hard until you are MADE to help provide. Parenting alone doesn’t scare me. Supporting it alone while working full time and needing childcare, that does scare me. A lot. Just like making ends meet through this time scares me, and having enough to get by during maternity leave scares me. Companies are not obligated to pay you during that time. I wonder what they expect women to do? Rent and bills don’t go on maternity leave.
It also breaks my heart that you’re taking from this baby, OUR baby, an entire family. A set of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins… a brother. Half or not, a sibling for each of them. Building that wall doesn’t make these people any less family. It just makes you the man who prevented the connection. What example do you think you are setting for your son? He’s of an age where he’s looking to you to learn to be a man. Is this the man you will raise him to be? If he has unprotected sex and gets a girl pregnant will you suport him in fleeing from his responsibility? Is this the role model you really are? Apparently.
The reality is, there is nothing I could EVER do to justify your actions. You could choose to do something, anything, until a child support order is in effect. You SHOULD be sure this child has the opportunity to start off healthy and happy. You should NOT be adding more stress to my life. I did not choose to have a baby just because I couldn’t have an abortion. I didn’t choose this any more than you did. What I did choose is to make sacrifices in order to make this work, because I know in time I will find my groove and the reward will far outweigh any loss of selfish and petty indulgences.
It infuriates me to see you acting like none of this is going on. It infuriates me that you think you can just ignore all of this. Your public face is that of a good father, a standup part of the community, a successful executive who cares… but really you dumped me a week after I told you I was pregnant and have willfully decided to be a deadbeat in every way possible.
If you want to sue me for extortion for sharing my story, go right ahead. You have my address. I’d love the precedent of that… a deadbeat father suing the pregnant mother of his child for attempting to “extort” prenatal care by way of social media. You, George Ruiz, the head of digital, the advocate of storytelling, the “internet guy”. I’m turning to a public forum because you have left me literally no other means to communicate. I will not be bullied into silence when I need my strength and voice the most. I will not sit idly by and suffer on my own. I will not allow you to make a victim out of me. That’s not who I am. Not now, not ever.
I find a little bit of comfort in the memory of my stepfather, who was a true father to me growing up. He sadly passed 8 years ago. My family was nowhere near perfect, that’s for sure… but I loved him, and he loved me. I was not “his”, by blood… but we were each others, in our hearts. One day this baby will call someone daddy, and he will be a worthy man.
Whether or not that is you is entirely in your hands.