Wish I Could Tell You, by Martha Conners (A Pen Name)

Dear Matt,

I have a secret I’ve been keeping inside for years, one that haunts me at night. I carry it around with me, always on my mind, ever-present. I think about what I’ve done, why I did it, and it all makes sense when I think back on it, but right now, with my new life, where I’m at now, and I can’t believe I ever did to you what I did.

But you don’t even know what I did. I don’t know where you are, or how to find you, or what I’d do even if I knew how to find you. So the only thing I know to do is to write it here in a letter I can’t ever send to you. I do wonder, if I could, would I send it? I don’t know.

So here goes…

I lied to you, years ago. Do you remember, Matt, when I told you I was pregnant and you doubted it? Your family told you it wasn’t true, and that I didn’t look pregnant, didn’t act pregnant?  Well, I was pregnant. When I told you, I had just had a positive pregnancy test at the doctor’s office, but I wasn’t very far along.

Your family was so awful to me, thinking I was trying to trap you, coerce you into marriage or something. I wasn’t. I mean, you and I both know I would have married you in a heartbeat, but that wasn’t my point. I didn’t plan on getting pregnant any more than you planned on getting me pregnant. Why is it that most people seem to ignore the man in the equation? I mean, you could have used protection just as easily as I could have, right?

That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I was pregnant. But at about three months pregnant, I went to the doctor with some spotting, and I was afraid to tell you, certain your family would just keep telling you I was lying. I was so tired of hearing you tell me all the awful things they said about me, so I never said anything. A week or two later, gushes of blood, pain, fever… I never went to the doctor.

Ten years later, when I wanted to start my own family, I was told I did have some scarring. That was my punishment, I guess.

But I never told you I lost the baby, because I didn’t want your family to think they were right. So when you finally broke away from your family and came to me and said you wanted to be a part of the baby’s life, that you wanted to be a part of my life, I shut you down and told you not to worry about it. I moved away. A friend in California took me in for a while, then I later moved up to Oregon. I live elsewhere now, and you’d have no idea who I am. My first name is common, I’m married now, so I realize even if you wanted to, you couldn’t find me any easier than I can find you right now.

The irony here is that I sent you a letter after I left, lying to you, telling you that you had a son, his name, his birthdate, and that he was placed for adoption. I even sent you a picture, which was of a friend’s child. THAT letter, I sent to you. This one, I can’t. This is the one you should get, not that one.

That was nearly twenty years ago now. All this time, you’ve thought you had a kid out there, every day, you have wondered what he was like, where he was, if you’d ever get to meet him, see him, know him… and the truth is, there is no kid. I miscarried before I was even out of the first trimester, and I was so ashamed of the lies and the fear and the family thinking me a gold-digging whore that I ran away and let you live with the pain that comes from thinking something this big and it not being true at all.

I feel guilty from this. I don’t know how to fix it. I was sixteen years old… I had no family, few friends, no money. I wasn’t trying to trap you, but I sure wasn’t wanting to be trapped either.

I’m making excuses though. What I did was wrong.

Do you know? Did you suspect? Do you even think about me anymore? Do you ever wonder about a son you think you have and don’t? I wonder about a child we might have had but didn’t. I know how much it can hurt, even now, when I finally do have my own children and know how wonderful that can be, so I know how much it hurts to think you might have one and have missed knowing him.

I have no excuses for the lies I told. I was hurt and I wanted to hurt you too, and it was wrong. I have tried to forgive myself and on most days, I do okay with it, but I still wonder about you and wonder about your wondering.

I’m so sorry for the pain I caused. I’m sorry I was young and stupid. I’m sorry I made the mistakes I did. I wish I could change it. I wish I could go back and do it differently.

But I hope your life is a good one, and that you have prospered in spite of what I’ve done to you. I really do mean that. Maybe, who knows, if the world thinks the truth should come out, God or some divine power or something will bring the truth to light. I have told my current family, or at least, my husband knows, and he understands. That gives me hope maybe, just maybe, you would eventually understand too.

Again, I am so sorry, Matt.

Take care,

~~Martha Conners is a pen name, not a real name, for a real writer who works mostly writing content on the web for websites like Associated Content, Examiner and others. Given the nature of the letter, Martha believes it’s best if her real name and “Matt’s” real name are kept secret, but she appreciates the ability to share this burden and how freeing it is to admit it openly, even if her name isn’t attached to it.


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3 Responses to “Wish I Could Tell You, by Martha Conners (A Pen Name)”

  1. terri elders says:

    Put away the guilt, lady. This is a powerful story. You were sixteen and scared, and wanted your boyfriend to feel ashamed. I wonder if he’s still wondering about that child that never was…or if he gained enough wisdom from this experience to use condoms in future encounters. Glad you decided to post this. I know other women need to read such tales of teenage terror and treachery so they don’t feel so all alone in their own memories.

  2. WindowShopping says:

    Sometimes the best we can do is to seek serenity and wisdom. It’s not a clean process, as you well know. You have regrets about choices you made when you were very young, scared, faced with choices you weren’t really prepared to make… But you’ve come to realize you were not the only one making choices, and you seem to have forgiven Matt for the choices he made. Wisdom and serenity are hard-won badges of difficult choices that don’t always turn out as we had hoped or planned. Trust and believe that everything works toward the good, even if we don’t understand how or why in the here and now.

    You seem to have forgiven Matt. It’s time, now, to also forgive yourself. Let go of regret. Believe that whatever perceived flaws or errors you thought were woven into the tapestries of your lives were not really flaws at all, but have enhanced the beauty of the whole.

  3. Miriam Pia says:

    Oh my God. It is as much your ex boyfriend’s fault that he got you pregnant as it yours that you got pregnant. It is horribly wrong that his family was demonic, totally evil to you about it – they were mean and wrong about you and slandered you, and ignorant and mean: that’s what I meant by ‘demonic and evil': I mean: ignorant and wrong and cruel to you.

    It is true that the letter you wrote and the ways that you deceived the ex that there actually is a child of his out there even though you miscarried is immoral and wrong. Its good that you are aware of that and have written this apology.

    It reads as if having the miscarriage may have been ‘a painful mercy’ but maybe it wasn’t, maybe its just another sad fact.

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