Elizabeth and Tom

The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:

Jodi: Welcome, Elizabeth. I am glad to have you on the podcast.

Elizabeth: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

Jodi: Since we’re all about stories here, please share some of your backstory before we get into the details of your memorable first date.

Elizabeth: Sure. I am in my late 40s and I’m married and I have two kids.

Jodi: Fabulous! Who did you go on this date with that we’re going to talk about?

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Elizabeth: Tom is his name.

Jodi: How did you and Tom meet?

Elizabeth: Tom and I had grown up in nearby towns and our parents knew each other. I kind of knew who he was, but I didn’t know him well. I was always sort of interested in him because he was very handsome and smart. So, we sort of had that background of knowing each other vaguely already.

Jodi: Did you go to family events together? Did you see him in your town or his town?

Elizabeth: We had some shared business interests, mostly through our parents. So, I would hear about him, and I knew where he was going to college. I ended going to the same college and I was a few years behind him. Later on I had heard that he had gotten married. I remember being disappointed.

Jodi: Disappointed because in your mind you thought, “I want to marry this guy one day”?

Elizabeth: Absolutely! I thought, because of our shared interests I just thought…you know, we had a lot in common and I always thought he was really cute. So yeah, another good one off the market. I was bummed.

Jodi: Did you the two of you ever do anything growing up? Did you go out? Did you go to the movies together, hang out together, anything like that?

Elizabeth: No, not at all. I think our parents socialized together, but I really only knew of him. We never did anything together.

Jodi: Interesting. The parents didn’t try to set the two of you up? I wonder why.

Elizabeth: I think there was enough of an age difference. I mean, we’re only, about three years apart. But that’s a big difference when you’re in high school.

Jodi: Now, the two of you crossed paths later in life. How did that come about?

Elizabeth: Tom contacted me. He was coming to where I was living to attend a conference. He contacted me to see if I’d like to have lunch, or dinner, or something. I remember being kind of excited but because I felt, “Oh, maybe it’s a date.” Then I remember that he was married and I figured it was just a business thing because, as I said, we had some shared business interest, our families did.

Jodi: Where were you in your life when this all happened?

Elizabeth: I was at a very interesting part of my life. I had recently decided that someday I might meet the man of my dreams. But in the meantime, time was running out for me to have children and I really wanted to be a mom. And so, on my own, I pursued becoming pregnant. I had fertility treatments at a nearby clinic. So, I was pregnant and single at the time.

Jodi: When he contacted you, did he have any idea what was going on in your life?

Elizabeth: He had no idea. I was eight weeks pregnant though. I was early. I’d really only told just a very few close confidants.

Jodi: Including your parents?

Elizabeth: By that time I had told my parents, yes.

Jodi: But they hadn’t told his parents clearly, so he did not know.

Elizabeth: Right.

Jodi: When he called you and you guys talked, how did the conversation go?

Elizabeth: I think we mostly did it over email and I think initially it was going to be lunch.  But then, because of schedules, it ended up making more sense for us to meet for dinner. We made arrangements over email to meet for dinner Friday evening and he was going to pick me up at my place. I remember thinking, “Huh, you know, he’s married and it’s a Friday night. That’s a little odd.”

I also didn’t really want to tell my parents that I was interested in him just because you get tired of having things not work out. So, I hadn’t said anything to my parents. But I did call my parents and asked my mom, “What is the name of Tom’s wife?” Because if they were divorced, that would give her an opportunity to tell me they’re divorced. But she didn’t tell me that. She told me Tom’s wife’s name and I was thinking to myself, “Oh, drat, he is still married. So, it is only a business thing. Oh, well. I’m pregnant anyway.”

Jodi: When you were getting ready to go out with him, what were you thinking and do you remember what you wore? Do you remember preparing for the evening out with him?

Elizabeth: Yes. One of the things I did before I went out with him was, of course, was discuss it in depth with my close girlfriend. I was saying, “Oh, Tom is so cute,” I was saying, “I don’t know Kim, maybe he’s divorced.” And she said to me, “Elizabeth, that never happened, you know?” I’m like, “I know. Ha-Ha!” And I was laughing because, who cares? I’m pregnant anyway, right?

Jodi: Right.

Elizabeth: It’s not like I just want to date right now and I was not feeling well. I had a lot of pregnancy sickness. So there was that too. So getting ready for the date with him, you know, I wore something nice, but it wasn’t like what I would call “date clothes.” It was just sort of something casual.

Jodi: The night arrives. He rings your doorbell. You opened the door and you haven’t seen him in a long time. So what did you think? How did you feel?

Elizabeth: Did I mention he’s really handsome?

Jodi: You did. You did. (Laughter)

Elizabeth: I just remember thinking, “Wow! Yeah, he’s still really handsome.” He was dressed well and one of the things I noticed was he was wearing really nice shoes.

Jodi: That is so interesting because shoes are a tell. You can learn a lot about people sometimes when you look at how they take care of their shoes, you know?

Elizabeth: Right.

Jodi: Tell me what happened when you guys went to the restaurant.

Elizabeth: We walked to the restaurant which was a few blocks away and we were just making small talk and getting caught up on things that we had heard a lot about each other through our families, but not directly from each other. So, verifying and getting caught up. And he then said to me, “That necklace is really pretty. It really brings out the color of your eyes.”

Jodi: Okay.

Elizabeth: And I thought, “Huh? That’s an interesting comment for a married man to make to me as we walk together to a restaurant without his wife on a Friday night.”

Jodi: For sure! His wife’s in another town and he’s with you and he’s admiring your necklace. That would be a reason to question what’s going on, for sure. Then you guys arrived at the restaurant. What happened next?

Elizabeth: We ordered drinks, although I couldn’t drink because I was pregnant and I was not feeling well. But we got things started in the restaurant and we’re chitchatting and then ordered our food and then we were continuing to fill each other in or our work and other aspects of our lives. Then, about midway through eating our dinner, I said to Tom, “Gosh, how does your wife like living back in your hometown?” And there was this stricken look on his face. Ge was at a loss for words for a minute and then he said, “Well, we got divorced.”

Jodi: Really? How did you respond to that news, the news you were hoping to hear but didn’t think you were ever going to hear?

Elizabeth: This is how I was responding in my head. I was saying to myself, “He is divorced and I think I’m on a date! And he does not know that I’m eight weeks pregnant.”

Jodi: Oh my God!

Elizabeth: I think to him I probably said something like, “Oh, well, gosh, I’m sorry to hear that. That must have been hard.” And I paused and then I said, “Although I’m not really that sorry to hear it.”

Jodi: How did he respond to what you said?

Elizabeth: He smiled. He liked that response. Then everything made sense. “Oh, okay, so I am on a date and he is interested in me.” And so, of course, he would want me to be pleased to know that he’s single and that we’re on a date together.

Jodi: It all fell in place.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Jodi: Except for one thing.

Elizabeth: Right.

Jodi: He did not know that you were pregnant.

Elizabeth: That’s right.

Jodi: That’s a big bit of information to share. Did you share that information with him on your date?

Elizabeth: I did not. And imagine, I mean, my mind was just churning quickly with, “What should I do here?” I wasn’t telling anybody I was pregnant yet, except for the people who had known about my journey from early on or who close family. So I didn’t feel comfortable telling him and I wasn’t ready to tell him. We were just having a good time and I thought, “Well, there will be another chance for me to tell him.”

Jodi: Did he have kids of his own?

Elizabeth: No.

Jodi: So, the kid topic never came up during the date. What happened after the big “aha moment” that you had? What happened next on now what was your “official first date” together?

Elizabeth: That’s right. It was one of those kind of long dates where we went and we had dinner. We had such a nice time and then we decided to walk around and sort of people watch. Then we stopped at a bar that had a beautiful view. We enjoyed being there and I think he probably had an alcoholic beverage and I had some water to sip. Then we just walked around some more and eventually it seemed like maybe the date should be over because it was late. So, he walked me back to where I lived and gave me a quick hug and kiss on the cheek “good night”.

Jodi: Very nice. How were you feeling at that point?

Elizabeth: I guess I would say I was just feeling highly amused because it was so completely unlikely that I would be pregnant and going on a first date with this guy that I had always sort of been interested in.

Jodi: You had this crush on this guy for most of your life, it seems like, and now you’re on a date with him and you’re pregnant and yet there’s the chance that things might happen between the two of you, it sounds like.

Elizabeth: Yeah. It was really exciting.

Jodi: At the end of the date, did he ask you out again?

Elizabeth: At the end of the date, I think we talked about the fact that I would be visiting my parents in the hometown where he now lived in two weeks and so we agreed that we would see each other then.

Jodi: Earlier on you mentioned that before your date, you talked with a girlfriend. You obviously filled her in on what happened. What did she have to say after you told her?

Elizabeth: I called her the next morning and I said, “He’s divorced!” And she’s going, “No!” I mean, she just couldn’t believe it and we were just laughing and she of course wanted every single detail and in the process of telling her how much I had had and all of the funny details, another call came through on my call waiting and it was Tom calling me from his car as he was driving to where he lived just to chat.

Jodi: Awesome! What happened with you and Tom from that point forward?

Elizabeth: In our meeting two weeks, I was going to have another doctor’s appointment just to make sure everything was going okay with the pregnancy. And after that point, then I planned to tell the rest of my family and just start telling everybody that I was going to have a baby. The doctor’s appointment went well. I was ready to share the news with everybody and I went to visit my parents for the weekend. And by this time, I had filled them in on Tom’s status. I had also called them the day after my date to say, “You know, I had that meeting yesterday with Tom, but it wasn’t a meeting. It was a date because he’s divorced!”

Jodi: That’s great!

Elizabeth: My parents thought that was really, really interesting! So, when I went up for the weekend to visit them, I was joking…I was laughing with my parents… because I was saying, “I’m going to have my second and last date with Tom tonight because I have to tell him that I’m pregnant.” It would be crazy for a guy to want to keep dating somebody who’s pregnant and with someone else’s child. He had nothing to do with.

Tom showed up to pick me up for our date that night and he just looked great. He drove up in this little sports car that he had, with the wind blowing his hair. He hopped out and he had a bottle of wine in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in the other. We sat at on parent’s porch for a little bit and had some wine together because, of course, he knows my parents. I really could only sip at the wine because I was pregnant and not feeling well. And then we went out for dinner. Tom took me to a nice restaurant nearby. We drove there.

After dinner, we were walking around and Tom went to kiss me. I let him kiss me once and then I pushed him back and I said, “I have to tell you something.” And I just explained, this has been long journey that I’ve been on, and I told him that I was 10 weeks pregnant. He was so confused. He said, “What?” And then he would kiss me some more. And then he would say, “Wait, what? You’re pregnant?” (Laughter)

And what can I say, Jodi? You know, he has no sense. He stayed with me. Not only did I not get rid of him after that second date, we’re married today!

Jodi: Fabulous! He got used to the news and embraced it. You two had a child together!

Elizabeth: We did. We were living in separate areas during most of my pregnancy. He would come and visit a lot, every weekend just about. He would call me all the time. On one of the calls, he said to me that he was worried that the librarians at the local library were getting curious about him because he was looking at all these books about pregnancy and childbearing.

So I thought, “Oh, I can’t believe that he is studying books on pregnancy and childbearing.” Then a little later he asked me who was going to be my labor coach. I really, frankly, didn’t know the answer to that one yet. I said, “I don’t really know.” And he said, “Well, wouldn’t you want me to be your labor coach?”

Jodi: That’s so wonderful!

Elizabeth: I said, “Oh, honey, you know, well, I guess so, but I understand it can be pretty terrible, and horrible things are said, and it’s a mess.” And he said, “Well, I wouldn’t care about any of that.”

Jodi: Elizabeth, that’s just a sign of the fact that he’s the right man for you at the right time.

Elizabeth: I still just like to claim it’s because, honestly, he just has no sense. (Laughter)

Jodi: Or he has no sense, but he showed up. He kept showing up for you, didn’t he?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. Yeah. He was a great labor coach. We have wonderful pictures right after our son was born and it’s just great memories.

Jodi: When did the two of you get married?

Elizabeth: We got married about a year and a half after our first son was born, when I was pregnant with our second son, who is the biological son that we had together.

Jodi: And the four of you are now a family.

Elizabeth: We are, and it’s a lot of fun. It is the hardest job I’ve had, and it’s the most rewarding job I’ve had too.

Jodi: What sort of dating takeaways and lessons do you have for the women who are listening to our conversation who find themselves in a similar place in life and who are thinking about having a child on their own, or who have been dating for many years?

Elizabeth: Well, I tend to do a lot of research before I do things and a lot of thinking. And before I decided to pursue becoming a single parent, I spoke with a therapist who is someone I had seen for career counseling, and other things, for a bunch of years. She knew me well. I confided in a best friend. I confided in a financial advisor that I work with because there were also financial considerations, of course, with becoming a single parent. I really did my homework.

I also joined a group in my area. I think they have chapters around the country that’s called “Single Mother’s By Choice.” I met a lot of other women who were either already single parents, or were exploring the options to become a single parent, either through adoption or by becoming pregnant. So I did a lot of research before I went down that path. I think I had just really decided to stop focusing on dating because I thought I could meet a man when I have a five-year-old, or when I have a ten-year-old, but I can’t have a baby when I’m much older.

Jodi: So you just said you needed to stop dating when you did this. But your life experience said no, you don’t, because you met him, and he was a guy who was okay with it. He embraced it and he’s now the Dad.

Elizabeth: In my experience, right, I didn’t know I was going on a date I think in many ways that worked out to my advantage because I wasn’t really trying to be anything other than myself, or trying to impress this guy in any particular way. I sort of presented myself as take it or leave it. This is what I’m doing. And from his perspective, I think he had always wanted to have children, but hadn’t with his prior marriage. They just hadn’t gotten there. I think his wife was quite a bit younger than he was.

So suddenly here I was. He could either join in, or not. He chose to join in. And the big lesson for me is that even if you are pregnant, you don’t need to stop dating because that’s when I found my husband and the father of my children now.

Jodi: That is a great lesson for women who are wanting to have kids and think they have to give up a romantic pursuit while they’re pregnant and afterwards. You were in that state of mind, but life taught you otherwise. Your life experiences said “no.” It’s not necessary.

Elizabeth: Right.

Jodi: You found love and had a child and ended up with a man you had a crush on since you were a young girl.

Elizabeth: That’s right. Yeah. I think one of my other lessons is that being really truly open and honest about what you want is important and it’s not something I was always good at. Once I took charge of my own situation by choosing to become pregnant on my own, it was suddenly easier to tell everybody what I was doing and what I wanted, including this guy I was on a date with. So, it did help me a lot just be absolutely, authentically, who I was.

Jodi: And there are so women who are going through this debate that you went through, the decision that you went through. Many don’t choose to do it and others who do. They give up dating, and all the rest. You got it all there. You put it together. I’m not saying life’s perfect, but you were able to do both simultaneously and that’s really a blessing.

Elizabeth: Part of the reason I’m really open about this story is because I want other women to hear it in case they’re thinking about it. Someone on Facebook who’s sort of an acquaintance said something recently about wanting to have kids. And so I private messaged her and just said, “You know my story, right?” And she didn’t know my story. She was thrilled because she just thought I met my husband, and we had two kids, the old-fashioned way.

Jodi: Old-fashion can be passé that’s why it’s called “old.” (Laughter)

Elizabeth: That’s right.

Jodi: Congratulations Elizabeth and thank you for being on the podcast.

Elizabeth: Thanks, Jodi. It was my pleasure.


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