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Should I Tell My Future Child About My First Marriage?

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I left my ex for someone else. I wasn't cheating on him. Rather, it was for a person who didn't exist yet: my unborn child.

One Sunday night in December, I asked for my ex to wait for me to write a check for a bill. He threw a fit. He started screaming at a high pitch like a banshee and went flying out of the room. He starting banging on the linen cabinet, hitting the pillows on the couch and running his hands loudly across the blinds.

I sighed through the screams. Another tantrum. This behavior wasn't anything new, and it wasn't the worst I had seen. Better him throwing a fit than telling me I was like a child again. I was inclined to tune it out as I always did.

Something stopped me, though. I had gone to a baby shower that day, which was not easy for me; I'm not sure if I'll be able to have children due to a medical condition. In that moment, an inside voice of reason told me to stop and look around.

I knew I wanted a family, perhaps even to adopt a child. During my ex's fit of anger, I realized that if he and I had a child together, it would be terrifying. How would I explain his tantrums and comfort her (or him)? What if he got out of control and hurt our child? Could I even stop him from hurting me? And I realized at that moment I would do anything to protect my unborn child -- even leave my husband.

Now I am single again, and after much soul searching, I am once again looking for a partner to marry and start a family with. Which leads me to another question: should I tell my future child about my first marriage?

I'm sure he or she will find out eventually that I was previously married. As long as I have relatives who were at my first wedding, my child will know there was a man in my life prior to her father. But whether or not I'll tell her the details is something I debate a lot. After all, she doesn't really have to know.

It could have been just like my uncle's first marriage -- that wife was disregarded as a memory. No one mentions what happened or how it ended, just that it did. His marriage to his second wife, my cousin's mother and my aunt, ended too. But unlike the first, there was no way to hide it.

I know that one day, my child will come home from school and ask my future husband and me why Jimmy's or Susie's parents live in different houses and why they have two sets of everything. To explain divorce to a child is a difficult task, and particularly more challenging as a divorcee. I had always hoped that I would find a man who also went through divorce, so that I could have someone stand by my side and help me explain it.

After all, how do you tell a child that happily ever after doesn't always happen? How can you explain something as complicated as the end of a marriage? And how do you tell them that sometimes, like in my case, divorce is not only okay but sometimes necessary?

I would normally not be inclined to tell her anything about my previous life; after all, it's in the past, and my ex is never coming back. However, I think of the nights that I was afraid to sleep next to him due to his mental instability. I think of his temper, his verbal, emotional and financial abuse, not to mention the night he tackled me on the bed and shouted expletives at me. No matter how much I want those memories to go away, they are a part of my history.

My thoughts then drift to my child's future. One day, she is going to date, and I pray she will find a good partner. But there is a chance that person will be like my ex -- pressuring her to do things she didn't really want to do, telling her that her opinion isn't worthwhile and trying to change her. I want my child to be who she was always meant to be. I don't want anyone to take away her light through abuse. Therefore, she has to know it happened to me. She has to know about my first marriage.

I don't have to tell her everything when she is young, but as she grows, I refuse to hide the truth from her. I hope she understands one day that the night my ex's tantrum shook me out of the slumber of abuse, I realized that I loved her even before she walked this earth. And love is always worth it.