Just a quick note: I disappeared for a while..my laptop died and the old desktop I was using wouldn’t cooperate with much of anything and eventually quit connecting to the internet at all, so I was stuck with just my phone. But, I have a new computer now and quite a lot of things to say. I’ll still be a little slow posting, my little guy is now 8 months old and is into EVERYTHING, so I only really get a good chance to write when he’s asleep.
Your shadow cast
Over my heart,
Dead scabs fall away
Leaving a patchwork
They glisten burgundy
Against the scarlet of
I am your wraith,
Your disintegrated soul.
It’s been 2 1/2 months since I had my son, It’s been an interesting couple of months, we’ve learned a lot and very quickly. I’ve read parenting blogs and articles for years, preparation I guess, but being part of the club makes them a lot different. I’ve also experienced first hand how unpleasant some mothers can be when you make choices different from the choices they made.
I love the hell out of my son. He’s the most wonderful, beautiful, amazing little creature I’ve ever seen. I formula feed my son for a number of reasons but the main one being my supply just plummeted and no matter what I did I couldn’t keep up with how much he was eating. I tried, I tried really hard and I cried and felt like the worst mother on the planet because I couldn’t breastfeed him. For a few weeks every time I pulled a bottle out in public I could feel the judgement, especially if I was in a place with other mothers. I felt like I had to explain why, like I should have just had a t-shirt made that detailed my experience trying to breastfeed my son.
Then, rather suddenly I realized I don’t owe anyone an explanation for the choices I made regarding how I’m feeding my son. It’s no one’s business except him, me, his dad and his pediatrician. Other than that I don’t care about your opinion because frankly, that’s all it is. Your experience is yours and mine is mine, lets not confuse the two.
On that same note, I’ve kind of had it with people asking me how I had him. Seriously, it’s none of your business. If I choose to share that information it’s up to me but demanding that information out of me while I’m standing in line at the grocery store is a little out of hand. What I went through when I had him wasn’t easy and it was fucking scary. There was more than one time when I started to question whether I was gonna survive, that’s not exactly something I feel like chatting about with a complete stranger while I’m trying to buy my dinner supplies.
And in that same vein. Who the hell thinks it’s acceptable to treat women who have c-sections like they’re somehow lesser women or not “mother” enough. I’ve got two words for people who believe that: Fuck. You. I don’t care if it was an elective c-section, a scheduled c-section or an emergency no one has any right to judge how woman or how mother someone is based on how their child came into the world. You know what makes a mother? How you raise your kid, not how the kid was brought into the world.
I’ve always been the kind of person to just live and let live. People make different choices than I do, that’s life and you know what I’m glad they make different choices. The world would be awfully boring if everyone was just like me. If you take care of your child I’ve got no beef, whether you use cloth diapers or disposable, breast feed or use formula, had a epidural or used no pain meds at all, or had a c-section or vaginal delivery.
All those years I spent reading parenting articles I always made the same comment, we’re our own worst enemies. Mothers always complain about the way society treats us, well why don’t we take a good long look at how we treat each other? We judge things that we have no business judging, we treat mothers who do things differently than us like they’re the worst people on the planet and seriously it really needs to just stop.
It’s ridiculous that instead of being supportive of one another we’d rather be at each other’s throats over petty differences. I made a promise to myself when I had my son, I wasn’t going to spend all of my time criticizing and critiquing the choices of every other mother around me. It’s not my business, not my place and a waste of my time. However, I am not going to put up with someone who feels like they need to step into my life and tell me I’m doing things wrong just because I’m doing them differently than they did them.
My shackles are broken.
No longer caged,
Catharsis is uneven
Short bursts of light
In the dark.
The mask is fractured,
Mental atrophy fades away
My heart opens wide
I can see my radiance,
I am set free.
I’ve thought a lot about how I want to write this particular entry and I’m still not sure I’m quite ready to write it but here goes.
On July 18, 2012 I had my son. His name is Joshua and he was three weeks early. I did not go into premature labor, I had an emergency c-section because I had acute appendicitis.
I went into the hospital on the 17th with contractions, after being put on a monitor the doctors determined I was not in active labor and they intended to send me home. While still in the hospital I started feeling very nauseous and started throwing up, I was unable to keep any food or liquids down (including water). The doctors thought I was just have late term morning sickness so they gave me some anti-nausea medication through an IV. I had an extremely bad reaction to the medication and ended up being admitted.
During the next 24 hours I got progressively sicker and was in such excruciating pain I didn’t actually notice when I was having contractions. It wasn’t until nearly 4PM on the 18th that someone listened to me about the pain I was in and ordered an ultrasound of my lower right abdomen. The ultrasound was not clear enough to determine if I had appendicitis but the surgeon and attending doctor decided it would be best to do the surgery because all of my symptoms matched appendicitis. They also decided the best idea would be for me to have a c-section at the same time, this way we knew for sure that Joshua would be safe.
I was taken down to surgery, given an epidural (which in my original plan for birth I didn’t want) and Ben was able to be in the operating room with me. He was able to watch as Joshua was born. When he was born he had trouble breathing, he was taken to the NICU where they determined he had fluid in his lungs and needed to be put on a bubble CPAP. After Joshua was born Ben was taken out of the operating room so they could remove my appendix. After my surgery I was in recovery for an hour and then taken upstairs to the mother and baby unit.
Ben and Juli (my best friend) told me that Joshua was in the NICU, I didn’t get to see him until the next morning. He weighed six pounds and thirteen ounces and was 19.4 inches long. His nurse told us for a preemie he was a big baby, but to me he looked so tiny and he had the bubble CPAP on his face and an IV in his hand. I was in the hospital until the 21st, Joshua was in the NICU until the 25th.
The time he was in the hospital and we were home was probably the hardest few days I’ve had in a long time. Even though I was still extremely sore and exhausted I went to the hospital everyday until Joshua came home. I was so sad every time we had to come home and leave him there, if I could have I would have stayed at the hospital all night with him. We were both so very happy when we brought him home.
He is three weeks old today and he’s the most wonderful little person, He sleeps just like Ben and looks like both of us. We’re both so happy we have him and so grateful that both Joshua and I are safe and healthy. This was the exact opposite way I wanted to have him and the two things I was dreading (a c-section and an epidural) are what I ended up needing.
I learned to read when I was very young, I went into kindergarten knowing how to read (which, let me tell you did not make me a popular kid). The books I gravitated towards as a kid were always those I could get lost in, ones that created a new world for me to be part of. I was a quiet kid, kind of shy and pretty awkward so books became my friends. I lived in my imagination, maybe that’s what draws me to write now.
Even as I grew up and learned how to be social I still loved getting lost in a book, I’d spend hours reading alone in my room. I always had at least one book I was reading and most of the time I had more than one. I read a lot of Nancy Drew and Goosebumps and other mystery and horror books, those still remain some of my favorite types of books. When I was in fifth grade we read The Hobbit, this was the first fantasy book I’d really ever read and I loved it. When the Book Fair came through my school that year I begged my mom for the money to buy that book. It is easily my favorite book, I own at least three copies of it.
I identified with Bilbo, this awkward, fearful character who was suddenly thrust into an adventure he wasn’t even sure he wanted. I felt that way about life, I was so happy when I was by myself because it was easier. I didn’t know how to relate to other kids, it didn’t help that my home life was so much stranger than everyone elses. My parents were divorced (that wasn’t really odd) but my mom was sick, everyone knew my mom was sick and that she walked with a cane. Yeah, that makes you the weird kid.
When my mom died when I was 12 years old I delved further into books. I read The Lord of the Rings and I started reading other fantasy books. I wanted to be in the worlds I read about, I wanted to be with the characters who made me feel less alone. There aren’t a lot of things more uncomfortable than being the new kid in school (I was in my new school for 6 months) and having your mom die. I can’t really blame the other kids for not knowing how to act around me, parents aren’t supposed to die when you’re 12 years old.
When we moved back to Los Lunas in 2000 I thought it would be better because I already knew all those people, they all knew my mom was sick and that she had died. It wasn’t much better because again, kids aren’t really equipped to deal with things like losing a parent. I was in eighth grade when I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My Step-Dad had brought the book home and told me I’d like it. I devoured it, here was a character I could really understand. I was so lonely and there wasn’t anyone around me who could even remotely understand what I was going through, but there was this character who felt all the same awkwardness and uncomfortableness about being different.
I read the first four books (the fifth didn’t come out until I was in high school) over and over to the point that I can quote those books like other people can quote movies. It wasn’t just that I liked the story or that they were entertaining, or even that they created a world I could so clearly imagine and fall into, no, it was that I related so well to Harry and I understood so much of what he felt.
As I’ve gotten older and the HP series has become one of the most famous series of books in the world I’ve seen a lot of bashing of not just the books but the fans, calling us a cult and telling us we don’t know what “real” literature is. I used to get angry when I read or heard stuff like that but it doesn’t bother me so much anymore. I know so many people who read those books and felt things similar to what I felt, that when reading them they felt less alone. The characters and the stories relieved us of the burden of our everyday lives, let us forget our own hurt for a little while and made us feel that it was possible to find someone out there who would understand. One of my closest friends is one of those people, we can have endless conversations about Harry Potter, not just because we’re nerds (and we so are) but because those books helped us, gave us a sanctuary when we didn’t have anything else.
When I about growing up I think a lot about the books and I read and the ones that always stand out in my memory are The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series. Those books were my friends when I had none, they made me feel less alone and they made me realize I wasn’t alone. If I felt those things reading those books chances are so did millions of other people, maybe we’d been through different things and had different reasons for reading but all of us found comfort in those characters and settings.
Even now, as an adult when I read those books I feel like I’m visiting an old friend and I feel comforted. I still love to read, I feel disconnected if I don’t have at least one book I’m reading and I feel better when I have at least two. I love getting lost in stories and meeting new characters, but I always come back to my oldest “friends.”
I want to talk about something I’ve avoided for a while not just on here but in my regular life.
Violence, specifically domestic violence.
A relationship I was involved in for 5 years ended due to domestic violence. I was choked and hit. This is something I still have a hard time talking about and something that still has an effect on me. Everything I have written about what happened was written from the mindset of saying goodbye to the relationship. I have done that and I’m now ready to talk about how this has affected me.
The first thing I want to say is I really don’t believe violence is ever the answer to an argument. I don’t believe using physical strength to overpower and scare someone weaker is not acceptable. If violence is being considered as a serious option in an argument or as a way to express emotions the relationship is over. I don’t believe in giving second chances after that line has been crossed. I did give another chance and all I really did was give that person another chance to hurt me and he did.
What happened to me terrified me. In that moment when his hands were on my neck and they were squeezing I knew fear in a way I had never known it before. I was in shock and I became afraid of this person I once loved. As much as I wanted to leave I also feared leaving, I feared what would happen and if violence would again become an option.
I did leave, I was gone for 3 months and then I came back. I let myself be hurt again by allowing him to blame me for his actions, by allowing myself to believe it really was my fault. The fear I developed stayed and it affected the way we interacted, it affected my mental health and when violence again became a way to end an argument I knew I was wrong to come back.
I left again. For good. I thought being away from it would make the fear and the sadness go away. It didn’t. For a long time it intensified, I still dislike being touched unless I specifically allow it. I thought saying goodbye to the relationship was enough to say goodbye to the emotional and mental scars I was left with. I’ve learned it’s not.
I also learned some valuable things about what domestic violence does to a person inside and why so many victims choose to stay. For months after I left I was harrassed and called names and so many times I thought going back would just solve everything. I was made to feel guilty for leaving, for choosing myself. My interactions with men changed, I saw everyone as a potential abuser and expected violence during even the smallest arguments. In some ways I was comforted when a man reacted in the way I was used to, that began to scare me.
I had to force myself to be aware of the behaviors of those around me and I had to force myself to say it wasn’t ok for me to be with someone who behaved in an abusive way. I had to keep putting myself first, to keep choosing myself.
I still am uncomfortable talking about what happened and admitting that it did happen. I hate weakness in myself and for quite a while all I saw was weakness. I finally realized it took strength to leave, it took strength to choose myself.
I’m still learning how to be ok. How to move past what happened and let the internal wounds heal. It’s not easy but I realized I needed to talk about it, I needed to admit it happened. So here it is.