Sunday, August 11, 2013

empty arms

I am in mourning.
I have two beautiful, wonderful, smart, energetic, stubborn, argumentative, emotional, creative, perfect children, and that is all I will ever have. I will never feel another twinge in my womb. I will never again experience the power that is birth. I will never again bring a child to my breast to suckle.
It is hitting me lately as I watch those around me announce pregnancies and birth babies.
I am a mother, I am young, but this part of my life is past. And I mourn the loss of the children I thought I would have.
If I compare my loss to that felt by women who struggle with infertility, does that make me insensitive? My decision to not have more children is a choice, yes, but not really. If I truly had the choice, I would have 2, 3, 4 more. Physically, I could conceive and birth more babies. Emotionally, it is not an option. This is what hurts. My options have been taken from me, by God, by circumstance, by my own limitations? I don't know. I just know I can't have more children, and I feel an incredible sense of loss.
I have a 6 year old, and he is the fire and zest in my life. He is extraordinarily intelligent. He is creative. He is funny. He is highly passionate. He gives me reasons to smile, to laugh. He also is angry. He is impulsive. He is self-centered and rigid. He values truth and being right above everything else, above everyone else. He is explosive, whiny, emotional, intense, anxious. He tests my patience every second of every day. I am consistently failing at being the mother I want to be, and the mother I started out as.
I have a 4 year old and she is my soul. She is sweet and sensitive and intuitive. She is thoughtful, she is generous, she loves and expresses love. In her 4 years she has known only turmoil. Arguing and tantruming, slammed doors and raised voices. She has never learned how to communicate without yelling. Her older brother, who she watches for cues on how to act, has set a terrible example for her, and I haven't been much better. With her brother's behavioral changes during my pregnancy with her and my own post-partum depression after her birth, I slipped farther and farther away from being the gentle mother I had been. I tried to be patient, but after hours of patience I would explode. I yelled a lot, and when I didn't yell, my exasperation was evident. It has been a hard journey but I have come a long way since then. I rarely yell and I watch my tone and expressions. I speak positively of my children to others. I generally feel proud of myself for the changes I've made.
And yet. The damage has been done. I have one child who neurologically can't control his impulses and emotions, and I have another who has learned how she should act from him and from an imperfect mother. I wake up to kids screaming and I put screaming kids to bed at night, and most moments in between are also filled with screaming kids.
I can't do it anymore, but I do it anyway. I have to do it.
But I can't add to it. As desperately as I long for more children, my situation with my son has made it impossible for me to have more. For the two children I already have, and for any future ones that would join our family, I have to be done having babies.
And it is tearing me up.
At church when I sit next to a mother with a new baby, I ache to be there, rocking and shushing a new baby of my own. When I read birth stories and see pictures of my friends' new babies, my heart swells with desperate longing. Like nothing in the world I want to feel my child rolling, startling, kicking in my belly. I want my body to surrender to wave after wave as I birth my child. I want to gaze into my child's eyes for the first time. I want to stroke her hair as her eyes flutter in sleep as she nurses, milk dribbling down her chin. I want to feel her curled up in the curve of my body as we dream. I want to carry her close to my heart. I want to hold her in my empty arms and rock and soothe her. I want to see her crawl, take her first steps, hear her babble her first words.
I want that so desperately that my heart aches, literally; it hurts in my chest.
I am in mourning.

Monday, May 13, 2013

mother's day heartache

That ten-year-old girl I used to be, she breaks my heart. If I could meet that girl today, I would take her into my arms and give her all the mothering she never knew.

Now that I am a mother, I see clearly exactly how damaged my own childhood was. At 3 years old, my mother was torn away from me, or wandered away from me, or whatever it was that happened. For the next 4 years and on into the next decades there were bitter custody battles and financial battles and emotional battles... At 8 years old my one stable foundation was pulled out from under me and we moved from the home that stayed standing even while my family crumbled inside its walls. Uprooted and scared. Photographs of that girl show a thin, breakable child with dark half-moons under her eyes. A child who cried at home every night and who went to the nurse’s office at school every day with an anxious stomach ache.

Later that year my mom remarried and my dreams of my family rebuilding were shattered. And then the next year, a new woman entered my father’s life, and everything changed.

How fast I was forced to grow up as this woman pushed me away from my father. How young I was to be forced to have the maturity to put my feelings and needs behind hers. How unfair that was. Feeling nervous to be too close to my daddy in (very reasonable) fear that she would get jealous of his affection for me. Walking on eggshells for the next 8-20 years, wondering what I and my dad, the person who meant the most to me, had done to deserve the silent treatment, the stonewalling, the nasty remarks under her breath, the biting humor at our expense, the emotional manipulation and abuse.

And this 30-year-old woman is angry. I’m angry for the child who had to sacrifice everything for a grown woman who had no right to demand that. I’m angry at the selfish step-mom who needed a 10-year-old to exceed her in maturity. I’m angry at the selfish step-mom who tried to make me an outsider in my own home, with my own father. I’m angry at the selfish step-mom who resented that I existed. I am angry at the selfish step-mom who made sure we always knew we were second-string (or, fourth-string) and would never compare to her own children. I’m angry at the dad who allowed it to happen, and who still won’t stand up for himself or his daughters out of fear of being alone. I’m angry at the dad who allows his children to sacrifice everything to accommodate a woman who has no regard for them. I’m angry at the mother who wasn’t there. I'm angry on behalf of the older sisters who had to step into so many roles they shouldn't have had to. I’m angry.

It’s Mother’s Day and instead of feeling happy and thankful for the two mothers who had the chance to raise me, I am feeling angry and resentful at the rotten hand the child-me was dealt. I got two chances to have a mother love me, guide me, show me what it means to be a mother, and instead of getting to honor double the women each Mother’s Day, I got double the disappointment.

I am angry that I have two beautiful sweet souls who call me mother and I have no idea how to mother them, how to guide them with a firm and loving heart, how to balance their needs with my own, what to do so that these two children, in 20 years, will honor me and not resent me.

I am absolutely, passionately, so intensely angry.

(I started this blog to be an anonymous place to write the honest things of my heart. If you know me in real life, please be respectful of the private nature of my writings here and keep them in confidence. It probably doesn't need to be said, but there it is anyway. Thank you.)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

facebook stalking and soul-sister rambling

This is my completely random post for the day.

So do you ever have those times where you are just cruising along, facebooking/blog-stalking acquaintances and friends of friends (you know you do it!), and you find someone and think, "we should totally be friends!"?

Today one of my ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriends (got that?) came up on my facebook feed as "Someone You May Know." I was bored so I clicked over to her page, and I realized that we would so be friends in real life if we actually knew each other!

I guess considering the circumstances of our acquaintance I shouldn't be too surprised that we have common interests and passions. Apparently our common ex-boyfriend had a type. But it still shocks me because as wrong as Exboyfriend and I were for each other I would never have guessed that he'd have dated another someone like me (guess that's why she and I are both EXes, though, right?).

Anyway, I don't know why but that was interesting to me today and I wanted to process it out loud. Of course I'm not going to friend her and say, "hey, I know we've only met a handful of times, but we both dated Exboyfriend, and we have a lot of mutual friends, and anyway, I was just stalking you on facebook and I think we should be friends!" But I kind of want to.

I don't know why but this concept of potential kindred spirits and missed opportunities is really fascinating to me. I have a great friend who I went to high school with but never really knew at all in high school. We had mutual friends but didn't really move in the same circles for some reason. Well then 6 1/2 years (and a few babies between the two of us) later I moved into her neighborhood, and we became dear friends. I think about how many more years of friendship we could have had if we would have actually met in high school.

Maybe I only see it this way because I've never really lived anywhere long enough to have roots or make life-long friends...

I guess it just makes me think, how many other potential-friends and kindred spirits are out there? And how do I find them?

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