I have two disclaimers.
First, I'm (obviously) not anything special. Duh. I don't even know why this needs to be a disclaimer. LOOK AT ME.
|Okay, besides the fact I'm a ninja.|
ALL of us have things we'd rather not talk about. Most people, in fact, have gone through struggles that make my life seem like a frolic in a lavender field. The problem is that we as a society have a terrible tendency to sweep all the hard things under the rug, be it depression, eating disorders, miscarriages/child loss, addictions or whatever else. This gives them a power they should not have.
My goal in sharing this is to open a dialog about issues we don't talk about in “polite society.” We cannot let the fear of judgment paralyze us. Sharing is cathartic. Sharing is right. We should be able to expose our jagged edges without fear of retaliation. No one should EVER be shamed or trivialized for their “issues.”
We all have a story. It is worth sharing. And it is worth fighting for.
Second, I would NEVER, EVER, EVER want anyone to think I don't love my daughter. If you're reading this in 10 years, G, YOU ARE THE MOST KICK ASS DAUGHTER A MOM COULD ASK FOR. I love your passion and your feisty spirit. You have taught me so much about myself.
I would do anything for her.
But we had a rough start.
The pregnancy test showed two lines. No it didn't. It couldn't. Statistically the chances were slim to none. I was still breastfeeding around the clock. T was only seven months old, for God's sake! Surely not.
And yet, there it was.
The feeling I remember most was shock. Chance and I had kind of “ha ha” joked about having another child after T was born (due to some circumstances I may or may not go into later). And there was that one time (isn't there always?) ... but it was highly unlikely.
Go ahead. Laugh hysterically at my dumbassery. I would, too.
Part of my brain was happy and excited. A very small part. The rest of me? Not so much. The first thing I thought after the flash of blind panic was, “DAMMIT! I JUST got skinny!”. So delightfully shallow of me.
Next came the tsunami of doubt about my parenting abilities. I could barely handle one kid, let alone two! What the heck was I going to do?
Then came nervousness. It washed over the sore spot of my little identity crisis and I couldn't breathe.
And then it was all smothered by rage. Not an in-your-face-choke-you-until-you're-purple kind of rage, but a simmering malcontent. This probably had a lot to do with feeling like my life had spun completely out of control. I didn't want another thing to think about, another thing to lose.
And I was terrified, terrified, I was going to lose the baby.
In my religion, there is a doctrine about “following the footsteps of the Lord.” It's a great doctrine. It encourages you to think before you act and walk in love and all kinds of other good stuff. Unfortunately, if you have a perfectionist bent, it can become all-consuming. At this point in my life I had completely bastardized this doctrine to mean there was ONE way to do things, ONE right path, ONE white choice, the rest blacker than black.
This was how I rationalized having all these embarrassing feelings. I had gotten knocked up at the wrong time, obviously. I had completely upset the balance of the Sovereign Lord's plan for my life and the life of the tiny human inside me. Because of my stupidity, this baby was doomed. God was going to take it away. I was not equipped to handle it. I had made a mistake.
The idea was completely ludicrous. And it stuck faster than dog hair on peanut butter. Little voices began whispering horrid thoughts in my ear every moment of every day.
You're going to lose it, it would slither.
There is something terribly wrong with it.
You're going to have it and it will die before its first birthday. *evil maniacal laugh* Not even kidding. That is exactly what I heard.
You're going to have it, fall in love with it, and it's going to die in a fiery car crash on its sixteenth birthday.
I know, I know. Terribly conceited. Illogical. Just plain DUMB. My emotions did not care in the slightest. I felt myself begin to fracture under the stress of thinking these things over and over. I became completely convinced I could not attach to this child. If I didn't love it, maybe, just maybe, it would hurt less when God took it away.
Of course, I also felt terribly guilty for even thinking these things in the first place. But I could not bear the thought of losing a child, and I surely would lose this child. Thus saith the Lord.
|100 percent bat shit crazy, you guys.|
When we announced the pregnancy, things got worse. "What is wrong with you?" "Do you know what causes that?" "How the hell are you going to survive having two children under two?" "Are you crazy?" (yes, but still … ) My favorite was, “Babies should not be having babies!”
I did not throat punch these people. Maybe I should have. Without the “shell” of my identity, I internalized their criticisms. I sunk deeper into the pit of despair.
More junk happened, culminating in the decision to move the whole family back to my childhood home. It was a ridiculously hot summer. I gained a ton of weight. I got angrier and angrier, at myself, my family, the weather, the universe in general. My family started referring to me as She Hulk. My husband avoided me like the plague.
The pregnancy dragged interminably. Any fleeting moments of happiness were swallowed by anger and overlaid with panic. I was terrified, every single day, that I would lose the baby.
Maybe not then, maybe not in five years, but something awful was bound to happen eventually. All because I was a stupid person who made a stupid mistake.
I had lost my mind.