I know this is the wrong place to go, but maybe this will help me to take the actions I need to take in order to straighten things out. I'm upset with my husband right now, and it's not really his fault. It's just that I didn't have that much of a life before our baby came and I'm set to have even less now, but he had a relatively good set-up beforehand and is keeping it all going. The thing is I'm keeping it going for him too. I'm giving him that space. I'm willing to care alone for our son while he goes off and has fun for days. He's planning two trips already, and it doesn't seem fair. Really, what upsets me, is why isn't he planning trips for US? Why doesn't he want to take his family out for fun? Why doesn't he care to camp with me? I've spent a hell of a lot more time sleeping in the wilderness than he has, but it doesn't seem to be something he cares to do with me. And maybe I'm making this up or making it more than it is. Of course he wants to continue his traditions with his friends - things he's been doing since college. Who would want to give that up? It's just that I have to. Not even that I have to, but that I already have.
I thought of rejoining my tradition of camping over memorial weekend with my friend and bringing our babies, but I wouldn't be ok with two adults and two babies ON THE WATER and what we do is on the water - that's the part that connects us with our souls. But if something were to happen you need someone to watch the baby/babies while someone else helps whoever is in trouble. It's just not safe enough, not while the kids are so young. So we would need one of our husbands unless we could convince a friend without babies to go camping with babies. I'm afraid I don't know too many people who would be interested in that.
I'm mad at him for planning this second trip. Fine the first. I'm already jealous and frustrated about the first. I said he could go for a weekend and he turned it into 4 days. He doesn't get what caring for a child is.
And I have to go back to work. Maybe I could start a life with my baby and other new moms, but going back to work won't allow that. It won't leave me any room. This upsets me and makes me feel alone. It makes me feel I need my baby. That my baby is my happiness right now. And while he is in an immense way I shouldn't need him because he is his own self and needs to be his own self without me. And of course he won't be to that stage for awhile yet I should always be his springboard, not tar-paper.
I don't feel understood by him. It feels so much that it's just my baby and me doing what we have to do and he's off doing what he wants to do. I'm tired of it.
2007 was a bang-up year with many new babies added to our lives including my own amazing, beautiful son. He's six weeks old now and I've loved being his mother. I'm getting a bit overwhelmed though, not only by being the main (90%) caregiver for him, but the drama in other parts of my life that has piled in on top since his birth. And he's hungry now but his dad is trying to pacify him because I said my reserves were being drained, so his dad figured 30 minutes of caring for our boy and leaving me to my own devices would solve that. I'm feeling very passive-aggressive. I think it's in part to the fact that I can't exactly say what's wrong. There's definitely something more I need from Scott, but I don't know what that is or how to say it. Anyhow that's not what I wanted to get out - not yet anyway. Instead I just want to put down the other drama that's been going on because I'm starting to lose track of it and it's just turning into depressing gray matter in my mind.
He is hungry so this will have to be quick.
1) My son and I survived an almost-fire shortly before Christmas. Dad wasn't there, so he doesn't get my anxiety about this.
2)My Grandma broke her back the day after Christmas. They did some miracle cure, she was healing and walking and walked the wrong direction in the middle of the night two weeks later (i.e. last Monday), fell down the stairs and broke her shoulder, elbow, 2 ribs, pelvis and maybe hip - they still haven't determined this.
3) My brother is hearing voices in his head
4) My Dad is fighting to save his company from going bankrupt and is, himself, getting overwhelmed by the events in our lives.
Time to feed.
My sweet pea is sleeping, as usual for him. He sleeps until Daddy comes home which happens to be right this very moment - we'll see if he wakes up. He arrived, born at home, on November 29th. What a blessing he is.
There is a wall in front of me right now. It feels like my breathing. In and out, stable, but permeable. I've been frustrated with my husband tonight and have not opened the space to understand why. I've been feeling a strong need to check-out lately, to not care well for myself. I don't really understand this. My husband doesn't like it. Who would? But I'm not looking for him to fix it. I don't feel helpless or needy. I wouldn't call it depression. I'm still productive in my day, but not half as productive as I can be and what activities I do few of them are for my physical, emotional or mental benefit.
I've grown quickly in this last week. Suddenly people think I'm huge, and in relation to last week I am. I'm pretty certain I've gained close to 4 pounds in the past week or two. I know they say that can happen and I likely won't gain much at all for the next few weeks, but still it's disconcerting. It doesn't help that I have an eccentric scale - I'll "gain" two pounds in one day and by the following morning I'll have "lost" six. Yet it must be somewhere in the ballpark and it's putting me at a hefty 20-some? pounds over my starting weight.
The books talk about getting bored with being pregnant somewhere around this time. I don't feel like I'm bored with it, or at least I didn't think I would get bored. I still love the feeling of my baby moving inside me, but I keep gaining weight and getting bigger. Baby's moving differently now and this is taking some getting use to. It doesn't kick as much or as strong, instead it seams to just move or roll in smaller movements and I feel it in new parts of my body.
On NPR today there was a StoryCore recording of a Mom and her grown son. They talked about her 3 bouts with cancer starting with when the boy was young. The mom wished with all her heart that her children hadn't had to deal with the possibility of losing their mother at such a young age.
I know children are resilient, that they could perhaps deal with such a possibility better than some adults, that they are strong and grow stronger through such experiences, that to learn such resiliency helps them as they progress through their lives. Obviously no parent wants their child to go through fear and hurt, they sing, as I plan to sing to my child, "let those eyes sparkle and shine, never a tear, baby of mine". My parents did such an excellent job of always being there for me that when my mom developed stage 3 breast cancer I simply didn't believe that she wouldn't be there - it never really sank through. In part Mom did a good job of distancing herself from her children, in part I did an excellent job of isolating myself in a world of depression and self-pity, although I'm not certain I cared enough to even have self-pity for myself at that time.
It's hard to return to that time, because it was so painful. My whole family hurt, not that I was aware of it. There was this whirlpool of anger that Mom and I circled in again and again. I can't describe depression to anyone who has never had it. The intensity of the lack of feeling, motivation and care. The fact that going to target, buying a toothbrush and coming home was a successful day. It's been 6 years. I don't wish to remember it or experience it again. Mom's anger was immense. It poured out of her, drowning the mother that she had been. I grieved that loss more than I grieved the potential loss of her forever. Her anger was so unpredictable and unreasonable I came to not trust her and to choose my words carefully whenever I talked to her, even then I wasn't assured a safe conversation.
Mom experienced her own depression a few years later and this began the path to our healing. To have her understand what I went through at that time was so valuable to me, because I had felt so alone and didn't really know where to build my life again. We were finally able to understand where we both had been and a little bit of what it was like for us. Of course she knows much better what I went through than I know of her experience. To face the potential of dying, the potential of leaving your 7-year-old son without a mother - I know that I can't begin to understand that, the fear and the anger that would overwhelm me. I certainly can't blame her for her anger. It was a natural reaction. But it scared me.
I realized recently that I've hung on to that fear of Angry Mom, that I've not allowed myself to fully trust her again. I was living at home when we went through that period of our lives and I've lived 4 hours away from her for the past 2 years, so there's been little time to truly work on and realize what our relationship is now. It is much healthier, and I do trust her, but I still have a hard time being fully straight with her when I want to say something that I believe she would not like. I realize too, and worry, that not recognizing this distrust I still carried with me has given my husband a slightly skewed view of my mom. Both he and I have a very strong-willed, dominant parent that we feel we've struggled to differentiate ourselves from, and still worry that we have to be ever-vigilant to maintain that differentiation. I don't think we need to strain as much as we do. Our parents love and admire us and tell us this. It really does seem it ends up in our court that we are self-conscious of how our parents will respond to us, but I think they've let us be ourselves. Of course they'll continue to attempt to guide us in ways they believe to be best, but they respect our wishes when we make a decision.
None of this is what I wanted to focus on. What I wanted to say was that I realized, listening to the StoryCore interview this morning, how important having my mom is to me, that I never really faced the potential of losing her, that I love having her in my life every day and feel blessed to have that. My parents really did do an excellent job of always being there for me, of always pulling through when they were having hard times. I've never worried about losing them because they've convinced me so well that they'll always be there. While maybe I haven't grown and become stronger because of that I appreciate the security that they have provided. I have found my own ways of growing and experiencing in order to become stronger, as I feel I am, and thank my parents for providing that solid background while I grew. I hope I can do the same.
focus always changes with life, doesn't it? I guess if I were to write more often I would write about things other than babies, but considering the little I do write and the experience of life before baby and while expecting baby I wish to record this time that I won't ever be able to return to. Not that one returns or is able to ever return to a point in one's life, but this is a big life-changing event. Many people say it's the biggest, and I look forward to it with such joy and anticipation.
I didn't always feel this way though. After the initial excitement wore off I found myself floundering and terrified, wholly unprepared to start this life-changing process, un-accepting of the changes that were to come and the decisions to be made. My body would no longer be what it was. Already my boobs were growing. How much would my body change and what would it be after this physical process is done? It certainly wouldn't be youthful, supple and tight. Will I have stretch marks? Probably. Will I sag? Isn't that a given eventually? Is eventually already here?
I also dreaded the change in our relationship. It will never be just the two of us again. How will we go on vacations? When will I next be able to leave the country? We wanted to go on a scuba diving trip this last spring, but suddenly that was out of the question. I guess it was already out of the question anyhow considering I had lost my passport when I moved here and didn't replace it in time.
Next came my career, if you can call it that. I've taught at this school for one year and now I'm asking to take 4 months off to have a baby. But maybe I want more than that. Will I be able to handle leaving my child while I go to work? If I did the opposite would I be able to handle staying at home all day with a baby and doing nothing outside the house that was just mine and that challenged and supported me?
There were so many questions and unknowns, fears of what others would think or do. Fears of how S and I would find that common ground that must lie amidst our battle that is vaccines. I wanted to know what being pregnant for the first time had been like for my mom and for other women throughout my history. I wanted to record what it was like for me for my child to know if ever it was interested. Mom came to visit when I was 8 or 9 weeks. She was very excited. She asked if I walked around trying to stick my tummy out to make myself look more pregnant (of course not even I could tell that I was pregnant from the size of my tummy at that point). That was when I was concerned with the changes my body would go through and was horrified she would suggest such a thing. Want my belly bigger? No way. Not then. I've done a pretty good job of accepting these changes since then. My belly is much bigger now and there was a point when I was trying to push it out further. Especially when I was at that point where it was hard to tell if I was pregnant or had just gained a lot of weight.
Now I'm obviously enough pregnant and again worried about getting bigger, wondering just how much larger I'm going to get. Looking at other pregnant women in their 30+ weeks I know I have a lot of growing yet to do. I'm sure it will all be fine. As baby grows there are new experiences that make this so much more exciting. The first flutter, the first real kick, the first time daddy felt the kick. Now we can see baby moving and it's much more active. At our next appointment the midwife will help us to recognize parts of the baby. We'll be able to feel a foot, a butt, a shoulder... a head. I can't wait.
When I very very first found out I was pregnant (with a not planned, but not unwanted pregnancy) I was ecstatic. It was so exciting to be joining the ranks of mothers gone before, and to finally know (soon) what was like to be pregnant and carrying a child. I didn't tell S for most of two days. We had friends coming over with new babies and I knew the two of us wouldn't have been able to stop mooning at each other every time we looked at the babies. I wasn't ready to tell people yet, especially it being our first and being somewhat unplanned. We had been talking about babies and when would be the best time for a baby to be born, and had decided to start trying in April. I guess knowing that we would be trying soon and not certain how quickly it would or would not work we got a little lax in our practices and... now we'll have a new baby before Christmas.
I told S the day after our friends were over. I was going to tell him over breakfast, but he jumped up at 7:30 and said, "I'm going to do taxes!" Not exactly what I had expected of the day. I figured I had best let him finish the taxes because we'd both be much too distracted after wards to get much done. I did tell him I had a present for him when he finished his work. I didn't realize it would take all morning and much of the afternoon. To pass the time I went to the store to exchange a bra and undies set he had bought me for my birthday and which didn't fit quite right. I was horribly frustrated trying to find a bra knowing full well that I wouldn't fit into it in a few short months. I even told the sales lady I was pregnant before I told my husband.
Finally I had a set picked out and simply accepted that I soon would not be wearing it, but would hopefully fit back into it sometime after baby. Considering that I'm planning to nurse it's going to be a long time before that happens though. When I returned home S was almost finished. I went upstairs, put on my new set, wrapped the positive pregnancy test in a box and called S up. He was all smiles coming into the room. Once he joined me on the bed I handed him the decorated box. It was funny to watch the processing on his face. He didn't know what this thing was at first. "Was it a thermometer? We already have a thermometer. Is it a pregnancy test to use when we start trying? ... no it's already been used. It's positive. Who's is it then and why is she giving it to me?" (See. We really weren't planning). Eventually he figured it out and was through the roof and over the moon. I don't know that I'd ever seen him so happy and excited. It was really quite fun. We laid in bed and talked awhile, then got up and started looking at baby names. We've settled on a number of girl names that we like, but are still struggling with the boys'.
My baby is kicking this morning. It's been a healthy pregnancy with the few problems I've had being related to what seems to be pinched nerves. The one spot that had been bothering be since week 10 seems to have gone away, but a new one has come in its place, and the new one is worse. This numb, achy spot is about the size of a medium potato and is located along my ribs just to the right of my diaphram. It aches constantly and hurts if so much as a drop of water hits it. At times the pain surges as though someone has suddenly punched me with a fist covered in hot pins. It's quite distracting when that happens, but less so when I'm not worried about it. I've had this achy, surging pain for about 5 days now. My midwife said if it didn't improve in the next day or two I should come in and run some tests, but most likely it's just pinched nerves or pulled ligaments. A number of women I've talked to said they had or had heard of similar pains and that they were related just to moving muscles or baby being in a new position. Maybe it's time for some yoga to try to convince baby to move off that nerve and find something else.
This space is so odd, because it's my journal - my place to write and explore myself, yet the fact that it's public changes things. Changes how I write and what I say. Do I depend on others input? I think more it's the thought of people in my life reading this and taking more from these pages than may be written here. Also though, it's because there are others out there. There is someone who reads it. I feel I need to update these pages about my life before I begin to write. I do update quickly in my physical journal, but there's something more to this. Some community. Some outstretched interest from those I've heard from and read before.
So here's the update,
Such a funny thing really. I feel I will look back at this time in 20 years and say "we had no idea what we were doing." S doesn't believe that this is going to hurt yet. I need him to believe that so that I can have my breathing room. He gets so upset when I'm upset. He understands that when he gets like that I hide myself from him because he can't handle it. I'm looking forward to the day when his reactions won't so control my exposure of my emotions and thoughts. It's just that I know he hates situtations like that and that he doesn't deal well with them. I don't want to put him in that place, but I don't want to hide myself from him either. The hiding makes me want to hide more and more. It's depressing and makes me depressed until I start to hide from myself. I haven't been facing who I am and following through on what I want and that upsets me. I keep wanting him to go away so that I can have my space and find myself. Not that I'd manage even then... but.
Truthfully I love him and I've never questioned whethere marrying him was right or not, because I believe it was and is. He was a good choice and decision. Now I just have to learn to deal with the marriage part.
Perhaps here I can work to maintain myself, seeing as that's not working as well as I would like otherwise. I'm reading this book that talks about differentiating yourself from your partner and your family, friends, & loved ones, and that in doing this you can be closer to those you love, because you maintain your integrity - who you are - and don't worry about being consumed by others. I felt very much that I lost a lot of myself when I moved and I've had a difficult time recreating that self. While I admire myself I don't hold onto my beliefs and values very strongly - I tend to let them slide more often than I would like. I think S does this as well. We're still working on how to be ourselves while we're together.
I recognized in myself the tendency to adapt to the person I was with at the time. I thought that having this long-distance relationship with S helped to avoid that - we were still living our lives yet we were together. I glossed over the fact that we each abandoned our lives, families and friends to be with each other every weekend - claiming we needed to do that because we saw each other so seldom. Claiming still that our constant togetherness is just a by-product of having courted apart for so long and getting use to living together, but at which point does it change from getting-use-to to what-we've-always-done? We need to realize ways to develop ourselves and to stand on our own two feet. I'm excited about this. We'll see how it goes.