I Need You to Know That I Loved You.

Image

I need you to know, more than anything else, that I loved you.

I was so scared. I have never known fear as great as the day I found out that you would be coming to this world. But I loved you. So much. I still love you and I will always miss you.

There were so many things I wondered, worried and agonized over. Almost every waking moment, and many of my sleeping ones, I ran over every possible scenario that I could think of. How much of that did you feel? How much of my stress caused you harm? Could you feel my love too?

Never have two little pink lines been so terrifying. I am so sorry that there were no tears of joy and squeals of laughter. All babies should be welcomed that way. You weren’t any less beautiful, miraculous, or amazing. I was so angry when I realized I was pregnant. Not at you, or because of you, but I was angry at how it could be possible for a responsibility and a privilege so great to be given to someone like me, who had no way of providing, protecting or loving you the way that you deserved. The way every beautiful, precious, miracle of a baby deserves.

Your amazing beating heart flickered there on the screen for me. It was weak and you were small but you were fighting. You lived, if only briefly. I wanted not to worry. I wanted to be joyful but instead there was just gut wrenching fear.

How do I explain who your father is? What he is? Where he is? What he did? How do I conceal that you even exist to protect you? The world is small and eventually he would have found out…how do you trust a broken governmental system to protect the most vulnerable among us? How could I provide for you? How could I walk away from you every day to leave you in daycare? How would I afford daycare? How do I face each day, being the mom you need, stretched too thin, with no financial resources? How do I deserve you? How will it feel for you to watch your siblings leave to go see their father and you won’t have one to go to? What will you say? How will I explain it?  Will my love be stronger than the pain he caused? Am I a good enough mom? How will I afford any of this? How do I face my fears, acknowledge them, and let them go? How do I trust that the world will be here for us when the world has felt so dark?

Darkness. Everywhere things just feel dark. How could all of this happen? What did I do to deserve this? How do you keep faith in humanity when things keep going wrong. Consistently, irreparably wrong? I have always been a positive person. Looking on the bright side. Trusting the good in people. In the world. Little by little, the world is changing me. How do I stop it from changing me? How do I stop from becoming dark myself?

I tried to be brave for you. To think of the beautiful birth you would have. Would you be born wide awake and curious like your sister? Huge and quiet with one eye open like your oldest brother? Or would you sleep through a fast and furious birth like your youngest brother? I imagined wearing you in a wrap and nursing you. I imagined rocking you and holding you and our quiet days together, when your siblings were with their dad.

Were you the little girl we’ve all been hoping and waiting for? The sister that’s been longed for? Were you going to teach me that I am stronger and braver than I give myself credit for? Would you show us with your beautiful smile, your sweet grasping hands, those deep soulful eyes, and that indescribable baby smell that despite the darkness in the world, that each amazing, beautiful life possesses the power to bring meaning and light?

I will never know the answers to those questions. Your little heart stopped beating and you, my brave, sweet baby, with your short powerful life, will leave me forever wondering about you. Missing you. Loving you.

I am thankful that you have been spared the fears and possibilities that I agonized over. I am grateful and relieved and yet pained with guilt, remorse, pain, and loss. But above absolutely anything else… I love you.

-Mom

Because it needs to be said

Again and again and again.

The rampant cases of sexual abuse in our country is a very close topic to my heart. I feel it is the preference of most people to look at the issue with glazed eyes and then turn away. No one wants to talk about it. No one wants to deal with it. We just want it to go away. It doesn’t work like that. I don’t have any magical solutions but I know it needs to be talked about in order for any type of headway to be made. With that being said here is an article that is both disgusting in its implications but not shocking to me in any way.

Within the article, a lawyer mentions that she believes there is at least one sexual abuse perpetrator in every school. I don’t doubt that for a second. In fact, I believe she is probably being conservative.

In my own town there is a case from a 72 year old retired teacher that is now being accused of multiple cases of past abuse both in the Tri-Cities and in Seattle.

I think that what is most important to keep in mind is that we only ever see a very small tip of the ice-berg when it comes to viewing the vast scope of abuse that is occurring. As far as the media goes, we are only seeing large public cases, not the ones kept under wraps with settlements and cover ups. Even more so, we don’t see the unnumbered cases that never go reported to anyone. They are kept within the victim and left to fester. We hope that the festering results only in hardship for the victim to recover from but unfortunately, far too often, the victim later become the perpetrator. Perhaps not abusing his/her victims in the same way they were harmed but taking the shape of other forms. I am reminded of that depression commercial that plays on the TV. Who does depression hurt? Everyone. It is the same with abuse. It has a trickle down effect that will magnify itself in many ways. Damaged relationships with family, spouse, peers and friends, lack of appropriate boundaries with children, compensating behavior, etc.

We plan on homeschooling. Not necessarily for this reason all though it certainly is a contributing factor but in reality schools aren’t the beast of this problem. We could home-school all children and this would still be taking place.

I don’t know what the solution is. I know that what we are doing now isn’t working, that is for sure. I also know I want stricter penalties and public penalties at that. None of this right of privacy crap.

I think if one thing could be done to help cure this epidemic it would be for mother and fathers to bond better with their children in infancy. To establish that firm attachment that is needed in those vital first few years. It sounds naive and far too simple but really I think it ultimately boils down to unfulfilled needs that were never met. Not to say this directly leads people to be abusive but I believe that this lack of appropriate attachment manifests itself in our society in many untold ways. If you’ve never read it I highly recommend reading The Continuum Concept (a separate post will be written about this later).

Stupid Neighbor

offenderimage.jpg

Well we had quite the adventure last night. We were lying in bed at a quarter to eleven, watching TV and heard a loud glass sounding crash in the back yard. Mike grabbed his gun and ran to investigate and I looked out the window to see the neighbors behind us lights turn off 2 seconds later.

Turns out the teenage neighbor boy behind us threw a plate at our house and it shattered glass everywhere. We called the cops and waited for them to arrive. Mike waited in the backyard for the kid to come back outside and scope out his work, which of course he did. Mike scared the crap out of him by shining the flashlight in his face as soon as he got near the fence (he didn’t know Mike was in the yard). Mike asked why he was throwing stuff at our house and of course the boy denied it. Mike told him he could explain it all to the cops. When the police officer got there the first time the boy turned off all the lights and hid so the cop had to leave. Five minutes after the cop left all the lights came on because the mom got home, so we called the police officer back to the house. After the officer left we could hear the mom screaming at the boy for over an hour. It was entertaining.

This is not the first time we have found stuff in our yard. There have been eggs, toilet paper, garbage and other miscellaneous junk. What’s worse is that this kid is a Level II sex offender for Child Molestation (removed link since it gave his address and essentially shares mine). And until we catch this kid in our yard or have proof of him doing it in the act there is nothing we can do. Our legal system is quite grand. Maybe it’s time we invest in a motion detected camera.

Mothering

For the last few weeks I have been trying to formulate and put into writing how I feel about parenting “theories” and the little mommy “wars” that seem to be raging in both the online and real world.

There is an air of superiority that seems to penetrate any group of mothers of two or more. I have come to realize that mothers are about the most judgemental group of people that live (that and mother’s of new mothers). This has really been bothering me. I have noticed this trait in myself as I have sat on my own throne and decided who “is” and who “isn’t” a good mother. I’ve stopped myself a couple times and I’ve had to ask myself why I am doing this. Am I a perfect mother? I can rest assure you I am not. So why in the world would I expect someone else to be a perfect mother? Why do we have this obsession with judging the parenting of another. I am still working on really assessing my own shortcomings in this area and what is really fueling this habit.

I went online today and lo and behold there was a fabulous email that was better able to verbalize what I have been pondering and concluding for the last several weeks. I will post that email here. I did not write it but it echo’s my sentiments perfectly.

I hope that anyone who reads it takes it to heart. I also hope that any mother who reads it realizes that they are a good mother.

Here it is:

“I have been thinking a lot lately about this whole mothering thing. This somehow sacred ideal that there is a perfect way to mother, and that women who deviate from this method are somehow inferior.No matter what your taste, you can read a study or a book by a self-proclaimed expert who will back you up. Want to Attachment Parent? Read this book! Want to Cry it Out? Read this book! Want to use cloth diapers? Read this study! Want to use a bottle? Here’s what this doctor says! Circumcision? Well the latest statistic says . . .

The Latest Studies show. Talk about a phrase that should be removed from all languages. 30 years ago The Latest Studies showed that bottle-feeding and starting solids at 3 weeks and using disposable diapers was the best way to raise your child. Today, The Latest Studies show that breastfeeding and starting solids after 9 months and using cloth diapers are the best way to raise your child. The Latest Studies don’t ever agree with each other, because if they did, there would be no more money given out to actually do studies, and there would be no money made in writing books.

Most of us survive childhood intact. Sure, we complain. Sure we trot out our parents’ mistakes and brandish them with a vengeance as proof of our suffering. Sure we rant and rave, promising ourselves and anyone else that listens that we will be different, that we will never be the same kind of mother as our own second-rate one.

And yes, there is such a thing as bad mothering.

But.

Bad mothering is not using disposable diapers. Bad mothering is not using bottles and formula. Bad mothering is not putting a baby into a crib and letting the baby cry until she learns to sleep on her own. Bad mothering is not giving the baby a cookie to just shut up her whining, already.

Nor is bad mothering using cloth diapers. Or breastfeeding until the baby is 4. Or letting the baby sleep in bed with her parents. Or feeding the baby a vegetarian diet.

There are women out there who are bad mothers. There are mothers shooting up while their children die of starvation and neglect in the next room. There are mothers out there who stuff a pillow over their heads so they don’t have to listen to the whimpers from their 8 year olds while their fathers sodomize them. There are mothers out there who abandon their children on the street because they no longer wish to care for them. There are women who slowly twist their children’s limbs until they snap while their children cry and beg, promising to be good.

Bad mothers.

Yes.

But most of us are not.

At some point along the line, women in the Western world stopped trusting their instincts. We began to listen to doctors. We eagerly read studies and books that would confirm to us that yes, we were good mothers!

And worse, we began to betray each other. We began to gather in camps, and we set up rules for what constituted good mothering. And any mother who strayed outside those rules was a bad mother. We’d sit together over tea and discuss in outraged tones the ignorant woman down the street who bottle-fed her child from birth, smugly asserting our superiority in breastfeeding our own children for months and years. We’d converse over a power lunch about the poor deluded woman who quit her high-profile job so she could stay home and finger-paint, rolling our eyes and congratulating ourselves on our excellent luck in nannies. We’d snipe over email and on message boards, on blogs and over the phone.

Look at me! I am a better mother! And I can prove it to you by surrounding myself with other mothers who think just like me! I can prove it by shoving these books in your face! I can prove it by demeaning other mothers who have made different choices than mine!

Why are we doing this???????? ????????? ???

Why can’t we feel confident in our own mothering choices? Why do we feel such a need to prove ourselves through book after book and scorn directed towards other mothers?

Ask yourself, and be honest. When was the last time you criticized another mother in your mind? Was it today? Was it yesterday?

The next time you hear yourself making a nasty comment about another mother…stop. Just stop. And ask yourself – is she really a bad mother? Does she abuse her child? Does she neglect her child? Co-sleeping is not abuse. Bottle-feeding is not neglect. Think about what is coming out of your mouths and what your typing over message boards.

Do not diminish the pain of a child who sleeps chained in a closet, ribs cracked from her latest beating by equating her to a child who has learned to sleep by crying it out for a few nights in her crib. Do not diminish the pain of a child who has been sexually abused by equating her to a child that sleeps peacefully between her loving parents or still breastfeeds at 2 and 3 years old. Do not diminish the pain of a child who has not eaten for days by equating her to a child who is not fed meat or who drinks formula.

None of us perfect. None of us are. And we will all make mistakes. We will learn, we will revise our thinking; we will throw up our hands and let go of a long cherished ideal because we have just got to do it or collapse.

So how about instead of attacking other mothers, we start feeling confident about ourselves? How about we look to our own children instead of spending time self-righteously judging everyone else’s? Throw away your parenting books. Think about what your doctor tells you and evaluate what it means. When other mothers criticize you, shake it off and ignore the temptation to turn around and attack back.

Let’s try supporting each other for a change. I think it would make all of us better mothers to do so.”