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Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

I’ve been stewing for a week about the most bizarre baby shower conversation I’ve ever heard. There was the usual thoughtful advice for the expectant mom, a few hair-raising stories of difficult births, and delightful anecdotes of early parenting. But then there was the chick who hates her kid.

Let me back up. I always tell new and expectant mothers something I believe no one else will ever tell them, but should. There will come a time (even many times) when you will ache to throw your infant child out the window. It’s true. It’s awful. You’ll be so tired and overwhelmed and stressed and sad and helpless… you’ll want it to stop. But you don’t. You put the baby to bed and close the door. You run the vacuum or take a shower so you don’t have to hear the cries just for a minute. Sometimes you’ll have the strength to keep rocking, walking, patting, nursing – whatever works. Most of the time you’ll do that. But at least once, I believe every new mother will have that awful moment where she just doesn’t feel like she can do it.

I’ve had so many people thank me for those words, more who told me they wish they’d heard that sooner. It isn’t easy to talk about the ugly parts of parenting. The judgement is already crippling, so there you don’t exactly find people begging you to talk about feeling inadequate.

So, here I am telling my dear old friend that she may experience this awful moment and another woman exclaims that she has it every day – for the past decade.

Sure threw me for a loop. She went on to describe a child with multiple disabilities, on the autism spectrum with serious behavioral problems and learning delays.

Wow, that can be hard. Sounds like my kid.

Except I *love* being a mother. She *hates* it. She went on to say how awful it is being a parent, how she wishes every day that she had never had a child, how she’d give him away if she could… Maybe she was having a truly terrible time with her child. Maybe he is extraordinarily awful. I don’t know. I don’t know the boy. I barely know her. Her story sure struck a chord with me…

I was a child who believed that my mother hated me. I still am. This has been a lifetime struggle, trying to understand how I could have been such an evil, defective child that didn’t deserve my own mother’s love. I have some intellectual understanding that I am not evil. I can logically conclude that my mother is the one who is flawed or injured or disturbed to be incapable of loving her daughter – or perhaps it was a choice, she certainly had love to spare for my brother. Who knows. Bottom line is that it cut a deep wound in my soul that continues to fester and ooze even as I work every day to heal my childhood wounds.

That’s my story, not hers. But what happens to a woman that she can’t find love in her heart for her child? I keep thinking about “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” and how struck I was about the coldness of that mother and how my heart aches for what that child is fighting against.

I don’t have the answers. I have compassion for them. The children – my heart aches for how lost they must feel, how broken and confused. My heart aches with confusion for the mothers – do they get to feel the joy? Do they ever have those exquisite moments when their eyes well up with tears and pride for the amazing creatures they raise?

I had one of those this morning. My boy was home from  college and telling me he had forgotten how much he hated doing dishes – as he wiped his hands after doing the dishes. Without having been asked… It was a tiny thing, but it made me so happy to think of him becoming a man willing to take on crappy jobs simply because they need to be done.

I read an amazing post this morning over at Mad In America, http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/12/a-challenge-to-i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-challenge-to-i-am-adam-lanzas-mother in response to “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” She doesn’t just talk about the complicated feelings of reaction to Liza Long’s post, but the extremely complicated situation those of us who become trapped in the box of mental illness – and have escaped. I’m so very grateful for her words and validation.

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Or when your mom is broke, depressed and overwhelmed.

I really wanted to come back to this blog in triumph. I planned to detail all the terrific progress I’ve made in the past couple years. I’ve become active daily, lost over 60 pounds, dealt with some chronic health concerns I’d avoided for years and continue to manage my depression and anxiety without medication. I continue to strive to be more mindful and have found that acceptance is my single greatest tool in recognizing what I’m feeling and avoiding wallowing in those emotions… sometimes. On the good days. When things are better.

Problem is things aren’t better right now. Right now I’m struggling to remember the progress I’ve made because it feels like it is always the same bullshit, year after year. I’m still broke, living on a paltry income from disability and the exceedingly rare child support check. I’m teetering on the edge of foreclosure, being sued by my ex, my head gaskets are leaking in my Subaru and I’m miles away from a catastrophic engine failure that I can’t afford to repair. My therapist is away until late next week.

Waaahhh… yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone has problems.  Sometimes I just need to rant.

What about the bright side? I shower more. I like myself better. I feel better about my body. My health has improved by leaps and bounds, my blood pressure is normal, I have fewer headaches and colds. I climb the 5 flights of stairs to therapy without having to stop anymore. My dog is happier getting more exercise. I was able to send my brilliant son away to college 1,000 miles away… it was hard, but I did it and I’m so very proud of him. My younger son is thriving socially and has found his niche performing in theater. I have gained some ground in my financial chaos, working with a case manager to get on top of the paperwork. I’ve been a tireless advocate for myself to get child support collected by the state – even if that office is finding me pretty tiresome. But I’m tired.

I’m tired of being poor. I’m tired of not being ready to work. I’m ever so freaking tired of people assuming I’m just being lazy and feeling like I have to justify my disability. I’m tired of giving my kids underwear for Christmas because it is all I can afford…

I’m grateful that my kids are awesome and will behave as though they are the greatest boxers ever.

I’m tired of people telling me how to solve my problems. Tired of folks thinking it is just a matter of making a phone call or filling out some paperwork – people who don’t understand just how daunting and overwhelming such seemingly benign tasks can become to someone in my position. I’m so exhausted with people being tired of me. People heaving a big sigh and trying to be understanding but feeling like it is really just a question of me being lazy or sorry for myself.

They don’t know. They’re not here when I make a list, set an alarm, vow to accomplish a task only to find my self literally turning in circles trying to figure out where to start and collapsing in tears that I can’t just take care of these simple things everyone else seems to do without thinking. They don’t know what it is like to obsess about an issue until every waking thought is consumed with the agony and fear of not being able to cope with it. They don’t know how I shake to my very core with panic. They don’t know, but they feel so free to judge. They feel so confident in their conviction that it should be just. that. easy.

I’m better. I’m so much better than I was. I’m building relationships, isolating less, successfully advocating for children in my volunteer work, being more present and available to my children and friends… I’ve been taking care of so many things I’ve avoided in the past. I’ve been taking care of me.

The holidays suck. Right now is hard, brutal even, but I’ll be better soon. I know that I have to strength to come out of this low and keep moving forward. I know that the anger and fear will not consume me. I have resources I haven’t been able to access in years. I’m stronger now, even if I’m so very, very weak today.

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