Tag Archives: motherhood

Depressive Episode

9 Jun

I had family in town this past weekend, and I seem to always lose a bit of self-control whenever a visit is over.  I love getting to see my family enjoy my kids and play with them and my kids put on a show for everyone.  It’s overwhelming but delightful to see my kids love other people.

But, like for so many others, family for me is painful, too.  Family are the people who don’t understand me and might not ever try.  Family are the people I put on a mask for.  The ones I turn much more introverted for.  Become less opinionated around.  Speak up for myself less.  I shrink any part of me that might become offensive because I’m not sure anyone’s love is unconditional.

The other day, I read this confession from an adult adoptee and realized I related to so, so much of what she wrote.  Obviously, my life has not been the same as an adoptee; please don’t think I’m saying that.  But my life isn’t like yours with both biological parents around, either.  I often feel like I’m in some weird other place, and it’s hard to find voices saying familiar things.  Adoption is the closest scenario to mine, I guess, and so I’m finding a lot in common when reading the stories of adoptees.

I also wanted to read more about ambiguous grief that I’d heard mentioned in talk about adoption.  So, I did what any Millennial would do:  I Googled it.  And this is what I read.  And, all of a sudden, I felt like I could forgive myself.  All this jumble of feelings; all these times of feeling sad and confused around holidays and, as I’ve gotten older, my birthday; all the faulty coping I’ve engineered for myself— all of this has a reason behind it.  I mean, I guess I knew that; but I’ve never been exposed to the idea of ambiguous grief before very recently, and the ability to name something is so very powerful.

Because, even though I know that I’m not the only one to feel sad at Christmas because I don’t know my bio dad/my family of origin doesn’t really know me/whatever else is in the mix , it can feel that way.  It can feel like an impossible hurdle to overcome, this being different thing.  But I’m not so different; I fall into a whole lot of categories.  And while the teenaged rebel in me still hopes thinks I am undefinable, I feel a lot calmer and merciful with myself when I figure out that I’m not so outside these distinct, knowable boxes.

I’ve been reading a lot about “peaceful/gentle/positive parenting” stuff (see herehere, or here for what I’ve been reading), and something that gets brought up frequently is knowing your own stuff– your deep wounds, your painful associations, your traumas and triggers and tipping points– so that you can parent well.  And I feel like I’m digging deep into myself and dragging out all kinds of sad, mangled feelings; things that I’d rather not think about or deal with.  But my daughter reminds me of myself as a child, and I have to let things go so I don’t go on being jealous of her.  Of a 4-almost-5-year-old.  Yes, my heart is an ugly place at times; but I am more than the sum of my past hurts, and I can be different.  I can try to love myself so that I can love my kids better than how I was treated.

 

Here’s to breaking the cycle.

To making a family where we can know each other even if we are not alike.

To loving fully and totally and painfully.

To having a vulnerable heart even though it can be more easily bruised.

To being who I am even though it’s scary.

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Three kids

21 Aug

If you know me, you know I have 3 kids.  You may also know that I’m 26.  Every once in a while, these two things blow me away.  This is not how I imagined life at 26.  Actually, I don’t think I ever had any idea what I’d be doing past 19.  And that was when I was 19.

I’m a fatalist, friends.  What does that mean?  It means, for me, I don’t see very far into the future.  Sometimes I try to have a great, positive (Christian?) outlook  for the years to come… but I can’t do it.  It’s all fog and haze and maybe I need new glasses?  So, when I was 19 and tried to look forward, I didn’t imagine much for 26.  Maybe I thought I’d be married?  But I don’t remember caring much about getting married.  I definitely didn’t think about kids ever.  I seriously used to be scared of babies.  They just freaked me out.  They’re tiny!  and fragile!  with a soft spot!  DO NOT TOUCH BABIES.

But, here I am.  I’m onto my 3rd baby, and I’m not very scared of doing much with him.  (I mean as far as dropping him goes.  After you see one baby fall off the couch, you’re slightly more and less afraid at the same time.)  I know how to take care of an infant; how to help a toddler up the stairs; how to help a preschooler scribble and color.  I’ve changed diapers ad nauseum; offered countless turned down dinner plates; cleaned a million sticky fingers.  And I still don’t feel like a mom.

I mean:  I am a mom.  Or mommy.  Or mama.  I am one of those.  I do the things moms do and have children to call my own; but I can’t seem to figure out what I’m supposed to feel.  How do you feel like a mom?

I think part of my problem is that this mothering thing is pretty hard for me.  It takes a lot of patience and care and gentleness and enthusiasm and listening.  Some of those I can do somewhat easily; others are less natural for me.  It takes a lot of control for me to, say, not roll my eyes at my 4 year old when she spills her entire plate because she was engrossed in something other than walking; or to answer the same question over and over and over and over from my 2 year old without telling him to shut up.  Yeah, I’m not a natural-born mother.

Then again, I am.  Right?  I mean, here I am:  Mother.  It sort of feels like a shirt that’s a bit too snug; maybe if I lost something it’d fit better.  But I’m still holding on to being what I once could easily be:  selfish and petty and ugly and mean and controlling and flippant and lazy.  Why should I give those up for my little blessings?  Why can’t I just be the way that comes easily to me?

This stuff– this letting go type stuff– is hard.  It’s hard to see a constant furrow on your face and not wonder what it does to your kids.  So I’m trying to let go.  To give my kids a kind, gentle, loving, patient, soft mother even if I don’t always want to be her.  And maybe I’ll keep trying to be her, and, one day, wake up and find I actually am her.   Fake it ’til you make it, right?  RIGHT?!

Pregnancy Hiatus

21 Mar

That’s what I’m calling the time between now and whenever it was that I last blogged: a “pregnancy hiatus.” I’ve been really busy being pregnant, wouldn’t you know?

It takes an incredible amount of work to do anything. Like get out of bed. Or not throw up a bunch. Oh, and take care of two kids. All the time. They never go away. Okay, on the weekends they go to their grandparents’, so they kind of go away for a little bit most weeks.

So I’m here now, listening to my kids eat their lunch in front of the TV and do whatever else they’re doing while I’m not paying them much attention, and I felt like I would write something.

Something about how horrible I feel or how it’s been really hard and doesn’t seem to have any hope of ending (even though the end of pregnancy is quickly approaching). Or how if this is some kind of test of stamina or perseverance or strength or faith or anything else, that I have undeniably failed. How I feel a lot of guilt (STILL, ALWAYS) about hating pregnancy when I can get pregnant and stay pregnant so easily and labor normally and have healthy, fat babies when I know plenty of people don’t get to experience that. How our house is a constant mess and the floors haven’t been mopped in… months, at least… and there’s dust and dirt all over the place and stickers on the floor and the couch is dirty and everything is just a mess all of the time.

But also how I’m excited about this little baby boy growing inside me. And, other than what I deem “pregnancy/puking depression”, I’ve been the most emotionally prepared for this baby than either of my other two. How this is what I thought pregnancies were supposed to be like in that respect, but I’d yet to get to feel this way before. (And that makes me feel a little guilty too, of course.)

I guess you can tell I’m home without another adult to share my feelings with, and, well, I just feel bad. So now the whole world can know and maybe it won’t be quite as bad.

I just feel like