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For this moment forever sing for my darling that I love you.

19 Jul

From time to time, my heart aches and burns. It ebbs and flows, moves from me through diaper changes, time outs, the constant muddle of cleaning up, toys in the box again.

Before I had children, I felt nothing like this, nothing nearing the grasping power that my heart now holds. I was never this joyous, or scared. I was never this *here*.

Kate at Sweet/Salty started a….conversation the other day that took on a life of it’s own and polarized people on two ends almost accidentally.

She stated something many of us feel to be a truth as a parent-that you do not feel pain as a parent as you do when child free.

I feel this to be truth.

If you read the comments, all 121 of them, you’ll hear the screeching of the childfree saying “I’ve felt pain! I’ve suffered!” as if it’s a competition to beat out the mother mourning her child. “We’re people too! US! US! It’s not fair! What about us? You’re so MEAN to us! How dare you call us pussies, directly, or by implication.”

My heart flutters and sighs, because I know. How I know.

Before children, that time that seems forever and a few minutes ago, I hurt. I felt the pain of losing my mother, the pain of being abused, the pain of being the daughter of an alcoholic, the suffering of being a crazy person who didn’t know they were crazy. I felt it, a numbing vapo-rub kind of pain. Life was lived in pastel. I slept late and ate take out. I dreamed of a life lived only for me, and that was just fine.

Then I accidentally had a child, then another. And my heart bloomed, opened up, unfolded. It became bigger, it became more than it was. And suddenly, it understood.

You don’t get why your parents get so mad at you sometimes, not until you’ve really worried about your child. Sure, I worried about my mother when she was sick, but nothing will ever compare with the time Vivian had a seizure, and I panicked and just sat their crying and screaming and begging her to breathe, willing her to not die-my mind screamed in purple YOU CAN’T DIE! The fear choked me, surrounded me, like a cloak. I had felt nothing like this ever before. I realized then two things-losing my child would kill me, and that I loved her with every inch of my being. I had a passion for my daughter.

Maybe it’s biological, which would make sense. But out of all the experiences I have had, none have burned as brightly as the love I hold for my children. Do those who haven’t experienced it claim their love or loss is just as valuable or strong because they cannot be undone? Or because they truly believe, as I did, that they couldn’t feel anything the way that parents described? I never anticipated this-I “pshawed” all the cooing “you  just wait” mothers who surrounded me-what did they know about my heart?

But oh. Oh oh oh oh. There is a density to the love you hold for a child, a willfulness that IS different from what you feel for other things. I adore William Carlos Williams, ripe peaches, perfect starry nights. My chest swells with these things. I have felt the loss of many things, crushed from my grasp so often. And yet nothing, absolutely nothing can come anywhere near the flush love I hold for my girls.

Our lives hold stages, and pardon me for stealing from Wicca, but I firmly believe that we move through Maiden, Mother, Crone. What I felt as a maiden is nothing I feel like a mother. They are different people, as Crone Thordora will be different again. I do not measure them against each other anymore than I explain music to the deaf. But I will revel in Mother me, and learn to love the Crone I am to become.

Or maybe it’s just that before kids we think we know everything, and after, we come to realize that when you can’t make a 8 pound infant stop crying, you really know nothing at all.

To my daughter, named in dream.

12 Jul

There are drawings in the notebook I have written this in, drawings my eldest daughter has left me. The heads are far too large, bloated even, but the arms and eyes are just right, perfectly placed almost, dimensions as they should be.

With these drawings I hold in my hands a memory I will never lose, a memory of irrevocable times, of words she’ll only say correctly from here on out, thoughts she’ll have beyond the pricelessness of her youth. How sparse! How magical-how brief and melting are these days.

As a newborn, an infant, I listened to her squalling with the frustration and helplessness of my youth, my inexperience. I pleaded with her nightly to stop screaming, to let me know, to tell me, hell, to turn colors so I’d know what it was that she needed, what it was that I was doing wrong. Her snurgles late at night as she slept, her broad smiles in the early morning, her disdain for closeness-all things I thought would never end, that I would never find the answer to.

Yet here we are. Here I sit, thoughts meandering to late night baths, lavender lotion slathered on chubby unused baby legs, the desperate coos of the of a young mother trying to entertain a cold, wet unimpressed infant. Bottles by the sink for 4 am feedings, spent torn between annoyance and awe. Your lips would droop as you fell off into sleep, your stomach filled, until the nipple popped from your mouth and your grip on my finger lessened. Only my arms to guide you gently back to sleep.

I grow weak for those moments, those days. I want to beg for a do-over, another chance to get it right, to appreciate and enjoy, to love you as you weren’t, to love you for what you were, not what you some day would be. To love you. To love the daughter I had given myself, the one who named herself in my dreams.

Soon, too soon Vivian, you will turn 4. The heads you draw will become smaller, more expected. Perhaps your grin will not be so broad for me. Your world will hurtle outwards into space, time, into the lessons that make up a life.

I am sad, and yet hopeful.

It is the mother’s place to hold tightly to the past-once the demands have lessened, she can stop and remember the coy moments spent laying on the spare bed, playing with the littlest of toes instead of remembering the innumerable loads of laundry. She can finally stop and recall the excitement of the new. How truly soft your cheeks really were.

I don’t sit sadly, maybe crying because I miss you already. It’s not because I am sad to lose you, as all mother’s will one day lose their daughters-I cry because I mourn what I have lost instead-what I gave up. Your first years gone in a retreating flash of time. Your silly years gliding away from me, already lost to you.

I will keep these drawings as i will keep this letter. For you. For your future, the daughters you will or won’t have, the days when you question my love for you. When you question the life I dream for you.


While I am not your father, my love is mirrored in the following.

All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded
cuts and wounds
–all this pleases you.
O my god! you say at breakfast
reading the sports page over the Alpen
as another player breaks his ankle
or assaults the coach.

When I thought of daughters
I wasn’t expecting this
but I like this more.
I like all your faults
even your purple moods
when you retreat from everyone
to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say ‘like’
I mean of course ‘love’
but that embarrasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies
(coaxed for hours to see Casablanca)
though you were moved
by Creature from the Black Lagoon.

One day I’ll come swimming
beside your ship or someone will
and if you hear the siren
listen to it. For if you close your ears
only nothing happens. You will never change.

I don’t care if you risk
your life to angry goalies
creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles
their glass laboratories. Just
don’t be fooled by anyone but yourself.

This is the first lecture I’ve given you.
You’re ‘sweet sixteen’ you said.
I’d rather be your closest friend
than your father. I’m not good at advice
you know that, but ride
the ceremonies
until they grow dark.

Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with loss
–but that is greed.
And sometimes I’ve gone
into my purple world
and lost you.

One afternoon I stepped
into your room. You were sitting
at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window
and sun spilled over you
like a thick yellow miracle
as if another planet
was coaxing you out of the house
–all those possible worlds!–
and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.

I cannot look at forsythia now
without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately
into the wild world
and your real prize will be
the frantic search.
Want everything. If you break
break going out not in.
How you live your life I don’t care
but I’ll sell my arms for you,
hold your secrets forever

If I speak of death
which you fear now, greatly,
it is without answers.
except that each
one we know is
in our blood.
Don’t recall graves.
Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon’s
yellow suburban annunciation.
Your goalie
in his frightening mask
dreams perhaps
of gentleness.

Pick your poison.

30 Jun

It’s not bad enough that a 19 year old sleep with a child, an 11 year old girl.

It’s not bad enough that their mothers KNEW about it, and did nothing about it.

It’s not even bad enough that the 11 year old became pregnant, kept the baby and is caring for it herself.

What’s fucking horrible about the case of Blake Blyth fucking a child is that NO ONE in their neighbourhood seemed particularly disgusted or shocked about what happened.

What does it take to shock people anymore? Are we all so blase about bad things that happen? Should we just step back and say “that’s there business, not mine” WTF? Should we just close our eyes and shrug?

ELEVEN. She gave birth at ELEVEN. What kind of mother lets this happen? If that was my child, Blake wouldn’t be able to walk. EVER. He’d be missing his kneecaps.

so much for dinner….

oh, and I forgot to mention…

21 Jun

Mamaloo over at Momcast HAD HERSELF A WEE BOY LAST NIGHT!

She wanted a homebirth, and was afraid her midwifes wouldn’t let her-but she prevailed! And little Spencer was born at home, with a minimum of fuss.

Toddle on over and let her know how hard she RULES!

New baby Today?

20 Jun

mamaloo thinks today is the day!

Go wish her some mama love and good happy thoughts that her home birth STAYS a home birth!


16 Jun

I’m folding laundry in front of Paula Zahn Now one night, relaxing after another chasingyellingfeedingsmellinggiggling day with my girls. I love doing the laundry-a simple mindless task with one purpose-clean nice smelling clothes. I grew up using the laundromat, so I find doing my laundry in the privacy of my own house a luxury.

As I folded the shirts and the pants of my daughters, I thought back to being pregnant with Vivian. After a business trip to Houston, I stopped at my in laws where they had a surprise shower for me. I lugged home what I could, the rest was mailed. I opened the suitcases, and the boxes in the empty sunny room, blue carpet, green walls, that was going to be my firstborn’s room. I sat on that floor, opening every tiny piece of clothing, marvelling at it all, at the fact that I would need it all, and the tiny fact of it’s being.

It was so new. I washed it all, drying it on the line in the backyard, in the sun, whipped by the warm late spring wind. I stood back to stare at all the little shirts and socks and hats and facecloths. It hit me at that moment how real the whole thing was.

I spent time folding it, hanging it, wondering if my baby would wear it, how long they would wear it, how I’d get it ON the baby. I let my fingers linger in the drawers, on the shelves as I entered the room, waiting, waiting. I stared at all the soaps and cremes, dumbfounded. I had no idea what was to come.

How new it all was. How clean and unfolded and sharp those few months before Vivian were. How I wanted everything to be just right, how I grew up so fast. How wonderful and happy my daughter was.

Folding my laundry now, I can’t help but be  struck by the speed of light, of time. Not four years ago I was in a different house, waiting for my life to change, folding newborn diaper shirts scared shitless. Their pants get longer and longer, the shirts bigger the stains harder. We grow. The baskets overflow, and I can no longer dictate what they wear, already!

I ache for the changes in those piles, how quickly they have changed, how soon the tiny outfits of babyhood are lost to the wider world of shorts and skirts and nail polish and haircuts.

How quickly it all has gone.

The children of my heart

13 Jun

Last night I finally got around to watching “Children of Men

This movie is loosely based (emphasis on the loose) on the P.D. James book of the same name. I think my view of the movie is biased by the fact that I LOVE the book. It’s just not the same, not by a long shot. I’m not saying it wasn’t a good movie-it just wasn’t the book.

If you haven’t read it, or watched it, the premise is that in 2009, people just stop being able to have babies. For no apparent reason. Then suddenly a pregnant woman, Kia is found, and the main character, Theo, has to protect her.

While I was unimpressed by the movie, I found myself incredibly moved by the scene where Kia has her daughter. She births in a cold, dirty room on a single mattress, with no real help, or knowledge of what to so.

As they are escaping a building later on, and everyone stops the minute the see or hear her little girl, the true sense of miracle comes through. And I cried.

I cried for women who do not see their children, their births as miracles. I cried for a world which has forgotten how beautiful birth is. I cried for a world when children are tossed aside, devalued, left to wither.  I cried for my loss, my inability to love my births and babies, my utter failure at that part of womanhood.

Then the newborn infant screams started. I began to feel like I would burst. The tears fell fast and my anxiety grew-that SOUND! I cannot bear it. Despite the miracle, I wanted to staunch the flow, cover the hole from whence those cries came. I couldn’t bear it-I can’t bear it. I twisted my hands over themselves, and quietly sobbed, my heart aching and my fingers twitching to turn off the sound, if not the movie.

Then it ended, and my heart recovered.

Inside my chest live the children I could not bear, the babies I cannot hear. The places I will never be, the mother I never was. I physically react to the miracle that is life, try to dissolve the fear by focusing on something else, anything else. But the interaction between one person’s miracle, and a clear reminder of one of the worst periods of my life hit me harder than I thought it might, left me quiet and sad.

My heart is bruised by the days I try to forget, days whose sirens are infants, small babies guilty of nothing but arrival. My miracle it seems, is moving, pulling to the side to let them pass.

..this great black night, and this fireglow.

31 May

When my Vivian was a small infant, and I a new mother, my father gave me the sage advice that all grandparents seem to pass along.

“They grow up too fast. Enjoy the moment.”

Since I was juggling work, the adjustment to new motherhood by accident, and a baby who refused to nap without being bounced in a bouncy chair, I really wasn’t into appreciating the moment. I wanted the moment to pass so I could go pee or eat something.

Nearly 4 years later, I understand beyond any belief, I grasp this phrase as one of those truths you only hold dear after the fact.

I stare at both of my daughters some days, wondering where the babies I help aloof went. Where their tiny feet went, where their small grasping hands disappeared to. Their faces are now those they will carry through their lives, their legs losing the bowed stagger of toddlers, settling instead into childhood. I look on in wonder as Rosalyn navigates stairs on her belly, frighteningly fast. I shake my head when Vivian argues her point, loudly and clearly. Where did these children come from?

Yesterday it seems, a week ago, they were just squalling infants in my arms, chubby arms pulling themselves up, new feet slapping tile. I turned around to get something, and my babies were replaced with children, with MINE! And I don’t want to go home! My babies have been replaced by the daughters of my future.

I mourn that I ignored it. That I turned away from the wonder of their movement through stages so quickly I could blink and miss it. I find myself quietly asking why I couldn’t stop and see things through the glasses of memory, why I couldn’t just be, absorbing the place none of us would visit again.

It’s gone far to fast, and we’re only 4 years in for my oldest. But I see the future stretching out, quickly, elastic. I see my daughters as girls, as teens, as women. As the people they’ll be, they might be. I see them, and view the road which burns speeding from their past. I see myself dropped off as their life begins anew. I see myself wishing for grandchildren, for their happiness, for the living of their lives. I see the road, and it’s not too broad or even that far.

The future hovers over my head, much as I imagine it hovered, and still hovers over my father. I can hear in his voice the ache of past, the memories that congest his eyes, the child I once was, transposed over the woman formed by our joint past, by who he is.

I enjoy the moments as I catch them. Vivian throwing her arms around my head in the morning light. Rosalyn coy and sly, allowing just one kiss to her cheek. My daughters fighting for that toy, or book, or spot or whatever is owed to them in their little world.

Each day is past, full of smaller footprints than today might hold.

I drink of them, and hold it in for tomorrow.

Partial Birth

2 May

Deep in my pro-choice heart, I’m trying to find the place where partial birth abortion lives.

I can’t find it.

I followed a link at This is me Maria, which described the process. Of course, being a pro-life website,  it’s meant to disgust and offend. But I cannot come to term with a procedure like that. Hell, I don’t even want to.

For years I wondered where my line is in the sand is. After having to children-after crowning and waiting to give that last push, I cannot stomach the thought of killing in this manner.

Pre-viability, clump of cells is one thing. 30 weeks is an entirely different story.

And maybe it’s because I don’t understand the point of getting to 7 months, and NOT just going to full term and giving the child for adoption. Maybe it’s cause I’m an adoptee, and that makes more sense. Maybe it’s because I do not see how we can NOT look at this as a child by this point. We fight so hard to save 25 week foetus’, and yet, 30 weeks can be aborted? I can’t make it jive-I just can’t.

I believe in a woman’s right to choice-I always will. But I have trouble stomaching this procedure, because it comes so very close to being murder. Part of me believes it to be murder. If the child delivered at 30 weeks naturally, and it had a hole poked in it, we would call it infanticide. So what’s the difference?

I feel so conflicted, and yet I don’t. There is a large part of my brain standing up to say this procedure is WRONG, horribly wrong. How could you get this far, feeling the creature move under your ribs, and then destroy it? This isn’t potential-this is a being.

It was so much easier when I didn’t have kids.

The most beautiful birth story…

25 Apr

made me cry at work. Reilly Kate keeping the secret is the best part I think. Go here to read it. Bring tissues.

Not here, not now.

11 Apr

I can’t stand the sound of new babies.

Someone in the office just brought in their new baby. I don’t know who, and I don’t want to know.

The sound of a squalling infant makes my stomach churn, and brings tears to my eyes. It makes me uncomfortable, it makes me mean and upset.

It makes me hurt.

I hear the other women cooing and awwing and I hear the eggs dropping and the overall fertility rate of the office going up. But I can’t join them. The sound of a recently born child makes me want to run away, makes me want to throw up and curl into a ball, crying.

It reminds me oh too much of a time when everything seemed so ruined. It brings to mind days when I couldn’t bear to be near my child, when I knew, I KNEW I could give her away and not mind at all. The days when I bore hate in my heart.

He cries again and I feel my body trying to escape. I feel my breast recoil, my arms twist upon themselves. My body tells me I am not a woman. I cannot possibly feel this way and be a woman.

I know that’s not the case. I know that I love my daughter now, despite the hell that was the beginning of her life. I know that I got through it, and it wasn’t my fault.

But I can’t help the tears that squalling baby brings to my eyes. And I can’t help the feeling that in some way, I am defective. I’m in between. My husband felt more connected to my daughter than I did for the longest time. I felt hate, and then I felt nothing. Not love, just obligation. This crying infant brings into focus that numbing obligation once again, my resentment, my anger, my fear.

This crying infant reminds me of a time when walking into the woods and dying seemed like the only option in front of me.

Take your babies from me. I cannot face them.

“we laugh when our newborn cries it out”

4 Apr

Of course you do. It’s a stress reliever.

Now, I’m not sure why you’re searching for this. Do you feel guilty? Did someone tell you this is wrong? Cause it’s not.

When my daughters were infants, and I was especially cranky or sick of dealing with an infant, I’d pretend that their screams and cries were really lots of cursing. Generally, in falsetto, the conversation would go something like”

“You goddamned cocksucking bastards! I’m tired! I can’t fucking sleep you cockknockers! Fuckers!”

It relieved my stress at listening to them cry without anyone getting hurt. I sounded like an utter moron doing this, but somehow, it helped. Plus, there’s nothing funnier than saying “fuckers!” in baby talk.

Listening to a baby cry it out is quite possibly one of the most heart rending things you’ll do. We know it doesn’t feel right. We know we should gather them in our arms and snuggle them to sleep. But something had gone terribly wrong in our world, and we don’t. We trap them in a room alone, and wait for them to give up.

We give up, because we have to. Because we need to go to work. Because we want the bed back. Because we’re told it’s “bad” to “coddle” the baby. Your newborn shouldn’t cry it out yet. They need you, despite what your father in law might say.

Everyone learns to sleep eventually. And sometimes, people just need to cry. Even you.

Go to your newborn, and hold them. They don’t need to cry. They need you.

“i cannot handle being a mother anymore”

26 Mar

Somedays, I can’t either.

Somedays, the crushing weight of my being a mother sits on me like sleep paralysis, waiting for me to move, almost daring me to. It wags it’s finger in my face, telling me I’m a bad mother, an ungrateful mother, because I cannot keep up with my own children sometimes, because I pretend when my husband and I are out alone that we ARE alone, that no one waits for us at home, ready to cover us in wet kisses and sticky fingers.

It’s the responsibility that gets to me-the knowledge that forever, I am connected to these creatures-I can never leave them, not truly. They will always be a part of me. Their toes will forever be the toes that kicked me in the ribs.

But somedays it’s the drudgery, it’s getting up and feeding them, convincing clothes onto them, sitting with them, then working all day, arriving home in time to listen to them scream about not wanting to go to bed. Those days get to me. Those days test me, because they test my love for them, they test the bounds of my patience and temper. On those days, the bad mommy sometimes gets to come out and play for a bit.

I have been tempted in the past, to throw up my hands, and walk away from it. From all of it. Times when it’s gotten so hard, too hard, worse than I ever imagined, I wanted to walk down the road, climb up onto the highway, and begone. Never to be seen again. I thought it, many times.

But in my eyes, in my heart, I couldn’t do it, I never would. I could never walk out that door and not come back. Because being a mother isnot just a test-it’s a battle. Sometimes it’s lovely and gentle, other days, it’s bloody and loud and frightful. Somedays I don’t like it at all.

But somedays are so fragile and simple, I want to place them under glass so they never disappear. I draw on those days, to get me through the wrong ones.

Dear Rosalyn

8 Mar

2 years ago today, I was sitting, uncomfortable, bitchy and waiting for you to finally make your way out of my body, and into the world.

I estimated the 11th. The doctor, the 2nd. Neither of us were right.

I had trouble coming to terms with you, I had trouble coming to terms with me. Did I want another child? Would it be a daughter? Would I love it? Would I be a good mother to two children, when I was barely adjusted to one? Could I handle a toddler and a newborn?

Would I lose my mind?

I almost did. You almost did me in my girl, and you know what? Now you melt my heart in different ways, happier ways.

This morning, after your sister managed to open the baby gate, the two of you ran to my bedroom, filled the room with your joyous crowing. Despite my sleepiness, I smiled. You father gathered you to him, and as you were leaving Rosalyn, you came to kiss me and said “Bye Mommy”. I’ve waited so long for these words from you, for simple leave taking, and gentle kisses. My heart slips a bit in my chest each time, even when the kisses are denied.

So I cannot believe it’s been two years, I cannot fathom where 2 years have gone, and yet, they stretch behind me as representatives of what I’ve been through, where I’ve been, who I am. You have created your mother Rosalyn, carved me out of sadness and fear, and molded me into a woman who can stand up and honestly say “I am a mother.”

Mother’s are not born-they are created, they are mixed out of fear and longing, out of pain and heartbending love, they are shaped by nights spent rocking by the light of the television, by calls frantic to the doctor, by choices made. Mothers become in the afterglow of their children, and I sit glowing so strongly because of you.

I love you Rosalyn. I love you as the sun sets everyday, I love you as you scream your little frustrated head off at me, I love you when you cuddle in my arms, head under my chin, thumb in mouth. I love your pouts and your black devil eyes. I love the way your knees knock like mine. I love your bravery and resilience in the face of who I am sometimes.

You cling to me, in my mind it’s as a baby monkey clings to it’s mother, and somedays, I mind. Yet other times, I see into the future, and see the girl who won’t let me near, who won’t share her world with me, and I’m sad. I let you cling, since it will end all to soon.

Your time of magic is now. Your next few years will be years of wonder and change and growth and I await them. I await nights under stars, days running through grass in the hot sun, travels down the muddy path behind our home.

I await you further Rosalyn.

Happy Birthday.


6 Mar

Oh my darlin, oh my darlin, oh my darlin Clementine

Rosalyn, in 3 days you’ll be two years old. Two years old.

Today, a co-worker brought in her son, her 6 weeks old son who weighed the same as you did at birth. He was tiny and defined, like a bird. His mouth moved absently, his hands struck out mindlessly.

He was just beginning.

Just one year ago, I wrote this. Just one year before that, I actually did it.

It hasn’t been easy. Standing there this morning, looking at this girl looking fanfuckingtastic 6 weeks postpartum was rather depressing as well.

Where have 2 years gone? Where did I leave them? If you’re two then Vivian is almost 4 and I’m almost 30 and CRAP. Where is my life? Where did I leave it?

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I don’t belong to “The Club” anymore. You know the one. The new mom, fanatic about everything, passionate about parenting issues, knowing glances in the baby aisle at Wal-mart. That Mom is gone, if she ever existed. I stare longingly at the baby stuff, knowing that mine time there is gone. I glance at the young mothers, tired and worn and confused, yet together, browsing through nipples and wipes and tiny t-shirts. And I realize that an entire part of my life has ended.

I grew up.

I don’t worry about breastfeeding guilt anymore since my kids are just as smart and healthier, if not more so. I don’t worry about crying it out. I don’t worry about eating organic, or not. (Hell, i’m happy if whatever Ros is eating is actually food) I don’t worry about the little things.

I don’t recognize any of the newest baby gear. The crib section in Babies R’Us is a faint memory, as is my giant belly. There’s a girl I lost, starting with being pregnant with Vivian, and ending with having Rosalyn. She turned into a woman.

I mourn this, I really do. Sure, it’s necessary, but it’s sad. I’ll never again choose bottles for my child as hot tears of shame pour down my face, knowing I should be breastfeeding. I’ll never buy a teeny tiny little sleeper for my own baby again. I’ll never debate the merits of diaper brands again. I’ll never be so new ever again.

Because that is what I remember, that is what I feel from those days-the wet newness of it all, like kittens with eyes closed we were, I was. That golden sense of surprise and wonder, along with the tired and lonely. Becoming a woman. It was magical, wasn’t it?

And now my babies are becoming girls, soon to be women.

Me-Maw is proud.

Favorite? MOI?!?!

25 Feb

While reading The Star the other day, I came across this article.

It sounded familar.

I’m guily of playing favorites. Somedays I don’t like Vivian-she’s too manic, she’s all over the place, she’s talking, she’s yattering she’s screaming my GAWD she won’t ever shut up.

On those days, I gravitate to Rosalyn, all snuggly and soft and sweet, and ready to cuddle with Mommy. She’s so adorable, all fluttery eyelashes and coy glances. She’s her mother’s daughter.

See? You can tell she’s my favorite right there. And I guess she is in terms of how i relate to her-she’s more “my child” than Vivian. I can anticipate her needs better, I’m more likely to know what’s wrong with her, despite not knowing what she’s saying. Vivian, in a classic 3.5 year old move, can mean a multitude of things.

Is it wrong to have a favorite? I’ve always believed I was my father’s favorite, so maybe I don’t feel the difference like a non favorite child would. I’m sure my brother would have something to say about it. I don’t treat my daughters any different, really. (I don’t think so at least) I just have a slightly warmer place in  my heart for Ros. I see myself. I guess in some way, I feel more for her because I know what happened to me. Sure, it won’t happen to her. But it doesn’t make any difference for me.

Are there favorites in your family?


22 Feb

Who searches for just melancholy? Are you sad? Are you lonely? Are you doing a project for English, and this is the quickest way to rip someone’s poetry off?

Or are you dreaming of “before” in a way that makes you misty and sleepy?

This morning I sat in the bathroom, reading the Wal-Mart flyer. (This is the only place I can read any of the paper in peace at this point). The front page proclaimed “BABY DAYS!”, and showed all the accoutrement’s of infancy. Diapers for new babies, car seats for tiny tots, freshly pulled from the womb, tiny onesies that trigger some weird hormonal rush.

All these things, they rush me back. They rush me back to that time when the world was open to everything, when the days ran into each-other as you stared at your tiny baby mewing her way through the world. Time helps me forget the boredom that accompanied the first few months after Vivian was born, but not how terrified I was to take her outside, to take her anywhere by myself. I feared I’d screw it up, she’d cry, and someone might take her away because I was unfit. My anxiety rose just to walk to the store, but I’d strap on the sling, and make my way regardless. People thought she was darling, wrapped up like a sausage against my wobbly bread tummy.

The first few months of her life was like remembering what the sunlight was, or at least that’s how I remember it. Rationally I know that it wasn’t this easy for me, that it took time for me to adjust to this creature clinging to me, to having to bounce her in a chair for hours while she slept, dragging it with me to the bathroom. The adjustment from me alone to me with child was not easy, and not a battle won without effort and fear.

But how I am melancholy for those first days sometimes. How I wish I could bottle that newness so I could drink of it again. The discovery-finding myself, finding my daughter, my love for her, my love for her father-the stark difference of our lives was incredible, exhilarating and terrifying, but ultimately worth it. But I wish I had been able to slow down, worry less, and enjoy the slow metamorphosis of our selves.

What did I do to cause this?

20 Feb

Rosalyn was not a pretty baby.

She wasn’t, really. For the first few months of her life, she looked sad, and mean. Vivian on the other hand, came out of the womb smiling. She was the happiest baby you would ever meet.

During my first pregnancy, with Vivian, I smoked. A lot. I freely admit it, and feel badly about it. I wait for the shoe to drop on the good health Vivian has had so far. But I was happy through that pregnancy-scared yes, bewildered and nervous about the entire thing, but happy, mostly.

My second pregnancy was an entirely different story.

For the first few months I wanted to abort, tried a few “natural” ways to abort, which didn’t work. I didn’t have the money or the transportation to another city for an abortion, and I couldn’t bear the thought of riding a greyhound bus home after having the potential of a child sucked from me. Then I started thinking about what would happen if we did abort, and then, later on, we couldn’t have anymore. So we kept the pregnancy, which I was convinced was a boy until about 6 months when suddenly something changed, and I knew it was a girl.

But through that pregnancy was my slow descent into near madness. I was crotchety, I was mean, I was vile. Everyone around me was fair game. I alienated most of the people I worked with, and some still stay distant from me. I had to leave work earlier than I would have liked because I was worried I’d get myself fired. I was that kind of foul.

I cried for no reason. I was mad at people for no reason. I’d turn on a dime. Stories of children being abused, the holocaust, anything like that could set me off for hours. I couldn’t watch the footage of the tsunami. It was just too much.

oh, the things I wish I had known.

I didn’t know there was bipolar disorder in my biological family. My PPD after Vivian, while scary, was brief compared to what was to come. I had no idea my world was unravelling. I figured it was just hormones. My eating was out of control, and I gained about 40 pounds that I still can’t get off (and that the anti-depressants and freaking cold weather aren’t helping either)

Rosalyn seemed to me a hard baby to love. She was unattractive. She wasn’t cute, or dainty-we nicknamed her ‘Gigantor” and she was. She seemed to not like her mother either.

So I sit here, at work, staring at their baby pictures wondering how much of their personalities in the first few weeks of life are based on the mother’s emotional state? I’ve always wondered if my quiet sense that everyone will eventually leave me or somehow screw me over stems from my first abandonment by my birth mother, and the constant knowledge when she was pregnant that I would not stay with her. Could she have become attached, or would she have been like I was with Ros-refusing to think happily about the child to come, difficult to rouse to any state of happiness.

Today it’s still true that Vivian is “sunny” while Rosalyn is more like her mother. Ros doesn’t smile for no reason, whereas Vivian is constantly smiling (when she isn’t talking) What could I have done to Rosalyn? Was I responsible for making her unhappy, and unattractive and therefore harder to love as a newborn? Could I have stopped it?

I can find so little on the onset of bipolar during pregnancy, and that’s what I’m convinced happened to me. Something triggered a disorder which I had previously been coping with to move into over drive. It almost killed me. Now I find myself wondering what it did to Rosalyn as well.

What’s past is past, but I can’t help but wonder-does anyone have children that seem to ‘represent” their general overall emotional state when pregnant?

Say bye bye baby

9 Feb

The high chair went out the door last week.

Ros is slowly adjusting to her big girl bed. (When I say slowly, I mean most night start out in the bed, and end in the crib since she likes her crib)

There are few true baby clothes left in the house.

No baby food, no bottles, barely any kid size cutlery. Sippy cups have been upgraded.

While I had a hard time with my children as babies (ok, let’s be honest and say terrible) there is this niggling sense of missed chances and time as I think of all the things we’ll never ever do again. I’ll never have that new mom feeling ever again. You know the one-that half terrified and half excited joy. The afternoons that went on forever as you stared at your child, time that stood still because you couldn’t do anything. The newness of all that “stuff” people gave you. The sense that you’d never be alone ever again. The stark “I have no idea what to do” that always hovered over your head.

This as been replaced by a preschooler singing “california diahrrea, california uber alles” on the basement floor, and a toddler who screams for her supper and snuggles at every chance, burrowing in my arms. I feel older-older than actual time allows for. Vivian will be 4 this year. And yet time has felt so slow, yet fast. How can it move both ways at once? She’s a child, a little person now, yet I remember, vividly, holding her in my arms and being uncomfortable and bored and upset and yet so fiercely protective. I remember wanting her to disappear. I remember my heart melting as she grinned and I swore I’d do whatever I had to do to keep that grin on her face forever. That all I wanted for her was her happiness.

I don’t mourn their infancy. I mourn mine. I mourn that period of newness, my beginnings as a parent when everything seemed so new and perfect, and nothing was discolored by bigger issues, the ones that heap on themselves as time goes by. I miss those quiet mornings alone when life seemed to open itself up to us, waiting for us to grasp it with both hands. I’m sad for time I cannot have back, for days I couldn’t enjoy.

I mourn the woman I was becoming, and wish i had stopped to say Hi.


7 Feb

You’re 18. You’re alone. You’re pregnant.

Imagine this was you.

You’re 18 and you give birth ALONE. You’re scared, and broke. You’ve hidden this pregnancy since the day you began to show. No one knows. No one can know.

You cut the cord yourself, somehow. You frantically try and figure out what to do. You leave the baby at the house with the lights on.

Try as I might, I can’t imagine charging this poor girl with anything. Imagine how crazy you would feel, how isolated you must be to feel that you can’t go anywhere for help. Other reports I read stated that she had a “difficult” backround, so she wouldn’t trust others easily I’d imagine. She felt her only option for the child, a healthy, full term baby girl, was someone’s door step where the light was on.

Imagine you’re that girl. Imagine.

I don’t know if Saskatoon has safe haven laws, and maybe they should. Yes, that baby could have died.

But what of the mother? What drives a girl to this? How have we failed her?