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Appetitus Rationi Pareat

20 Feb

Oh the guilty stolen afternoon, snuck quietly from the house, stolen to read a surprisingly awesome book (I love it so when that happens-when you buy it thinking, meh, why not, and suddenly you’re drawn in and the world is being colored around you..) The late February wind gusts around me, while puddles of new snow trickle beneath my feet. I can smell spring.

Fishing through the old clothes, I sigh a lot, all the cute things are just that much too small. We’ve grown past it. I finish eating my leisurely lunch, and while waiting for the cashier, spy a tiny boy, only 3 months, cradled in his mother’s arms as he has his lunch, eyes swollen with lunch stupor. His feet were so very small.

I’m on the bus when a little girl comes on, bundled in winter, cheeks rosy, her perfect little nose poking out, eyes curious and watchful. She stares at me with the no-stare. I’m fairly confident that I’m too far away from her to be really seen, but there’s something about those piercing little globes, like jelly beans or black jujubes.

My entire body cascades in on itself and cries out for more. My arms ache, my womb echoes for a child, my body feels drawn. My children are now children in the fullest sense of the word, and my body, my muscles, my soul shakes in the absence.

The simple unfair fact of knowing this ache after the birthing is complete. It startles me, like a cat shook from it’s sleep, and it angers me, that I couldn’t have felt this 6 years ago, blooming with the cells that would eventually become my first born daughter. Why not then? Why not when I could have reveled in every moment, enjoyed, simply stood in between maidenhood and mother, and accepted it, embraced it? Why only now, when the over is unplugged and in pieces?

I enjoyed the last 5 years. It has been a hard ride, a rough one, the brambles of mental illness entwined with simple achievements like first words (I can’t remember Rosalyn’s, and hope I wrote it down) and birthdays. But these years have been so innocent, comparatively speaking, as I’m noticing now that I have one in school. Those first 5 are halcyon days, glowing with such wonder, fabulous flowers on a plant you always found ugly. I eagerly sold the high chair, the crib, gave away 99.5% of the baby clothes. I welcomed, with open arms, toddlers, preschoolers, and now, children.

So universe, why now huh? Why burden me with a hunger I can never satiate? Why fill me up with this longing, for another child to grow in my belly, another gasp at the quickening, the terror of crowning and the quietude of 4am? Why bestow this gift on me now, after all this time, when its unnecessary, and more than a little inappropriate?

I stared hard at that little girl’s eyes, smiling wistfully, looking a little high I imagined. I could feel that baby skin on my fingertips, the porcelain of it, the chubby fingers grasping on their own, without measure or wit. I could imagine her weight on my hip, the little sighs she’d make while feeding, her tiny thumb, barely clinging to her lips as she slept.

In her eyes I imagined enjoying the babyhood’s of my daughters more completely, sanely.

Wanting a child is merely my wish for wanting to be normal.

Having Rosalyn so soon after Vivian stole that from me. And I can breathe now, and see that, see that for Vivian, I was scared, and worried and full of far too much book learning but I loved her and my world ran around her. But pregnancy, and a new child later and I was full of venom and hate without much room for love or empathy, not at first.

I crave a do-over. I want to be able to love a child the way Ros deserved to be loved, almost 4 years ago now. I can’t make it up, but on some level, my ovaries are trying to have the great chess game, to make up, to make due.

I’ve known, for years, that there’s no going back. What was, is, and simply, I cannot change or make that up. I can only move forward now, grasp my daughter tightly as she grins and tells me I’m pretty, as her cheekbones light up, exactly as mine do. What I can do it love the baby that was, the girl that is, the woman that will be.

The pinpoints of light in that baby girl’s face, interrupted only by the hesitation of the bus on a busy street, will forever hold me in thrall. I can face that hunger down, hold the door open, ask it to leave. And accept that finally, I have been allowed a feeling so basic to women, a hunger I never dreamed I’d feel. All of this shakes me from reverie, telling me to move on, move past and beyond.

I can love that phantom child, he, or she that will never be. I can love a ghost that never was.



Carry Me

25 Sep

Did she hold me now? Three hours ago? 12? Did they leave me in her room, snuffling, comatose little child beside her as colostrum poured from her breasts? Did she look out the window, perhaps at the rain, as they wheeled me away from her 17 year old unfinished hands, clutching at her elbows as she suddenly felt emptier than ever? Was I alone, screaming in a room, my echoes covered by those of a multitude of other lives I’d never touch again, their mothers waiting in their rooms, warmed by the slow engorging of their breasts, the blissed tiredness of their labours?

Did I know she had left me? Did my small trembling fists know what had happened, that she had signed a paper releasing me from her, just another cord to slice through? Did I feel the gulf then, as I do now, wavering and shimmering, a golden forest of time, of pressure, of regret between us.

Does she think of me today, now? Does she drink the beer she drank for years, not knowing, or is she at peace, knowing I survived, knowing that I have grown strong and tall, if not a little knicked and torn in place?

Did she love me, ever?


Do you love your mother
The way I love mine
Expecting nothing of her
’cause she was changing all the time
I couldn’t take my mother
And I’ll never hate my home
But I learned to rock myself child
And get on

Do you feel your mother
The way I feel mine
I tried to change the nature
But now I like it ’cause it’s mine
And I let you love me up
And I let you bring me home
And I could go away
But I don’t wanna

I don’t wanna be too smart
I don’t wanna talk too fast
I don’t wanna look too precious
First impressions never last
There’s always complications
Weird vibrations
Have patience

Do you love your mother
’cause God I love mine
In a dream she let me love her
Gotta hand it to my mind
In case you never meet her
I’ll tell you what it is
She was lonely like a woman
But she was just a kid

Oh mama
What are ya doin’
Yeah yeah yeah
Carry me


Today I turned 31 at around 2:15am. And it hit me, mid afternoon, that I’ve never known when my mother said good-bye to me, when the finality of all she had done and decided had hit, when she last touched me, held my fingers. I’ve never known, and when I met my biological mother, I was too young to think of these things, to young to understand the heartbreak of saying goodbye to your first born.

All my life, I have felt lonely on my birthday. I have always craved as much fuss and bother as I could get, and rarely, if ever, have had it. I figured this had much more to do with losing my adoptive mother than with being adopted. But what if? What if a body retains that initial abandonment, what if it remembers that hand leaving, tears trailing, months of unwillingness swirling in the womb. What if the body remembers what the brain dare not?

I don’t much like my biological mother. Or much of my biological family for that matter. Blood isn’t thicker than water in my case. But when I met her, I wanted, more than anything, to find a mother, my mother. I wanted to be embraced, welcomed. I wasn’t, not as I needed, and perhaps finding her at 18 wasn’t the best of ideas, but there was something poetic about meeting her around the age of when she lost me. I couldn’t grasp the enormity of it-bearing life at that age!

I’m sure it hardened her. She told me that for years, she would get stinking drunk on my birthday, wondering where I was, how I was, and that the year she found me, that was the first time she didn’t have to drink herself to sleep, wondering. Turns out I was 40 minutes down the road after all, blissfully ignorant in the arms of two parents who loved me more than I could wish. But she never told me how it all felt, how long her labour was, how scared she had been, if she saw me, or if they took me before she could.

My narrative is incomplete. I feel the echoes of that part of my life, my beginning on every birthday. It no longer hurts, I don’t know if it ever did. But it was a space yearning to be filled, a place that will likely never know fullness. A place to honor what she gave, the arms she left barren, the people who she gave such joy to.

Happy Birth Day to you Mother. I hope your womb has healed.

“What matters one lost vision of the night? Let the dream go! …”

8 Apr

I dream that I’m pregnant.

Full to the brim, almost there, ready to go. Thar she blows. I look down at my hands on my taunt round belly, the belly I never had, or maybe I did, it was just buried underneath all the fat that my genetics and my lifestyle gathers to it. But in this dream it’s the butter perfect uterus, protruding, accusing almost.

We argue my husband and I, about going to the birth, or how I’ll give birth. In the dream something is wrong, certainly wrong about this birth, we’re angry, and sad and oh so sick of it. We’re tired, and in the dream we stare past each other, looking for answers.



I’m not pregnant, unless you count the pregnant pause while I cram another sesame rice cake in my mouth (OMFG! Have you tried these?!?! NOM NOM NOM) I will never be pregnant again, aside from the slim, better chance of winning the lottery and getting run over by a circus train on the same day chance.

But my body gets it now. I get your lusts, your cravings for children, the emptiness in your belly, the want. I never did. Not as a teenager, not as a young woman. I never once felt a twinge in an ovary. I never dreamed of having children, or at least, I never dreamed of having babies. I recognized the sacrifice, and was content to live in my own little world of childfree. I stared dumbfounded at people who tried to get pregnant, on purpose! I scratched my head at people trying round after round of IVF, questioning why adopting was so not an option, wondering why they couldn’t accept that maybe, they weren’t meant to have babies in the first place.

I seize up looking at the prices of baby things, wondering how anyone could do it, why anyone wanted to do it.

But I get it now.

I woke up this morning, my hands rushing to my belly. Squishy, jiggly, not taunt and ready. There is no new life inside of my, no feet kicking me, no little hands pressing up against my side. I am empty, a vessel used and discarded. I will never grow a new life inside of me again.

I mourn this now, the thing I never wanted or appreciated in the first place. What better gift? What better talent than to grow life! How can a woman not feel superior when we create and sustain and deliver new life! But I can’t use it-I can’t even act as another’s womb without chancing my own life. My days as a mother, as a life giver, these are done with. It’s frustrating and sad and unfair that only now do I realize what I had, what I could do, what I did. What magic power I held in me.

I awoke feeling those phantom kicks, those hiccups, those dandelions and butterflies inside of me. I awoke feeling full of life, full of tomorrows and hopes and sunlight.

But the dream burned off, like frost as the day dragged itself across me. And so it goes.

Stop Toying with Mothers-SUPPORT the Mother’s Act

29 Feb

Now, I’m not even American, and this is making me hot. As in PISSED OFF.

Some of you might remember the Mother’s Act-back in October there was a blog about day for support. Many of us who have suffered under PPD or PPP supported it.

One day I visit a favorite site of mine. (Well it WAS a favorite. This got it removed from my feeds I was so bloody pissed off) There’s a rambling article about how the Mother’s Act is nothing more than a way to push drugs.

I blinked. I went back to read the bill again. The only reference I could find was under “Findings:

Postpartum depression is a treatable disorder if promptly diagnosed by a trained provider and attended to with a personalized regimen of care including social support, therapy, medication, and when necessary hospitalization.

That’s it. That’s the terrifying “big brother”-oh noes! Someone wants to help women!

Seeing someone equate talking to women about PPD before hand to convincing her she had it really REALLY pissed me off. Reading these stories of women on these crazy mixes of drugs for what seem to be other psychiatric conditions that were incorrectly treated-that’s the fucking POINT of this bill. To HELP.

What in the FUCK is wrong with mothers (and fathers) today. EVERYTHING has some sort of agenda-things aren’t “natural” enough for them. You know what’s natural? Mother’s killing their children because they can’t parent them effectively. Natural is leaving a baby out to die of exposure. Natural is mother’s beating their children from frustration, or working them all hours of the day.

NATURAL IS NOT BETTER. Belladonna is natural. Want some?

I am irate with these people. Talk to me about militant stances on breastfeeding, baby wearing, co sleeping-I will absolutely support you. Start screwing with the first REAL movement towards doing something about postpartum depression, and my claws come out. The absolute IGNORANCE of these people astounds me. The selective tunnel vision amuses me. The odds that any of them have ACTUALLY read the bill…well, that just makes me giggle.

But it makes me want to cry as well.

Even the fucking Wikipedia page has been contaminated by this stupidity.

The most important thing I can remind you of are the women who killed their children because of PPD/PPP. The women who didn’t make it. The lives destroyed, lost forever, the women abandoned. The women we currently can’t help, regardless of what’s wrong. The children who were innocent in all of this.

Andrea Yates

Mine Ener

Dr. Debora Green

Dena Schlosser

Dr. Suzanne Killinger Johnson (This was at my usual subway stop. My mind went wild wondering “Was it here? Here?”)

Leatrice Brewer

Gilberta Estrada

and many more. There are so many of us. So many chances to get it right, to help, to prevent such horror that we close our eyes and refuse to read. To hear people, to see people trying to fight against something meant to do good sickens me. Is only they’d spend the same energy fighting the men and women who torture their children, fighting the system that leaves the poor hungry and without mental or physical health care.

If only they cared enough to truly make a difference, instead of making sound bites.

If only.

“mentally ill lighter sentences”

8 Nov


Everytime something bad happens, be it this, or this, my first thought isn’t “throw away the key” like many other people. It isn’t “some people are just garbage”.

It’s “some people are broken, and need help”. Mercy. Compassion. Even when it comes down to sex offenders, I believe that there is a mental defect causing the issue, not any deep seeded issue in their moral fibre.

There should not be a “lighter” sentence for the mentally ill. There should be an entirely different resolution altogether. If a mother kills her babies while under the grips of Post Partum Psychosis, a disorder that no doctor looked for or asked about, or one that they thought “went away”, is it really all her fault? If a man is hearing voices that urge him to kill, to maim, and he follows their orders because the reality he inhabits involves voices, is it really his fault? Should the punishment for having something wrong with your brain really be jail?

It’s not about having a lighter sentence. It’s not about avoiding punishment. It’s about doing the right thing. It’s about preventing these things from happening ever again. It’s about fixing people, making them whole people instead of the shells their illnesses have made them in to. It’s about having the compassion and dignity to see them for what they are-not criminals, but sick people who have been driven by their illnesses, and left out by society, by a world which refuses to believe that anything invisible is real.

I fight daily with my own demons. The first few weeks after Rosalyn was born, I seriously considered killing her a couple of times. I was aware enough to know that these thoughts were wrong. But with less family support, a little less sleep…I know what could have happened. It keeps me up at night sometimes. I am one of the lucky ones-I got help-I recovered from my PPD, and I sought treatment for what turned out to be bipolar disorder. I got lucky.

Many, MANY individuals have no help. They have no idea how to get help, or may not realize anything is wrong, so stuck in their own reality they are. Our culture relies on sick people to get their own help, which is fine if you break your leg. But a psychotic break doesn’t usually leave you with the will and sense to know something is terrifyingly wrong.

When the mentally ill do anything, when they kill, when they harm, the full wrath of society comes down on them, multiplying the guilt and shame. Imagine having to live with the faces of your dead children forever, and the knowledge that you did this. I have only the guilt of wanting my daughter dead. I cannot imagine living daily with the other. It’s a punishment beyond belief.

There is no lighter sentence when you’re mentally ill. You’re castigated from your community, spit on, considered less than nothing. Because you’re brain is broken. You’re considered a criminal for something you may be unable to control, for something no one took the time to notice.

It’s time we all started to recognize the difference between criminal and sick.


Rain Rain Go Away

31 Oct

April writes:

Does it go away? How can you tell? I have ppd. first time blogging but who can answer this but someone who knows. I am getting treatment and I am getting better. Anxiety is gone and I sleep now. I just want me back completely. I fear it will come back and I think that is holding me back from moving on. I feel consumed by this. There is no support groups where I live.

April, we’ve been there. Many of the women who interact on this site have sat where you sit, wondered the same things. You are not alone.

But it struck me, your fear of never moving past the depression, your want for you back.

I suffer from Bipolar, which was aggravated by pregnancy, and exploded out of me during the post partum period, nearly manifesting itself in psychosis. I tried to convince my husband to give her up for adoption. I thought about walking into the woods behind our house, sometimes with her, sometimes without her. I fixated on ending my life, sometimes fantasized about ending hers.

It was one of the worst periods of my life. The loathing I felt for myself was incomparable. Here I was with a beautiful life-two lovely daughters, a caring and loving husband, a good job, a house, a comfortable middle class existence. And yet I wanted to kill my weeks old daughter, and off myself as well. It didn’t make sense. I should have been happy! Hell, the world was telling me I should be happy.

And April, that just compounded it even more. I wasn’t the uber mother society tells us to be-you know the one-she who has a great job, cooks great meals, is great looking and above all loves her children more than life itself. I just wasn’t her. My sense of self dwindled and dwindled to almost nothing. I felt like I was beginning to not exist.

So why not kill myself?

Eventually I started to get treatment-convinced by my inlaws who my husband had called to our home a province away in a panic. Convinced by my family that what I was feeling was just not normal. Convinced by a lactation consultant who listened dumbfounded on the phone as I sobbed and sobbed when she asked a simple question about breastfeeding.

I got better. Sorta. I’m still sick, but it’s not PPD. Thankfully, that ended once I stopped beating myself up about everything, and got into therapy.

My first and best advice is this: Focus on now. I was able to get through that first hellish year (I don’t even like babies, which didn’t help) by focusing on the small things-the wonder in her eyes as she saw snow, her first steps, her interactions with her sister. I focused on each day, and didn’t look past it. Frankly, I don’t remember too much of her in that first year. I was focused on making things better for me.

It worked. Perhaps it’s a sacrifice some won’t make, but I had to make it. I don’t remember the first time she sat up, or when she rolled over. But I remember the relief I felt as she smushed icing in her ears on her first birthday.

Then April, focus on you. Do something, anything just for you, be it learning to knit, taking dance lessons or hogging the Chunky Monkey. You need space to heal, and space to find your new voice. Being a mother, becoming a mother is hard work. There’s no switch you turn on and frankly, some of us just suck at figuring it out. You need some quiet to find your footing. How can you be there for someone else if you can barely be there for you?

Lastly, admit that it does suck. Babies suck! You spend so much time gratifying this little thing which rarely does anything back for the longest time. You have to carry it everywhere, feed it, clean it-it’s hard work with few rewards for awhile! So admit it-it’s boring drudgery. No one says you have to enjoy it. I personally love toddlers-2-3years is just awesome. Younger than that, I can’t deal with it. I’m honest enough with myself to know my limitations. Sometimes I mourn the baby years I missed. But I refuse to feel guilty about it anymore.

PPD does go away. It does get better. With time. Give yourself some.

Someone’s almost fully cooked…

2 Sep

Weedragon is only a few days from term, and she’s doing the soon to be new mom freak out. (remember that? I certainly do.)

I think she could use so words of reassurance, support and advice right now from all of us who’ve been there. The first time is cool, but listening to everyone say “oh, you’ll know” when you ask about how to tell when you’re in labour is a bit disconcerting.

“rotting smell after birth”

22 Aug


If you smell like you’re rotting, it means GO TO THE FREAKING DOCTOR.

I mean, come on. If you smelled like you were rotting any other time, you’d go, right?

Lochia shouldn’t smell like rot. It smells like ass, but not rot.

“childbirth – stuff you don’t want to know”

1 Aug

Heh. Where to start.

 Let’s break down the 5 senses.


When you’re pregnant, everything smells odd, and sometimes, awful. Excruciatingly so. People on the bus are magnified until their stench fills your entire being and you want to retch and retch. Food might disgust you. The memory of my father cooking a steak during my last pregnancy comes to mind-the smell and even taste of blood filled my head.

After you’ve birthed your child comes the lovely smell of lochia, magnified if you’ve hemorrhaged. Throw in unwashed human stink and sour milk smell from leaking breasts, and you are a veritable ball of blech that only time can rid you of. I never smelled that wondrous baby smell-I was too busy reeking from the various things dripping from me.

Find good things to smell, to create a barrier between you and the stench. Vaporub comes to mind.


Nothing tastes the same when pregnant. Thankfully that comes back afterwards, but then it’s all tied up in memory. I ate X when I breastfed for the first time. I was eating C when I switched to bottles, I had Chinese the first night we were home. Taste cuddles up with memory, and you find stages in your child’s life to be melded to food.

Somethings taste FANTASTIC. I’m intolerant/allergic/whatever to eggs and dairy. When pregnant, I could eat ALL OF IT I WANTED!!! And I did. However, the guacamole/tortilla/bean with bacon soup meal I had one day? NOT a good idea. Just sayin.


My entire pregnancies were full of touch me/get away from me. It was a greek drama I swear. During the births themselves, I know my husband was there, but I cannot remember what he was doing for the most part. I’m sure he was touching me, but I don’t remember. What I DO remember are the hands of strangers. My own OB/GYN was on vacation for BOTH of my births 2 years (almost) apart, so I gave birth with no familiar faces other than my husband. This is part of the reason I want to go into midwifery. No one should give birth alone in a crowd like that. No one should have their uterus entered by handS after birth to detach retained placenta either, not without drugs. No one should have to remember that helplessness.

Remember that you can control your birth and surroundings. Your body, your child. Take what is yours. Demand what you can, stand up for yourself. Don’t come to regret anything later.


My eyes are already terrible, and didn’t get any better after the birth. But I can tell you, you learn to navigate blind in the night since putting your glasses on makes you stay away. Unless you want to watch the Daily Show at 3 am. Then go ahead and put them on.

I will say that the sight of your child for the first time, regardless how you feel about them, is an incredible thing. I made that! It came from me! now it’s pooping everywhere! You’ll see your eyes, your nose, his mouth. You’ll see years in a moment, and no words could contain or release that. It’s a transcendent sight.


Childbirth is funny-you will hear everything, and nothing. Time will condense into a moment where everyone holds their breath waiting for you to deliver, and yet they’re all screaming at you to push. (Real helpful btw, the screaming) All the intense moments in your life-they build up to this, to the real thing, to the moment of truth where you find the strength you may have never realized you had. This is where being a mother starts-saying you can’t while doing what needs to be done.

And then, they will cry. Personally, I hate hearing newborn cries, but still I remember them taking Rosalyn from me because she had pooped inside, and she was quiet and I remember worrying and realizing how I had counted on hearing that voice.

And then she let loose. How sweet is the sound of life truly beginning.

The stuff you don’t want to know? It WILL change you. Say what you will-say that you won’t turn into a “mom”, that you won’t be uncool or whatever. But to parent, and parent well, you must change in subtle ways. You become stronger, you become a mama bear standing over your cubs, you become a version of you that was never anticipated, but always there, waiting in the wings.

You couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t. Yet today I sit here wondering what kind of person I would have been without my children. I wonder if I would still feel so remote and distant in the world, so aimless. For me, having children served as a guidepost, a catalyst, for good or ill.

The same might hold for you. No one will tell you this, because it isn’t cool to admit, but suddenly, having the newest “whatever” won’t matter, at least not for the first little while.

But no one will tell you how fantastic of a ride having a child, birthing a child, on your own, without drugs, really can be. Please try it-so many women have such horror stories of their births, of the regrets they have, the voices they didn’t use. USE YOUR VOICE.

Find the answers. Ask the questions. Listen to your body. There really is no stuff you don’t want to know, just stuff no one will tell you.

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.

Things I found today

27 Jun

I’m not up to writing anything right this second, but instead felt like highlighting a couple of really cool posts I found this morning.

Kind of Crunchy Mama popped up in my feeds with this lovely wish for the future.

Sean stole his wife’s blog, but for a good reason. We should all be so lucky.

And someone is 5. FIVE. I shudder to think that Vivian will also be 5 in a year. Is there a secret time valve somewhere?

I’ll likely have something constructive to say later…


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.

“loser unhappy weepy mom”

24 May

oh hon….

You aren’t a loser. You’re not a bad person.

The first few weeks after birth are not always perfect. Actually, they aren’t perfect at all. They’re full of snot, milk, spooge, poop, scabs, lochia…so many smells and textures you’ve never seen before. They’re full of crying, little sleep, anger, sadness, joy, awe.

The first few weeks after having a baby is like taking your entire adolescence and bottling it up into a month or so. Then shaking it and adding responsibility and your nose.

Anyone who isn’t a little unsteady and unhappy is lying.

Maybe you’re like me, and you weren’t expecting or wanting any children. Maybe you were surprised by what your body did, the growing belly, the expanding breasts. Maybe you were saddened by capitulating to drugs, to their wishes. Maybe you’re sad because you don’t want the baby.

Maybe you’re sick, as I was.

I felt for a long time that it was my fault, that my rejection of my second born was something I caused. I still feel it sometimes, the guilt, the horror I felt at the sight of her. I see my blank stare in her blank stare those first few weeks. I’ve always felt responsible. She wasn’t a happy baby. I wasn’t a happy mother. But it wasn’t my fault.

PPD is a sickness-post partum depression is not your fault, it’s no one’s fault. If anything, it’s the fault of our medical system that it doesn’t do more to root it out, to prevent it, just to understand it. You aren’t a bad mother. You are NOT a loser. So many of us feel this way, after the birth, and long after. PPD doesn’t just go away. You deal with this for years-mother’s aren’t supposed to not want their children, to feel sad because of them.

We’re supposed to be joyous, and happy.

Happy took a long time for me. I don’t like babies. I see infants and I feel a tightening in a my chest, an awareness of all I lost by being unable to enjoy that first year, that year that I lost to my fucking disease. I barely remember my second born as an infant-I was too sick. But I’m past blaming myself. I’m not a terrible mother. I’m just a mother with a sickness that will never end. I’m a mother who couldn’t have fixed it.

My bipolar diagnosis was almost a gift horse-it made me understand that this isn’t my fault. That the weepy, unhappy me originated in bad chemistry, not in a bad person. I’m not a bad person. I’m just a mother with a brain that doesn’t always work as it should. Or it works too well. I’m not sure which yet.

I’m not a loser because of it. And neither are you. Talk to your doctor, your mother, your spouse, someone. Talk.


18 Apr

 I lost my mind last night, a seemingly monthly occurrence. Everything builds up to this tidal wave of fear, rage and sadness, and finally spurts out-usually at 1am. 

What came out was my lingering guilt at how I treated Rosalyn when she was born. I cannot shake it, and it colors every interaction I have with her now. Tell me it’s just postpartum depression. Tell me it’s not my fault. Tell me to let it go, to get over it, to move past it. I know all of these things. I know them well. And yet I cannot find a way to wear them.   How do you let go the trauma of wanting to murder your child? How do you move past the vivid movie that still plays in your head of walking into the woods with her and never ever coming back? How do you soothe the guilt of wanting to adopt your child out because you didn’t want her? 

How do you fix a heart that broke itself? 

 It’s complicated by the fact that Rosalyn could be me-she looks as I did as a kid, she certainly acts like I did. So it’s like I’m living as my mother did, but without the benefit of her experience. I’m struck by this constantly-how much miss her in the little moments, how I ache for a mother in my life. How I’m lost in my grief without a guide post. I imagine that she could somehow fix me, help me. She’s the only one who could convince me that on some level, I’m not a bad mother. She’s the one that made my tummy better long ago, who panicked at my fevers. She knew how to fix things. She’d be able to fix me. Or maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe she would have believed that I was a horrible person-spurning the one thing she couldn’t have-a baby of her very own. Maybe she’d chastise me for my pain, for my agony, for my needless depression and anger. Maybe she’d tell me it wouldn’t be so bad if I believed in god.  Do I really need to get over this? Should I want to carry it with me? Why do I feel the need to punish myself over and over and over again? 

What stops me from really letting go of it?

She was no longer wrestling with grief but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts. George Eliot

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.

Gettin’ On.

16 Mar

I recently read an essay which talked about how being a new mother who retained her sex drive wasn’t something you could admit to. Every other mother complains about her lack of libido, how can you mention anything? They’d likely think you were lying.

I had zero issue with my libido after Vivian was born. Within 2 weeks we were back in the game. Sure we were tired, but it was really important to reconnect in that way. But as the author of the essay had mentioned, I never saw my experience mirrored anywhere. Exactly the opposite-I saw most sites, and women, talking about how it was insane that their men would expect them to want it again so soon after birth! What an imposition their partners were placing on them!

I was desperate to have that kind of loving embrace once more-I was touched out when it came to the baby, but I was missing the adult loving touch of my husband. I didn’t find the thought of sex repugnant-rather I found the idea of not wanting my husband around repugnant-I craved him even more after giving birth. I craved the familar valleys of his back and face, the softness of his hands. I craved his arms.

But look around-you don’t see many mother’s talking about their desire for their husbands after birth. And to be sure, in many cases, this is due to breastfeeding, but I don’t see experiences like mine reflected back at me. Surely the author of that essay and myself are not the only two women who wanted to get it on so soon after birth. Even my doctor shot up an eyebrow when at my 6 week visit, I mentioned within 2 weeks we’d “resumed” our activites.

Am I not trusted to know when my body is ready? Should I have placed myself in seclusion from my husband, from the father of my child? Is it so wrong to want to run into his arms, instead of away from them after birth?

I love my husband. After giving birth, despite my misgivings, I looked at my husband and thought “I LOVE him. With everything I am, I LOVE him.” That love coursed through my body like electricity, and gave me peace. That same love wanted to manifest itself physically, wanted to be let loose. Am I wrong to have followed that desire to it’s logical conclusion? Despite 8 years of marriage, I am still as attracted to him as I was when we first met, possibly even more. So why is the popular refrain after birth one of moaning and groaning and whining? Why can’t mother’s be life givers as well as passionate sexual beings?

Can we not be both?

Why is this so rarely spoken of? Why is it such a secret? We willingly spill the beans about many items of our lives, and yet I doubt that I hear many women honestly speaking, online or off, about their post partum sexual experiences. Are women too afraid to admit that yes, they desired their partners? Or am I really alone here?


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.

I would be remiss

15 Feb

if I didn’t send everyone over to Heather to say


She just had a brand new baby girl named Irina (LOVE IT!) at home. And she’s lovely.

(As an aside, you should visit Heather anyway because she rocks. Just sayin.)

So go say HEY! Cute kid!


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?