Thursday, April 30, 2015
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
I'm pretty convinced now that my mom and sister are thoroughly deluded about this pregnancy or doing an incredibly stellar job not letting their concerns show. My gut goes with the former though...
During a walk with my mom (I did a lot of listening, she did a lot of talking about my sister and the mutual friend controversy) she mentioned something about her and Dad talking about retirement and I blurted, "Ha! What retirement? There's a 50/50 chance my sister and the baby end up living with you guys!"
She was shocked. Probably a bit that I would speak my mind but mostly at the idea that my sister wouldn't be independent. She couldn't believe I thought that and didn't seem to think it was likely at all, breaking down the "game plan" which hinges entirely upon my sister getting welfare.
Welfare. As if WIC wasnt bad enough. The values we were raised with are being flouted right and left and my mother isnt even concerned one bit about things working out? Seems like major red flags to me... I'd said it's textbook delusion!
Anyways. The hubster was very supportive and we talked a lot about it all. Even got to talk with my friend too, a good sanity check! Talking with my mom on that walk I started to wonder if I was crazy for thinking my sister isn't stable and that the situation is precarious, Mom seemed to think my sister is fine. A rocky personality but overall very functional and capable of handling the challenge, yet I see her as barely capable of handling student life, which, let's face it, is pretty cozy and insulated as far as life goes! College campuses these days are adult daycares!
So.... Still processing. I think the sister drama is combined with shifting roles and relations from becoming a mother and it's made for some interesting few months! Feels like Im getting somewhere though, positive changes I think.
At the lake waiting to see if apartment fire alarm testing is done, been out walking with Baby for a good hour now... Nice to get out though. Funny how my old walk route is the same but lots of changes! Life always trudges on!
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Headed down south for a family visit (sister's birthday dinner and we decided to add on stuff to trip that we wanted to do-fishing for Hubbo and visiting old friend for me).
Still struggling with some anger, especially as I anticipate seeing my sister and talking with my mom (probably about my sister). Thankfully the hubster is understanding and not quite sick of my dwelling on the subject, in fact he seems to be right there with me-just less emotionally entangled. He summed it all up in a helpful way:
I've said it and I'll say it again, your sister has pooped the punch bowl. Everyone was happy, enjoying our new baby and having a party and then she upped and pooped the punch bowl. It's normal to be angry bout someone pooping the punch bowl!
I'll get over it eventually, but for now I'm just gonna be frustrated about this floater in our lives. Feels unproductive and out of my comfort zone but that makes me think I just might need to sit with the feelings for a bit and try something new, AKA allowing myself to feel instead of bottling it all up.
So here we go, family visit time once again....
Thursday, April 23, 2015
It's probably gonna be messy but I'm going to try and NOT edit so bear with me...
I've been in and out of therapy, off and on meds for 10 years now. It would seem that I've been on a decade-long mission to improve myself but I don't believe that's entirely accurate. Sure, part of my journey I've focused on myself but a lot of my time has been spent worrying about my family and hoping in some twisted way that by "fixing" myself I could fix my family's problems and bring us closer together.
I'm sure it's not uncommon, lots of children take on responsibility for family dysfunction and try to fix things for the rest of the family. I feel like I've been put into a "Mrs. Fix-it" role for many, many years. A role that I've recreated outside my family in school, personal and professional relationships, even struggled to control in the relationship with my husband (he doesn't let me do the "harmful self-sacrificing" thing though). It's cost me and the only dividends have been insight, worthwhile discoveries for sure, but I don't think all the time wasted stressing, the weight I've put on, lost, and put back on, the burden on my mental and physical health has gotten me anywhere as far as trying to fix my family.
I'm done. I'm so done. I'm fed up feeling like the only one who cares or dares to look beyond the status quo bullshit and try to improve things. I'm tired of being left out in the cold whenever I push for truth, for intimacy, for what I need and want. This drama with my sister and her unplanned pregnancy and the rest of the family just taking it in stride and jumping right into crisis management/put on a happy face mode combined with my son's birth and all that transformation to my life has brought all of this to a head.
It's a messy mush of feelings-relief, worry, anger, love, fear, resentment. I'm relieved to finally let go of my family's shit, to remove myself from the chaos, pain, responsibility, and dysfunction. But just as I feel this relief I feel worry and fear. I worry that I can't let go, that I can't really move on, make the changes that I so wish to make and embrace the more functional and happy life, independent life that I desire. I fear rejection from my first family-a catch-22 since I would like some distance and boundaries but would also like to be closer to them. I resent my family for the criticism and rejection over the years, invalidating me and my feelings, making me feel that I'm worthless, for maintaining a facade and making me feel flawed for not believing the hype. And amidst all that negativity and pain I still feel love for my family. I miss them, cherish memories, and ache for them, feeling their pain and wishing they would help themselves feel better, help us be a better family-but no. I'm left alone. The only one showing up to try and improve things, like a lone Good Samaritan showing up to renovate a condemned house only to find that no other volunteers honored their commitment.
I'm overwhelmed and disappointed, beat down after so many years of struggle. And for so many of those years I've followed my childhood training to not exhibit anger, to stuff my feelings and bite my tongue-but it seems like my resolve is wearing away. Either the therapy or an overstuffed backlog of feelings has chipped away at my inner walls. I feel like a volcano getting ready to blow, but it just like how I struggle to sneeze-I struggle to release the anger! What should be a completely natural event is blocked.
So blow. Let it go. Even if it's not all the anger from the years passed, even if it's just the anger I feel now, it's worth it, it's important, it's valid. It doesn't have to make sense, all the loose ends don't have to be paired up-just let it out. Vent. Go. Be. Do it.
I'm so fucking disappointed in my sister and my family. I'm pissed that my low expectations were met after my son's birth-I didn't feel the support or closeness I desired.
I heard my mother say "We're here for you" and felt nothing but the hollow ting of a white lie. You aren't here for me. You show up to talk about your life without listening to me about mine, you don't even ask how I am doing, how can you be there for me when you can't even listen to me for 5 minutes? It's a one-way road with you. You call up and give me the "news" that I don't even ask for, that I'm not even interested in. I don't like to gossip and I don't need to hear about my sister's issues or how my father disappoints you. I don't ask for it, sometimes I don't even engage in the conversation yet you drone on.
And if I do speak up, offer my experience or my 2 cents of my own accord? you ignore it, change the subject, or God forbid it's spot on, you shy away and change the subject. I'm sick of years of one-sided conversations and being slighted by you. I'm sick of feeling like an invisible third parent, a child exempted from a child-parent relationship, some sort of unwilling friend figure...
You hurt me when you come up here and don't listen to me, don't validate me, and leave without ever truly engaging. It makes me feel invisible and unloved, unappreciated, unknown. And it pisses me off that you kept my sister's pregnancy from me for over a week because you thought I'd feel like she was stealing my thunder. What thunder? What fucking thunder do you think I ever had? Within a week of giving birth you expected me to be out on walks and getting back into a normal routine. Somehow I still valued your opinion and I responded to the pressure, going on walks despite the bright red blood in my pad telling me that I was pushing my body too far, too fast. I hurt myself for you. I hurt myself trying to earn your love and it's sick. I feel so stupid for valuing your opinion still, for not trusting my gut over your ignorant expectations.
And-oh boy-and this whole shitstorm about my sister's unplanned pregnancy. Can you engage honestly about it? Of course not. I ask you how you really feel, if you worry about things working out and you simply refuse to answer? No response. That stings. Not to mention I don't feel like I should be the one spearheading that conversation. The child shouldn't be asking the mother how she feels, she should ask how her child is feeling, but as we've discussed, you just don't do that for me. And even if you did, could you listen? I doubt it.
This shit didn't steal my thunder, it just made me realize how little thunder I was given.
And my sister. You are such a fucking liar. You lie constantly. You lie so much that I can't believe it, I can't fathom the amount of lies you've buried yourself in. I can't fathom living in such a web of falsehoods, denial, and inauthentic existence. It's repulsive. It makes me sick-not just feeling a complete lack of trust in you but thinking about how much pain you create for yourself.
We've had conversations where you gave me the impression you were aware, concerned, interested in improving your life, your health and then I hear that you don't follow up, don't take responsibility, just lie. You go to a therapist a couple of times and the second things start getting anywhere you quit. You claim to be Bipolar yet you refuse to get a diagnosis. Do you just like the drama? Are you that mindless that you live your life like some wannabe MTV star? I know that you're smarter than that. It pisses me off and breaks my heart that you can't seem to see that.
I was skeptical and concerned when I heard that you had a boyfriend and were talking about marrying him. You don't know how to take care of yourself, how can you take care of a marriage? You don't know how to be honest with people, how can you work with someone else in a serious relationship? I bit my tongue. Maybe that was a disservice to everyone. Maybe I should've told you that you were immature and ignorant? That I suspected you were trying to find happiness from without instead of within, that you needed to take care of your own issues before joining any type of partnership? But I didn't. And if I did, what would it have done? I probably would've been ostracized, rejected, pushed away. Whatever.
Then you show up and tell me your pregnant by this guy. This 19 year old community college kid still snuggled cozy under his parents' wings. And you, a 21 year old who still has her mom driving across the state to help her through emotional crises nearly once a month-or more. A 21-year old who has exhibited unstable mental health, been told she's prediabetic yet hasn't seen a doctor to confirm this or addressed the issue, who has been deemed "gluten intolerant" yet doesn't alter her diet and instead boasts about her ailing bowels and painful diarrhea after consuming too much gluten. Does that sound like a responsible mother to you? Does that sound like a stable, responsible individual? Does that sound like someone you'd want to be in a relationship with? It sounds like a clusterfuck to me.
And this poor child that knocked you up has no clue does he? Not to mention this poor baby who will be thrust into the midst of the burning, sinking ship of a life you've mixed up. It is so scary to me, so sad, so anger inducing when I think of how you know better and yet allowed this to happen. And yes, you did allow this to happen. You went off birth control and had unprotected sex. You're not a fucking idiot, you knew the risks and what could happen. And though you are responsible for your reproduction period being such a young, naive, inexperienced guy made you doubly responsible. And you know what? I do think you did it on purpose. Whether it was to compete with me, to seek attention, a cry for help, an attempt to make this 19 year old stay with you-whatever it was, I think you did it on purpose. Subconsciously, consciously, doesn't matter, you made the decision.
And both of you.... how you've taken this pregnancy and leaped into planning outfits and baby showers and acting like everything is just hunky-dorey when you've both talked so much shit about our cousins getting pregnant out of wedlock or going on public assistance or depending on their parents to support them/their children. The height of hypocrisy and a shameful example of the inauthentic, hollow-souled dysfunction I've outlined and been pained by for you years.
And while the majority of my angst is focused on the females in my family, the males aren't without responsibility. My dad and brother play into the dysfunction. I'm glad that my brother seems to be doing well for himself and hasn't fallen into the pattern of crisis-after-crisis like my sister but he definitely puts up walls and avoids engaging. It hurts. I'm sad that my dad avoids the situation so much, doesn't open up very much, even avoids being home by keeping so busy with tennis activities. I can't blame them for not wanting to engage, especially with how reactive my mom can be, but I feel so powerless and alone with my concerns.
So I guess that's what ticks me off, just feeling like I have no support. I hear from my siblings that they want to be closer, that they want better for my family, but they don't have any follow through. And for so many years my mom conducted propaganda campaigns about how great our family is and yet she and Dad didn't deliver the close, supportive family she says they have. Everyone seems to be all right with the dysfunctional, hollow status quo and I'm just not with them.
I get so angry when I think of how much energy I've dedicated to worrying and loving my family and how mindlessly they seem to trample through life hurting me and others. I think about the bad relationships I've had in my life and how I've left them behind and I realize the hypocrisy of maintaining this relationship as it is with my family. It's dysfunctional, damaging, and stupid.
I love my family. I appreciate certain traditions and sharing time with my family but I can't escape my disappointment. And it's okay to be disappointed-no one's family is perfect. I don't have to feel guilty about my feelings. I'm not betraying my family or throwing them away by being hones about my feelings-it's good to validate my feelings and myself, even if it feels dangerous expressing myself. ... All I can do is keep working on my own happiness and health, and that means working on my boundaries and disengaging with the negative aspects of my family, focusing on the positive and reframing my life a bit.
And really-the issues of my first family don't have to cast such a large shadow on my life anymore. I've got my own, new, little family to focus on and I'm really very happy with that part of my life. I'm grateful everyday for the loving, open, supportive relationship that I have with my husband. I am so grateful for my baby and cherish my time with him everyday.
It feels good to get this out and it feels like it helps me let go of it all a bit. It still feels unnatural and difficult but I'm glad I got something out even if it's disjointed and incomplete-so be it! I've vented now, and that's that.
Posting and moving on, back into the light. :)
Sunday, April 19, 2015
On a related note I've been stress and comfort eating lots of sweets. Don't feel too good about it and wanting to eat better, which is also linked to feeling better about myself. If I feel worthless I eat worthless foods!
Just keep swimming kinda days lately...
Friday, April 17, 2015
It all started Wednesday.... As I mentioned before my mom came up for visit and it also turned out that the weather was good up north so our baby photo session got moved to that day. Things got a little hectic!
I was feeling pretty slow that morning but Mom and I had decided she would get to my place around 8:30 or 9:00 AM so we could get to the outlets early and have time to hang out before the hubbo and I headed north for the photo shoot. I was planning to shower that afternoon right before the hubster so I got up and put my hair up and got dressed and got baby taken care of and started sitting around waiting for my mom to show.
When the clock ticked past 9:00 AM I sent a text saying something like "hoping you're on the road, didn't get a text" since she said she would text when she left sort of thing. Well she texted back saying she was waiting out traffic and wasn't going to leave until 9:15 AM. Would've been nice to know? Right? My anxiety was already brewing so after that I started freaking out full bore about the schedule.
I texted with the hubster and decided I better shower ASAP and he suggested that he pick me up at the outlets on the way north to save time. Change of plans, some anger flares, but it worked out; she got there a little after 10:00 AM and we managed to have lunch and do some shopping before the hubster showed up.
I was a little worried about Mom bringing up the lunch with that "controversial" friend and I think she tried but I didn't bite. She alluded to the lunch and instead of talking about drama I talked about the fabulous cheesecake I had.
I was also anxious about my sister's situation coming up since I've been biting my tongue but having the photo shoot that day and being stressed as I was I didn't want to get into it, turned out it came up anyways. I talked about life and Baby but Mom just half-listened and "mmhmmed" until she found an opportunity to change the subject to my sister. Lovely. It was disappointing but not unexpected.
The rest of the day was exhausting but fun. The hubster and I went north and while the photo shoot was rough we think we got some great shots. After the shoot we were pretty dang hungry and went out to dinner then for dessert we stopped in Fairhaven for gelato and a sunset walk on the boardwalk. SO NICE. I had an affogato with hazelnut gelato (so delicious I was exclaiming the entire time I ate it) and the boardwalk was lovely.
Thursday was supposed to be recovery day but I was still anxious and couldn't settle down. I didn't nap, I didn't sleep in, I just fretted and jumped from chore to chore trying to remember what I supposed to do next. By the time my hair appointment rolled around that afternoon I was exhausted and cranky, the hubster walking into a shitstorm unprepared and stepping in it right and left.
Unfortunately that night didn't get much better. Got some decent food that evening but trying to sleep didn't work out. Baby was fussy and not feeding well which pushed me over the edge. A few times I just walked away, even sleeping on the couch for a bit.
Today I'm still quite tired but getting rest and taking it easy is my first priority. I'm still feeling compelled to tidy and sort but I can't afford to waste the energy! Hoping some rest will help calm my anxiety.
Not doing wonderful, but not totally bottoming out. I got really angry last night but I wasn't suicidal or self-harming, so that's something.
Deep breaths and patience!
Sunday, April 12, 2015
On top of the anxiety and fretting I feel frustrated with myself for not making the mental shift I want to make. Reminds me of when I was in labor mumbling "change, change, please change" angrily under my breath trying to force my cervix to dilate. Now I'm wanting my mind to change and I can't just whack it into the shape I want with a tire iron but I sure wish I could.
Been a rough few days. Really tired and Baby has been busy growing. I've been cranky and while my rib got popped back into place the muscles all around there are slow to heal up.
Still moving forward, still hanging in there, but not feeling chipper like a few days back.
Not to mention the chiro asked me about heartburn last week and I said, "Maybe a few incidents but nothing regular like when I was pregnant," but wouldn't ya know it, since he asked I've been feeling it more and more. Grr!
I think my mom coming up this Wednesday has got me anxious too. That and the sleep deprivation and the poor food choices and aching body are wearing me down. Just gotta take it one day at a time and try to take better care of myself.
Friday, April 10, 2015
It wasn't all roses though. This friend is a family friend, a coworker of my mother's that became a part of our lives many years back but lately there has been drama between my mom, my sister, and her. When I moved north with the hubby I didn't see much of her and I certainly wasn't involved in whatever precipitated the falling out but I knew of the tension.
She doesn't know about my sister's pregnancy and despite a micromanaging text from my mother telling me not to talk about my sister, this friend and I were both feeling torn up and we had a decompressing session-and I managed NOT to spill the beans. It felt a little gossipy but mostly therapeutic. Neither of us wanted to "talk about" anyone, we care about my sister and my mom, but we were both suffering and needed to talk it out with someone, and it was perfect timing that we got together.
I ended up feeling validated, which we all know is a rare thing for me! I also felt a little embarrassed about my role in my first family; how tolerant I've been, how I've taken so much for so long, had the wool pulled over my eyes, and blamed myself for issues that aren't my fault. I've felt like the fragile one, the crazy one, the charity case of the family and now I'm finally seeing a different perspective-a perspective that feels more true than the skewed angle I've lived with and been miserable with for so many years.
My sister's issues and my mom's difficulties aren't my responsibility. It's heart breaking but very likely that my mom will continue to enable my sister with her crisis reactions and patch jobs, preventing my sister from getting the help she needs and from taking responsibility for herself. It's also likely that my mom will end up picking up the pieces when my sister self-destructs with even more on the line-baby and hubby and so forth. Even Superman couldn't help people who don't want to help themselves and I can't be expected to fix problems this big-or problems of any size that aren't mine!
I hope someday my sister will find a better path. I hope that she'll get back into therapy and stay for more than a few sessions, that she'll go to doctors and listen and care enough about herself to make changes in her life instead of letting her physical health suffer and mental health issues run rampant (she seems to have a rougher case of bipolar than I, undiagnosed and untreated). I don't know if her current situation (the rush to the altar/oops baby) is all related to her neglected health but I'm sure it's connected to some degree. She had plans and goals; marrying young, having a baby in college and out of wedlock wasn't in the script. I have a hard time thinking that she did this on purpose, that her pregnancy is a cry for help, but the thought is there and it haunts me and tears my heart. I have my doubts that marriage and baby right now is what she really wants.
I felt bad about feeling so negative about my sister's situation but I realize now that I don't have to. They're just feelings, an opinion that could be wrong, and just because I view the situation a certain way doesn't mean that I don't support and love my family. I love and support, but with limits and boundaries and my own point of view... and that's okay. It's messy and confusing and feels strange, but change is good. It's okay. I'm growing some backbone, taking a stand and I'm okay. The strangeness is worth it.
I hope to see this friend more often now. I felt a burden of family fidelity but my sister and mom's side of the story never made a lot of sense to me. I assumed my family was right but now I'm not convinced. In reality, it doesn't matter who was right or wrong or what "side" I'm on-there are no sides, just losers. Everyone loses with a stupid situation like this. I hope lines of communication open up again but if not, I'll see them all separately-I certainly can't afford a friend with my limited stock! And regardless this gal is a good friend. I'm sorry I ever felt like I needed to "stay clear."
Changes are rolling out....
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Monday, April 6, 2015
The babe and I did pretty well getting going and off to therapy this morning. He was active alert quite a bit but not melting down or even very fussy which was appreciated.
The session went well. I've been working on self-validating boundaries and my therapist even said it sounds like I'm doing some healthy grieving too (as far as the mother-daughter relationship stuff goes) though she did mention being careful about dwelling on the mother issues too much and becoming bitter, much better to let go and move on in a healthy way. Too true. So hard to avoid comparison in all parts of life but it pays to let things simply be!
The hubbo and I had a good weekend though we were both pretty tired out. He's coming down with something and I'm reasonably exhausted. Despite our tiredness we managed to get out and about on Saturday and do some shopping. We both found some clothes (remarkably I found two pairs of pants in one trip-legendary!) and we felt really good about our baby toting skills-we're getting the hang of it all.
Sunday was very slow for us. A trip to the store for some cough drops for him but we spent most of the day in various states of undress, lazing about with baby and spit up. Not exactly a festive Easter, but we aren't big Easter folks so didn't matter.
I wasn't sure if he would be up to it, but he managed to make us a great dinner with yummy steaks, artichokes, corn, and mashed taters. It wasn't exactly the romantic feast he envisioned as we took turns eating while juggling the fussy baby but it was scrumptious and I even got to enjoy my first postpartum beer! Oddly it was a pale ale, which I didn't drink prior to being pregnant.... So coffee is out and pale ale is in? The surprising things that happen when one becomes a mother!
Today I managed a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home from therapy-my first solo with Baby I think?-and I've got my second load of laundry in the dryer! It's great to feel like I'm getting back to my old/new norm but I'm still being careful not to overdo it. Between my yahoo and ab/back muscles it can get pretty painful if I do too much! Just walking with baby in my arms at the store yesterday was making my back bark... But I'm happy with the progress I'm making and feel encouraged.
My mood has been pretty chipper and relatively stable, though going too long without food sends me spiraling fast. Thankfully with a good meal I'm set right rather quickly.
So that's my jumbled update for now! Back to Baby and off to the chiro this afternoon, first time ever seeing a chiropractor so we'll see how it goes....
Friday, April 3, 2015
Despite all that, I came away from my birth with shame. I was embarrassed that as a doula I hadn't hired a doula and I thought that I must've done something wrong to be in labor so long. I was plagued by dwelling thoughts speculating what the midwives thought of me, wondering if I had been a "trouble client" for laboring so long and not having a doula.
It took me a few days and lots of reflecting with the hubbo before I started combating the shame. After asking the hubbo for umpteenth time, "So I didn't do too bad?" I realized my longstanding mental habits and low esteem were threatening my birth memories. I decided it was time to "do the doula" and help myself.
I told myself that A) It doesn't matter what the midwives think and B) I'm just a client to them, they won't remember me or my birth after a while! I emphasized how big Baby was, a fact that I was minimizing, ("it doesn't matter how big the baby is, any labor over 15 hours is just too long") when in reality it makes total sense for a big baby to take longer to get out. I also reminded myself that never once did I "give up" or "lose my shit." It was difficult but I kept coping, plodding along, no hysterics-that's not being a burdensome client, that's not embarrassing, that's commendable.
It was also important and difficult for me to stop comparing births and stop trying to give myself a grade. I think this was closely tied to my low self esteem and worthlessness issues. I spent all my school years and college years trying to get perfect grades to somehow make myself feel worthwhile, to earn love, and I was blindsided by how compelled I was to grade my birth. Everyone's birth is different and as the husband put it, "Ya got the baby out and you both were healthy, that's an A+!"
So, it's been a journey but I'm proud of my birth now. I even found myself walking around the other day thinking, "I'm a unicorn!" It's a rare thing to have a birth like my birth and that's nothing to be ashamed of!
The hubbo is convinced things would not have turned out so well had we been receiving OB care and birthing in a hospital and I agree. He thinks I would've been a cesarean for sure or at least torn or cut to high hell. It's scary to think of what my birth would've been like had we been at a hospital and we'll never know, but I do know it's heartbreaking to think I would've missed out on catching my baby and scary to think how much more difficult recovery would've been with birth injuries or a cesarean scar! I'm so lucky that I knew my options, a lot of ladies just don't have a clue what they're missing out on when it comes to maternity care and I'm lucky enough to have found out before I was in labor.
Oh, and did I mention my husband is now an outspoken supporter of out of hospital birth centers and unmedicated birth? Apparently he went into our pregnancy and birth with healthy skepticism and came out a changed man!