I just had my 3rd baby and this has been the most peaceful post-partum period I’ve ever experienced.
Let me explain…
Apparently I have some type of predisposition for getting wrapped up in abusive relationships.
Yes. I said abusive relationships.
I am in the middle, or beginning, of a divorce from my husband of 5 years–a relationship that, from the outside looking in, so many people expressed their admiration of us: We look great together. Our children are amazing. We are in medical school together (yes, we because our entire family put itself aside to support the “head of the household’s” dreams). We are on our way to a promising and beautiful future. I thought.
So when my 8 months pregnant ears hear across the phone: “I’m sending the kids to Michigan (we were currently living in California)…I’m also quitting school and moving to Michigan…the kids are already on a plane to Michigan…” I lose it a little.
It is already troubling enough that I’m on the other end of the phone because I have been unofficially kicked out, or forced out of our house because I refused to accept yet another “apology” for yet another bought of supposed stress-induced hostility directed, yet again, at me. There is only so much:
“you ain’t shit”, “you ain’t as valuable as you think you are”, “you need to do more around the house”, “clean more”, “cook more”, “bring in money”, “you’re being selfish working and leaving me with the kids so quit your job”, “you didn’t ask if you could buy those $10 pillows”…
There are only so many times your quality as a mother can be called into question whenever you have the audacity to want to take a nap, or pursue life goals, or attempt to keep your sanity by walking away from another crying baby because for 2 years straight, you’ve 24/7/365 been on round the clock, non-stop duty.
Only so many times you can be pushed, screamed at, discredited, belittled, degraded, called names, be ignored…
before “I’m sorry” just becomes irritating and flat out insulting.
…and this man on the other end of this phone…speaking to me like he’s addressing some hoe off the street…not his wife…not pregnant with his 3rd child…not the mother of these children he’s taken it upon himself to ship off…
What the fuck just happened? How the fuck did I end up here? Has this all been a dream? Who the fuck did I marry and where the fuck have I been while I’ve apparently been oblivious to who I’ve been sleeping with?
Why is he so angry at me? And why does it seem like he’s putting effort into making sure I suffer? I mean, it’s one thing to leave me. It’s one thing to leave me while I’m pregnant. But to sneak and ship my kids away without even slightly considering me…to keep my keys from me so I can’t enter OUR residence at will…to tell me the shit ain’t mine cause I don’t pay the bills, to call the police and file a report against me…to take my engagement ring (months ago) and let me believe I had lost it…to then get on the road himself and, as promised, move to Michigan…without my ass…and still without giving me a key…so I’m just homeless and car-less in California for no good reason…to leave me jobless because I stayed home with his kids while he pursued what I thought was his dream…to watch me, for months, spend the only money I had (a tax return from babysitting to make some extra money) on toys, childcare (that he promised to pay for), clothing for the kids and investments in my start-up business…and then just leave…WHILE I’m pregnant.
What…the fuck…just happened? Because of the time sensitivity and intensity of the situation, I didn’t really have much time to answer that question. I obviously had more pressing shit to do.
A million tears, a few significant blessings, and a couple of flights and stacks of paperwork later and my kids, my mom, and I get back to California.
And the question arises again…”what the fuck just happened?”
I’ve been in bondage. In this hazy, foggy bondage dressed up as marital and maternal “submission”. One that led me to believe I had to shrink who I am to be a perfect wife and mother…because once I became both, surely that was all I ever needed to be, right? That’s where all my focus and energy should go, right?
I remember feeling guilty for wanting to work; like any time I spent outside of home took away from his time to study. I remember feeling responsible for figuring out every way I could make life easier…for him. I remember pushing my pregnant body to find work to bring in extra income or to take multiple babies on outings (or out the damn state) to give him study time or just breaks. Or pushing my post-partum body to clean…stress about the cleaning I couldn’t do, or sleeping on the couch in the front room with a newborn while he slept in the bed so we wouldn’t disturb him with night feedings or diaper changes.
I remember feeling worthless, and disgusting, and inadequate, and weak because I couldn’t perform quick enough, or bounce back quick enough, or lose weight quick enough, or console myself and accept my isolation and my demotion to this apparent chosen confinement with enough grace and dignity.
So many ill emotions, situations, and thoughts that I’ve submitted myself to.
That’s what the fuck happened.
I not only let myself go…but I gave myself away…to my marriage, to my husband, to my kids, to my ideals…I just gave myself away and before I knew it, I had completely disappeared.
But I’m back, Honey.
And I’m free.
And now that I realize where I’ve been, this period of post partum, so far, has been drastically different and nowhere near as daunting.
I am free.
Free to relax, to move slowly, and to take my time and actually heal.
Free to explore myself and finish discovering who, in addition to being an amazing mother, I want to be.
I’m surrounded by love and support and peace.
So much peace.
And, so far…let me tell you, that really has made all the difference.