In my state of SAHM-ing, I tend to have a lot of time to think (following a toddler around doesn't use a lot of brainpower), and that tends to be troublesome. You see, my brain likes to pick a direction and take off running. "What if..." and then it's off for hours sometimes, coming up with all these crazy scenarios and ideas of what could/should/would be if this one thing changed.
What if we had another baby?
What if I were pregnant right now?
What if we have another miscarriage?
What if I could maintain a clean house?
What if I had a maid?
What if I didn't burn myself every time I cooked?
What if I hadn't gotten married when I did?
What if I hadn't dropped out of college the first time
The second time?
The third time?
What if I had dropped out the fourth time?
What if we got another dog?
It goes on forever. I try and remember if my brain has always been like this or if this is a result of spending 90% of my day with a tiny tyrant who only speaks 5 words and the rest is gibberish.
Then I'll go on another route of tangents off of those original what ifs and the spiral begins. They could last a few minutes or (rarely) the spirals could go on for days. I feel especially bad for a couple of my very good friends, as well as my husband, because they are the ones forced to deal with the crazy-brain. But, I love them. They always come through when I'm in need.
I'm putting this out there because I know I can't be the only one who's brain runs amuck. How do you handle it? How do you tell your brain to STFU so you can go about your day without wondering where (if at all) you've screwed up in the past or how you'll screw up the future? What do you do?
Today is the anniversary of our miscarriage. I'm not nearly as sad about it as I thought I would be. That could be because I've been chasing a toddler around most of the day. Or because, while he was sleeping, I was busying myself with my Scentsy business and cleaning the house as much as I could. Or it could just be that time really does heal all wounds.
That doesn't mean that I haven't been sad, or that I haven't thought about it. Exactly 2 years ago, the baby was gone, we were back home from the Urgent Care Center and I was debating drowning my sorrows or going into a self-induced coma.
Exactly 1 year ago, I was cuddling our 2 month old son, trying to stop crying. I know that part of that was postpartum hormones and crap, and part of it was real grieving.
This year, I've been more ok with what happened. More zen, if you will. If we hadn't lost that baby, we wouldn't have our amazing son. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I can't imagine my life without him. It also helps that I've spent the last month (off and on) working with one of my best friends to design a tattoo in tribute/remembrance of our lost baby. Hopefully we will be putting needle to skin very shortly.
Miscarriage breaks your whole being: mind, body, and soul. But, I've learned, if you can accept it, not forget but not dwell, then you can come out of it a stronger, more compassionate person.
This month is Miscarriage and Infertility Awareness Month (along with other things.) I don't talk about it too much, but I think about our lost baby everyday. Usually it's just a small thought, "I wonder if it would've been a boy or girl", "What color hair would it have had?", "Would it be speaking a lot now, or just little words like Connor?", etc. I love my son, and I know I wouldn't have him now if we hadn't suffered that loss 2 years ago. I'm in a decent place with regards to that loss. I'm not happy about it, and I will never be, but I've accepted that it happened and there's nothing I could've done differently. I will always love that baby.
Yesterday (10.15.15), we participated in the Wave of Light movement, lighting a candle to honor the baby we lost, as well as all the other babies lost in miscarriage, born sleeping, or who passed shortly after birth. It was a worldwide movement to help bring awareness as well as pay respect to those that were lost. It was meant to go from 7-8pm, but I couldn't bring myself to put the candle out until I went to bed around 1230am.
I have had numerous conversations about miscarriage since I made our loss public about a year ago. I kept it a secret for while, refusing to talk about it, hoping that the pain would just disappear. I know now that talking is cathartic. It doesn't make the pain go away, but it makes the loss more real and (for me) that made it easier to deal with. Keeping it to myself made it seem like a secret, or like I was ashamed. I blamed myself for a long time, but I know now that there's nothing I could've done differently. That's a hard truth to accept, but it is true and there's something comforting in accepting that reality. It wasn't my fault. I literally had no control.
Talking to my husband helped my to understand the science of what happened to us. Talking with my international moms group/facebook family helped me to accept it and adjust to living with the loss. They were also very comforting throughout my pregnancy, because (as anyone who's lost a pregnancy can tell you) I was scared the entire time, expecting the worst every single day. I love those women and I don't think I would be the same woman I am now if not for them.
For the past 11 years, October and I have had a terrible relationship. I give and give and it just takes. Everything.
2004: took Mema (grandma on my mom's side)
2005: took my first long term relationship, beginning my spiral into drugs and alcohol and all that that entails and ending my first attempt at college.
2006: deployed my second long term relationship to Afghanistan. That relationship wouldn't last another 2 months.
2008: crazy, drunk guy with a knife episode in our home.
For a few years there, nothing dramatically bad happened. I was starting to believe the curse of October was over. The best day of our lives (to date) happened in October.
10.10.2013: positive pregnancy test.
I wished I'd known then that October was just getting his kicks and getting me back, 10 fold, for being so "nice" for those middle years.
10.20.2013: the worst day of our lives, to date. Miscarriage.
October is a bastard.
Then, just to rub it in or for emphasis, last year, on the anniversary of the miscarriage, we got news that one of my dad's brothers had died the night before.
This year, it feels like I'm just waiting on pins and needles for the next bad thing to hit. What's it going to be? Am I going to lose another person I love? Am I going to get hurt? Physically or emotionally? I've been in a crappy mood most days, so far, this month. I'm just waiting for the next big bad to come kick my ass.
The worst part is that I still love October. The changing leaves, cooling weather, pumpkin flavored everything, rich oranges and browns all over, Halloween. I feel like one of those girls; I keep coming back to this dead end, abusive relationship because he's so gorgeous and I keep thinking "maybe this time..."
October, you're a bastard. There is no other word for it.
SAHM- Stay At Home Mom
I love, love being able to stay home with our son. This is my dream. I substitute teach a little on the side, and selling Scentsy helps bring in at least an extra couple hundred a month, which is fantastic, but my husband works incredibly long hours (10-12 hr days) which enables me to stay home and raise our son.
I've got Connor on a sleep schedule that allows him to stay up late and hang out with his daddy at night for a couple hours. He gets sooo excited when he hears Hubby coming in at night. Dropping whatever he's doing and heading for the door, then they place "I'm gonna get you" for several minutes and cuddle. It's freaking adorable. I wish he got to see his dad more, but those few hours every night and the weekends are so amazing.
Now, I love spending so much time with Connor, but when Daddy comes home, Momma needs a break. Dad does bedtime almost every night now (to the point that if I do it, I'm doing it wrong and Connor seems confused). Friday mornings (our version of Saturday mornings thanks to hubby's schedule) I don't want to get up with the baby. I get him to, because Momma needs some time. Honestly, for the first half of the day on Friday, I want to be the back up parent, not the on-call parent. I don't want to get him when he first wakes up, change him, brush his teeth, and feed him breakfast. I want to be the one who takes it slow in the morning. Just for the first half of Friday. Then I'm good.
I know it sounds selfish, but I'm literally "on" 24/7. I want 3 or 4 hours, one day a week, where I can just be a person for a little while, not Mom or doggie caretaker or maid or chef or any of that crap. Just for a couple hours a week, I want to take a long shower, shave my legs without rushing, do my hair and make up. You know, be a pre-kids girl.
Hubby is usually pretty good at accommodating me, even though I suck at articulating this feeling to him because I know he's been working 10-12 hours of hard, manual labor all week and he wants to relax and sleep in too. I try and keep the balance for us, having him be the primary with Connor Friday morning, and then I'll take the title back for the rest of the weekend around lunch time on Friday. Literally, just a couple hours to recharge and I'm good to go!
I've had conversations with other mom-friends of mine who think I'm being too passive because I don't want to make him do too much. Maybe I am, but I am a passive person. Ask anyone, I will do pretty much anything I can for anyone I know. To the point that I often end up doing too much and regretting it. But! If you are the person I'm doing too much for, you'll never know. I won't complain to you or tell you I can't help. I can help. I'll figure it out. That's who I am. I can't say no to people. I've been told it's a problem.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community