I’m trying

In the mom community it’s becoming more popular to label what kind of mom you are. There is the “organic” mom who weaves her kids’ clothes from the fibers of left over fruit peels and only feeds her kids foods that fell from trees and died of natural causes. There is the “stressed out” mom that is in a continuous state of stress with her kids, marriage, and life. There is the “drama mama” that creates drama out of nothing, for any number of reasons. Her life is basically one long episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians (the later seasons. The first few were legit). There is the “has it together mom” who consistently has a clean house, a full time job, cooks dinner every night, and made six dozen cupcakes for the bake sale last night. Lastly there is the “hot mess” mom. The mom who can’t seem to ever get it together for her kid or spouse or herself. She has the kid that always has chocolate all over their face, pouring herself out of the car while trying to get gum off her pants and Cheez Whiz off her shirt, and is yelling, “I’m here!! I’m here! Sorry, sorry, sorry”. For the most part I think I have the latter of these mom labels.

In all honesty, I know that I’m not a full fledge hot mess mom. I just feel like with the mom groups that I’m a part of I feel like I am the hot mess mom, at least a little bit. I feel like I’m always dragging behind. That my kid always does the, “What are you doing?” Moment. If I had my choice I would be the got it together mom. Heart in my eyes aspiration. I would love to be able to follow the housewife’s guide put forth in the fifties that entails that you should always keep your house ready for any unexpected company. I go to other mom’s houses walk in and think, “Why can’t my house look like this?” I know I’ve spoken about this before. For a while I blamed the kid, she was a great excuse. Being a mom is really hard and you don’t really get a lot of time for cleaning and organizing. At least I thought so.

A couple weeks ago something in me clicked. I don’t know why it clicked or how necessarily, but something clicked. I started really being the got it together mom. I cleaned the areas Eva had exploded that day after she went to bed. With help from Tim, the kitchen was clean at the end of the night. We all had clean clothes. I was doing chores and projects I had been meaning to do for months. Randomly, I found myself elbow deep in our bathroom closet cleaning it out at 9 o’clock at night. Eva and I had things to do and places to go. We were going on adventures and coming home to a sane house. This past week I got into doing my make up and hair like a normal human. It was great. I felt like I was beginning to really get it together and have it all! Then this past weekend came and I realized, I was exhausted.

I was utterly exhausted. I walked through the house seeing all things that needed to be cleaned and thinking every time I passed a teetering pile, “I just cleaned that!” It was like pushing the ocean back with a strainer. I tried so hard to stay on top of everything and still be a mom. Unfortunately I found myself saying, “I’m sorry hunny, I have to do these dishes.” Or “In a minute, Eva. I need to do this laundry” far more than I ever wanted to. I want to show Eva that life goes on around her, not that life revolves around her (no matter HOW true that statement is). I also want to show her that she is entirely more important than vacuuming. I was waking up in the morning and before I knew it we were putting Eva to bed.

At some point I had to realize and decide if being the got it together mom was the mom label that I wanted and one that I could keep without loosing my sanity and time with Eva. We put these labels on ourselves and each other because it makes it easier to figure ourselves and each other out. To feel out what kind of person you are, who that person is, and how to treat them or react to their kids. Really at the end of the day the label that is best suited for all mothers is simply, mom. That’s it. We’re moms. I’m a mom. I am just trying to survive each day. I am trying to make it to 7 o’clock when we start getting Eva ready for bed. I am trying to make Eva a good person to put out into this world. I trying to still have a productive marriage. I am trying.

I tried to be a got it together mom and it did not fit. I tried to accept being a hot mess mom but that did not fit either. I wondered what label was in between these two types of moms. Realizing that there wasn’t one because we are all these labels all throughout the days or weeks. There are going to be some weeks where I do really have it together and feel like I could have a reality show showing the world that I am on top of it and you can be too. There will be some weeks where getting out of bed is going to be a struggle and I feed Eva sandwich crackers and chocolate hummus for the most part. While I haven’t totally accepted that this is my new label, I’m getting there. Labels are so hard to accept and they are so hard to shake off. We need to stop putting them on ourselves and each other because in the end, we are all trying.

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What just happened?

This past Wednesday I was given a gift from my parents. My two year old has officially turned two, physically, mentally, emotionally, and demon wise. If something doesn’t go Eva’s way there is jumping up and down. Dead body. Crying. Sometimes rabbit kicks. And on good days screams of “No”. It can be a lot. My parents sensed this and quickly asked, “Can we come down this week and watch her for an afternoon? You can go do something just you.” and I quickly responded, “That would be great. Thanks.” Usually, I say no because in the grand scheme of things it’s not that big a deal, it’s my every day life, she’s two, what can ya do. I needed this though. On Wednesday they came down and I went on my way to get a pedicure.

Ah, the elusive pedicure and alone time for moms. Some of us never get it. Some of us get it once and a while. Some of us are lucky and get it once a week. It’s the sample booth at Trader Joe’s. I was pretty excited. It’s relaxing but also my feet were disgusting and the cracks on my heels were becoming painful. So overall good thing. The pedicurist was perfectly sweet when sWIN_20180526_09_08_07_Prohe began. Asking if I had kids, if I worked, how long my husband and I have been together. And a few times she gave me the sweet relief of saying nothing, let me enjoy the massage chair, and watch what they were cooking on The Chew. It was overall going great and what I needed/wanted. Then it happened. My pedicurist started talking about her kids, and said she started going on walks after her kids were old enough. I said, “Yeah walking is good.” and then I heard it, “Yeah, you’re a big girl *points to my stomach* walking would fix it. Walking good”.

I didn’t know what to do. Do I scream at her that it was so incredibly rude to say that? Do I ask for a manager? Do I sit here and say nothing? Do I kick her in the head? Did I hear her correctly? What do I do? Honestly, I just sat there and felt my cheeks set themselves on fire while I felt myself lay my arms across my mid section. I was embarrassed, confused, hurt, and speechless. I begged the universe to finish this pedicure as fast as possible and just not say another word to the pedicurist. The rest of the appointment was a blur and I felt like I stumbled out of the salon with my foam flip flops barely clinging to my feet, a beautiful representation of my being at that moment really. Barely clinging on. The drive home was only eight minutes but it felt like hours. I was trying to figure out, what just happened?

I got home to Tim who came out of his office to ask how my hour of self serenity went. Unfortunately, he was met with tears and a story that no spouse wants to hear. Someone was mean to their best friend. He tried to hug me and wipe away my tears. At that point I didn’t know if I wanted my tears dried. I didn’t want hugging because apparently I was too gross to be seen in the light of day. Tim left work at 2:30 pm so we could see a movie at 3 pm. I ran upstairs and changed into an outfit that didn’t so clearly show off my big girl-ness. I came downstairs with tear soaked cheeks, neck, shoulders, boobs, everything. My being at that moment was just a tear stain. I argued with myself why I needed to go out with Tim at that moment. We never go to the movies anymore. We both really wanted to see this movie. My parents took Eva for this reason. Tim would understand and stay home with me while I cried. That last reason is why I went really….and I really wanted to see the movie okay? I’m not a saint, you guys.

On the way home Tim kept asking what I wanted for dinner and I kept getting frustrated. In this short time I was already trying to figure out how I could hide from Tim that I wasn’t going to eat meals. I could hide breakfast and lunch because he isn’t out here. I could have really small dinners and say that I just ate a lot at lunch. I was frustrated and snipping at him because he was going to ruin my plans and make sure I ate. Old habits. I stopped myself by that night and remembered that not eating isn’t the answer, it wasn’t even a choice. I went to bed that night feeling better. I had lots of wonderful Facebook support and solidarity. Then the morning came.

Thursday and Friday I did nothing. I felt such shame about my body and myself. I felt like I was this offensive being going out in public. If people saw me with Eva they would wonder how I could let myself become such a big girl and set that example for my daughter. If we went to a park Eva would wonder why she had a fat mom and why other kids had skinny moms. I didn’t feel worthy enough to go outside. All my life I’ve been a “bigger girl”. From the ages of six to 18 I was reminded constantly that I shouldn’t pursue dance professionally after high school because I DID NOT have a dancer’s body. I was called chubby or chunky through school. I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 16 and that was through a camp where you were lucky and got to know people and love them for them. I felt though, he liked me as a person but wasn’t attracted to me physically (I’m not saying he made me feel this way, it was my mindset). I had a boyfriend in college who would remind me every few months that I was beautiful, but no matter how much I worked out or what I ate I would never be small and skinny like my best friend so by societal standards, I would never be hot.

One statement brought all of that back and then some. I am tying what this complete stranger said to me being a mom. About how I’m a mom. Which is ludicrous, I know, butWIN_20180526_09_04_39_Pro that’s where I go. Yet AGAIN, I start working out and feeling somewhat good about myself and the universe comes in and shoots it all down. People keep saying that I need to talk to a manager even now, I need to spread the word about this incident, I need to fight back somehow. And I have to say, no. I need to be a little selfish right now because I need to figure out how to move beyond this. I need to figure out how to turn an ugly into a positive. I know it was an off handed remark by a complete stranger and really, it’s not that major. That’s what I keep telling myself.

I know that our country is oversensitive to comments especially about our physical features and most other countries are a lot more blunt about it. I get that, but at the same time, it majorly sucked to hear that during my one hour of 100% me time. The last few days have sucked because this is what those comments do. They earwig into your brain and just feed on you. Telling you that you aren’t good enough. That you are in fact fat and disgusting. That your husband is only with you out of a sense of duty. That one day your daughter will stop hugging you because she hates your belly rolls. Like, hi, welcome to my brain right now.

I’m not sure how to end this blog post this week because I’m not done with myself. I feel better than I did yesterday. I’ll probably shower tomorrow. Hopefully soon I’ll start working out again, because that’s my word with working out. Again. If I’ve learned anything over the last 32 years and especially the last two years, it’s that you have to take life one day at a time. It was an off hand comment. It was a stranger. It wasn’t even malice in intent. It’s just what happened.

Just uncomfortable

Another post. Another post about me wanting and needing to loose weight. If you’re sick of them, join the club. I feel like this is a problem plaguing most mothers because let’s face it, our bodies became parachute pants after pregnancy and labor. Baggy, weird shape, has pockets, but not the most attractive sight. Even the most physically fit moms would talk about how their bodies were just wrecked for a year after giving birth. Not all of us are Kate Middleton and have the glam squad and glam airplane hanger from Miss. Congeniality in their hospital room. Although, if that was a packaged offered, I’m not saying I would say no to it.

Most of us left the hospital in our husband’s pants with the permission to, “Just keep them”. A t-shirt that already had spit up all over it. Flip flops (even if it was February with a foot of snow outside). A rat nest bun because a messy bun is still too neat and put together. And underwear that could double as a car cover. The euphoria of the new baby smell takes over all of that though. You forget about all of it as you and your husband fight over whether the car seat is safe enough and how many Dunkin Donuts you would stop at on the way home for all the coffee. All. The. Coffee. Mostly you wanted to get home and start your new life.

Fast forward to when you’ve had the kid for a while and you are beginning to feel like life isn’t slipping through your fingers. For me it was okay. After about a year and a half I started going to the YMCA and working out. We were eating way better and not so much like trash pandas. Then one thing happened, and another thing happened. I could work out. I couldn’t work out. I could work out. I couldn’t work out. It all just kept piling up and I gave up. I completely and utterly gave up. I have tried so hard the last few months to get the motivation. I have made Instagram videos basically pleading with myself to loose weight. I tried to keep in mind that I want to be there for most of Eva’s life. I tried to remember that we want more kids and I need to be healthy for that. I tried…everything.

Then last weekend we had a very busy weekend. We went to a cousin’s 2nd birthday about an hour away. Celebrated Mother’s Day with Tim’s family about 45 minutes away. We spent a lot of time in the car. I was so uncomfortable. My body was uncomfortable in itself. We’ve spent plenty of time in the car traveling all over New England in the last five years. I was never as uncomfortable as I was this past weekend. I didn’t fit the way I used to. My stomach was squished out in new ways. I hated every minute and hated feeling it. So that was my turning point. That was rock bottom. I couldn’t even be in the car for an hour without wanting to rip my skin off to feel some freedom from my body’s cage. It was pretty bad, I wanted to Silence of the Lambs myself.

On Thursday night I pulled out a workout DVD program I had done about four years ago. It’s called Insanity. IMG_20180518_070847759The name fits the work out perfectly. It’s ridiculous and insane and you wonder every minute of doing it why are you doing it? I was ready to go. Friday morning I woke up early I put on work out clothes and went downstairs to put my body through pure hell. Seven minutes. I made it seven minutes. Every part of my body hurt. My lungs were burning. My heart was racing in my ears. I could see sounds. It was insane for sure. Out of frustration I slammed my laptop shut and thought, “Whatever, I’ll just warm up some Annie’s toaster pastries and sit down and enjoy the alone time. I can’t do this”.

Thankfully, my rational and motivated side kicked in. “No. We can be more constructive. We’re ready to work out. Go for a walk in this beautiful town. Do the loop and then come home and do some free weights.” IMG_20180518_074003028So I did it. We have a loop trail around the river in our town that’s a little over a mile to and from our house. I walked down and around the loop.IMG_20180518_074759327 I’ve done this walk many times with Tim and Eva. It’s a quick walk we can do on Tim’s lunch break or before dinner. Nothing over strenuous, but at least it was something. I decided to take some selfies to remind myself that I can get up and do something to make myself feel better. Plus we have an idealistic setting downtown for some good selfies. AmIright? Then on the way home there are little baby hills you have to go up. I decided to run them. Now, I am not what one would call a “runner”. “Jogging’s the worst. I know it’s good for you, but my God, at what cost?” -Ann Perkins (Parks and Rec), my philosophy. I took another selfie when I got to the top of the hill before our house. It wasn’t pretty, but at least it was evidence I did it.

I need to loose weight because I’m uncomfortable in my body and I’m sick of it. It stresses me out to think that I have to be in this body tomorrow. I got beautiful pictures of Eva’s second birthday party and cringed at every single photo I was in because I hated seeing my body. And I get it, body positive. My body brought life into the world. So on and so forth. That’s all well and good, but at some point you have to also realize when you’re just not comfortable with the body you have (within reason of course). Even though doctors aren’t suppose to body shame anymore and tell you that you need to loose weight, I realize and know I can loose weight and should. I want to. I want Eva to grow up in a healthful household. I want Tim right beside me for the long long long long haul. I just want to be comfortable. Two days of working out isn’t going to change everything and who knows what I’ll do next week. But at least for a couple days I was comfortable in my body. I was comfortable in me.

It’s just one day.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. A day that we celebrate all the women out there that have chosen to take on the exhausting, exhilarating, heart stopping, wonderful roller coaster known as motherhood. A day in which we collectively recognize, “You are raising a tiny human. I’ve heard of many others doing this. We shall rejoice together, huzzah!” Well, at least in my mind that’s the way it goes. I haven’t seen that Hallmark card though.

For each mother this sacred day means something different. Some moms want to spend the whole day with their children and partner. Some want a gift certificate to a spa at 7 am with the first mud wrap at 8 am. Some want a nice breakfast and then Sunday as usual. Some have hopes of Ryan Reynolds and Joseph Gordon-Levitt carrying them around all day in a throne carrying device thing. All these interpretations of the day are great because much like your birthday, moms get to decide what that day means to them. And honestly, they get to have that determination dang it! It’s their day. It’s. Their. Day.

Now, there are a million situations out there through the whole world, fun fact: Mother’s Day is a world wide celebration held on different dates through the year. There are married moms who have a husband to look to. There are two moms for a family. There are single moms. There are legal guardians who have stepped up and became a mom. There are moms who foster. There are moms who adopted. There are moms who have no kids but have become a mom to someone. There are so many definitions of and scenarios of mom that it’s hard to realize what Mother’s Day means to you as a mom.

I am part of some mom groups on Facebook. A social support network to get through this crazy journey. On Sunday my feeds we chock a block full of moms describing a situation or posting a picture of husbands or partners asleep still, or sitting on the couch, or asking “What are we doing for breakfast?”. Your typical, “Are you kidding me, dude” posts. It really made me begin to wonder after seeing the 10th post about it before noon, what is Mother’s Day? What do we expect? Please know, I’m not judging these flares of irritation. You aren’t married and have children without being annoyed with your husband’s chewing. If you say you aren’t, you are lying to yourself.

Really, though. What do we expect? I looked up the history of Mother’s Day in America. I looked it up on the Pedia of Wiki so we know it’s legit. Apparently a woman named Anna Jarvis made a memorial for her mother Ann Jarvis at their local church because her mother was a peace activist during the Civil War and set up Mother’s Day club that helped people in lower classes care for their children prenatally and after. Anna believed that her mother and all mothers deserved a day of recognition and went to congress with the proposal in 1908. Fast forward to 1916 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation that Mother’s Day would be the second Sunday of May annually. Later on Hallmark and other commercialized people things took over the holiday and re-enforced that nothing says Mother’s Day like flowers, cards, and something nice. Anna Jarvis was furious at this commercialization and actually sued companies who were profiting off Mother’s Day. Clearly, Ms. Jarvis’ fights didn’t stick.

It makes one think though, is that what mothers want? Flowers, candy, and something nice? Husbands, children, partners, those who felt the love of mother all scramble to find that perfect thing. When asked though a lot of mom will say, “Some peace and quiet and a minute to myself.” Maybe a mani/pedi. If a mother has adult kids, they usually would like a dinner or a simple phone call that day. All in all, we just want acknowledgment. Like Anna Jarvis said, a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. Tonight Eva bumped her head on something and asked me to kiss it. A mother’s kiss to make it all better. That is something I instilled in her. A security that I can make anything better by just being here, being near her, and recognizing that she needed a little extra at that minute.

At some point we all need a little extra in that minute. Mothers do so much for their kids and family. We organize schedules. We make appointments. We are nurses. We are discipl….you know what. We do a lot. It’s too much to list. Now, fathers also do so much for their kids and families but this is a Mother’s Day thing, so chill out until June 17th. The point is, mothers make it work. We can tell you the exact place of that blue ball point pen you put somewhere two months ago, no not that pen, the other one. We are the music makers and the dreamers of dreams. And we just want the people closest to us to understand that. We know that you can’t get mad for not being thanked in a thankless job. To be the foundation of a house is overwhelming and heavy. You never feel like you can crack.

So yes, it’s annoying that you just wanted that one day to hear thank you for 24 hours and you look over and that person who you feel should acknowledge that is asleep on the couch. It’s frustrating that you’ve cooked meals roughly 1,000 times this past year and get asked one more time, “What are we doing for food?” It’s insanity inducing to not even hear, “Happy Mother’s Day” until 2:00 pm because that’s when it was finally remembered. Moms spend their whole life being there for someone else. They are constantly told to remember self care or to take a minute for themselves. The reality of that though is a tough one. Especially for those different scenarios where you don’t really have someone to give you those five minutes to just breathe.

It’s not too late though. Mothers are forgiving creatures. It comes with the territory because there is no point of holding onto the negative. Your two year old takes care of that because you made her wear sunscreen on a 80° day and direct sunshine…but I digress. If you feel like you could have been that photo of a husband sleeping, or didn’t call or text or Facebook or twit or whatever your own mom, there’s still time. There’s always a chance to say, “I see you. Thank you for all you do. Take a minute. Breathe. I got this.” It may just be a day, but it can mean so much more. Happy Mother’s Day to all those women out there who have taken on this role. It’s not an easy one, but it’s truly a great one.

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This is 32

Today is my birthday…thank you, I will have a happy birthday. Today I turn 32 years old. I am 32. I am 32 and I’m married and have an almost two year old. I’m 32 and have lived life. Or have I? I have no idea why but this birthday has made me question more than any other birthday whether or not I’m living the best life I could be. 29 came and went without worry. 30 was no big, I was pregnant with Eva and didn’t really do much. I was too tired to. 31 Eva was almost a year old and again I didn’t really do much because I was just too tired. This year I didn’t want to do much because I didn’t want to. But why? What’s the reason Kicky Housewife? What’s the reason?

When I sat down to write this post I was going to write about how I was going to make 32 my bitch. I was going to wake up every day and show myself and everyone that I woke up with reason and a plan. The truth is this past year I’ve felt really lost in myself. In retrospecting yourself you really look at the good and bad of yourself. Not strengths and weaknesses, because in my experience we’re never kind enough to ourselves to give it the label of strengths and weaknesses. They are the good and the bad.

My good:

1.) I’m a good mom: I love my little girl with the passion of a thousand suns. I have thrown myself into being Eva’s mom. She is an independent, loving, empathetic, sassy, hilarious toddler and I get credit for growing and nurturing that.

2.) I’m a good wife: I was insanely lucky the day I met Tim. I found my life mate, the love of my heart, and he quickly became my best friend. Even before we were married I was the best housewife I could be.

3.) I am creative: Being a mom sometimes you have to get creative. Whether it’s making crafts, playing with dough (Play or otherwise), making train towns, or teaching your child about their body. Thankfully doing these things comes easily to me and I’ve never been so grateful for that gift before.

4.) I’m open minded: You don’t go through 32 years and live in a new state, go through toddler play groups, and be a human without being open minded. People are who they are and it’s not my place to judge that life.

My bad:

1.) I’m Eva’s mom: Amy doesn’t live here anymore, Eva’s mom does. It’s great to throw yourself into your child’s life. At some point in Eva’s life though, I’ve kind of lost myself. I tell myself that it was a necessary evil because I literally don’t have time to be anything but. This is why moms have started so many blogs and vlogs and bogs and cogs. We get to be moms and talk about mom life but we also get to be ourselves and for a few minutes be who we were before becoming so and so’s mom.

2.) I blame myself: For everything. Tim gets annoyed with me sometimes because I apologize for things that are clearly not my fault. When I was in labor with Eva I kept apologizing for screaming or crying. At one point Tim said, “I don’t understand your goals for today.” Get the human out, don’t apologize should have been my only goal.

3.) I’m too emotional: I blame it on having Irish Italian heritage. I come from very passionate people. I’m loud, my family is loud, and we all cry. I hate it. For a while I had it on lock down and didn’t really cry at much, but the older I get the more I cry and get upset over nothing really. Aging, you crafty mistress.

4.) It was too easy: It was too easy to think of my bad list and expand on those qualities. I could have written 10 more bads easily. Coming up with four goods was difficult and took about twice as long and each point was twice as short as my bad.

This retrospect has made me wonder, what do I want from my life? Who do I want to be? I want to be a good mom. I want Eva and whomever else to look back at their childhood and say, “I had an amazing childhood. My mom was a total badass”. I want to be a good wife/daughter/sister/friend to all the people. My family, blood and chosen, are insanely important to me. As much as I try I feel like I am failing them constantly. I missed a text somewhere or haven’t checked in enough. In wanting to be all these things I need to figure what I want to be for myself.

I want:

1.) To be more kind to myself. Every time Eva does something awful that a two year old does it’s not because I’m a horrible mom who is raising a brat. I’m a mom raising a toddler and by god is that a different breed of raptor.

2.) I want to stop not wanting to do things because I think I’m too fat. Going through pregnancy, labor, raising a human, being pregnant and having a miscarriage all within two years has put my body through the Olympics of ouchies. Depression, lack of motivation, and not amazing self esteem has led to some unwanted pounds and shapes. Still, it’s my doing. Eva nor my family and friends should suffer those consequences of that feeling.

3.) I want to remember why I am important too. I am a mom and wife but I am also Amy frigging Gagnon. It’s not even if I don’t put myself as a priority then I can’t be the best mom and wife I can be. It’s if I don’t remember why I’m important then what am I doing? Who wants to become a faceless person who is just schlepping around their kids without knowing or having known who they are?

4.) I want to know that it’s enough. All of it. I want to know that me as a mother to Eva is enough. I want to know that BEING a mother and wife is enough. I want to know that if I wake up every day and show up for the people in my life that is enough. I want to know that wanting more and figuring out what that is, is enough. I want to be enough.

So yes, 32. I am 32. The first picture of me below is me taking the time and being made up to go out. Something I loved doing before having Eva and rarely have time or energy for anymore. The second picture of me below is me without make up. The way most people see me most of the time. Both pictures are me. Not at the good, not at the bad. They’re just me. They are a 32 year old me. It makes me feel awkward to say they’re beautiful because they’re pictures of me, but they are in a way. Not because I’m beautiful but because I’m a woman standing there in her bathroom being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a listener, a care giver, a lover, a fighter, and a dope kid is. I’m all those things and probably more. We all need to take a retrospective sometimes and remember who we were, who we are, and where we’re going because it’s all beautiful. It’s 32.

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What I learned from therapy…not mine though.

For 21 months I had the perfect child. True, Eva was a monster baby and gained an amazing amount of weight every week. I remember going into breast feeding support group and saying, “She gained 10 ounces this week” and mothers jaws dropping. At one point a mom asked, “Are you hungry all the time? I mean all the times you’re hungry, yes?” From the beginning she was an overachiever. She was a little late in rolling but I was assured that was normal for children with large…fat reserves. Once she started rolling over she never looked back. She went from crawling to walking within two weeks time. She went from walking to running in no time without looking back. Even now she jumps in the air with plenty of air between her and the ground.

During the first year and half all your child’s milestones are judged in physical milestones. Every single milestone Eva has met and been very successful at. Of course I was a first time mother who worried herself sick with every single one thinking she was late for everything. Looking back, she wasn’t late at all. She was right on time for Eva and I should have never doubted her. We started going to a gym class back in September. In her gym class were a lot of other little ones around Eva’s age. I started noticing more and more that these kids were saying a lot more words than Eva.

I tried to let my attitude of Eva taking her time to achieve things shine through. Every month though that light kept getting dimmer. I have an amazing group of mom friends here in Exeter. These women and kiddos that I call the Baby Gang. They were posting videos or telling me stories about the funny things their babes were saying. I realized that I didn’t really have those stories. I had funny, “Eva did this with her food the other day” stories but no, “Eva said the funniest thing yesterday” stories. At first I was just trying to give her the time and patience to let talk to me when she wanted to. As more and more time passed that patience became worry. That worry became denial. That denial became blinders to the whole situation. My husband started saying more and more, “Babe, I really think we need to get some professional help here.” I wanted to throw up every time he brought it up.

Now, Eva is not non-verbal. By any means. She has some words that she can say and she can babble with the best tongues speakers. Which is great but not where she should be. At the beginning of February I finally broke down and admitted that she needed to be evaluated. Whatever it was that I was doing wasn’t working on getting her through this Hoover dam of speech. I called the numbers and by the grace of the gods got an evaluation a week later (thank you to whomever cancelled their evaluation. We are forever grateful!). I filled out a packet larger than my mortgage application and in we went. Me and two lovely evaluators sat on the floor with Eva and played with her. I was asked question after question. I felt pretty good about everything because they were impressed by Eva’s physical skills and her direction taking.

After 45 minutes I finally heard the words I was fearing, “She does qualify for speech therapy”. I almost broke down. I was told by two professionals that my daughter needed help in growing into a person. Literally my one job. I wasn’t misreading their questions and comments though. Eva’s output verbal was at 11-13 months but her receptive verbal was 21-27 months. She could understand at a level higher than her age but couldn’t speak to us for her age. The most bitter sweet evaluation I’ve ever gone through. Her evaluators reassured me that they were very optimistic about therapy for Eva. She literally had all the other building blocks for her 21 months, she was only missing this top block. At the end I was putting Eva’s jacket on and I said, “Eva, can you help me?” and she put her arm through the sleeve and said, “I did it!” Needless to say, I was reassured again that they thought therapy would be effective.

Look, it’s all great. Eva was struggling with a part of her development and we decided to be proactive about it. I talked it through with Tim over and over again. I talked to my parents. I talked to my sister. I talked to my sister from another mister. I talked to the baby gang. I had to keep saying “She’s going to do speech therapy” over and over because I had to adjust and accept that idea. I feel like an enormous failure as a mother. Especially because I stay home with her. I’m the one who should be teaching her these things for life. I keep going over the last 22 months in my head. I let her watch too much TV. I let her eat too much junk food. She has too many toys. She doesn’t have enough educational toys. I didn’t read her the New York Times enough as a baby. I didn’t talk to her enough through her life. I wasn’t enough. I’m not enough for her.

Accepting that your child isn’t perfect in the sense of she will never need outside help is a hard pill to swallow. It needs a choking hazard warning. I’ve tried my best. I’ve re-framed IMG_20180217_201748482_LLit in my mindset of, if she was struggling in math at school we would get her a tutor. She’s getting a tutor for speech. That’s all. Tim and I have readjusted the way we try to help her with words. Apparently we raised an extremely independent kid who was probably frustrated with us trying to force her to talk and wanted to do it her way. So again, my fault. I let her roll away from me, that’s where this all started. I’ve even made a speech therapy binder for her to keep all the paperwork paperwork paperwork. I’m trying hard here, guys.

We had our first therapy appointment this past Wednesday. It was fine. It was to see where Eva was and get her used to her speech therapist. Eva was mostly excited to play with new toys. Here’s what I learned from therapy, again. I need to let go. I need to let Eva get there in her time. I need to stop doubting her and myself. She will talk. She will communicate. I need to be gentle with myself and realize I’ve given the her all the other building blocks and some extras. I need to trust Tim when he says that Eva’s perfect the way she is and so are we. I need to just be. I once again am learning I can’t control everything and that’s okay. I tell Eva all the time that things don’t go the way we want, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s called life.

Sunday November 26th

Sunday November 26th was the beginning of the nightmare for us. That morning I went to the gym and came home and started breakfast and cleaning up to put Christmas decorations up. I went to the bathroom and saw the worse thing possible. Blood. I was eight weeks pregnant and two days. My heart dropped to my stomach, I became light headed, and my mind started running as fast as it could. Short of breathe I told Tim that I was going to Walgreen’s to get another pregnancy test to see what it said. It still said positive. I called the on call OBGYN and told them what was happening. The blood lightened and stopped for the day. I was told to take it easy. No exercise. No lots of physical exertion. No stressing. I found the last one to be impossible.

I had taken a pregnancy test about four weeks earlier. I was excited at the idea of expanding our family, giving Eva a brother or sister, and bringing another kick ass baby human into this world. We wanted this since we had gotten married. We wanted multiple kids. We wanted. Excitedly we told family and gushed over the possibility of another set of feet to pitter patter through our lives and hearts. The truth was I knew it wasn’t right. I told my parents and broke down crying because I was so worried that something was going to happen. I told Tim almost every other day that something didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel pregnant enough. It took until Sunday November 26th for my body to catch up with what my mind and soul already knew.

Monday the bleeding got worse and I started having some light cramping. I was told by many people including the OBGYN that bleeding was common and mothers go on to have very healthy pregnancies and labors. I knew I wasn’t going to be one of these mothers. I knew my body was going through the M word. The Voldemort of the pregnancy world. The word that must not be named. I was going through a miscarriage. I spent the day going from trying to pep talk myself through it to crying a lot while holding Eva because I couldn’t give her the sibling I promised. We were scheduled to have an ultrasound on Tuesday and between Monday morning and Tuesday morning it felt about six years in time.

Tuesday November 28th our nightmare came to life and it wasn’t this thought bubble looming over us anymore. They couldn’t find a heart beat. They couldn’t find a cell sac. They couldn’t find…anything. Needless to say the next hour of our lives was pretty awful. I spoke with my doctor who reminded me that this wasn’t my fault even though I went through every movement and food I ate over the last eight weeks. I had started going to the gym again. Maybe I worked out too hard. I ate lunch meat. Maybe I didn’t heat it long enough before eating it. I helped with yard work. Maybe I helped too much. I had to find the reason that I was having a miscarriage and I had to find how it was my fault.

The next few days were quick and also painfully slow. I was going through waves, tidal waves, tsunamis of emotions. I knew logically that my body knew there was something not right with the baby and that’s why this was happening. I would be perfectly fine and the next minute would be in tears devastated. I was a mother going through the M word. I was mourning the loss and trying to figure out how to function. I then got the call that I was technically still pregnant. My body was not shedding the pregnancy the way it should. On Friday December 1st our nightmare became never ending.

I went to the doctor’s and was given medical options to shed the pregnancy. I decided on a D&C and was told I could have it within the hour. We went down to the surgery center of the hospital. Tim dropped Eva off with a friend and we had to mourn the loss again. Before the surgery I started passing large blood clots and was told that it was good I was going into surgery because I was going to end up in the hospital that night anyway from loosing too much blood too quickly. Someone somewhere in the universe was watching over me and my family and we were in the hospital at that time for a reason.

Sunday November 26th was possibly one of the worse days of my life, if not the worse. The next couple of weeks were just me trying to figure out how to function again. I didn’t want to leave my bed or the couch during the day. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want…anything. The most I could do was be a mother to Eva but I wasn’t her mom 100%. I was a shell of a mom that did the bare minimum. We were lucky that my parents came and helped with Eva for a couple of days. I got amazing support from friends and family. The more people we told the more we heard, “That happened to us too.” We couldn’t comprehend how common this was and how often it happened.

This was truly the word that was not to be named. There is heart break and then there is loosing a baby or child. I didn’t think my heart could suffer that much heart ache. At some points I thought I would die from the heart ache. There is heart break. There is sadness. There is loss. Through it though there is help around you. There is love around you. There is support around you. There is life around you. We all go through the grieving process differently. For some keeping it bottled in is how they deal with it. For others talking about it helps them. For me talking always helps, but I felt like I couldn’t. I felt like because I was talking about the M word I was giving into it. I was admitting that I was sad and couldn’t function at full speed. Mothers went through this all the time, why was I so different? Why couldn’t I win over it.

I joined a support group on Facebook and learned that I wasn’t doing any of that. I was being a mother going through a miscarriage and a D&C. It was okay to be sad. It was okay to be angry. It was okay to be whatever it is I was because that’s what I needed to be. The M word of pregnancy carries so much weight because it’s clouded in so much secrecy. No one failed for having a miscarriage. No one did anything wrong. No one was being punished for something they did in their youth or childhood. No one deserves to know this heart ache.

There are still some points during the day that I am sad. I try to focus on the amazing aspects of my life. I am part of an amazing group of women whom I call the baby gang and their babies have turned into my babies. My best friend and I were two weeks a part in our pregnancies, in the end I still get a kick ass baby human. My parents came down without thought to do whatever they could to make the load a little lighter. I have a wonderful, hilarious, smart as a whip, sassy, heart bigger than her body, little girl who dropped whatever she was doing to hug me when I was sad. I have a husband who held me while I sobbed and never once made me feel like this was my fault and who just wanted to take the pain for me.

I learned that the human spirit is incredibly resilient. You keep going through it all because you have to. There are times you want to give up and throw it all in. And if you do for however long, that’s okay too. Sunday November 26th the word that shall not be named came crashing into our lives and took from us something that we already loved more than ourselves. Sunday November 26th our strength was tested, our marriage was tested, and our family was tested. Sunday November 26th was the start of a nightmare come alive. Sunday November 26th I became heart broken. Sunday November 26th I found out how strong of a person, wife, and mother I was.