Before I begin this very personal and vulnerable confession, I feel it important to start at the beginning. I was an abused child. Emphasis on was, since I have done a lot work to heal that inner child. I know there is more work to do, and recent events have come to prove this to me, and help me heal.
I realized today that I still have a lot of self -directed anger, and frustration. Listening to a radio show “Mystics Heart and Soul Sessions” what I heard was that we are all veterans of something. We all have something that we don’t feel like we did well enough. We were asked, “Who do we need to show us mercy?” I saw myself. I need to forgive myself.
When I became pregnant with my first child I was not in a good place. I often tell people that my son saved my life, because in many ways it’s true. It has been a l-o-n-g road to where I am now, and it all started with two words “Your pregnant”. The emotions I felt at that moment cannot be described other than a very strange sensation of falling into myself and not being able to come to terms with the immense responsibility I now had. Up until that point, I didn’t care if I lived or died. It was wild, crazy, and fast, looking for escape in everything; and I realize now I was trying to escape myself. I was both the wounded child, and the persecutor. My motto for life was “If it feels good, do it.” That was bullshit, I was hiding behind physical pleasure to ignore the heart and soul pain that I was repeating within myself. (Don’t get me wrong here, physical pleasure can be heart and soul wonderful, once the scar tissue is cleaned up.)
My entire pregnancy with my first child I had so many conflicting emotions running through me all of the time. Hate of myself and my child, and yet this deep maternal love I couldn’t identify; and it was terrifying. My situation was scary, and I couldn’t trust anyone, no matter their trustworthiness. I felt no support at all, and I had no idea how to feel about becoming a mother, since my relationship with my own mother at that time was rife with unresolved issues, hatred, blame, and pain. Fear that I was going to be a horrible mother snatched away any real happiness I may have had at being pregnant. And because of all of this, I had a difficult pregnancy. I had to be placed on bed rest, while I watched myself balloon, and anything that was left of self-worth (I had worked really hard as a teen to get back into shape after the Depoprovera made begin to swell.) withered away. I often had pain that would shoot out from my vagina straight down my legs, and the doctor said that my son was kicking and later punching me, in the cervix. As I got bigger and bigger I begged the doctor to induce me. They did ultrasounds and said that he wasn’t ready to be born. The day before they decided to induce me we did another ultrasound, and they told me he was ready at almost 8 pounds.
The first day in the hospital I swear to God there was a family re-union in my room, along with friends of family members. My room, where I needed support and care and love, was the waiting room where everyone played cards and chatted while I lay on the table in pain with every contraction, and the very busy nurse, and a clueless father to be the only ones doing anything at all for me. I was more of a circus side show than anything. I dilated to three centimeters the first day on Pitocin. Then it stopped. The contractions continued, but I had no other progression. I was terrified to birth this child into the world so much that I stopped the progression of labor. At the end of the second day my sons’ heart rate dropped. He was struggling, and I was rushed into surgery.
They misjudged his size, and cut too small of a hole. They tore me trying to get him out, and had to cut me further. All of the pulling made me begin vomiting while I was strapped down flat on my back unable to move with an oxygen mask covering my face. All I could do was try to scream while vomiting into the mask to get the attention of the man standing at my side, who finally removed the mask, and cleaned me up. I lost a lot of blood on that table, and my son was rescued from my body, and was blue, though he cried immediately. He turned out to be 10lbs 13oz., and 22 ¾ inches long.
I have no memory of the first 24 hours after that. I know they started him immediately on formula. I know I couldn’t get him to breast feed after that, and my milk didn’t come in until I was home for over a week. I know that after the first couple of days the nurses wouldn’t let me hold my baby until I would get up out of bed. So I forced myself, and fainted in the bathroom. I had lost too much blood. It’s fuzzy whether they had to give me blood or not after the cesarean. I remember it was mentioned, but I don’t remember if it was certain. I do remember that after fainting I had to be on iron pills for over a month, and the nurses were slightly more compassionate.
I didn’t bond with my baby after that. This is something I don’t like to talk about, but it must be done. I had post partum psychosis and knew nothing about it. Depression just doesn’t cover what I went through. I had intense feeling of fear of my child, hallucinations, the whole works. I very clearly remember knowing without a doubt that he was the re-incarnation of my abuser. I remember seeing him flip me off with a malicious look on his face, and struggling with my own heart and brain, trying to talk myself out of harming him. He had colic which made everything worse; he couldn’t sleep, and vomited up everything he ate, constantly screaming. I remember one night sitting in the chair in his room, holding him, rocking back and forth balling my eyes out completely overwhelmed at the deepest depths of despair I had ever been. I began begging the Universe, God, Angels, Ancestors, anyone that would hear; to let me love that baby. Just let me love that baby, and I can get through this. I cared, but I didn’t feel that maternal rush that I heard about, and I was terrified to get help. I thought that he would be taken from me. I loved him enough to not want that to happen, so I fought. Every time that I had a hallucination I fought. Every time that I was terrified I might cause him harm I fought. I still didn’t truly begin deep bonding with my son until he was around 4, and that was after I got real help. After my second child was born.
My pregnancy with my second child went very similarly to the first, except that I went into pre-term labor around 3-4 months too early. I was visiting my adoptive family to try to reduce my stress. I remember laying on the couch, all alone, the house was quiet and I was finally beginning to relax when I felt the first rush of hormones and energy surge through my body and my belly got tight. I immediately called my Grandmother who had been an RN, who promptly called my mom and rushed right over. They timed my contractions, felt me belly with each one, and took me to the E.R. This hospital wasn’t prepared for a premature birth, a v-bac, or emergency cesarean. All they could do was chemically paralyze me temporarily. I don’t remember the name of the drug they used but it made the muscles in the uterus stop contracting. It took larger than normal doses to work, and every time it began to fade the contractions would return. It took several doses to get things calmed down. My cervix had gotten dilated to a 3 by the time they had dosed me the first time. I stayed that way until I had a forced cesarean later. No O.B. that accepted my insurance would do a vbac. And on top of this I was told by my O.B. that it was recommended that I become sterilized, as having more pregnancies put me at risk for uterine rupture, and my baby at risk for cerebral palsy. I of course listened and chose to be sterilized. When the surgeon told me they didn’t like doing that to young women and I had a choice, I had too much fear to hear, and I made a choice I regret greatly. I wanted more children eventually. I didn’t know I would be in a loving supportive relationship. I also didn’t know that my problematic pregnancies were related to an underactive thyroid. The doctors didn’t think to check that. Not until I had a migraine so bad that I had to have a cat scan of my brain did anyone think of that. And it was the neurologist who caught it. Yes I had a small mass in my brain stem, that didn’t seem to be hurting anything. But my symptoms were thyroid related. Later having a scope of my uterus, it turned out my uterus was beautiful and perfect, except for one small thing. I was defective by choice. I chose to rid myself of something that I held in such high regard, that it was the only thing that I felt brought me any worth. I robbed myself of ever having the chance at normal pregnancy, and normal birth. I robbed myself of ever experiencing the joy that other women get to feel. I robbed myself of the experience of a supportive partner, that intense deep love that happens in a healthy relationship surrounding pregnancy and birth. And now I have to try to let that all go.
I have gone to so many psychics, around those that don’t know my pain, and inadvertently I get this. “You have three kids right?” “I see you with three kids.” “There is a little girl waiting to be born.” “Who is this little girl around you?” And the other day at a salon/tea party honoring those that have crossed “there is a little girl that has come through that is waiting for someone.” As she begins to tear up feeling the emotion, and she points in the area where I am sitting. My immediate response was to close up. I couldn’t allow myself to feel what needed to be felt in that room. I couldn’t do it in public, I couldn’t make a scene. I had to make it not about me. The thing is; I know there is a little girl that didn’t get born. I know there is this little girl around me, I have seen her. And I am at this point in my life, where I think I have lost the chance to bring her into this world myself. And what do I do with that? I have been carrying around this deep seated hatred at myself for not listening to my instincts, my voice, my guidance system. Now is the time I let go of that, and forgive. It is a hard thing feeling old wounds, unresolved gunk, and facing the fact that I love me even though I’m not perfect. Finding the love to forgive myself is my lesson now. Allowing myself the vulnerability of accepting myself as less than perfect has been a difficult task, but every day I become closer to achieving that goal. I love myself, and I dream in red.