Allowing Myself to be Honest

When Demi Lovato sang, “I want to be a role model, but I’m only human,” in her song Sober, I felt that to my core. It had already been a really long month. Just earlier that day I confided in one of my best friends that I was triggered. I walked up to her, my hands shaking, and broke down. I was too close to thoughts of using again and it scared the living hell out of me.

I don’t have these thoughts anymore. I have been clean for 6 years. I don’t fantasize about using and how good it will be. Instead I think of everything I would lose, and how miserable and worthless my life would be if I did use. I am strong in my recovery. I feel good about my life and the fruits of my labor. But this month had shown to be a test of that.

Addiction is brutal. Once an addict, always an addict. I know myself. I know my weaknesses. I know me. I don’t carry a false impression that I have escaped addiction. Instead I carry the burden and weight of my addiction, willingly. It holds me to being humble. I refuse to walk this Earth and pretend I am not one choice away from a past life. I carry the weight so I don’t forget the heaviness of addiction. I have to always be honest with myself. I understand my choice to get clean and work this hard is the reason for my abundant blessings. I also understand I have seen too many people relapse, so I carry addiction’s weight close to me so I can feel the reminder of where I don’t want to be.

My being triggered didn’t come out of left field. There were a lot of factors that played part. I work very hard. I have been working harder recently, trying to make up bills from maternity leave. I sleep very little. All of you amazing mothers and fathers understand this struggle. Having a baby is hard. It’s beautiful and my dreams have come true with him, but the lack of sleep does have an effect on your mental state. I was stretching myself too thin; taking on too many projects. I started second guessing every thing I did. Lack of sleep, emotions, motherhood and society had me second guessing my worth, my choices, my work, my actions. I felt my self confidence and the fire in my belly die down a bit.

And here I stood, standing with the door closed behind me, hands trembling, tears stinging my eyes - admitting that I wasn’t strong right now and I didn’t trust my own recovery in this moment. We talked about it, I got it out, and the moment passed. I carried on with my day, got in the card, turned on my Playlist, and let the music soothe my soul. Sober came on and I heard her sing, “I want to be a role model, but I’m only human.”

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I am human. I will be tested. I am not strong all the time. I break down. That’s okay. I am so incredibly grateful that I have a vibe tribe, family and husband that I can be honest with in these moments. I continue my 6 years of recovery because I can be honest in times like this, and have learned how to get through the impulse or triggers.

I want to give a shout out to the women in my circle lately that keep me laughing. The ladies that keep me going, keep me honest, keep me accountable, keep me safe and keep me loved. Motherhood is a trip. I am so grateful for these fantastic women who I can be unapologetically real and honest with. Motherhood is scary. I have moments I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, but I have this band of women behind me, covering me in their light and standing by my side. I have this tribe of superwomen that push me to be a better mom. They tell Society to eff of with it’s standards. They make their own ways. They make their own paths. They make their own mistakes and then we sit around and laugh about them. I love these women. You know who you are. When you have a tribe like this, LOVE THEM HARD.

I Didn't Invite You, Postpartum

TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual abuse and Postpartum

I want to start off by saying this blog will not be the beautiful and poetic writing that I normally do. I realized when I wrote this that my writing is much different when I am writing about something I am going through as opposed to something I have conquered. I am still learning about my own self each day. This is not poetic, but it is very honest and that will just have to be okay.

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I didn’t invite postpartum into my life. It felt like an invasion and betrayal of trust. I trusted my mind and my body to protect me from depression and anxiety. I was suddenly watching a young mother cry every time she held her Prince in her arms. I was completely overwhelmed by every little thing. If someone said they wanted to come over, I threw myself into a cleaning frenzy and sobbed in the shower while I would try to pull myself back together. I was a shell of the woman I imagined I would be as a mother.

Before William was born, I would have nightmares that I was going to have postpartum. I suppose my body and brain knew more than my soul wanted to let on. Why, though? Why was this happening to me?

Trauma. Let’s start there. Early childhood trauma. In our community we are now aware of the early trauma that occurs to children exposed prenatally to substance abuse. I am aware of my trauma due to it. I am also aware I’ve suffered more trauma than that. At a young age of about 4 or 5 years old, I was molested. My parents did everything in their power to get me the help I needed to recover. I was in therapy and counseling, I saw psychologists…they went to the ends of Earth to protect me from it.

Here I am a new mother, and I was uncomfortable. The thought of having to change my son’s diaper made me nauseous and sick to my stomach. I went to kiss his Buddha belly after he was born and I felt disgusted after. I had my husband give him his first bath. I began to isolate. Everyone wanted to know how I was doing and the response was always the same, “I’m great, I love being a mother!” I did. I loved being a mother but I wasn’t great. There were highs, but there were a lot more of the lows. I was crumbling everyday. My husband and I began to grow distant. I was out of my mind anxious and could not stop crying no matter what I did. He wanted to help and I couldn’t tell him how. I was convincing myself I was a monster. My son was the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me, but why was I uncomfortable? Why was I shell?

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My entire life I have experienced not “normal” sensations to affection. I am a very affectionate person, but I also am aware that affection makes me uncomfortable at times. I haven’t been able to find the trigger or the common denominator of those moments, but when it happens I feel repulsed and anxious. When motherhood came, I didn’t feel worthy of being this perfect prince’s mother. I felt damaged and repulsive again.

My sister sent me an article of trauma and sexual abuse and it clicked. Everything this survivor was feeling as a mother was what I, myself was feeling. I looked at my son and wondered how someone could do something to a child like was done to me. I can’t fathom the thought of my child feeling my kiss or my touch and feeling disgusted by it. I can’t fathom the thought of my prince feeling repulsed by a hug or snuggles of someone he loves. I can’t fathom the thought of my son ever being taken advantage of. I wept. And I wept more. I have forgiven, but I have also had those wounds reopened and it hurts. They are only little for so long. I have to embrace these moments with him and get to a place where I am the care free and the open mother I want to be. I want to show all the affection I have for my son and never second guess it. I deserve to be happy and joyful as he is. William doesn’t know what has happened to his mother. He loves his kisses. He loves his snuggles. He loves his bath time. I am the one who is having the issue.

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So where do you go from here? You get help. I had to admit to myself I need help and that’s okay. I love therapy. It’s amazing and wonderful. There is no shame in needing help. I have preached that my whole life and I have to take my own advice again. I am worthy of making sure my beautiful mind is at peace and the healthiest it can be. I am worthy of loving my child. My child is safe and loved and will always be and I have to learn how to believe it. I have to silence my own trauma and stop deflecting it into my own journey of motherhood. My journey of motherhood does not have trauma. I am not what happened to me.

Time to heal.

Time to heal.

A Generation Protected

It has been three weeks since my miracle joined my husband and I in this world. He was born 7 pounds and 5 ounces, 20 inches long, blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair. The days that followed his birth were engulfed in sleepless nights and love. I would stay awake while he slept and I would cry. I thought I may have postpartum depression. I asked myself how could life be so cruel to pass along postpartum when having my own child was my prayer for so many years. I didn’t feel sad, or anxious or depressed. I would just look at the face of the tiny and perfect human we had created and be overwhelmed with love. I sat myself down and aimed at identifying what exactly was triggering me. At the end of the week I realized it had brought up skeletons in my closet, and I also realized that I wanted to protect him more than life and that I was experiencing a love I had never felt before.

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This love I was experiencing was deeper than the core of our Earth that burns at 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit. This love dove deeper than the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. This love was taking my soul and entire being and traveling along the Earth’s circumference. I remember knowing that I was sure I would never be the same after this love. It had woke me up to a new world. The bad in the world was no longer at the fore front of my mind. Instead I was immersed in all the glory of the universe and all the graceful, dazzling and delightful things this world has to offer. I was submerged in the ideas and fairy tales that I could see William waking up to; the forests he would walk through and the grounds he would cover with his tiny feet. I could see the laughs he would catapult into the world, and the hopes he would shower this planet with as he makes his way through it. I could see the outline of his soul and the imprint of his compassion. I could see the provenance of his mind, and how he would talk to everyone he meets with stars dancing in his eyes, yearning to learn more every day. I could see the fountains of our soon to be memories. I was suddenly in a foreign territory where no darkness could dim the light, as desperate or unforgiving as it tried. William, my protector, had shown me this world, HIS world, and I could not see past it. Why would you want to leave paradise?

My Momma came to visit and stay with us. She rocked and loved her grandson. Every moment that she was here I was overwhelmingly reminded that this life I have is because of her own grace and magnitude of motherhood. She shared stories of the many babies she fostered. Some who were much more difficult. She had fostered blind and deaf babies, she had fostered “failure to thrive” babies, she had fostered drug and alcohol affected babies, she had fostered abused and neglected…and each child she fostered she spoke with in the same voice with the same love and compassion as all the others. The love and care given was no different from child to child. She shared tips and experiences with me. We laughed the entire time. I was given glimpses of my mother’s motherhood journey. It was surreal and incredible and pushed me even harder. I was basking in the light and glow of a woman who was nothing short of a heart warrior put on this planet to heal and love those around her. When it was time for her to leave and make her own way home, I thanked her and God for sending me to her. My heart knew I needed her when I was born, and my parent’s hearts knew it, too.

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Motherhood is the greatest blessing I have been gifted with. The pregnancy was not easy. I had to work hard on my health, harder than I ever have had before. I had to make sacrifices and remind myself there were two lives my actions now affected, not just one. At the end of the delivery when I saw how perfect and beautiful he was, it was joyous and it made every needle and insulin injection, every work out, every healthy meal, every self love task and every detrimental substance not taken, worth it.

When I was 17, I wondered if this could be me. I wondered if I could break the cycle of my birth family’s history. My birth mother was an addict, her mother was an addict, my birth siblings and I have suffered from addiction, and here I am 12 years later with my Prince in my arms and the knowledge that it has been done. The cycle has been broken. I have started a generation without FASD. I have conquered my family’s demons and I have brought a life into this world that is a force to be reckoned with.

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William means PROTECTOR. I am his protector but in many ways he is also my protector.

“I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words,
How wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.”

— Your Song / Elton John