Posts Tagged ‘Life’

As I reflect upon my journey through motherhood, I realiize that many of the issues I have had to deal with are the same issues I had problems with prior to becoming a mom – expectations.

I have often been told My mom has often  told me that my expectations of others is too high.  My boss has said the same.  It is a constant throughout my life – this notion of my expectations being too high.

When I first became pregnant with Henry, it felt wrong.  Alex and I had been trying (or rather, not preventing) for over a year and nothing had happened.  Then my dad died.  The same week he was buried, I conceived.  It just felt, well, as I said before, wrong.

I find myself often disappointed in others – family, friends, co-workers.

I am very hard on myself.  Having PPD just made it worse.

No one could do anything to help me.  There was no fix for my constant feeling of being let down.  My dad was gone.  Each member of my family was grieving in their own way – and none was even remotely similar to another.

Not only was I alone but I was alone and resentful.

I expected that my pregnancy would be normal.  It wasn’t.

I expected that I would return to work before the 12-week postpartum I was allowed.  I didn’t.

I expected that I would easily find balance between working in the office, losing myself in my work (as I had done before) and the obligation I felt as a mom (pumping for Henry while at work).

I expected that since my sister had gone through preeclampsia and a preemie, she would be more understanding/hold my hand/carry me through it all.

Every one of my expectations was unrealistic and unmet.

And I was so angry for so long because of that.

And an angry Alice, much less one dealing with all I was dealing with – well, let’s just say that it wasn’t pretty.

I distinctly remember at one point after Henry’s birth taking a bath.  I started sobbing because I was just so angry at everything.  I raised my fist to God and blamed Him for everything.

I was done.

Soon after, I took a leave of absence from work.

I stopped functioning.

The weight of the world, no, the weight of a day, was so heavy.  The thought of it was unbearable.

I began seeing a therapist three times a week.

I was too tired to take Henry to daycare, so he stayed with me.

I felt guilty about everything.

And, somehow, I expected my life to be different.  I expected that even though my pregnancy, delivery and baby were not what I considered “normal”, that I could just deal with it.  That I would just suck it up, get on with my life and live.

At the age of 3, I started taking piano lessons.  I continued them throughout college, majoring in music.  But Henry hated me playing – it was too much stimulation.

I am learning to try to set realistic expectations.  I expect my husband to be honest and fair and gently and kind.  I expect the same of myself in return to him.

I expect that one day, I will figure out this hausfrau business – until then, I expect to get up daily, get dressed in non-stretchy pants (unless of course, I am giving myself a lazy day), brush my teeth, keep laundry going, take care of the dogs and the kiddoes and remember to feed us all as healthily as I can.

I expect that my faith, while being tested, will continue to remain and will, in fact, grow stronger.

I expect that I will continue to set unrealistic expectations but will learn to deal with them better than I have in the past.

Sofia’s up!  Got to go … I expect we’ll be going for a bike ride soon.

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It is strange to me to think that what I used to think, what I perceived as my life at a certain point in time, just might not have been what I thought.

I recently had a dream about an ex-boyfriend.  This particular ex broke my heart in a tremendous way.  But in this dream, he said he always loved me (in spite of having told me when we broke up that he never did).

What I find strange about this dream was that in reality, he broke up with me with no warning, no signs, no nothing. And he did it through my mom.

Hey, we were young.  What can I say???

I asked my mom about this and her only memory of this breakup was that his father thought we were too serious and didn’t want us together anymore.

My perception at that time was that I wasn’t good enough, that I was ugly, that I was mean-spirited and that I was undeserving of him (or anyone).  Hence, after that breakup I went, well, a bit wild.  (and in my opinion, that wildness was the reason I ended up needed an additional 1.5 years in undergrad to finish my degree).

But since this dream, and my mom’s subsequent comment, I realize that my perception of that time in my life just might have been wrong.

Which makes me wonder just how often my perception is off in general.

As you know, I am a bit of a knitting freak now.  I couldn’t say that 12 months ago, but I can with 110% confidence say that knitting is a part of my life, as music is (for those of you who don’t know, my undergrad was applied music – with a concentration in piano).

I will end with a quote from a book I am reading (as Giant Baby is DEMANDING my attention – she is quite a bit like me, isn’t she?):

The act of knitting provides comfort in times when life weighs the most.  Even grreat women found that their needles and their yarn provided succor.

– Adrienne Martini in Sweater Quest

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As a young girl, I share a room with my sister.  I was 15 months younger and relied heavily upon her for my feelings of security and comfort.  It was such a dependency that if she woke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I would wake and cry until she returned.

Once I hit college, I began to appreciate time alone.  It wasn’t that I wanted to be alone all the time, it was simply that I began to recognise the simplicity in solitude.

A friend recently commented to me that she thinks there is some correlation with my father’s death, my pregnancy with Bubba Joe and my depression.  My response to her was duh!  (with a bit of eye rolling)

But that got me thinking.

I miss my dad horribly.  I have talked about that.  But what I think fail to realize is that my dad is dead.  Dead and gone.  Long gone and buried.

Now that might sound harsh or cruel, but it’s the truth.

I watched him die.  I held his hand.  I listened to his heart fail (I often listened to my dad’s heart, especially after he had open-heart).  I know in my head that my father is gone.

But in my heart …

and then I got pregnant with Bubba Joe.

While my family as I knew it was falling apart, my family was growing.

I still don’t know how to process it all.  And sometimes, I think it’s okay to not process, but to just keep going.

And when you are pregnant, and then that pregnancy gets complicated quickly, forcing real life and death decisions, there is no time to process in the here and now.  Just like that Sunday evening when I realized it was the last time I would see my dad alive.  There was no time to process what it all meant, or how tomorrow would feel like.  I could only get the doctors and nurses and send BJD to pick up my mom and call my brother to tell him to stop fighting with his wife and get here because dad was dying.

And then my beautiful little boy was born … six weeks early.

My world crashed.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the beginning of the crash.

Since then, we moved over the great big blue … no, I say we moved but the truth is we ran away.  I ran away from everything in hopes I could leave it all behind.

But it is now catching up with me.

And I feel so damned alone.

Alone not in that good solitude kind of way.  I just feel lonely in that empty, nothing is fulfilling in my life kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my family.  Bubba Joe is one of the coolest kids I have ever met.  He’s strong and sensitive, caring and bold, and incredibly creative.  Giant Baby (who just turned 1 btw) is strong-willed and sensitive, observant and curious and intrigued by everything.

And BJD – well, he is the man I have always wanted.  He makes everything in my life worthwhile.

So why is it that I feel so damned lonely?

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Not sure what’s wrong, but I hope this is a trend that will continue.  I have missed writing here – and missed hearing from all ya’ll and moreso, missed reading blogs.

Part of my hiding is that I have chosen to not know what is going on in the world.  This is a first for me.  Never have I secluded myself from the goings on in the world.  But I found myself becoming too emotionally attached to hearing stories of despair and sadness.

My goal is to be able to write here more often, read more from some of my favorite bloggers and contribute once again on the PF boards.  Each of these things have provided support for me in the past.  And I can either sit here and knit and hide in my little corner of the world, or I can do that AND try to be a member of the big world out there.

Let’s see how I manage …

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Hanging in there …

Don’t really know what to say but I am hanging in there.  Most days are manageable.  I am seeing a therapist now.  It was interesting.  It is interesting.

She had me fill out a questionnaire to measure my depression.  To answer most of the questions took more thought than I anticipated.  I realized that I try to avoid thinking about feelings.  I no longer try to figure things out but move more on auto-pilot.

So on that note of not talking or dealing with emotions, here’s some more knitting pictures and one or two of the kiddoes:

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Here I am, thinking of all the things I should write about, all the excuses for not coming around and the bottom line comes down to me just not wanting to.

You see, it’s nothing personal.


I just was working my ass off trying to keep my head above water.

And there was a time when I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it.

Knitting?  It has saved me.

I am officially a knitting fool.  Really.  I am.  I cannnot get over how such a simple thing as string and a stick can make such lovely creations.  There is a planning period, a buying period (always fun in my book), the trial period of casting on and ripping out stitches, and then the knitting.  I take great pleasure in learning new techniques – and as in so many other aspects of my life, I learn the hard way.

Oh I have made many many mistakes.  Even BJD was impressed (his words, not mine) that I was so willing to joyfully rip out stitches that I had so painstakingly knit.

But I knew it would be worth it.

I knew that in destroying my work, I would try to find the reason for my mistake, so I could learn to either 1) avoid it, or 2) more realistically learn to fix it (because I tend to make the same mistakes many times in my life before experiencing that duh! moment).

My postpartum depression is still here.  What can I say about it? Guess I don’t want to say much except to acknowledge its presence in my life.

I think I am turning into a loner.  I mean, being an expat stuck in small town Germany probably doesn’t help much.  But I am enjoying the solitude of knitting.  The aloneness that my depression cannot enter.

I have my first “real” therapy appointment next week.  I truly fear what will come.  I realize now that I have spent the last 4 years in denial of my dad’s death.  I mean, yes, I know he’s gone but moving overseas really helps avoid dealing.

I’d like to give a shout out to Mrs. Spit.  I have been a long time follower of her blog (because I like how she writes).  We are virtual friends, having both survived preeclampsia.  Mrs. Spit – while I was in hiding the past month or so, I thought often of  you and your precious Gabriel.  Your strength and courage (though I realize you did not choose to be strong or to have courage – that choice was not given to you) are a daily reminder to me that life is worth living.

Little Girl is asleep.  In our now family bed.  She is not little anymore.  Bubba Joe and his dad have nicknamed her Giant Baby – as in watch out Bubba Joe – here comes the Giant Baby!  (At 10 months of age she weighs almost 10kg, crawls everywhere and has 8 teeth.  Oh, and she likes to yell at her dad.  wonder where she gets that from???)

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The Bridge

After dad died, my family changed.  My sis went her way.  My brother another.  My mom yet another. 

There I stood, trying to keep us together and failing miserably.  All the while, dealing with a complicatd, high-risk pregnancy, subsequent preemie birth and postpartum depression.

I begged BJD to get me out of Ohio. 

I was born and raised there.  I had never ventured too far away.  College was merely 1 hour away by car.  But I needed to escape.

I left my job.  No.  I left my career.  I left everything I had worked so hard for.  I was the only female product manager in my company globally.  I had no automotive background to speak of, other than a love for cars. 

I loved my job. 

I loved my career.

and I’d even go so far as to say that I cherished the people I worked with. 

But I needed out.  I couldn’t deal with well, I couldn’t deal with life anymore.

So we moved overseas to Germany, to the small town where BJD’s parents settled down nearly 15 years ago after they migrated from Russia.

For a long time in my life I was very close to my mom.  We had our ups and downs, but we were always close …  close in a way my siblings were not.   I had a similar relationship with my dad.

After dad died many things were said and done that destroyed me.  Dad’s death killed a large part of me and left a hole that has yet to be filled.  Then mom … she simply had her own way of coping. 

And sadly, it hurt because she wasn’t able to be the mom I needed.  Of course, she couldn’t.  I see that now. 

But I didn’t see it then.  Nor for a long time.

When I was admitted in December at 27 weeks gestation, my mom surprised both BJD and I by booking a ticket to fly in. 

She insisted that she needed to be here.  And she had just had knee replacement surgery.

Now,  I don’t know how many of you have travelled to Germany, but I can reassure you it is not handicapped friendly.  With cobblestone walkways and stairs galore, walking is tough on even the healthiest knees.

After much deliberation, BJD asked her to postpone.

She graciously did.

And now, she’s here, finishing her trip.

We’ve mended the fence.

We’ve bridged over those troubled patches.

We’ve crossed over to the next phase in our relationship.

And I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to get to know my mom again.  Not as the wife to my dad.  Not as my mom per se.  But to get to know her as the Nana to my children.  To get to know who she really is, when all those layers of the past are peeled away.

Thanks mom.

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