Tuesday, July 3, 2012
I have three children--by Janae
I have three children.
The last baby I had was terrifying. My pregnancy had me up late into the night throwing up until the third trimester. My husband yelled at me once for being too loud. He yelled at me to stop complaining to people trying to do their jobs while I was in labor. He told me he didn’t care what we named the baby because we had been talking about it for months. Labor was terrible pain. I didn’t get there in time to get an epidural. I commanded them to kill me. I told them I knew they could do it. They can knock you out when you are in labor and just wake you up after. They used to do it in the 70s but apparently it has bad psychological and health outcomes. Negative results I would be happy with. A cute little nurse said I was doing a good job. I told I was NOT doing a good job and I was NOT going to be OK and I was NOT able to lay down with my feet in the stirrups. I thought they might send me home from the hospital but it turns out I was in transition and would have a baby within 20 minutes of getting there. I was sweating so much I thought I had peed myself. It hurt so bad I couldn’t really move or shake or do anything. Then something magical happened. I wanted to push. A lot. Just when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore I hurt so bad I screamed. That was the head. Followed by a sharp knife in my left side that was the shoulder before the third push. Three pushes to get a baby out.
Becoming a mom was the day I felt like I disappeared behind my layers of fat. I gained 90 pounds while I was pregnant with my first child. Pregnancy complications meant I had to be on bed rest for months. I hated myself. I didn’t want to be in photos. I stayed home with the baby and people would ask my husband what he was doing in school and some would ignore me. I disappeared. I never wanted to be one of those women who seemed so unhappy and empty but I didn’t know how to fill up the emptiness.
Three months after the baby was born was the day my husband walked out. He told me that he had looked the same as when we got married and I did not. He said he had been unhappy for years and knew it was over for him when he couldn’t stop himself from kissing someone else. She was skinny and he knew he could do better and find an “easier” wife. Two weeks before he had gotten STD tested. That was the day my worst fear came true. I was abandoned by my John Darling. All of my insecurities about the way I looked and being a wife and mother were thrown in my face with such cruelty I had no idea how someone could treat another human being with such contempt. The next week I started having my daily panic attack that I had been having for the past 2 years.
A few months before he talked to me about his medical student classmates talking about obesity and I said they had no idea how hard it is to lose weight. He said they were right that you just have to eat less, and I should do that. I said I was worried about how I looked. Later he gave me a card “from the future” of our 50th wedding anniversary. Sometimes he screamed at me. Other times we had sex and I felt more secure. I just wanted to eat Cadbury mini eggs and disappear and find out why he was so mad at me. One day when he was yelling at me he said “well you’ve hated yourself for years…” His voice dripped with venom. I responded, “Actually, I like who I am…”
I was telling the truth. I know who I am. But he was also telling the truth. I hate that my once flat stomach has a roll when I lean over to type on my bed. I hate that I weigh too much but not enough to get on the biggest loser where they would help me. I hate that all the times I felt insecure and my husband told me he still loved me he was lying. I would have done anything if he had told me. When I had a baby I wasn’t one of those women who just melt back into their old shape. I hate that I was so depressed and scared my husband wouldn’t love me because I was ugly I never really bonded with my first baby until she was much older.
My friend flew out and helped me while I was suicidal. My sister in law came out and said sex was sacred and reminded me it was all right to be hurt. My friend Carrie cried with me the night I found out. As I went through the steps of getting food stamps since I was cut off from the bank account and filing for custody of the children and getting a social worker when the threats about taking the children started and getting STD tested I noticed something. Every step of the way included a woman who had been left. They told me their stories. They lifted me up and came to see me when I didn’t want to get out of bed. They brought me cookies I would throw away since I wasn’t eating. They helped me run a huge yard sale so I could pay for my attorney. The medical students came over to tell me I needed to recognize that some things were happening that were not all right. I felt surrounded by a fellowship of sisters showing me that it was all right to be broken.
They told me the cheating had nothing to do with me. I am not an object to be thrown in the trash and switched out for a newer model. I am a human being. But I am not perfect. I still hate myself. It’s been three months. I’m getting a divorce. He never wanted to work on things. We had to go to three sessions of counseling together for legal requirements in the state we were in. I’ve lost 30 pounds. My hair is falling out. I still weigh 30 pounds more than I weighed before I ever got pregnant.
When I am overwhelmed I think about the birth of my third child. It was horrible pain. I wanted to die. I asked to die and I meant it but the pain just kept coming. The baby came out so fast. At the end I was broken and needed to be stitched up. I would never be the same again. My stitches came apart and they had to repair them weeks later. I think of wanting to push. Wanting that prize at the end. But there is no beautiful baby only the ebb of days and my coming back to life. I am healing slowly. Too slowly for most of my friends. I am eating again but it still makes me sad that I can’t just not eat and lose lots of weight. I still want my old love back but I don’t know why my feelings can’t catch up with the mind that is telling me I will be all right and I do NOT want to be with someone who would get a whore while his wife is pregnant. So many things happen to our bodies and our bodies are shaped by them, like mine is shaped by childbirth. My soul has also been shaped by my body and finding a new self with my different body. I find myself stumbling forward. Trying to lose weight and with a void where my loving husband used to be. Just like the extra skin where the baby was. Even with time I don’t know if it will ever be the same shape. I don’t know how I will feel about my body but I want to think it is beautiful myself without a man thinking it is beautiful. I want to believe I am worthwhile. I want to be the powerful woman I pretend to be that shields my deep fear from those around me. I will be old and my body will keep changing in ways I don’t like- but I control what is inside.
That is all I can offer for an ending.