Monday, July 19, 2010

Being a mother without a mother

Wow, its been almost a year since I have posted on this blog. Funny how life gets in the way of the life I wish I had.

Sometimes I wonder how things would be different if five years ago had not happened. How would my own sense of motherhood be different if my own mother were here? Would I have spent the first eight weeks of Luisa's life crying hysterically? Would I have had to go on medication for post partum depression? Would I let Luisa eat chips for breakfast? I don't know, nor will I ever know, so I try not to dwell but sometimes the urge overcomes me and I sit for hours lost in the fading memories of my own childhood.

My childhood was the all American childhood. Holidays, vacations, sports, play dates, school, babysitters, sibling rivalry. My mother raised me and my sister with little help from her own mother. Am I that much different?

The worst part is that I can't really imagine my mom with Luisa. I think she would be thrilled, loving, funny, silly, but I can't see it in my mind. I can't imagine the relationship they would have. That is where the thoughts go blank.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Today sucked

Today was a hard day. It went fast, I was busy, but it was tough. I didn't even realize how tough it was until someone asked me if I was okay. It took me by surprise. "Yes" was all I could think of to answer. Looking back on the day, it was just filled with the guilt that a working mom feels. I usually have great outlets for this guilt, but not today. No, today everyone was in their own worlds. I can't blame them really, but it took its toll. Sometimes I want it to be about me, but it can't be that way, even if I really need it to be.

When I got home, Luisa was sleeping so I didn't get the huge smile and squeals when I walk in the door. Tom then accidentally woke her up. I went in and got her and she snuggled me, something that is rare in our house. I loved it and it made most of the day fade away. Until we sat down to eat dinner. She was still tired from being woken up and she was angry. I couldn't figure out why so I ate my dinner while she struggled through hers. It wasn't until I took her out of her high chair that I discovered the root of the crankiness. It is hard to take a big poo while sitting in a high chair. That's it people. That's all I got.

Monday, September 7, 2009

One Year

She turned one yesterday. For old times sake, I tried to swaddle her.

Music: While you were sleeping, Elvis Perkins

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Depression, Part Deaux

I suppose my struggles with depression started in High School. At least that is the first time I remember feeling sad, helpless, hopeless. I was a freshman I think and I remember being in the car with my mom. She pointed out that she thought I was unhappy. I knew I was, but I thought I was hiding it well. I wasn't. My mom was not a touchy feely mom. We did not often talk of emotions or feelings. We had a great relationship, it just wasn't a love fest, so to speak. So for her to broach this topic, I knew it was apparent that I was heading down a path she didn't want me to go down.

I made a decision at that point to be happy. It was that easy, it really was. From that point on, I was pretty happy. Sure I had bad days, just like every one, but they were here and there, nothing unbearable.

My mom died unexpectedly in 2005. Three months after I got married, she was gone. I was a mess. I flew home immediately and for two weeks, I was with my sister and dad, figuring things out. I am the youngest. I live in California. My family is in Denver. My sister was there that morning. She arrived at my parents while my mother was still in the house. She arrived to the fire trucks, ambulance, police cars and medical examiner. She was there when they wheeled my mother's lifeless body out on a gurney. I was in California, in bed, sleeping.

When my father called, I didn't pick up the phone. He then called my cell phone. I knew it was something tragic at that point, but I had no idea of the train that was about to hit me head on. When he told me, I began to scream. He immediately handed the phone to my sister. When I arrived in Denver, I was useless. There were things that needed to be done and for the most part, I sat. The phone would ring and I would sit. The doorbell would chime and I would sit. I was unable to make myself do anything. My sister did it all. I think back on it now and realize how terrible it must have been for her. We both lost our mom and yet, it did not register with me that she might just want to sit. She never did. She always moved forward.

When I returned to California, I went back to work immediately. Things were okay for a while. For about six months, I was able to function normally. We scattered my mom's ashes in the mountains, had a nice Thanksgiving dinner at the table I grew up sitting around. Things were definitely different, lonely, but okay. It wasn't until January that the depression took hold. For me, it manifested itself at home. I stopped cleaning, doing laundry, cooking. I showered every other day at most, sometimes going a few days in between a good hot shower. Every night, I would come up with some reason why I could not go to work the next day. I would agonize over work, but every morning, I would wake up, get dressed (sans shower) and show up. I was fine during the work day but the cycle would start all over again when I got home.

I let this continue until I simply could not function at home at all anymore. I let it go on until I was afraid my husband was at his wits end with the filthy, laundry filled house. I realized I had to do something before I lost myself completely. I sought out a therapist. I went to someone who my friend saw when her dad died. For eight months I went. Several times a week I would sit in the chair, petting her dog and talking through my feelings. I never felt completely comfortable and once I did the laundry, made a meal and proceeded to shower daily, I quit going.

I was okay until I had Luisa. I was totally overwhelmed and cried for two weeks straight. I knew that was normal and sure enough, after two weeks it was fine. I was okay until she was 31/2 months old and the world came crashing down on me. I was getting up twice a night and I was irate. I was so mad at this tiny little defenseless baby. It was a terrible feeling. I also didn't want to see anyone, didn't want to talk on the phone or have visitors. I was still at home with Luisa and I would cry if I had to leave the house for anything other than Stroller Strides. Sometimes I would cry at Stroller Strides. I got medication that was a god send (God makes meds ya know) and I was better.

I stayed on the medication for four months and then slowly weaned myself off. I had been fine for a few months....until last week. Luisa is turning one, we are spending our life savings on a home renovation and Luisa is going to start daycare in November. A lot is going on, I realize, so I ignored it as long as I could. Then one night I couldn't get Luisa to bed and it all came back. I was mad at her (HELLO, SHE'S 11 MONTHS OLD!!). I didn't want to see my friends, I didn't want to go to work and I hadn't talked to my dad in over two weeks.

The good news? I know how to spot it. I know there are steps I can take, with out medication, to help my circumstances. I know that I am a person who absolutely needs to exercise (even though I LOATHE it) , needs to get outside, needs to be around positive people. I am making changes right now to see if I can kick this with out the help of a prescription, but believe you me, if I can't, I already have the meds on hand.

There is nothing wrong with suffering from depression. There is nothing wrong with using medication to combat this horrible disease. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. I am okay with the fact that I have to deal with this, I know that I will get through it. My depression is not epic. It has never landed me in the hospital, it has never gotten so bad that I have thought of ending my life, but it has been debilitating in its own right. It doesn't matter who you are, how bad it is or isn't, there are solutions and they are fine. If anyone tells you different, send them to me. I just might feel better after beating the crap out of someone.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I see you

I see you there, crouching in the corner of my mind. Trying not to make too much noise as you sneak in for an ambush. I'd recognize your stench anywhere. You had me before, but not this time. Not now, not again. I have seen your darkness, felt your hopelessness, lived your hell. I have gone there and come back, scratching and pulling and fighting to get out of your grasp. It will not happen again. So you can sit there, waiting, seething, rotting. I will not give in, I will not fall under your spell. I hate you more than you love me, so go ahead, sit. I can beat you. Staring contest? If I win, you get out.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Birthday!

She's eleven months old.....moments away from her one year birthday. I am amazed, sad, ecstatic and nostalgic over the whole thing. That's a lot of feelings for a gal like me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Living in .......fear?

I have come to the conclusion that I live in fear. I guess this is not a new revelation, I have known this for a while. Okay, I have known it since about sixth grade when I became super shy after asking all of the boys out and being rejected.....repeatedly. I find it funny that I remember that so well and I can see how it affected who I am today. Sad really.

Anyway, back to the here and now, no need to relive that painful period of my life, right? So I am a scaredy cat. This manifests itself in many ways. Not only am I afraid to fail, I am afraid to succeed as well. I play it so safe that there is really no room for anything except steady Eddie. A straight line, never testing the boundaries, never going outside of my zone. This can be very boring, I realize that, but it can also be very comforting too. However, at this very moment, I am at a crossroads and my fear is taking over. I am at a complete standstill. I am in a dream screaming my head off but no sound is coming out of my wide open mouth. Fear is holding me captive. Somewhere, a ransom note is going unanswered.

We live in a 1080 sq foot home in Southern California. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of which we added ourselves. I love this house. It is perfect, albeit in a bit of shall I say, "unique" neighborhood. Okay, it is in the hood people, but I love my hood. And I love my house.

A few months ago my husband hired an architect to put together plans for a home renovation. Originally we thought we would finish our attic or dig out our cellar and make a basement. Our architect had other ideas and has given us plans that completely flip our house to make room for one more bedroom and adding a sun room. I love the plans, but it makes the house unlivable for pretty much the entire construction phase. Okay, a bit scary right? But these plans, they are not for now. They are for later, when the market bounces back and we can qualify for a home equity line of credit right? RIGHT? Not so much. My husband is hot to start this project. His little pants are on fire to start this renovation. I just smile and say "wait for the construction budget babe" but he is steps ahead of me. He has already priced it out in his head and brought his dad on board for the construction part. He is well down the road and I am stuck at the top of the street paralyzed in fear.

You see, this renovation would drain our savings. It would drain my husbands stocks and we would still end up borrowing about 10 to 15K to complete the project. Scary right? Let me clarify though.....we have several (four...does that constitute several?) retirement accounts, a 529 for Luisa's education and have zero credit card debt, no car payments and our only debt is our house. So, am I scared because I live in fear or am I scared because this is a bad idea in this kind of economic environment? I don't know the difference. That is the main problem with living in fear. I am scared of everything so how do I know when the fear is real or when it is just me being me?

To make matters more confusing, I hate my job and would really like to start my own business. What kind of business? A baby boutique. One that has really cool, unique, new items but that also carries a ton of second hand goods. Yep, that is what I want but I know nothing about owning a retail store save what I learned working at Color Me Mine after college. I do have a degree in Marketing though which is pretty much worth the paper my diploma is written on so I have that going for me.

My husband? My sweet husband? Well, he will give me the money to start my business if that is what I want, but I have to do my homework. I have to show him that it will be profitable. Basically he is the bank and I am applying for a small business loan.

My instinct is to freeze. To stay where I am. A mediocre sales person in a hotel. Status quot. I am successful enough to stay off the radar but not successful enough to get recognition. This is my comfort zone people. I like it here, mostly until I really think about it and wish I had the balls to run, run like hell into the arms of myself and fucking buck up! But I don't and I know that about myself.