Monday, February 26, 2007

(Not) Living The Dream

Posted by Anonymous.

I feel terrible writing the things I said here, but I'm hoping that getting out the evil thoughts will feel better than letting it fester within me: I have a gorgeous little girl. She's bright, full of energy, and incredibly beautiful. The problem is, I hate being a mom. My career was just starting to take off when I (accidentally) got pregnant. Being newlyweds who eventually, probably wanted kids, we never considered NOT having the baby. I went into this thinking I would have a partner (I don't really), thinking my immature husband would start acting like an adult and taking some responsibility (he hasn't). He often works late. Yes, he's earning the money we use to pay for everything and that's a form of being responsible, but he works late because he goes in late and he goes in late because he stays up late playing video games or farting around watching TV (and ignoring the dishes, laundry, etc). So he's worthless in the morning and is often home too late to even see his daughter. I often wonder if he's not just stupid. I ask him to do something, he has to ask me a thousand questions to get the task done, and even then, he's most often fucked something up.

I'm exhausted. I'm sick of effectively having two children when I'm not sure I even wanted one. Now, I'm stuck. My career is sort of a strange one. Where we live, I can only really work freelance, so I'm trying to do that at home at night and on weekends to keep things afloat until I can work more. I keep asking my husband to just watch the baby and hang out with her so I can have a few hours to work at the weekends instead of in the middle of the night, but he doesn't really. He wanders off to play a video game or check his email. Or he brings her to me to say, "Hi." Of course, once she sees me, she doesn't want to just go back in the other room. Or he's suddenly inspired to do dishes and ignores the baby. Often he doesn't even know where she's gone (she's a year old so she gets around well and is into everything). I would leave the house to work but countless times he was supposedly "watching" her and then she's hurt herself, albeit not seriously, or he's forgotten what he was doing and then when I ask where she is, he says "she was in the bathroom with you!" (I wasn't in the bathroom) so I feel like I have to at least stay in the house to keep an eye on what's going on.

I know his shortcomings in this area have more to do with his discomfort with his role as a father than anything else, but I'm at my wit's end. I'm sick of staying up working until 3 am and in addition being the only person who gets up to comfort the baby when she cries at night. I'm sick of being the person who does nearly all of the work in the house, as well as nearly all of the work with our daughter. I'm sick of him acting like what I do all day is easy and all fun. I'm sick of telling him he's going to miss his train, which he almost always does, never mind that he should be taking one that's at least an hour earlier. I'm sick of trying to convince him that we can't afford to spend money the way he does. I'm sick of having to justify my needs and explain why I need a tiny bit of free time.

When I write down most of the stuff he does, it doesn't look like that big of a deal, but it's just the exhaustion of doing everything and having to redo or undo everything that he does and having to be the nag just to get him to even participate. It's his constant lack of attention to what's going on and why. Every day, he is eating away at my love for him. It's not unusual for me to think about how much I hate him and fantasize about being a widow. I try concentrating on the good stuff. I go away and come back filled with good feeling for him and the future and thinking I might even *gasp* sleep with him. He manages to kill those good feelings in less than 24 hours. For example, I stay up until the wee hours of the morn working several nights in a row in order to meet a deadline and at the same time take care of the baby all day and am the only one to do it at night. When the weekend comes, who gets up at 7 with the baby? Me. Who sleeps in? Him. When I insist he gets out of bed, he spends all day whining how tired he is (after 10 hours sleep) and insisting he needs a nap and is completely useless. I've tried being sweet. I've tried being mean. I've tried ignoring him being late and stupid. I've gone one strike and not done any of the housework. Nothing I do or don't do seems to change anything.

Enough about my husband. Like I said, I hate being a mom. I think it sucks. Yes, the smiles and the cuddles and the "mama"s and all that are great but I still think it sucks and is boring and sucks and sucks then is incredibly awesome then is boring and frustrating and sucks. I've finally come to terms with being responsible for someone else morning noon and night, but I had (have?) a career and I had a thousand things I wanted to do. I can't do any of those things any time soon, especially not without the support of a partner. It's driving me mad to be at home. I count the hours until my husband will arrive so I can have *a little* relief and adult conversation (though he's usually an hour or two later than he promises and often too late to even see the baby) and I count the time until the baby will sleep and I can just start working and ignore the man I never should have married.

I feel like I'm a terrible mother. I am just so bored. I don't think I talk to my daughter enough and I don't think I play with her enough. Maybe I'm just like my husband. I just don't know what to do with her. Every day I promise myself I'll do better tomorrow and every day, I feel like I'm falling down on the job. I can't muster the energy and enthusiasm to play and sing and come up with things to do. Whenever I look at old photos of her, I want to cry. She was so beautiful and spunky. She had this energy, like she just loved and was so excited about life. I'm afraid she's not like that anymore, or not as much as she was. I'm afraid I've ruined her. I don't know what to do. I feel like she'd be better off with someone else. Not my husband, certainly, but someone else. How can I be so awful when I'm fortunate enough to have a gorgeous, healthy, smart girl? How can I keep doing this and getting through every day?

I don't regret having my daughter because I love her so much. I do regret the rotten, resentful marriage I'm stuck in. I regret letting it get this bad and I regret that I don't think I even care enough to bother with therapy. And I regret that I can't be a better mother because my daughter deserves it.

If you got this far, and even if you didn't, thanks so much for allowing me to let off steam.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another View of Labor

Posted by an anonymous doula...

Brook and I had been in constant communication leading up to the birth of her second child. Her first child was born within 4 hours of her first contraction, so she was concerned that her second would be born even faster.

When we initially made contact she went on and on about how unsupportive her husband is and that is why she needed a doula. I also did this birth for free as she talked about all of her financial hardships. (I found out there had been a cruise within months of me giving my services for free… among lots of other inconsistencies) I should have known this was going to be not what it seemed when her husband seemed anything but unsupportive. He really loved her and was all on board to be her man and be there for her.

I called her at 7:20 to check in with her. She had been having contractions for about an hour. She talked to her midwife at 9 that evening and was encouraged to take a bath. At 11:45 pm I got the call to meet her at the hospital. I met them within the hour and at 12:50 am her midwife checked her and she was 4cm dilated and 90% effaced. She was GBS + and needed to have antibiotics per hospital protocol. She had her first dose of IV antibiotics at 1:10 am and then was free to walk around, use the tub, etc.

I encouraged her to take advantage of early labor and try to get some rest, but she was unable to settle in and she decided to do some walking to get things moving.

This client was personally very challenging for me. She needed a lot of attention as opposed to support. She seemed to exaggerate things in every aspect of her life, including labor. I had a lot of compassion for her because it was clear that she didn’t know why she did this or that she even did it at all. It made for many challenges for her during labor. It was impossible for her to rest in early labor as she seemed to really not be able to settle into things without an audience. She and her husband did very well walking but she wanted me to walk with her, but not too closely….so I spent a lot of the night walking 10 paces behind her. At about 3am she hooked up to the intermittent monitor for 15 minutes and then resumed walking with her husband while I trailed behind.

By morning she was truly exhausted and I was worried about her. I encouraged her and her husband to go soak in the Jacuzzi for a while in hopes of getting her to rest her eyes a bit and give them some quiet time as a couple. At 9 am she was uncomfortable and was also ready for another round of antibiotics. At 9:30 am she was checked and was now 100% effaced but still only 4 to maybe 5 cm. Clearly, this was not going to be the same labor pattern as she had with her first baby. She was very discouraged by the lack of progress and was given the option of AROM by her midwife. At that point she declined as she was very committed to a birth with minimal interventions.

By 10:30 her contractions were 1-2 minutes apart. She was feeling very nauseated, exhausted and in low spirits. At 11:30 she decided to try and rest in bed a while with warm blankets. She also had a vaginal exam at that time where she was 5cm and still at -1 station. At this point she did have her waters broken. There was something about this client’s personality that proved challenging not only to me as her doula but the midwife and the nursing staff…creating a very uncomfortable dynamic between her caregivers and myself. The nurses wrongly assumed I was ‘anti pain relief’ and would whisper to her husband to let them know if she ‘wanted something’. She was extremely committed to a natural childbirth completely outside of any thoughts I hold about childbirth. It isn’t my role to make decisions for her. In all honesty, I was worried about her exhaustion level and wondered if she could have used something for rest before the pushing stage. As this was NOT her wish, I never suggested this and I supported her desire for a natural childbirth.

I did my best to help the client relax and encourage her to rest as best she could between contractions. I proved unable to make this an appealing option for her. At Noon the midwife came in and seemed annoyed with me that her patient was so chatty and talkative. She gave my client a stern motherly talking to, drew the blinds turned off the lights. I was truly relieved as Brook seemed to respond to this and finally sink into herself and focus on the quiet internal work of childbirth.

All the while, some crazy goddess worship music is on repeat in the background. It was bad yet catchy. It went on for probably 8 hours of the 19+ hours I spent along side her. Being sure this birth would be fast given her prior labor pattern I didn’t pack snacks….in fact, I hadn’t slept since Saturday night (It was now Monday), I had been on a 15 mile hike Sunday, and in four days I would get the completely unexpected news that I was expecting my first baby. I was deliriously tired, and feeling quite guilty as I was not the one in labor.

At Noon time Brook is sure the babe is coming. She is clearly uncomfortable but starts to do some pushing. She pushes and pushes and pushes and pushes and pushes. She does rest at the midwife’s command. She is nauseated and uncomfortable. She needed a lot of quiet encouragement, which I could give her. This was more of my element as a doula. She did seem to at least be more within herself and focused than she had the entire labor. I was happy for her.

In walks repair guy. Big annoying hospital repair guy to futz with the phone. The room was crowded with people and it somehow seems to only be ridiculous to me that someone would choose this laboring mom’s transition stage of labor to be clanking around the room.

“Is this quite necessary right now?” I ask. Apparently, yes it was. This day couldn’t seem to get much weirder. And yet, it does.

Brook finally was ready to push. Her baby was coming down and crowned for what seemed to be an eternity. Maybe it seemed so long because the client was insistent that she wanted multiple pictures of her baby crowning. Surely this would come in handy one day for her son. Okay…I can do that. I start to snap pictures…Lots of them. This was her wish and I was her doula helping her get what she wanted even though it wouldn’t have been my choice. A nurse starts yelling at me to stop, this was not allowed; they do not let people take pictures of birth. Um, whatever lady. Believe me when I say it wasn’t my idea. Yet, it is her body, her birth, her baby. She can have video of it as far as I am concerned.

The midwife eventually cuts Brook so the baby can be born. I was pretty horrified that the midwife gave her an episiotomy. As far as I could tell from the tone of the room and what the medical staff was discussing, this baby was not in distress. I get shivers thinking of her doing that to Brook.

Her beautiful son was born late in the afternoon. He was over 9 lbs and was healthy and beautiful. Brook and her husband were thrilled.

As I was leaving the hospital I had to get paperwork from the Midwife regarding my role as doula. I was collecting feedback for certification purposes. The midwife lays into me at the nursing station about how laboring mother’s don’t need all that hand holding and being told ‘oh that was a good job, you’re doing wonderfully’ talk. They need to be quiet in a dark room so that they can move deep to labor. She acted as if I had somehow disrupted this process and made more ‘work’ for her as a midwife. She didn’t give me great feedback and wrote snotty comments that weren’t especially helpful or offering of guidance.

As soon as I walked into the elevator I burst into tears and cried all the way home. I drew myself a hot bath and was sobbing in the tub when my husband got home from work. I really wondered if I was cut out to be a doula.

In the end, Brook and her husband were ecstatic with their labor support. I feel proud about the way I handled myself in retrospect. Two of my own pregnancies and childbirths, and several other births as doula, and almost 4 years of life behind me I still think of this family now and again. I can’t believe I went on to attend the births of other women after such a difficult experience.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Thin Red Line

Posted by Lara; cross-posted from her blog, Life: The Ongoing Education.

If you follow my blog, you have been reading for quite a while now. Those of you who've recently joined, well, even you have most likely heard or read about the Depression Series by now. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you're either a random passerby, in which case I say "Hello, and have a great life!" because you're probably not coming back, or you should take the time to go read up a bit, so that you won't be left behind in this (and future) post(s).

So, as I'm pretty sure you all know, I'm a cutter. I haven't cut in over three months now (as of last Wednesday - hooray!), but I'm still a cutter. I'll always be a cutter, because it'll always be there, in my mind. But I don't always have to cut. I have the power to make other decisions. I have the power to choose not to cut.

At any rate, that was a mini pep talk for myself that sort of strayed from my intended topic here. I'm a cutter, and I've admitted as much to anyone and everyone who might stop by here to visit. Part of my reasoning for that was that I wanted the freedom to talk about myself and my problems; when I wrote the Depression Series, I did so because I needed to share all the crap inside my head and my heart, and that included the cutting. But there was also a part of me that chose to talk about the cutting because I know it's not something that's often talked about. The amount of attention it receives in society is completely out of proportion with the number of people dealing with it. The silence about it upsets me, because if I'd known about it, and about how many others were struggling with it, it might have been easier for me to get help sooner.

So I wanted to put it out there, shout out to say, "Hey, I'm here and I have this problem, and it doesn't make me a freak." And what I realized at the time, and what has come to be proven since, is that people probably have a lot of questions about it. Most people don't know about it, or know very little if they do. And, more importantly, most people don't know where to go to ask about it.

So here I am. Ask me.

I want to tell my stories. I want to answer your questions. I want people to know more about this problem that so many out there have. That's why I'm giving myself out as a resource. Anything and everything you've ever wanted to know about cutting, I will do my best to answer. You can leave questions in the comments, email me, IM me, call me, whatever. All questions will remain anonymous and will be answered here in a future post (or posts, if there are a lot of questions). And forward this to anyone you think might also have questions, or even post a link to it on your own site if you're willing. This, while perhaps not a "cause," per se, is my thing. I care about it, the way Her Bad Mother cares about muscular dystrophy , the way Julia cares about diabetes, the way Little Shot cares about global warming. I want people to know more about it.

One thing to keep in mind, however: I am not a pyschologist. Clinical questions about the disorder might not be so easy for me to answer, and would probably be answered by a lot of Googling. Questions about the personal and emotional experiences are going to be more my strong point. But as I said, I'll do my best to answer any questions you toss my way.

So really, please, what do you want to know? Because I want to talk.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Taking a Stand Against Taking a Stand

Posted by Anonymous. (If you'd like to share a post here, anonymously or otherwise, e-mail Her Bad Mother at


In a few weeks a friend of mine is going to prison. On purpose. She took part in a protest at the School of the Americas and out of 20,000 plus people she just had to be one of the 16 people that went through a hole in the fence and trespassed onto government property.

Why? She says it is a step in the direction of peace, she says she did it to spread love, she said she had to take a stand.

I say this. Fuck that. No one has heard of the god damn place, and you have 3 young children that are freaked out because their mom is going to prison. You have a husband that you did not discuss this with and are now informing him that you have arranged for strange women to MOVE INTO your house while you are gone to help him out and be there with the children because you are a stay at home mom who home schools. He is angry, your kids are scared and quite honestly I am very disappointed in you and more angry than I may have a right to be.

How can you leave you children for something that will not even make a difference? How can you make those sorts of life altering decisions and not share them with your husband? What the fuck is wrong with you?

Every email and post is about you, how you feel, how you have been chosen to do this by god, how you are going to make things better. Let me tell you sister, when you have kids it stops being about you. Period. I know you want to change the world, God knows so do I. If you feel like you have been called to be an instrument of peace do that, go to the protest, keep your happy ass on the right side of the fence, home school your children about the great people before us that gave their lives for peace, teach them about Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, Gandhi. Do not dare send me another message about holding your family in the light and by the way can you stop your life and drive my kids to where they need to be because you will be taking a writing class in prison, and plan to make this into a book.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

On Being Pregnant

Posted by Anonymous

I hate being pregnant!! I tired so hard to get prego - used ovulation strips for days after my cycle to figure out when ovulating and then had sex at all the right times, and it still took over a year. The husband had some mixed results with
fertility testing that we thought would be an issue so I was ecstatic when we found out we were expecting.

I found out right away when I was pregnant especially since I was puking from day one. I have puked in grocery stores, on most major highways, at my desk, in the washroom, and I have thrown up in the garbage can while using the washroom. The puking was crazy and lasted til just about one month ago. (I am 27 weeks now). Diclectin helped though it wasn't perfect.

Now as I am getting farther along, I have heartburn every time I eat. Tums doesn't touch it and what can you do??

The pregnancy has not been great. I have had intermittent bleeding all through the 2nd trimester which I am nearing the end of. I am on limited activity, no sex, no exercise, and no lifting. I find that I am soooo out of breath and my Cardio
system is shot. I have had fatigue, headaches, low energy, mood swings. I have had to have a few days here and there of "rest" after spotting and cramping.

Then I sprained my ankle and am on crutches for the next week. I am off work and watching daytime TV - bored, listless, and would rather be at work.

It is cool that the baby is moving like crazy and all but I am feeling guilty about the fact that pregnancy kinda sucks and I hate it and can't wait for it to be over!!

I am wondering if others went through this experience. I know, I know things could be even worse, that I could be on bedrest. I should be grateful being it took so much effort to get prego in the first place, that I should be "enjoying" this when really - I can't wait til the end comes.

Anyone want to share their experiences or reassure me that I ain't the only one who thinks this pregnancy is not "BLISS"?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Where Do I Go From Here?

Posted by Anonymous. If you'd like to share a post here, anonymously or otherwise, e-mail Her Bad Mother at


Being anonymous is something I covet. Everywhere I go I'm someone's mother or daughter or even thought of still as someone's wife. The internet, most times, affords me the opportunity to let loose and if met with resistance, simply press 'delete.' It would be simply magnificent if life had a backspace, delete or reload button.

I digress.

I've been accused of overanalyzing and over thinking, although that is my nature. It makes me who I am. It's why therapy is a good value for me. I cut right to the chase, no time needed to get acquainted or beat around the bush. I need to sort things out, like a two year old. Each thought or person in its place with things just like it in one way or another. Neatly compacted and easily identifiable - that's the way I like things.

Too bad I'm shit out of luck on that.

Entwined in what I would call a new relationship, I find myself not really certain of what I want or what I'm even looking for. And letting things happen as they may, well, doesn't really sit well with the massive obsessive planner part of my brain, but I'm working on it.

When you meet someone new, be it friend or lover, you are bound to find out things about yourself in the process. I have found that I am very set in my ways, and am not really looking to change them significantly. I'm not looking to have someone help me raise my children, I'm not looking for a hand-out, or a savior. I'm also not looking for someone else to raise, I have kids. I'm not looking for someone to train, I have dogs. I've always maintained that I would need and want someone who fits into the life I've built...and now I know that to be true, because I've met someone very nice and I'm not sure that he does.

Which makes me think I'm a snob, because rich or poor, it's nice to have money. And I have none for so long, then I had a lot, then I had none again, and now I'm just fine and in line for always being OK. And I like the lifestyle that I've grown accustomed to. I don't, by any stretch, live a five-star lifestyle...every day...and I know that material possessions do not inherently bring happiness.

Except for Coach purses.

But truthfully, it's not all about money. It's about lifestyle and expectations for oneself and one's children. It's perception of self and others and yes, even perception of money.

Then I think I'm not fair because I've had an adult lifetime of extraordinary experiences that have shaped me. I can't expect everyone to have had those. But it's important to share some fundamental similarities with people you're close to. I do not believe that opposites attract, at least in the long term.

The reason for this post is because I do like this man...but to me our differences are glaring and he doesn't see them at all. I enjoy my time with him, although it has been very limited and also very much the same every time. That is due to time and financial constraints which is attributable to both of us. But I wonder if with our wagons full of different ideas and expectations, if there is the potential for more than just pleasantries and burgers.

I've said that I need to take it slow, I've cited our differences, and that I don't know where this will go, if anywhere. For now, status quo is the road we are on.

But when I think about my future, I know I do not want to be alone. My kids will grow up and move on and out and up and here I'll be twiddling my thumbs, blogging? I want to share my life with someone and I want to give this guy a chance. But those differences I mentioned, which also include our children who are more than ten years apart in age, just stick out to me.

I know you're thinking to take it a day or a date at a time. And I'm trying. I swear I am. But I'm also trying to figure out, because of all this, what is really important to me, what I need and what I want...out of life and out of a relationship and out of myself when it all boils down.

And since for some strange reason I told this man about my blog, I can't write about him there. I have nothing awful to say, but I don't think it's fair to search my heart and soul so openly and have him read responses that are about me, or him.

So I'm hoping he doesn't know about The Basement.