Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Prescription for Terror

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I’m telling this story here in the basement because, in many ways, it isn’t truly my story to tell. And to break this kind of confidence, in as public a forum as my own blog, would surely consign me to hell. But it all weighs heavily on my mind, so here it goes.

When we were kids, my sisters and I went to a pediatricians group with three doctors, Dr. A, Dr. B, and Dr. C. for the sake of argument. Dr. C. was the slightly overweight, nice guy who you always hoped to get. Dr.s A and B were both tall, slim, with glasses and thinning hair and easily confused in our young minds. To this day, I don’t know that I could tell you with confidence which was which. As a child, I was often on the ‘overweight’ section of the charts. One or both of these doctors gave me a hard time about it every time he saw me. Again, I couldn’t say for sure.
Shortly after I moved away from home, my younger sister called me and asked me a strange question. “Did anything unusual ever happen to you at the doctor’s office when we were kids?” Unusual how? Just anything that seemed weird or made you uncomfortable. Once she asked, I remembered an incident (or maybe two incidents, but I think it was all the same visit) where either Dr. A. or B. felt my breasts and pulled down my underwear to ‘look for pubic growth’, which, yes, made me uncomfortable, but I was always uncomfortable at the doctor. I was overweight and about 12 and some guy is looking at me in my underwear. But it wasn’t anything I ever thought to mention to anyone. But it did seem strange. I imagine this might be called ‘being fondled’ or some such term today. I don’t feel scarred by the experience but it shouldn’t have happened. The truly scarring incidents happened to my sister. She was molested by one of our pediatricians over a number of years. And it broke my heart to hear those words. It planted in me a mighty rage with no real outlet. But it didn’t happen to me. It is her story, not mine. And she is the one who has grown beyond it into an incredible woman.

But now that I am a mother, I think it breaks my heart in a whole new way. And it also terrifies me. I know my mother thought she was doing her best by us by bringing us to a reputable practice. You have to entrust your children to others all the time. But I am haunted by the thought that someone could hurt my child in this way. I don’t belong to a gym where I live because the only one with child care only has one adult in the room with the children. I have no faith in that situation. I need to find a new babysitter and I feel like no matter how carefully I interview, the danger is still there. Someday, my baby will go off to school for hours at a time and I know that I will worry. I know every parent has these concerns. I’m just struggling to find the balance between safety and obsession.


*HBM sticking her nose in here, because this post raises such huge issues and questions: what are YOU doing, or will you be doing, to protect your children from abuse? What CAN we do?

**Irreverent Mama has followed up on this topic

Monday, June 26, 2006

M.I.L. - Not A Love Story

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


If you read my blog, the details here will immediately reveal my identity. That’s fine, I’m only hiding this from one person. One person who reads my blog religiously, to my huge chagrin. She feels it’s necessary to call me after every entry to squeal about one thing or another. Or, most annoyingly, to try and share ownership of an experience I feel very much to be mine and mine alone.

In many ways, my husband feels like he raised himself. He was a difficult kid and I think at some point his mother just threw up her hands and gave up on him. But she also went further, when he had an opportunity to attend a world-class public high school, she prevented him from taking the entrance exam because she, "wasn’t losing another kid to HIM!" You see, her daughter (my husband’s sister) had moved out at age 13 (um, red flag!?!) to go live with her father and attend this same high school. So, essentially, this woman intentionally hindered her son’s educational possibilities rather than "lose" him to her ex-husband.

And the positive choices kept coming. She indirectly forced him to quit the wrestling team. She had decided he needed to contribute to the household expenses, so he had to get a job instead. That’s right! At 15, my husband was required to pay rent. Directly after high school, my husband went to live with his father who had moved from the same metro area as his mother to California. While in California, my husband was accepted to a small, private college. Rather than tell him, or even submit the financial aid information herself, she let the paperwork sit on the front table until it was too late to apply. As a result, my husband attended a community college and later a state school from which he eventually dropped out.

When we first started dating, I met the parents of one of my husband’s childhood friends. The mom invited me into the kitchen, sat me down and poured me a glass of lemonade. She asked me if I’d met "her." I hadn’t yet. This woman was clearly troubled about something, but ended up telling me anyway. Apparently, she had observed the vast difference in treatment that my husband and his younger brother received from their mother. She said she often felt it was her responsibility to invite my husband in and feed him, ask him questions about school and offer encouragement because, clearly, he wasn’t getting any at home. She hesitated before saying this, but she said, "It was like he was ignored."

That isn’t even the whole history. The background, on top of her manner (loud, abrasive, generally low-class) didn’t endear her to me. But I did my best in the beginning. Even my husband couldn’t stand to see her. They do pretty well over the phone, but for the most part, she drives him totally berserk. She is the consummate drama queen. EVERY. THING. IS.
ABOUT. HER. No matter what happens, it always comes back to her. When we were having trouble getting pregnant, she’d ask about it with this unbelievable sad-sack look on her face. Like it was SOOOOOOOOOOO disappointing to her. Forget how we felt about it. And then, when we told her, in confidence, that we had finally gotten pregnant, she had a public breakdown complete with flailing arms and harpy screams. She would make knowing gestures and ask questions that would have revealed our secret to anyone who was paying attention. Luckily every one else in my husband’s family is similarly self-absorbed.

When my husband was almost killed at work, I dreaded calling her. I expected her to cry and rail. Surprisingly she calmly made arrangements to get up to us. But that was where the easy part ended. Pretty much the minute she arrived, I expended almost as much energy managing her as I did captaining the ship of my husband’s treatment. Now, I know it was her SON lying there. But the law dictated that I was the person in charge. I had to make decisions about surgeries, transfusions, hospital transfers, legal investigations. I was the only person allowed to call the ICU. I was the only one cleared to hear medical updates. And on top of all of it, I was pregnant.

Yet, every time I went to the bathroom or slipped downstairs for a cup of (decaf!) coffee, I came back to the waiting room to her grilling the doctors for information. I arrived at the hospital one morning to a tongue lashing from the ICU nurses because somehow she’d found the number and was calling all night for updates and to have the nurses tell my husband she loved him. Every meal we ate, she magically didn’t have her wallet. So, I’m pregnant, with a husband on death’s door, very tenuous future financial prospects and I’M TREATING!?! She made every single thing I had to do that horrible first week ten times harder than it had to be. Because of her driving we arrived a few minutes after visiting hours started one day. I was so angry I stormed to the front of the line, got a pass and went upstairs without speaking to her. She thought I’d gotten an urgent call and ran up to me. And then, with all her dramatic flair, she grabbed my arm and hollered, "What happened!"

"Nothing." I said, "I just don’t like being late!"

Later that day I told her she needed to go home. There was nothing she could do. My husband was barely conscious. He definitely didn’t know she was there. I promised she’d be the first call I made with ANY information. And I kept that promise.

But I’ve been unable to forgive her for her antics during those weeks. I know how she treated him as a child and I resent her trying to take ownership in this crisis. To this day, when I write about the accident, she calls right away whinge about "the horror that we all went through."
I hate how she disregarded him as a kid. I hate that she pats herself on the back for how he turned out. I hate how she credits the rest of his successes to me, instead of giving him the credit he deserves. I hate how she always puts her own wants and needs ahead of her kids’. Pretty much, I hate her. Yup. I hate her.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


This entry is so hard and so easy for me to write. Easy due to the anonymity finally afforded to me but difficult because it's still sharing stuff that I don't know I should share. But I will because I am guessing that I'm not alone here. Since I've had my baby, even before I had my child, things have been falling apart in my marriage. I met my husband when I was young. And, I have been with him ever since. When we met I had been in several relationships, both short and longer term. I think I thought I was ready to meet "the one" and I thought he was it. I should go back and say when I was young, 13, I was in a pretty damaging relationship with a guy about 10 years older and I think that really influenced my dating life as I matured. So, when I met my husband, then boyfriend, I was very determined to make it work, and I pushed for it to work. I made him what I wanted and I made me what he wanted and when I graduated from school I got married.

The only problem was, I suddenly got into this marriage and realized that marriage is a huge commitment. And, I panicked. I was young and scared. And, having grown up as "the ugly duckling" I was developing into a somewhat pretty adult, and all of a sudden there was a lot more attention being paid to me by guys. I almost cheated, almost, and then didn't. And when I spoke to my husband about that he accused me of cheating on him, and still does accuse me of that. Over and over and over. But, I did the right thing. I went to counselling and I worked on issues. I tried to become a better person, to like myself more and to be successful. The only problem was the my husband wasn't really on board. If I went to the gym and worked out and was tired I was told that I shouldn't do so much. If I had friends who were, gasp, male there was a cloud of suspiscion over that friendship. But, we plugged on and there were high points and low points typical of any marriage.

And, then I got pregnant. I loved pregnancy because for a full 10 months I was treated well. I was the beloved, and everything was good. We had occassional fights, but they were about nursery colours and baby names, not about the type of person I was or what I was doing right or wrong. But, then the baby came and after a few short months of chalking everything up to having a newborn, we started to fight again. Except the fights got worse. He would scream at me more than he ever had. Like full out screaming, not just the stupid quiet telling me off I was used to. And, I would yell too. It was ridiculous. It still is ridiculous.

We tried marriage counselling. But, that only helped in the short term. I was supposed to improve some things and he was supposed to improve some stuff. And, when the counsellor went through a check list of: did you do this, did you do that, he proudly sat there saying yes, yes, yes. But, as soon as our few weeks were over he went back to what he always did - sitting on his butt, being pissed off at me while I run around as super mom, super wife and pissed off spouse.

And, now I am at a crossroads. What do I do? Do I keep on with this? Do I keep trying to make things work? Do I accept that unless I am the parent of my child AND my husband that this relationship won't work? Why is it that I have to give him directions - constantly? Why is it that if I don't do the laundry in a week no one does. If the fridge is empty we don't fill it - we go out. Unless I take over. Why is it that I have to pick up after a child and a husband? My child is little and is learning. My husband is neither. How do you make the decision? It used to be that I thought it was in my head - that on the outside we were the perfect couple, but in my house we weren't. But, that has all changed. People are slowly seeing the cracked facade. Friends who are close keep asking me what I'm going to do. Am I going to leave? How can they help? And this isn't coming from the stories I am telling them. It is coming from them watching the interaction. Experiencing the guilt trips placed on me when I try to take some time off.

The other day a family friend who has known me a long time mentioned it. Asked if I needed anything, said he can tell I'm upset. Yet I keep on. Why? Do I love him? I'm not really sure. I wish I could say absolutely 100% yes. I love who he was, but not who he is. I can't stand the way he acts toward me. I can't stand that the spirit, the thing that makes me ME is the thing that he hates the most. But, I don't have the courage to leave. I don't know where I would go, and I don't want to face the thought of my child not seeing his dad. And, the person I should be talking about this won't talk to me. He tells me this is all my fault, that I am imagining things, that I am the one pushing him away. And, maybe I am. Because maybe I am accepting this is over. I don't know. And I don't know what to do. I don't even think I need advice because I don't know what anyone could say. I just need people to listen and to care. And maybe tell me I'm not crazy.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dads need love (and presents), too

Our first ever Basement Rant, by our first ever Basement Dad, who choses to remain anonymous.

If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal - or paternal! - mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...

Why Don't I Get Presents?

Ramblings from a disgruntled stay-at-home-dad...

I might want to bother you readers with more background info later ... but for this first vent, I just stick to the thing that bothers me most right now: I am not getting presents!

Take last year: Valentines Day. I gave my paycheck bringing wife roses, organized the baby sitter, took her to a romantic restaurant (paid by my shrinking savings) and had even designed and printed 2 t-shirts for her. What did I get? Nothing .. or the usual 'But I have nothing for you, sorry."

Mother's day I took her out to a special M'day brunch, where only the mom got a glass of champagne... Father's day: nothing.

Wedding anniversary: I got her a nice carved wooden statue depicting 2 lovers... Me? Well... you get the picture...

My birthday fell a bit flat since we were moving at the time and our kid's b'day is just a bit before and that of course was more important... I got her an iPod for her birthday.

Xmas... she offered to bring me a present of my choice from an upcoming business trip in January... how surprising... I even had to print her out the map of the store and the opening times... sigh...

New year, new start, right ???

Well .. Roses for Valentines and M'day ... I learned from last year and did not go overboard ...

Then comes the wedding anniversary ... I got her a nice silver bracelet with matching ear-thingies ... and again "oh, sorry, I do not have anything for you... " But a few minutes later: "Can this, our wedding anniversary trip be my gift to you?" ... uhm... sure I said yes, since I did not want to destroy the nice atmosphere ... but I think this is kinda lame ... sure it comes from the money she earns (while I do household and kid all day) ... and I was the one doing all the driving and luggage schlepping ... so why / how is that suddenly a present just for me? It is the same to her, no?

And then Father's Day ... I thought she had just forgotten ... since we both come from different cultures AND move around the globe a lot (and F'day seems to have different dates all over the world) ... but around 6 PM she suddenly says "Happy Father's day" ... maybe she had just received one of those many spam mails that advertize gifts for dads ... but the best was what she said just after that "Do you want flowers?"

Is it ok to be upset about that? I did not bring it up yet because I know it would create quite some friction ... but I am really not happy with this ... On the other hand she spends quite some time looking for gifts when she goes on business trips or when a distant friend gets a new baby ...


I think if this was role reversed than everyone would say what an ignorant piece of behind that 'husband' is ...
So... comments? advice? hugs?

Frusty, the snowdad

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Love and Fear - Update

Update from Anonymous, aka Love and Fear Mama. You can read her original post here.

Morning all. Thank you for all the wonderful support, hadn't really expected so much. I've been picked at by a few in the blogsphere when talking about this... it hasn't been pretty....

Today, once again I hit the brick wall of help. For weeks now I've been trying to get into the "system" to get some form of therapy for myself. Today I was told, that I'm not a good candidate. I'm almost done with the whole thing. I am so tired. My daughter is doing well. Still not sitting, but she is healthy. We don't have a pediatrician (go ahead and gasp in horror). I challenge any of you to try and find one who has evening or weekend hours! Let alone not scared off by the thought of three kids?! Not so easy. I'm working on it though...

She has been assessed this morning at the local health clinic by a nurse practitioner. Seems that she is fine. Doing everything she is supposed to. The sitting thing she attributes to her length! Kittenpie was right =). The NP was a little more concerned by about the third ambulance that went by... I lost it at that point ie. sobbing yet trying to look like I wasn't. I left her a message after the last of the "nope, can't help you" 's this afternoon. She figures I need some help... maybe she can figure something out. I'm done with trying for a bit. Ironically tomorrow night I am to go to a meeting with a therapist with Cancer Care... to discuss my fathers decline in health... I worked in hospice care for four years... I'm too messed up for the "stages of grief" crap I know will be tossed out for me to chew on. Would it be too cruel to ask if I could trade them in for someone with experience with ptsd? Yeah, I thought that would be too mean too... great heaving sigh. Must try to sleep one of these days too...

Thanks for listening again... thanks for being so .... huh.... so great? so wonderful? so understanding? huh... lost for words again... but in a good way.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Please go visit...

Self-Proclaimed Supermom, if you haven't already. She's going through a rough time, and needs to hide out a little bit. But you can still leave some flowers or some nice warm cookies and a note at her door. (Because, yes, HBM's Basement makes and encourages house calls. Go.)

Feel better soon, SPS. We're here for you.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Love and Fear

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I have for days now... written, saved, drafted, and deleted a post for the basement. Each one, more raw, more detailed, more tears shed...

Tonight I have to make it end. I have to get this out, before I break down and actually tell my friends for the umpteenth time...

I think there really is something wrong with my daughter.

And I blame myself.

I didn't want to be pregnant, I didn't want to have another baby so close to my middle child....... I was miserable. I was so tired, so big, so horrible with my other two children towards the end... it was so hard. I cried for days and days... just like when I figured out I was pregnant... I cried non stop then too. I apologized to this baby so often, I'm scared she knows the sound of that phrase. I'm more scared she knows I was so miserable.....

My midwife was wonderful (having had an 18 month difference between her last two children too!), she sat with me for hours on end... just letting me talk. She had been the second midwife at our last birth, my first homebirth. Our first child was a single footling breech, they took him from my abdomen despite my tears and terror. But that is another story all together, of depression, desperation to be the perfect parent, no sleep, early walker who didn't crawl until he was two, turned picky eater.... oh yes, I still need to get around to some therapy over that one.

I was so terrified of this child's birth, it wasn't even funny. I woke up every morning begging it to not come today, I'm too tired and too scared.

Finally I gave in emotionally and went into labour, with a bit of help (membrane sweep). I had a good early labour, by the time my other two were in bed... I was losing control (NO I am not a sadist... I was desperate for an epidural, a gun to the head... anything to take away those contractions!, but alas with low bp and a scar on my uterus, I wasn't going to chance it... hence the home birth). I was scared, I was hiding in the bathroom telling everyone to go away.
My midwife finally came in, despite my protests... at least I think I protested? She asked what I was so scared of... I didn't know. I told her I couldn't go on. So we broke my water.... she had to help the head down... for some reason it was still very high, despite my body being the required 10 cm's. I flopped my feet towards the floor... and before I knew it, and a few "I DON'T KNOW HOW TO PUSH!!!!" comments... she was out. It took all of five minutes.

Four minutes later, she was in an ambulance with the second midwife and my husband.

I was still perched on the edge of the sofa...

(Which is kinda funny when you think about it, six EMT's in my teeny livingroom, me in black tank top (this is end of October on the Prairies!), towel over my legs trying to keep from delivering the placenta until they left....)

Here is where the guilt comes into the picture.

An umbilical cord is supposed to be like a phone cord, nice and fat and curly..... My daughter's was not. It was around her neck for a long time. She grew with it around her neck, so it was nice and fat and curly from placenta to her neck, neck to belly button. She could have died at any time in utero. We are very lucky that she is alive in general. The neo natal neurologist who cared for her at the hospital said that because we had her at home, unmedicated and so quickly is the only reason she is still alive. When she tucked her chin down to "dive out", she cut off the last little bit of life sustaining oxygen she had from me....

My daughter was born with an apgar. An apgar. One. She had a heartbeat of less than 100.

I remember turning around... and wondering why midwife #2 was getting our doula to grab the phone... why my baby was so blue... why no one was saying anything... What is with the oxygen tank? WHY are you getting out the intubation tray?!

What the hell are you phoning 911 for?!

Someone pass me my daughter!

She was fine by the time they took her in the ambulance. She was pink and howling and fine (she didn't need to be intubated after all). But she had to go. They had to take her to be checked over.....

So I spent three hours waiting for her. Wondering if she really was fine. Calling people and waking them from their sleep... trying to remember how everything went wrong? Was it 2nd midwife who said... okay one more big push ? How come they were so calm? They knew she was in trouble when her head was out...

*I'd just like to say... THANK GOD FOR REGULATED MIDWIFERY!!!!!*

"We had a girl!... no, we haven't named her yet... I don't know how big she is... yup she seems to be as long as the boys were... well because she is at the hospital.... no, they will bring her home again, I don't have to go... Husband is with her and 2nd midwife... no she is fine.... everyone keeps telling me she is fine.... yes, she is fine...."

But is she?

She is very happy, she smiles at the smallest hint of someone looking at her. She loves to cuddle. She squeals with reckless abandon... I swear dolphins can hear her! She adores nursing, eating, sucking her thumb, rolling to the dog so she can suck on his paws or tail.... going after toys...

But she doesn't sit.

She has no urge to sit.

She topples over when I try and let her do it on her own...

She won't sit.

I carefully brought this up with my friend, a chiropractor. She laughed then stopped as she noticed the tears.

I think she has Cerebral Palsy... she took me seriously after that. It seems that my daughter does not have CP, nor does she have an sort of muscle atrophy at all. All her reflexes are fine. All her muscles are developing. Her hips and joints are fine too.... seems that she is a little on the long side though. According to the new WHO charts... only three percent of baby girls are the same length as her... so yeah, a little on the long side.

But that doesn't explain why she won't sit up on her own.

I keep thinking that maybe there is something, something that is wrong. I know that I will always watch her with a careful eye. I can't stand it if she so much as coughs or sputters.... I had a baby who didn't breathe at birth... I want to make sure she breathes every second of the day now! I listen to her breathe on the monitor, I move her back on to the panel to get that little click sound... making sure she is breathing and moving... I am exhausted. I am terrified. I am going insane.

I won't even get started on ambulances. I can tell you which siren is police, fire dept., rcmp... ambulance. Fucking ambulance sirens make me want to crawl out of my skin. On occasion I actually get through listening to one going to its destination, without crying. I have post traumatic stress disorder.... but of course I don't fit the nice little norm of it, so I can't find any help. No one seems to know what to do with me. I don't know what to do with me.

My friends and family all think I should just move on, let her develop at her own rate... ignore the books and charts (obviously she is in length and fine motor skills!). I should just block out the sirens. I should just move on.

But here I am, curled up in my own little basement. Scared to blog about it in too much detail, scared to say it out loud any more. People will stop listening to me, tired of my inane ramblings about something that had a "happy outcome". I didn't want another baby so soon... and I think that I've been punished for that.....

I love her so much I hurt. It hurts to look at her and wonder what I did. To know that I almost killed her. To know I didn't want another baby (her)... and I almost had her die. Some days it is just too much... some days I am the worst mom on the planet, because I am so ... I can't even describe what is wrong with me... It is just too much some days.

Thanks for the corner.

Thanks for listening.

I hope that tomorrow I can be a better mom, now that I've got this out... and sent.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Keeping appearances

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


Appearances are so deceiving. We all think that most people around us are so much happier because they have the things we want - but in reality, I'm betting the very people we envy are envying us in return.

This is what my life appears to be:

I am a mother of 2 children. A girl, 6, and boy, 2. They are well behaved, have always slept through the night, and are the loves of my life.

I am a wife to a man who is a social butterfly. Everyone knows and likes him. He would do anything for a friend in need. He works a hard job and is a volunteer fire fighter. He makes sure his children get to attend and do every fun child oriented event around. He plays games with them and takes them for 4-wheeler rides in the woods.

I work 30 hours at my "real" job in 3 days. The other two days I work at our church for a bit and get to bring the kids with me. I am a very active member in three different community groups. We bring home a decent salary and have a large 4 bedroom, 3 bath home which we can heat with free wood from our 15+ acres of oak trees. I live in a quiet country setting with a dog, a cat, and a few other farm animals. I am an optimist. I take what is handed to me and I conquer it with a smile on my face. I can laugh at anything.

Here is what is behind the curtain:

The children are what I say above. Unfortunately - they don't have the mother they could. Because of what I mention below I am often too worn out to feed them a proper balanced meal, too depressed to get my butt in gear and do things like cleaning and laundry properly. It's all I can manage to play a game once a week. I let them watch WAY too much TV so I can have peace and just sit there with my ass on the couch. They get the short end of the stick because I'm often too pissed off or too depressed to be patient or guiding.And yet, they are beautiful wonderful children - despite me. Despite their father.

My husband is an alcoholic. I met him in a bar over 10 years ago - we had a whirlwind romance and married 16 months after our first date. I was never one of those wives who demanded her husband be home with her, or home when she got home. I was still in college with 2 years to go. What did I care if he was out with his buddies while I was in night class? It never occurred to me that perhaps a 31 year old man should be outgrowing a 21 year olds lifestyle. There has never ever been a week (okay, I take that back there have been at least 20 - but not more than that) in nearly 10 years of marriage that my husband has been sober more than 3 days.

When our daughter was born, I took care of everything. He works a different shift every week and needs his sleep after all. Babies scare him - he's afraid he will break them. We no longer went out together for the obvious reason. I wasn't going to be "one of those wives" though. I was too tired to do anything fun, so why shouldn't he go? That's what I would say to myself.

My husband's mother found out she had cancer and only 2 months to live when my daughter was 8 months old - the drinking got worse.

When my daughter was 3 1/2 she went to a fisheree with her dad. He was going to come back with the car and get me later since our other vehicle was broke down. 3 hours after he was supposed to be home a friend had driven the car home with him and my daughter. He was so drunk he passed out nearly right away. I was livid. I wanted to leave. He endangered my baby. His friends somehow made the irrational seem rational and I didn't pack my bags. Besides, I didn't have my car. From that day I was able to solve the problem by simply not allowing him to be in charge of her when I knew there would be alcohol around. Wasn't that a good fix?

I had the numbers to the local bars memorized. I knew to call an hour before he had to be home to give him time to "finish this one". I wasn't one of "those wives". I always called to make sure he got up for work if I wasn't home. A few times I even tracked him down to tell him to get home and get some sleep before he had to go in.

One day my husband totaled his truck. He "swerved to miss a deer". He got a ride home before calling the cops because he had a "couple beers". Do you know I believed he wasn't that drunk? I had myself fooled without effort. I look back, and it's a miracle he didn't get hurt.

We had several nasty fights. I remember many times hiding all the car keys so he couldn't storm off and head back to the bar. One time he almost ran over me as he backed out. My daughter remembers that to this day. I'll never forgive myself for letting that fight get into her head.

We decided to have a 2nd child. It takes forever to get pregnant when you find quiet things to do late into the night so your husband will just pass out on the couch and quit talking already.

The drinking slowed down. Things were better. I got pregnant. I had a mis-carriage. The next time it didn't take so long - he was only hanging out with his buddies 1 or 2 days a week now - a few weeks he even went a whole 8 days coming home right after work. I kept track secretly on the calendar.

My mother came to stay with us for 6 weeks a few weeks before my son was born. A week before he was born I got a call from the police station at 2am. I had to go pick up my husband as he had been pulled over for drunk driving. He blew a .011, just a fraction of a hair over the "old limit" (The state had lowered the BAC limit to .08 just a few months before). I was mad, but "he was barely drunk" after all. He had a prior OWI before I met him. Because it was more than 10 years before this one, this would count as his "first offense". He got a big fine, lost his license and had to get an occupational for 9 months.

A week later, my son was born. Things were "good" on the scale in my head for the next 9 months. My husband didn't stop at the bars - he only drank at home. "What's the big deal" with 2-5 beers at home? He's never been mean as long as I didn't confront him about his drinking when he had been drinking. In fact, he's a very happy drunk - annoyingly happy - just shut up already happy.

A week after he got his license back, it was a Thursday. He was on 2nd shift. I talked to him before I went to bed and said to come straight home after work - he said "of course". At 3am I wake up. He isn't in bed. He isn't on the couch. His truck isn't in the driveway. Bars close at 2am - he never stops further than 15 minutes from home. Something is wrong and I know it. I pace. I curse. I swear. I cry. The phone rings at 3:30. The caller ID displays XXXXXX Police. I fume. I answer and hear the news. I hear the words "I'm sorry, just shoot me? please." and I know he is still drunk - even after the 2-3 hours it takes to be transported and processed. Our only working truck has been impounded. He has to go before the judge in the morning and needs 700 dollars in bail money. I cry. It is at this moment I admit to myself that I am not married to a guy who just likes to hang out and gets caught up talking and having fun - I am married to an alcoholic. He swears he is sorry and is going to quit drinking. I hang up and dump every single bottle of alcohol and beer out in the sink and I make a nice big pile of empty containers for him to see first thing when he walks in that door. I call into work - I can't get there. I call a friend to take me 30 miles to get my car. I wait at home for another call from my husband. I take the 700 dollars out of the bank that is half of our house payment that should have cleared the bank, but for some reason hasn't. I wait for an hour in a tiny room with my children as my husband is released from jail. I am embarrassed beyond belief that I have my babies there to pick up their daddy. I wanted to make him sit there, but we would have to pay the bail eventually, and if he worked the weekend he could make up the lost money. I was so angry I couldn't speak. I couldn't yell. I couldn't swear. I didn't even have a tear left in my eyes by this time.

My anger was quickly put away to comfort my depressed husband. We would get through this. Life was worth living. "You take the good you take the bad and there you have..." We talked to our pastor. We made a deal with the DA. My husband started getting help from a well recommended psychotherapist. I have no clue what a psychotherapist does.

He quit drinking. He started talking. We were going to make it. He served his jail time - 4 weeks. He was hardly ever there because he worked so much overtime he was frequently working 70 hours a week plus an hour commute time to and from work. Me and the kids got to see him nearly every day when we drove him too and fro. After that, he moved in with his sister because I can't get him to work and back every day from home and he can't even get an occupational this time. He comes home about every other weekend.

Two weeks after he got out we were coming home for the weekend. He told me Dr. W said that he didn't have a drinking problem. He just needed to learn how to drink slower and not so much. "Well if the good dr. says... by all means you can have a beer with the neighbor or after mowing the lawn.", I thought. I didn't want to be one of "those wives" you know.

And of course, there have been a few incidence of being too drunk to watch the kids when asked, nights of thinking "just fall asleep and shut up already", lies of "I only had a couple". Broken promises. Money we don't have wasted. I believe he had been drinking nearly every day up until this weekend.

What the hell is wrong with me? How do I keep my head in the sand so well? As I type this I see how incredibly ridiculous this has all been. WTF?

I decided to leave him 2 months ago. I know where I will live. I know how much state assistance I can get. I know what I will take - most of the kids stuff, my rocking chairs, and my clothes. I will sleep on an air mattress and get anything else I need at goodwill if I have to. I just want out. I have been weeding through my stuff and getting rid of stuff I don't want to move. I have told him that I can't live like this. If he doesn't stop drinking I am leaving. He cries. He says he's trying. I buy it for another week. I hope for a little while longer. I put off the "plan of action" just a few more days.

This weekend we went to a concert. We arrived to tailgate at 1pm. I had already told him I wasn't babysitting him this year and if he didn't make it in, it was too bad so sad see ya back at the truck. I didn't baby-sit. I didn't count beers. I didn't disallow shots. I had fun and let him do whatever. I lost him at 4pm. At 6:30 we went into the venue to get our seats and I put his ticket in the gas cap door like I said I would so he could get it when he stumbled back. At 11pm we got back to the vehicles and his ticket was still there. He never made it back to the truck. Something was very wrong. I walked the lots looking for him. I talked to security. I stopped at the make-shift sheriff station. We waited for an hour. We were told we had to leave. The cop said "he's a big boy, he got himself lost, he'll get himself home". Brilliant! I felt better about leaving his sorry ass there. We stopped at the medic station on the way out just in case. I learned he had been taken via ambulance to the hospital at 8pm because he was so intoxicated. His BAC was a 0.4 (50% f the population would be dead at that level). I became frantic. I called the hospital. He had been there, but wasn't anymore. They refused me ANY information because of the privacy laws. A few calls later someone finally let it slip that he had been transferred to another hospital but wouldn't tell me where. I went back to the campsite, had a few beers myself so I could get some sleep. In the morning I called 5 hospitals and the police several times. I only lost control of my emotions for a few minutes. I'm a pro at this kind of crisis by now. Finally, at 12:30 I got a call from him wondering where I was. Apparently he thought I knew where he was and he was ticked that I wasn't around to get him. He got a ride from a hospital an hour away (apparently all the local ones were full with idiots of his own kind) back to the campground. He got in the car and said, "hi". I said, "hi" and we drove off. I couldn't speak. I had no words. I didn't know where to start. An hour and a half later I had to pull over. I had to say something and I knew it could get bad enough that I better not be driving. I asked, "So what the hell happened?". He replied, "I got drunk. I did shots and that's all I remember. I'm sorry, I'll go into treatment if you want."

That's it. One little tiny "I'm sorry". My husband was missing for 16 hours because he's a fricking idiot and that is what I got. I didn't waste more energy on it - I knew I am leaving one day. I knew it didn't matter what came out of my mouth. I couldn't tell him I want a divorce though. Not with 2 hours left to drive. I just couldn't deal with that at the moment on top of everything else.

But after all this crap, all the planning, all the figuring, I can't get over one hump. I can't figure out just how the heck to say "I'm leaving". He will have lost his whole life when I leave. He can't afford the house alone. It was his dad's and means more to him than anything or anyone (except Mr. Bud Light of course). It's in a state that we will never get what we owe for it because he has never finished a home improvement project in 10 years. He can't legally drive to actually stay in it and take care of it. I'll be collecting child support which is a huge hunk, 25%, of his salary. He'll never be able to do all the things he wants to with the kids. From that day forward my children will have to live with the fact that their mother left their dad because he can't put them in front of alcohol - and what will they think about him in the future?

I know none of these things matter. I know I will be fine. I know I can do it. I know the kids will adjust and be better than if I stay. I know I can't raise my children in this environment any more. I know it's not going to change even though he has vowed to stop drinking forever this time. I know he has to suffer his consequences for his decisions and I need to come first. I know these things. But there is that one stupid little voice in my head that thinks I need to stick by him, to help him get better, to take care of him because he has a disease and can't take care of himself.

I know there are great groups out there for people in my situation, but I honestly can't find time with working 40 hours, commuting and chauffeuring 15+ hours a week with 2 small children and a house to run. Right now the plan is to get my loan from my 401k to afford a divorce and apartment. I need to get a P.O. Box. I need to open a new bank account. I need to find a lawyer to draw up papers. I can't put it off - and at the same time I can't find the strength to get everything in order so that the next time he takes a drink I can have him served with divorce papers and have a clear conscious.

All the while, pretending that it's all okay. I need to make everyone, including my husband and kids, see we are a happy family of 4 with a beautiful house and everything YOU dream of while I dream of being a single mom, in a cheap apartment, getting government assistance to help pay the bills, with no family around or friends who are just my own. It's a bit ironic isn't it?

Hangin' In the Basement: A Primer

So it's been pretty busy in the Basement since I started inviting people down. The beanbag chairs are well-indented and crunchy with cookie crumbs and there are tumbler rings from sweaty rum and cokes on the side tables. More pillows have been tossed on the floor for curling up.

It gets cozier and homier with every person who visits.

There has been much story-telling and advice-seeking and support-giving and hug-dispensing, and the guests who have been sharing their stories have really felt the love. You all are wonderful friends, the kind of friends that one knows she can turn to when things are dark or rough or confusing or embarassing or all of the above. The kind of friends who will laugh heartily at a dirty joke and then whip out a hanky to dab away the mascara streaked by unexpected tears.

More stories are coming, but I thought that it was time to post some Basement guidelines...

Welcome to the Basement!

The door is always open here. There are beanbag chairs and a couple of old sofas and some pillows on the floor. I've tried to pretty up the wood-panelled walls: there're some old Duran Duran posters, and the poster for The Breakfast Club, and a weird-but-cute velvet painting of a big-eyed puppy. (You're free to stick up your own posters - use tape or thumbtacks.) There's a liquor cabinet down here, and some ashtrays (tho' if anyone objects to virtual smoke, you'll need to enjoy those Dunhills by the open window, with a fan), and I've got an electric kettle in the corner if anyone wants tea. BYO cookies; I have trouble keeping them in stock, because, you know, cookies...

This is a place for you hang out with friends and talk about all of the things that you maybe don't feel totally comfortable talking about on the front porch or living room or kitchen of your own blog. Stuff that is maybe too revealing or painful or embarassing, stuff that might hurt or compromise someone else, stuff that is too messy for the spaces in which you strut and fret your daily life.

Anyway. I wrote more about the kind of stuff that you might want to talk about here. Check it out, if you haven't already.

So how does the Basement work?

If you have something that you want to talk about - that is, post - e-mail it to me and I'll put it up.

If you've done a Basement-ish post at your own site, and you'd like some girlfriend support on your own turf, you can send a call for visitors, with a brief description and link information, and I'll post it here too. Sometimes you wanna just curl up in your bed and draw your girlfriends near for support. The Basement support circle does house calls!

You can post anonymously, or pseudonymously, or under your own name or your blog name. It's up to you. If you want to stay anonymous, I will totally respect that and no-one will ever know who you are, no-one, not ever.

If you like, I will mention your secret post on the HBM main site, to direct traffic here. If you prefer that I not do so, just say so. If you have opted to use your own name or blog identity, and want me to plug both the post and your home blog, to generate more discussion, I'm happy to do that too. Whatever gets you the kind of support that you're looking for.

It might take a couple of days for your post go up. (If it's really busy, it might be longer.) I'll leave each post up at the top for at least two days, so that there's ample opportunity for people to visit and chat with you, before putting up the next post.

If you want to post a response to your commenters, or a follow-up, that's great: just send it to me and I'll put it up.

Hangin' and commenting:

Commenters know that this is a safe, comfortable place, for sharing secrets and troubles and giggles with friends. Norms of blog civility apply in spades here: be nice, be respectful, be a good friend. Be honest and open with your advice, if it's asked for - it's one of the best things about this space - but give that advice as you would give advice to a dear friend. Sensitively, with a hug.

Blogtardage - heckling, calling names, being hurtful - will be deleted immediately, and offenders will be blocked from commenting. (And, hunted down and beaten and mocked mercilessly.)

This is a space for friendship and support. Come by anytime.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Immoral, insane, or too much in need of love?

Posted by Anonymous (again, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


Written by an insane (?) immoral (?) too sexy (?) wife and mother.

My story is this: I have been married to my husband for 8 years - we have two children together, and two from previous relationships. We were once madly in love. We had and still have many trials and tribulations with the two children from previous relationships, which put us to the test many a time. But we always pulled through.

Two years ago our oldest child (being ours, who is 7) was diagnosed with a fatal disease. For the sake of staying somewhat anonymous, I will not elaborate on the details. I can only say that it is degenerative and relentless in its onslaught on his little body and mind, and on mine as well. If anyone out there has ever had a very sick child or lost a child - you may begin to comprehend how I feel - to watch a child waste away day after day, month after month, year after year, with little hope for a cure or a treatment that actually doesn't harm the body...

Anyway, I digress. I am not writing about my pain about this, I am writing about me and the moral dilemma that I am now faced with. Our marriage, for obvious reasons I hope, has been torn apart and the very thing that did it – the diagnosis of the fatal illness of our son - keeps us together. I have faced this, the illness, entirely on my own, dealing with Doctors and diagnoses; my husband has buried himself away and left the burden all to me. I want to leave, but I can't leave. For the sake of this little person, who will not see a normal lifetime. He loves his Daddy, and who else will love him? Who will help him turn over in the middle of the night when he can't? And bathe him when he no longer can, and feed him and love him? Who else can I rely on? Ironic, because, because of all this, I no longer am in love with my husband, yet I believe he will never fail his child. Don't I owe staying with him to my son?

I will not get into the gory details to turn one side against the other or paint him the bad guy. If you have ever had a terminally sick child and your spouse was not there to lend support - to just let you collapse and not be there to take care of you as the vows said - then you will understand. To add to this - I have begged him to go to counselling for years, and he refuses. He cannot and will not deal with our son's illness, so now what?

I won't leave, but yet I find myself nearly in love with someone else. If my child were not ill, I would leave - but he is ill and I am exhausted in trying to carry not only my burden but my husband's too. I need someone to love me and let me just fall on them when life is too much. My husband is not that anymore, not after the diagnosis. There’s a third party, but I don't know what to do, I used to think that affairs were totally immoral, but after much discussion with loved ones - do I live a life of martyrdom for my child or do I seek some saneness and happiness in an otherwise generally fucked-up life? I decided, I think, that I would. Seek some happiness.

So we come to the third party. We share a lot of flirtatious moments. I feel like a teenager sometimes, going back and forth, never quite sure if it is real or not, am I reading more into this, like a teenager, or is there real attraction? I think there is, honestly, but I don't know if he would want to be involved with a married woman, after everything else. We have lots of good talks and I consider him a very good friend - so do I risk it by making the first move and then risk everything? Do I and can I put myself out there?

And, can I really do it? Is this the ultimate betrayal of my family?

Help! I need some advice.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Our Secret

Posted by Anonymous (again, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


I can't blog about this on my own blog. I really can't share this with my friends or my family because regardless of how open-minded they are, this is the kind of thing that lingers in your head and makes you start to judge or question someone and their motives.

See, my husband, my wonderful sweet, loving husband who is also an amazing father, is a little bit crazy. You wouldn’t know it when you met him. I didn’t. You would meet him and think “What a nice guy, and they make such a nice couple!” He is a nice guy, and we are a very nice couple and great parents. (And I admit my ego WILL NOT allow that image to shatter, not yet anyway.) But every once in a while we go through a little bit of crazy. Last week was one of those times.

My husband dated a girl years before I met him who seemed like Miss Wonderful. He fell hard, and soon her friends were his friends and her life was his life. They were both young and thought they would marry. Then he moved several states away for his job and the long-distance took its toll. He found out she was cheating on him, badly, and it ended, badly. Much bad mouthing was done on both sides and he lost (her) friends over it. He was at a geographical disadvantage and she was able to convince some of their friends to assist her in harassing him. Or stalking him. Well, as much as you can stalk someone from a distance. The end result was that he ended up having a mini-breakdown and spending a week in the hospital.

Flash forward many years and we meet. I fell in love immediately and we knew right away that we were both THE ONE for each other. A few months in I noticed some “quirks” – he used a PO Box instead of having mail delivered to his house, he would get quiet when he got hang-up calls on his phone. He finally shared with me his background and admitted he suffered from some post-traumatic issues from being harassed. He had trouble trusting people and was wary of sharing too much about himself. He had a psychiatrist and was on a very mild dose of anti-anxiety medicine. He told me all of this because he felt like he could finally trust someone (me) and wanted me to know everything.

When we got engaged, he had me meet his psychiatrist who answered all of my questions and told me how well he was doing. We got married and all was well until I started noticing all of the little notes he kept about strange cars and things he saw on the road. He was extremely privacy conscious, not with me, but with anyone who was NOT me. If we met someone at a party and they asked too many questions about him, I could see him visibly get anxious. One time the Fed Ex guy came to our door and asked if I was _____, same first name as his ex girlfriend. It was just a wrong address but he obsessed about it for days, afraid she was trying to start something again. He was very wary of patterns and inconsistencies, like if we saw three different people wearing LA Lakers shirts in one day (we are on the East Coast and Laker fans are few) he would obsess about the fact that the ex had a brother who lived in LA and what did it mean. He worried about why the guy next store stopped saying Hello to him. Stupid stuff that I didn’t even notice. Paranoid? Yeah.

So now what? These periods of paranoia come and go in about a week. They happen about once a year, generally during a period of great unrelated stress - 9/11, a job loss, etc.. Sometimes we get a mini one in between, like we did last week. I admit, and so does he, that the more he talks to me about it, the better he handles it and the quicker he gets through it. But I don’t always like having to listen to him be crazy, and I admit that sometimes, in the middle of it, I want to leave him and run as far away from this problem as I can. Because I can't understand why someone as smart and wonderful as he is can really think these things are happening to him. Because I can't understand why someone as analytical as he is can not logically understand that this is NOT happening to him. And that is really low, because he is a great husband the whole other 95% of the time, and a great father 100% of the time. I am also disgusted with myself for not wanting to deal with it because I pride myself on being a "dealer" and a "survivor". Funny thing, how just when you pride yourself on something life will send you a massive curve ball to test yourself.

For what it's worth, it is not entirely in his head, or wasn't. I do believe he was harassed way back, and his family has confirmed it, but this is YEARS later and I don’t think it is happening anymore except in his head. I have talked to his doctor and he said I should just ignore it. So helpful, that $100 per visit doctor.

So that’s it, our dirty little secret. Everyone thinks we are such a great and fun couple. We generally are. But sometimes my husband thinks we are being followed, or that someone is tapping our phones. But, since the rest of the time, 99%, he is such a great, easy going and loving guy, I deal. I just wonder if other people deal with stuff like this. And when I really feel sorry for myself, I think about all of the other really bad crap people have to deal with and realize an occasional bout of crazy is not so bad.

Maybe? Anyone?

Friday, June 09, 2006

At Bay, continued.

Post-script to last post...

One more day, and I've resisted the urge again. I feel more empowered by having posted this, more relieved not to be carrying this weight alone anymore, than I could've ever thought possible. Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Just writing this, telling people I struggle with this, gives me more resolve to not give in, to keep resisting.

But there's one more thing I need to do. My name is Andrea, and for now, for today, I still haven't given in.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

At Bay

Posted by Anonymous (no relation to Anonymous of the previous post.)

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


(First, thanks to Her Bad Mother for coming up with this idea, and helping people like me, people who have to write about it all but wish for more anonymity than I have on my regular website. In my case, it may literally be a life saver.)

This is the kind of admission made only if I'm known by a code name and not my real one, the kind I'd be more comfortable with if I hadn't disclosed my site to my friends and family. I've long considered what I would say were I to dare write these words down, these words that I'm now afraid to NOT write despite my lack of anonymity with my site. I've only just recently admitted their poison to myself, which sent me spiraling into a weeks-long mire of self-loathing and shame, only making that inner voice I can barely ignore that much louder. I'm skirting a dangerous edge, and I know it. My common sense and iron stubbornness have kept me in check, but for how long? For how long, indeed?

I wrote a while back on my blog about wanting to lose weight, how I've observed the way overweight people are treated versus skinny people, how my coworker lambasted me with a snotty remark that reiterated my newly sparked resolve to get myself into the group of the fit people. I worked out every weekday for three months straight. I took a day here and there if I tweaked a knee, or had a migraine, but for the most part, every weekday, I was back in my work's workout facilities over my lunch, trying to literally sweat my ass off.

I failed.

I haven't worked out since my husband started going out of town every other week for his job. I have no energy to spend my lunch time, sometimes the only free time I get in a day, sweating and bending and twisting to a DVD I long ago memorized and became bored with. I tried new workouts, racquetball games, and weights only to lose interest in those activities as well. The extra stress of being solely responsible for our household the weeks the hubs is out of town has taken its toll on me and working out was the first thing to lapse. I lost 7 pounds. That's it. 7 pounds in three whole months of working out, religiously watching my food intake, and in general being miserable trying to readjust my fitness and eating habits. People working out alongside me lost three times that much weight and more in the same time span. Let's just say my resolve wavered after going weeks with little to no results on the scale, in how my clothes fit, and in my metabolism. In the last couple of floundering weeks of my workout routine, my desperation festered, my thoughts turning towards unthinkable methods of losing the weight. If I'm being totally honest, I have been having these thoughts off and on since giving birth to my son two years ago. Two years of hiding.

I've long had a love affair with food, for it offered me comfort when I was picked on by my classmates in grade school, when my over large breasts earned snotty remarks from strangers up to and through college even. Food was a commonality in my fledgling relationship with a culinary student three states away and a source of entertainment with my other foodie friends once that culinary student and I were married. Readjusting my attitude toward food proved to be much harder than I would've ever thought. Alongside my lack of progress with exercise and my attempts to rethink my food choices, my frustrations with wading through the vast amounts of misinformation in the marketplace as to what foods are healthy and what foods are not grew. How much store should be set in carb counting as opposed to calorie counting or watching fat intake or the glycemic index? As a result, my desperation to lose weight, to like my image and to shed the stigma associated with being obese, has grown to a point where I'm afraid of what I might try to get the results I so fervently desire, results that are so far beyond my grasp by already attempted normal means that I don't know what else to do. I'm not near overweight enough for the stomach surgery, but I'm still considered obese at 80 pounds overweight.

Maybe some of it has to do with societal pressure to look good because society mostly defines slender and fit by what we see on TV and in movies, but I have my own opinions of how I want to look, too. What I'm afraid of is that my opinion of healthy is at risk of being distorted by my desperation to be thin, which will lead me to try unhealthy ways of losing weight. The foodie in me loves food, and I can totally see myself binging, only to allow my Catholic guilt to take over and viciously chastise myself for the binging, seeking release from the guilt through purging. My intellect knows this is stupid, knows that if I start this, I won't stop until I'm in danger, as if I'm not already in danger by even thinking these thoughts, this betrayal to the sensible girl I usually am. I know I cannot start this, that I have to reject these thoughts. My stubbornness to refrain from such a damaging pattern has kept me from doing it, but the urge is there. In my weaker moments, I find myself thinking that if I just throw up, I'll feel better about what I've just eaten, even if it's something healthy, something that should carry no guilt upon consumption. The smart, educated, self-respecting girl in me thinks that if I stick with correct portions and don't overeat, if I turn down that dessert or the candy, then the potential bulimic in me will go away, but that's not true. I've followed to the cup, ounce, gram how much of a portion I'm supposed to have and the urge to get out a toothbrush and stick it down my throat is still there.

I can joke with Kelli and Liz at Mom101 about how much I love cheesecake and post my dad's recipe on my blog, and I can tout my husband's cooking and I can smile about those awesome ham and cream cheese wrapped pickle spears I take to nearly every potluck party we go to, with fat free ham and cream cheese of course. I can eat normal portions in front of people who don't suspect they might need to pay attention. I can pretend with the best of them in conversations about fitness and dieting that I know what's healthy. But then I fantasize about stuffing myself silly on all the food I love, on my friend Food, and then think about puking it all up. I'd get the taste and the satisfaction and none of the repercussions of the calories. Thoughts of food, of my calorie intake, of what those calories are packing onto my body in the way of inches, of giving up food altogether are becoming increasingly frequent, insistent, obsessive, and difficult to ignore. Is this how bulimia or anorexia begins?

The thing is, I KNOW these thoughts are destructive. I want to take myself by the shoulders and shake until I get it straight that this is not an option. I'm fully aware it's not an option. I've been in therapy. The bulimic in me is still there and she's starting to speak louder. I write this in fear, not of losing readers who might figure out my identity and think they can't read me anymore because I'm crazy ~ and I'm sure I'll lose a few ~ or of having people comment so viciously that I'll feel slapped around, though each of those thoughts have crossed my mind. I write this in fear that I might need to post it.

For the most part, I'm a normal, professional woman, a wife and mother firmly entrenched in the middle class, 29 years old with dreams and aspirations for my family. But I'm also a woman with a growing seed of obsession. I guess it truly can happen to anybody. I only hope I'm strong enough to keep it at bay. So far, I have been.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Last year I:

Post by Anonymous.

If you'd like to use this space to tell your stories/secrets/bad jokes, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


Congratulations, you found me!

Thanks to the generosity of Her Bad Mother, I can finally do this post. I’ve wanted to write it for a long time but haven’t because of certain people that I don’t want to read it. The secret lair to the rescue. It may seem all a bit too ‘cloak and dagger’ but what can I say? I’m a control freak.

There are some warnings to this post.
1) This post is sad and involves death of loved ones. If you happen to be pregnant and, like me, cannot tolerate any mention of death of loved ones while pregnant, leave now.
2) There is a risk that I will get all ‘circle of life’, so if that is only marginally more tolerable for you than death of loved ones, leave now.
3) To tell this story I must mention women’s biology If you can’t handle mention of bleeding etc., leave now.
4) I’m going to write freely, which means swearing. Don’t like it? Fuck off – er, I mean, leave now.

Last year I spent most of my year doing two things. Mourning and preparing for a new life. Well, see, that already is not true. I should have been doing both, but in reality I wasn’t. See, I thought preparing for new life – getting pregnant and building a baby – could prevent/mask/override any mourning I needed to do. Um, no.

Here goes...

Early last year I found out I was pregnant. At 7 weeks, I had an ultrasound and was told that, well, OK, my pregnancy was viable but – and I quote – don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant. Fuck. I knew what that meant; I was most likely going to lose the pregnancy. And although no one at the clinic, or my doctor’s office, or even my husband was willing to speculate on what we would all find out for certain in a week or so, I certainly was. I speculated all the way home. “I’m going to lose this baby. Sometime over the next few days, my baby is going to die inside of me. No baby! Yes, yes, I know I can try again, but this one, the one I have in me now, my first, the one I’ve been dreaming about, is going to die. DIE.“

Initiate disaster coping; emotional lockdown.

“Power through it. Happens all the time. Lots of women go through it, simply try again. I – we – will try again. Get back on that horse, no scrapes and bruises, you’re alright.” I convinced myself that I could deal, "no big whoop – a total bummer, yes, but you know, not a disaster. Its not as if anyone di –" oh wait…All I wanted was to be behind my own front door so I could regroup. But the day would not leave me alone. Waiting for me at home was a message from one of my dearest friends informing me that one of my other dearest friends had killed himself.

Lockdown, LOCK! DOWN!

Now I have to stop here to explain the lockdown. One of my most predominant traits is that I have a very delayed reaction to bad/stressful/difficult circumstances. It is a mixed blessing. For example, if you ever find yourself in a shit storm, I’m the person you want watching your back. I have a denial/non-self-reflective reflex that prevents me from buckling under pressure. I think rather than feel. I detach to the extreme. I lockdown. But as I said, it’s fucked up. How else would explain how, on a day when someone finds out that they had lost one of their best friends and was probably going to lose their pregnancy, that they could go to a job interview and land the job. Seriously. That’s fucked up.

The following week, it was confirmed that I lost the baby. I opted to take Oxytocin at home to finish the miscarriage. Here we go again: “Power through it. Happens all the time. Lots of women go through it, simply try again. I – we – will try again. Get back on that horse, no scrapes and bruises, you’re alright.” I played it down so much that my husband actually went back to work from the hospital while I went home alone to start the process. (BTW, do not - DO NOT – do this alone. So fucked up. I felt like I was having a botched abortion. The painkillers were not strong enough and I was emotionally fucked and…well, DO NOT do this alone.) Fucked, fucked up.

I bled for three weeks. It was a daily reminder of my miscarriage and, because of the association of that first day, a reminder, too, of my friend’s death. We were so far from Vancouver and from our other friends that my husband and I didn’t know how to deal with his suicide, or with whom. We have great friends here in Toronto and they were wonderfully supportive and sympathetic but we were apart from everyone else that was grieving and I needed them to show me how.

Three fucking tough weeks. But finally it ended.

Then, one week later, more bleeding. Hurray, my period! We can start trying again. But after a night of restlessness and bad cramps, the worst thing. Turns out my miscarriage was incomplete. It was like having another one. This one, so much less bloody, but more gory than anything I could have ever imagined. So so so fucked up. Oh, and did I mention this day was Mother’s Day? A cosmic fuck you if ever there was one. And what did I do when this happened? Did I shrivel up into a ball on the bathroom floor like I felt like doing? Like I would have been totally entitled to do given the circumstances? No. I assured my husband that I was fine and we had friends over for dinner. Say it with me: fucked up!

The whole time - even through a seemingly appropriate amount of tears and sharing of feelings with friends and my husband – I never really let anyone in. I knew my husband was patiently waiting, and I love him for that, but as the scope of my loss continued to expand, I became more and more fearful of ever letting it out. I was scared shitless.

But it had to come out. I needed to move on. We decided to go home to Vancouver to say goodbye to our friend. It was the best decision. Seeing our friends and being able to be with them at a special memorial up in the interior of BC, was a truly special experience. My husband and I spent most of the time crying our eyes out. When we weren’t doing that, we were getting’ busy under the stairs of a friends house in her makeshift guest room. And as we said goodbye to our friend, in his favourite place on the planet, I got pregnant. Resolution on so many levels!

I still have a hard time dealing with the miscarriage. Partly because I tried so hard to convince myself it was no big deal, just a common casualty of pregnancy. But three things have helped me acknowledge how heavy miscarriage is and that helped me get over it. First: all health care workers referred to my second pregnancy as just that: my second pregnancy. Each time they did, they prevented me from telling myself that that first one didn’t really count, it was only a few weeks after all…it did count, and I couldn’t ignore that. Secondly, a colleague revealed to me that she had lost a child during birth and when she subsequently got pregnant she suffered a miscarriage. She said that for her, the pain was the same. Now, I have a hard time believing that, but regardless, it did, again, help validate my first pregnancy, allowing me to accept the amount of grief I was carrying around. Lastly, the birth of my son has helped me most of all.

I cannot help but think that everything happened like it should have. That for whatever reasons, I – we – were meant to get pregnant back in BC, as we said goodbye to our friend and that everything lead us there. All I know is, we now have the most beautiful son and that is all I need to know.


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