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Confessions

mom low point, parenting, motherhood, doing your best, parenting fail, judgement

Have you ever had a mom low point that was so rough that it knocked you right back on your butt and made you feel like you were doing absolutely everything wrong? Being a mom is hard. I mean question yourself, cry after they go to bed, guilt-ridden, love them so fiercely that sometimes it feels like you might die…hard. Sometimes it’s so hard that I just want to throw my hands up and walk away and other times, I want to crumple up on the floor and assume the fetal position but other times, like tonight, when I feel like a complete failure, my instinct is to fight as hard as I can for what is certainly the most precious and important thing in my life, my girls.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t post too often during the holidays. I was in a proverbial Nutcracker dug hole. You see, I had this dream of what my daughters’ childhood would look like and it was the complete opposite of mine. I wanted them to have extravagant parties (because I had none). I wanted them to be well rounded and that meant culture so there needed to play an instrument, play a sport and learn a language and on top of all of that, I expected good no GREAT grades. Okay, I had some of that but I had a lot of hard times and dysfunction and I never wanted any of that for them. Bottom line, I wanted to protect them from any hardship but I’ve realized hardships come in many different forms.

My rule was if they wanted to try it, I was going to support it but still, I had expectations of my daughters but I was mindful not to put labels on them or to compare them to others or to be too hard on them. When I was a small child, I was labeled “gifted” (I hate that stupid term. It’s meaningless.) because of my IQ but all that did was pigeonhole me onto the college prep FastTrack, from about 7-years-old on, I had no choice in the matter. My life was laid out for me.

Even when all my grades were A’s, the unavoidable, “why aren’t they A+s?” always followed. I never felt good enough and there was no time or budget for me to do frivolous things like extracurriculars unless they were school provided. In fact, when all of my friends were taking things like typing and art in high school, I was taking what today would be considered AP everything, plus on the newspaper, the yearbook and taking 2 foreign languages. I graduated with a gold seal on my diploma but I hated school because it was just layered upon layer of expectations for me. It wasn’t about experiences; it was about winning. What the prize was, I never figured out. It must have been that f*cking meaningless gold seal. In return, I have never felt adequate enough. Ever. That is the last thing I want for my children.

I’ve been keeping my mom shit together pretty good over the years, sure it’s held together by duct tape and bubble gum like I’m the effing mom MacGyver but I thought I was doing a good job. Sure, I have an occasional mom low point but mostly, I thought my mom skills were on point. I tell my kids not to measure themselves against others, and yet, I almost constantly measure my failures against my friend’s perceived triumphs. I tell my girls they are perfect but all I do is see my own flaws. I am parenting the do as I say not as I do way and it’s not what I wanted. Not at all.

Anyways, the girls are, by all accounts, thriving. They play the violin, dance in the city’s ballet youth company, they tap and do jazz, there is gymnastics and cheer and oh, yes, choir plus the grades are always all “A”s but there are no recesses, no playdates, no rest and no down time. Every minute is filled with STUFF and for what? In 12 years, who is going to care if they did all of this? They’re missing experiences and for the first time ever, the report card didn’t show all “A”s. I’m failing my children again. Alert: Mom low point!

I know that is not the end of the world but the thing is it wasn’t because my kids aren’t smart enough, it’s because they simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to their homework because they were so overbooked. They had to miss school for performances and then they got sick because they were so run down. Now, I’m sitting here feeling like the world’s shittiest mom because I let this happen to them. I allowed this perfect storm of disappointment to come into their lives when I’m the one who should have protected them from it.

Friends and family (including the Big Guy) have been telling me for years to cut it back to save myself a headache but I would not relent because it felt selfish. Now, I see that I need to cut things back because it’s too much for them and that’s all it’s ever really been about. So today, I’m getting rid of things in our lives. I’m cutting the fat so that we can enjoy these few years they have left at home. I don’t care if they are not doing all the things.

Parenting today is nothing like when my parents raised me. We did less and they were accountable for less. My God, I grew up in the time of no seatbelts and riding in the back of pick-up trucks. I played outside until the streetlights came on and I walked all over town with my friends, with no cell phone or chip. The goal was graduating high school without going to jail or ending up pregnant or a serial killer. By the standards, my parents did a bang up job. But things are different now, parenting is not about getting by. It’s a measure of your worth as a human being, especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent because if it’s not about the kids…what’s it all been for? That’s not just my own opinion, it’s societies. If you’re a stay-at-home parent and your child is not perfect, you suck. Well, I SUCK.

Some days I feel like I am failing so hard at being a mom but then other days, I feel like I am absolutely killing it. You know those days when everything goes smoothly and no one is throwing a tantrum, stomping or arguing? The days when you are so happy to be their mom that you feel like your heart just might burst wide open. All the terrible mom low points are worth those days. The days when you are driving in the car singing at the top of your lungs and laughing and loving each other so hard that you feel invincible. Those days rock my world. For me, happiness is this.

mom low point, parenting, motherhood, doing your best, parenting fail, judgement

My goal is to be more present, more engaged and focus on moments with my children not all the things or all the benchmarks of what is expected of a “good mom”. I am a good mom. I love my girls. We just got so caught up in doing what was expected of us that we forgot to do what feels best for our family; what actually is best for our family.

Have you ever had a moment in parenting that made you reassess your entire process? What was your mom low point?

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mommy coma,motherhood, coma, parenting

I feel like I’ve been in a mommy coma for the past 10 years. While all of you are trying to find your way back to who you were before you had your kids, I think I’ve spent so much time putting out fires that I forgot to enjoy the last 10 years of motherhood. I know I was there, I saw the photos and I have the wrinkles to prove it. I just wish that I could have actually been in the moment more.

There’s been so much “getting by” that I completely forgot to be present. I’m not sure what suddenly jarred me awake this week. I think it was the funeral Tuesday that reminded me of how temporary life is. Nothing is forever and time is ticking away whether we’re enjoying it or not. I know I can’t be present for every single thing but I want to at least be mentally present for those things I am there for because if not, what’s the point of any of it?

Why am I wasting my time putting out fires and worrying about what other people think my life should look like? I should be having tea parties and soaking in every single second that I am privileged enough to have with these amazing people I get to call my daughters and my husband. I should be creating experiences not worrying about having all the things or capturing the perfect photo. I just want the perfect moment of being there. Life is messy and beautiful and not always picture perfect.

motherhood, coma, parenting, mommy coma

I should be writing from my heart not overthinking things? When did this all happen? Sometime in my coma, I became someone I don’t even recognize. I’ve put myself into a prison cell made up of what I thought my life should look like instead of following my heart and making this life of mine, this world I live in look and feel the way I want it to; the way my daughters deserve. I’m a grown up, I can choose my own way; my own happiness. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to but for some reason, I’ve put these rules and expectations in place of what I think I should be by other people’s standards and not meeting those standards means failure and, anyone who knows me, knows I hate failure.

I’ve been angry disguised as disgruntled by the status quo when really I could just choose to be happy doing more to be the change and talking less; being less filled with angst. Who am I tantruming for anyways? Certainly not my children.

They need me to be their champion not a martyr. I’ve spent so much time trying to teach them to become who I think they should be that I forgot to just listen and appreciate them for exactly who they are because really, they’re pretty fucking great.

I’ve spent years telling them to be who they are and to never let anyone make them into someone else when all the while they were, only I didn’t see it. I was blind in my mom coma trying to make this picture perfect childhood and life, when there is no such thing. There is only happiness. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for them.

Once again in motherhood, as in the rest of my life, I’ve found myself in my own way. I’m the one stopping me. So, I’m reprioritizing. There’s going to be more listening, more laughing and more doing and a lot less talking, and less yelling and being frustrated. I’m letting go a little bit.

The goal is happiness. Period.

How do you avoid the mommy coma and find your happiness?

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There are people who come into our lives and make it better, people who make you want to smile. They might not do anything in particularly special but to you those simple actions; a kind word, a crooked smile or a hand and heart of support make them everything to you. These people matter and when they are gone, the space is empty and the emptiness left in their spot is felt. I’ve known this emptiness: when I lost my uncle Narciso, when I lost my uncle Ramon and when I lost my third pregnancy.

Yesterday, our beloved Monsignor suddenly passed away in his sleep. He had the flu and then, he was gone. We’re all in shock. We’re all in mourning. We don’t understand and it’s hard to accept, as it always is.

You see, he was more than just the leader of our parish, he was like everyone’s favorite Grandfather. He was a genuinely kind man with a smile that put you at ease and made you feel like everything was going to be okay. His voice was comforting and he carried himself in a way that was confident yet humble. He was all of this and more but the thing that I adored about this man the most was the way he loved the children. It was a genuine adoration and fully reciprocated by every single child who attended our school in the past 30 years.

My girls go to Catholic school. I was raised in the Catholic church. Priests have always been a part of my life, my family’s life but never on this level. Growing up, our father was someone who we saw on Sundays. Growing up, the Father of our church was on one level and we were on another. It was not a human relationship, it was more of leader and worshipers. Nothing like our relationship with Monsignor.

My children saw Monsignor almost daily. He was the living, breathing heart of the school. All the students were his children. He’d been at the parish and the school for 30 years, so even the parents were like his children. Most have known them since they were small children and attended the school.

He had a special way of talking to children and adults alike that made them feel special and important. When he did the children’s mass, he always got down on their level and talked to them like they were people. He always listened to what they had to say. He never took himself too seriously.

When I joined the school board a couple years ago, I got to know him on a different level; on a human level and I have to say, I loved him for his humanity. I loved that he was openly fallible and that behind closed doors he could crack jokes and give us a hard time, just like any dad would do. But the thing I will never forget is his smile; that kind and soothing smile that put you at ease and made you feel like no matter what you did wrong, God would forgive you and Monsignor wanted you to know it was all going to be okay. Words cannot convey exactly what I am feeling at the loss of this man, all I know is that there is a hole in my heart where he used to be.

My daughters are gutted. The entire parish family is mourning and it feels like nothing is quite right without him here. He was retiring at the end of this school year but he said that he wanted to stay near his “family”, us, his children, and so he had bought a condominium in the neighborhood behind the school just so he could be near us always and still visit and now he’s dead and all we have left are the memories of him.

We’ve been talking about Monsignor a lot the last couple of days and sharing stories about what we loved the most about him. It’s hard to believe he won’t be giving mass again. He won’t be greeting us with his kind smile and gentle eyes. He won’t be sending us into the world with his reassurance and fatherly love anymore but he will always be in our hearts.

I’d like to believe that, if there is a heaven, he’s there with my uncles having a good time and keeping watch over the baby I never got to hold and one day, I’ll get to see them all again.

Until then, I will miss his smile.

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back to school, first day of school, parenting, girls, letting go

Back to school was not Xanax inducing here. Not this year anyways. Today was the first day of school for my girls. It feels much too early in the summer. It’s the first summer that I wasn’t either ecstatic or sobbing to be left alone. This morning was a peaceful, easy morning.

The girls are at the age where they can do things on their own. They were up and ready before me. They were excited. I was thrilled. Morning drop off went off without a hitch. Completely different from last year’s back to school mental breakdowns.

I walked them in, dropped off supplies and introduced myself to their teachers and left with a kiss goodbye and a hug of appreciation instead of desperation. It was bitter sweet.On one hand, my oldest “baby” is in 6th grade. That’s middle school? How did this happen? I swear I just dropped her off in the kindergarten hallway of death.

I returned home with hot coffee in hand and sat in peaceful quietness in a clean house. Then it happened. I missed my children. As much as we’ve been inseparable this summer, I didn’t think it was even possible.

Back to school is getting easier for them and harder for me.

I missed my tween sleepily walking into the room midmorning only to collapse by my side and snuggle into me as she did all summer. I missed my little one sauntering in with her bedhead and sidling up on the other side of me, kissing me good morning and laying with her feet under my hip as she read a book or watched a show on her iPod. I missed it all. I even missed the tiny voices constantly asking to go to the pool. I just need a few more days; a few more years. 18 years can’t hold all of this love.

Mostly, I missed the fact that those moments are gone for another summer and every summer is one summer closer to no more summers under the same roof. That rips my heart out. I don’t know how to not hate that. I want to consume and digest every moment in tiny bits so that it doesn’t overwhelm me but motherhood is all consuming and, for me, completely overwhelming in the best possible ways.

back to school, first day of school, parenting, girls, letting go

At pick up the car was filled with excited voices telling me how excited they were about the upcoming school year. They were thrilled to connect with old friends and excitedly told me of new ones. Both proclaiming that this is going to be the best school year ever. Both thrilled with their assigned teachers. These moments make my heart happy but I feel the pull away like the slow separation of a Band-Aid from a forgotten wound. It aches beneath the surface like a fresh bruise to my heart.

Our schedule is hectic and crazy and heads into full force next Monday so I plan to wring every single ounce of freedom and togetherness out of our last weekend before the obligatory chaos takes over. I have to believe every second counts and every day is a chance for a new beginning. That has to get me through the letting go.

As we head into this new year of school, I am full of pride. My babies are becoming such phenomenal young ladies. This only makes me want to cleave to them tighter but I loosen my grip because they are not mine at all. They are their own. I am just the blessed woman who got to bring them into the world and gets to spend a little time showing them the way to live in this crazy world. I just hope that I’m doing it right.

How do you deal with the quiet moments of letting go that come with back to school?

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miscarriage, grief, loss, pregnancy after miscarriage

Yesterday, I saw that one of my friends has been posting articles about miscarriage on her Facebook page. Then, I noticed there were more instances where she had shared about this topic. She never said she had one and they were not scholarly or medical articles, they were the kind of articles those of us who have suffered one read. They were the kind of articles we read to make sense of it all. I recognized it because I’ve done the same and written many. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, she’s probably had a miscarriage and I didn’t know. After all, it’s not something you lead with in an introduction or just bring up out of the blue or at all, especially if you’re not a writer. I forget that sometimes.

I sat there staring at the screen blankly, hoping and praying that I hadn’t made any stupid comments or jokes like people have done to me over the years. Like me, she has 2 daughters in close proximity and like me, she’s probably gotten the, “when are you having another one?” or “when are you guys going for the little boy?” I’ve got to say, these questions always killed me just a little bit inside because I knew that we had been pregnant that third time and we miscarried. It stings but what am I going to do, explain to every single person that asks me that I miscarried? Spend the rest of my life being able to do nothing more than cry.

In the first place, it’s not everyone’s business. In the second place, it hurts to talk about it. It’s still a touchy subject for me and I’m not sure it ever won’t be. Some things change you forever. Plus, when I have told people, that still doesn’t guarantee that they won’t say something stupid. I’ve learned that when people are at a loss for what to say, they tend to fill the space with words that they should have kept to themselves. When does this stop hurting?

It’s been 4 years. This November, I should be celebrating a 4th birthday for my youngest but instead, I will remember while everyone else has forgotten. No, I am not allowed that luxury. I can never forget; the feeling of loss, emptiness and sheer loneliness. I’ve never felt so lonely and alone as I did in those first days after my miscarriage. There were people there who tried to help but having my miscarriage felt as though I had been exiled off to a planet of one, everything else was just noise and none of it made sense.

I don’t cry anymore, not usually. I do think of my lost baby almost daily. If I see a child the age he/she would be or a family with three children or see my youngest with one of her younger cousins. Or when I see our last name and realize that my husband is the end of his line. I still feel like a failure like I did in those first few days.

That’s one of the worst parts of a miscarriage, feeling like your body failed you and betrayed the life you were supposed to bring forth into the world.

I’ve talked about this to my husband and I don’t think he understands exactly what I went through when I lost our baby. For him, I lost a child that never was. For me, I lost the child that could have been; that already was. That loss broke me forever. I have not been the same. I used to feel like God himself betrayed me. This betrayal scarred me too much to ever try again. I knew then and I know now that I cannot survive the pain of a new loss. I’ve still not recovered from the last time.

People who haven’t had the misfortune of losing a child have said the most unthinkable things to me like… “there must have been something wrong with the baby”, “it must not have been meant to be” and, the absolute worst, “in a way, aren’t you relieved?” And the ever popular, “one of these days when you go to heaven, you’ll get to hold your baby.” I know the intention is well but have you ever thought for one moment that the possibility of holding a child in heaven is a poor substitute for getting to hold him/her everyday here on earth? Every time I’ve heard any of these comments, I’ve had to choke back the tears and stifle my rage. Why would you ever say these things to someone, especially a grieving mother? And no, there is no time limit on grief. I can’t just get over it.

Which brings me back to why I wrote this piece in the first place, I pray I never ask any woman who experienced a loss when she is going to try for that next baby (because I probably have without knowing it). I know how even the mention of a new baby after a loss feels like a kick to the guts and I never want to be the person who kicks another mom when she’s down. The scary truth is that we don’t get over it, ever. Getting pregnant again, for some of us, is unthinkable and, for others, one of the scariest things we will ever face.

And to all the moms who have lost their babies, I don’t know when it stops hurting or when we get to stop feeling like a raw nerve, maybe never, but I’m here and I’ve been where you are. I see you. I know the hurt that lives in your heart and I am sorry that any of us ever had to know this reality. All we can do is keep living each day and carrying our lost babies hearts in our hearts. They were here. You are their mothers, forever and for always.

This is my truth about miscarriage.

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how to deal with kids being home all summer, parenting, the truth about parenting, life, truth, suummer

I need your advice on how to deal with kids being home all summer? Yesterday, I was having a “poppin Xanax like they’re tic tacs” sort of day. Not really, but that’s definitely how I’ve been feeling. You know when you just feel like things are too much and swallowing you whole? Not in a depressed sort of a way. For me it’s a wheels spinning, engine stuck in neutral sort of feeling. It’s frustrating and emotionally exhausting. It makes me feel out of control and anyone who knows me, knows that I do not do well with feeling out of control. I’m like a heat seeking missile when it comes to this sort of situation, I will seek out control to the detriment of all else. Thankfully, I can feel myself amping up; the crazy has been kicked up a notch.

I’ve been “on” for about 2 weeks straight and I am in desperate need of some quiet alone time. Quick, someone send me to a corner for a timeout. We’ve been constantly busy this summer and I’ve been sandwiched in between my mom and my children, all three talking incessantly about nothing at all while I try to squeeze in deadlines around the fringes by waking up at the ass crack of dawn (I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning) and staying up way past midnight. The pretzels are making me thirsty!!!

I just want to be alone with my thoughts and get a furlough from this insanity that is my life. I’m feeling on edge and increasingly annoyed by things like loose hairs and the sound of people chewing their food. Is it wrong to want some peace? Just five minutes to myself or alone time with the Big Guy.

how to deal with kids being home all summer, parenting, the truth about parenting, life, truth, suummer

The constant chatter is waning on my nerves. I want to yell, blow shit up and go away but I can’t because that’s just not what one’s supposed to do (after the age of 2) in these situations plus where would I go? Everywhere I turn, there I am right smack dab in the middle of a shit sandwich with nowhere to go. I feel like I’m about to be eaten alive by it all.

I can’t even tune out mindlessly to television because inevitably someone will want to “talk”. For some reason, they feel the need to fill every second of silence with words. I just want to hear my own thoughts. The long sighs and exasperation in their breathing is becoming more than I can take. I’m beginning to feel like I’m failing every expectation and being rushed to nowhere. Case in point, yesterday afternoon they got ready to go someplace and decided to go wait in the car for me before I was even dressed. No pressure there.

I just need someone to tell me how to deal with kids being home all summer.

I realize that it sounds like I’m complaining when I should just be enjoying the summer with my family but the point is that even though they are “off”, I am not. I love them and I love seeing their beautiful little faces every day but they are making the mom guilt hit me hard. Inferiority is creeping it’s ugly little head into my mothering gig.

But then there are other moments when I hear my girls laughing hysterically as they jump on the trampoline with their friends, or we’re lying on the grass reading the BFG together under the summer trees or I get to enjoy wine slushies with my mom at a baseball game on a perfect June afternoon.

how to deal with kids being home all summer, parenting, the truth about parenting, life, truth, suummer

I still have work to be done and deadlines to be met. I need to find a balance. The only thing summer break means for me is that I’m working double time and a half with no sleep and my house is always full of extra people and if it isn’t I have two children on repeat telling me how bored they are and asking when can we go to the pool. Never, I want to yell. We can never go to the pool. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get the neighborhood email about the pool closure due to a “fecal accident” because I knew the kids wouldn’t touch that pool with a ten foot pole for at least a week. I was wrong, it was only a day and they were ready to wade in shit just to get to the clubhouse.

To make life even more strenuous, my youngest has a raging case of hypochondria. We know that we can’t watch movies where people or pets die but I made the mistake of forgetting that every sickness or health crisis she hears about or sees in a movie or reads in a book, she immediately believes that she has. This child doesn’t even know what WebMD is, heaven help us all when she finds out.

Last week, we watched Miracles from Heaven. I thought, happy ending and miracles should be fine. I loved it even though I sobbed through most of it because as a mother, I know the unrecoverable kick to the gut that watching a child you love suffer delivers. Unfortunately, my 9-year-old took away not the miracle of God’s healing powers as the moral of the story but instead, got it into her mind that she too must have a motility issue and it could be fatal, or maybe she’d get it later, or maybe one day, her child would be born and develop it.

It might sound funny. You might be chuckling. But I assure you, when your child is that sure that they are dying it is simultaneously heartbreaking and infuriating, when nothing is wrong. I’ve been trying to comfort her and assuage her fears. I tell her nothing is wrong but I understand her fears, then I assure her that I am taking note of how she is feeling and I will always take care of her. Then, I feel guilty for not taking her to the hospital immediately but we’ve been here before so I do my best. My nights are sleepless, my mom brain and heart are at battle and I’m torn between wanting to coddle her and wanting to shake her. In the end, I usually end up biting my tongue and just cuddling with her until she falls asleep. It might not be the best answer but it comforts her and eventually, her little mind lets go of the idea that people die.

I think I’m just tired, exhausted really. I need rest. A nap could probably do wonders for me right now. Is summer supposed to feel like a prison sentence? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all been bad. We’ve enjoyed a week of lots of fun memories being made together but yesterday just sucked. It happens.

I was looking so forward to this summer and it was going brilliantly and then it just wasn’t. The thing is I know that if it were just me and the kids, it would be awesome but as soon as you add to it any extra people, places or plans it becomes a chore. I don’t want my summers with my children to be a chore. There are so few left that they will be living here. I know the next few years will fly by, they always do. I want to soak up the goodness not want to drown my sorrows in Xanax and silence. So, I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning to get work done so that I can deliriously enjoy the rest of the day being furiously happy with the people I love most in this world, my daughters, my mother and the Big Guy. Wish me luck and health, patience and perspective.

It’s not all been bad. I’ve really enjoyed having my kids and my mom here to see the first thing in the morning and the last thing I see before I fall to sleep but every day can’t be awesome, some days just suck. But then there are moments like this when being there mom makes me happier than I deserve to be.

how to deal with kids being home all summer, parenting, the truth about parenting, life, truth, suummer

 

Don’t mom shame me, just leave a comment below and tell me how to deal with kids being home all summer.

 

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signs of miscarriage, miscarriage symptoms, causes of miscarriage, grief, sadness, loss, miscarriage, lost baby, how to carry on after a miscarriage

Lost baby. No crying. You’re lost to me. Helpless, my only option to carry on. 4 years ago today, I lost my world as I knew it and what was to become of it. My life was shattered into a million pieces and scattered to the wind, blown around the universe like a zillion tiny particles of air. But with all that “air” blowing around, for the life of me, I couldn’t breathe all I could do was cry for my lost baby. I cried until I no longer had any tears. I cried until I felt numb. I cried until I felt like an empty shell of who I was.

I couldn’t speak. Words failed me. They formed at machine gun speed in my broken mind but got caught in my throat and I nearly choked to death on them, right there in the parking lot of my OB, again in my bed and for several months following. The emotional time bombs of grief that come with a mother’s loss blew up beneath my feet and left me in tattered, bloody parts; strewn far and wide.

All I could do, while witnessing the end of my world, was fall to my knees, howl at the world and sob inconsolably at the inhumanity that the world had thrust upon me. I could not draw breath in the fog of my sadness; I suffocated beneath the weight of loss a little more with each passing breath I took. Each time more painful; crueler.

They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle but I felt as if God gave me so much more credit than I deserved.
The entire world came crashing head on at me and I was stunned, dumbfounded and all I could do was wait to see if I could withstand the impact. I braced myself and prayed for swift death.

I’m not meant to survive this sort of blow. It’s too much. I didn’t even want to come out the other end because I knew, in that one moment, I would never be the same. I would be changed forever and there is no coming back from that. There is only surviving and that’s not the same as living, as you were.

For months, there was only sobbing and darkness. Solitude and Vicodin were my only comfort. I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up, I wanted to fade into forever because I was no longer any good to anyone. What good is a mother without her child? What is a childless mother? This was not how nature intended it.

Lost baby.

In the mirror, all I saw was pain and loneliness. All that I could feel was overwhelming anger and bitterness. I was in the deepest recesses of hell and no one could reach me, save for my living children. Like a tether to life, like a far off whisper begging me to step back from that ledge. I had one foot here and one foot in another world, lingering in the loss. All I wanted to do was step off that ledge.

I couldn’t make out where I belonged. All I knew is that it hurt to breath. It was torture to exist. I wanted to die. I deserved to be dead. I didn’t deserve to live. I had failed my child.

I don’t know if I’ve ever said that out loud but it’s how I felt. How could I live, knowing the child growing inside me had died? A part of my soul had died. The best part of me ceased to exist. I felt worthless and worse, undeserving to even love the children I had because in losing one, I had failed them all.

It still hurts; not every day and not always. But I feel like I’ve spent the past 4 years changing and hiding in the shadows; afraid the sadness would find me and inflict it’s cruel punishment once again. The grief is too unbearable.

But I hear my daughters laughing and something inside me, tells me that I deserve to know this happiness. I don’t have to feel guilty for living and loving these girls because it’s not wrong to go on living for them. It’s not wrong to feel pride, unconditional love and overwhelming gratitude for the gift of motherhood. I deserve to be here and it doesn’t diminish the loss because I’ve been able to carry on when once all I could do was cry.

I think of my baby that I lost, every single day. I am mother to three children. If I’m lucky, I get another 50 years on this earth with my girls and then, I look forward to finally meeting the child I never got to hold but have always loved just as much as I do my other two. One day, we will all be together and I deserve to live, to thrive, until that day because my children deserve nothing less; I deserve nothing less.

As long as I can draw breath into my body, I will love you always my lost baby.

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gynecological misadventure, gynecological visit, mammogram, pregnancy, miscarriage, fibroids, mammogram, menopause, millenials

A gynecological misadventure is never fun, especially when they involve surprises and words like fibroids, pregnancy, menopause, miscarriage and mammogram all in the same visit. Last week, I had my “yearly” exam and mammogram because women’s reproductive health is my jam. And, I discovered the meaning of life or at least solved one of life’s great mysteries, why women start getting mammograms at 40 and not 25.

As the mammogram tech, the same lady who did my first mammogram last year, gingerly fondled my breast as she positioned and repositioned my very pliable breasts I realized, had I not given birth, breastfed and subsequently fallen victim to gravity, there is no way that she could maneuver my breasts into this machine. Mammograms are not a young woman’s game. Then I laughed because I remembered that I used to be known for my breasts and my legs. How’s that for irony? Broken and Broken. Check and Check.

Pert breasts could never do what these ever so gracefully aged, slightly used breasts can do. No way my 25 year old tits cold be placed into a machine as an entity in and of itself, separate from my body, as if I could remove them.., place them in the machine, walk out of the room and come back after pressing the imaging button. No way!!

Mature breasts have lived more and while they may be slowly creeping into my armpits because my hatred of bras has increased almost as much as my newfound love of full-coverage panties, they still have some life in these old girls… even if they are 3 inches lower than they used to be. You know the story, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

I thought my advanced maternal aged” pregnancy at 31 made me feel old, well… you can imagine what being referred to 3 times (by 3 different medical professionals) as menopausal at “my age” made me feel like?

It was like suddenly my lady bits dried out, shriveled up, got arthritis and no longer functioned. I felt old, like my uterus suddenly needed a walking cane. Like the fruit that were my loins had suddenly rotted on the vine. Hey ladies… Don’t you worry about my bits, they’re working just fine, every 28 days just like clockwork and my ovulation could give any 27-year-old a run for her money. The shark week force is still strong with this one. 

The gynecological inner workings of my lady bits were insulted and then my ego was grievously injured. Shot through the uterus. Menopausal? Jesus! Had my moisturizer stopped working? This was more embarrassing than the fu man chu incident of 2005!

I knew this exam was different because for the first time in my lifetime, the doctor didn’t have to grab for the world’s deepest speculum, you know the one that feels like my uterus is in my throat? Nope she was able to use the “regular” speculum, just like she uses on everyone else. Whomp whomp. In a weird way I took pride in that crazy deep cervix of mine, it made me feel special like a gynecological unicorn but alas, now I am “average”.

I balked. “Wait? Is something wrong down there?” My doctor, whose sense of humor is just as randy as my own, replied, ” No, sometimes this just happens to women when they get “old”. Their uterus begins to fall.”

Not “older” that bitch said “old” and then she giggled, signaling to me that she was in fact giving me a hard time. I mean, I’m not Michelle Duggar, my uterus should be firmly in place and this lady wants to play Chicken Little with jokes about my uterus falling! Did I mention she’s only 3 years younger than me? Hey now!

Luckily, she quickly followed that by, “It’s hormonal. At different times of the month it can feel differently.” That didn’t give me any relief. And then while doing the physical exam, she gave me the head tilt and ” Hmmm?” Not a combo I like to see at my doctor’s visit.

Wait! What’s going on? Is my fucking uterus actually falling? Nope, she followed with this, ” Well, your uterus feels about the size of a 10-12 week pregnant uterus.”

Dumbfounded.

Silence.

Silence.

Gynecological misadventure number 1; possible pregnancy.

If you thought an accidental pregnancy at almost 40 was scary, you can’t even imagine what one today would do to me.Whispering as all the color and blood rushed from my face, “What? I’m not pregnant! Am I?” I hoped she had the defibrillator near by. Obviously being “menopausal and of the reproductive age of retirement ” I was going to have a heart attack any second now. Then, my brain, “Booyah bitches! Who you calling menopausal now?” Strangely, momentarily, I felt reproductively vindicated.

Wait? Was I one of those morons who didn’t know they were pregnant until they went into labor? 147 IQ, you failed me. Oh God, senility is setting in, maybe I am menopausal?

Then she tilted her head the other way and said, “Hmmm” again as she manhandled my uterus.., “Nope! Have you been having regular periods? When was your last one?”

Gynecological misadventure number 2; a possible miscarriage!

“26 days ago. I’m starting again on Thursday.” In my brain, ” oh dear Jesus, I’ve had a miscarriage again.” Holding back tears, saying a rosary in my head.

More uterine fondling, this time it felt personal. She tilted her head back in the other direction, “Hmmmmm, nope!”

Silence

Silence

Waiting

Jeopardy music playing in my head.

“Probably just fibroids!”

Just fibroids?” Que loca? There’s no such thing as just tumors in your uterus.

“Just tell the front desk to schedule you for a ultrasound and we’ll take a look next time.”

Gynecological misadventure number 3; cancer?

I tilted my head, “Hmmmm, Nope!”  I suddenly staged a sit in of one. I refused to leave the building without knowing whether I was dying or not. Damn you webmd. Just like the 108-degree bronchitis fever incident in 2009. I’ll sit here forever. I’ve got nothing but time, lady. She knows that I’m was just crazy enough to do it.

Needless to say, I was seen immediately for my transvaginal ultrasound. Suddenly, I found myself pantless in stirrups having trouble breathing. Then I remembered the last time I was in this room, on this table, I was told, ” I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat.” The day that all I could do was cry.

Gynecological misadventure number 4; fibroids?

As a middle-aged tech, at least 10 years my senior explained to me that fibroids are common in women who are “menopausal” I nearly lost my shit. If only I could breathe. Then she showed them to me, my fibroids. All 3 of them. I had gotten my first one with Bella, a second with Gabs and I’m assuming a third with the pregnancy I lost. I wanted a tattoo to commemorate the baby I lost but instead, I got fibroids as a parting gift.

So, I go upstairs and wait to see my doctor again. She confirms that I’ve got the fibroids (guess its better than hemorrhoids?) but it’s nothing to worry about. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I quietly asked her the question that we’re all dying to know the answer to, “Am I menopausal?”

Gynecological misadventure number 5; menopause?

She giggled, no hmmm or head tilt this time, “No, you have no symptoms and you are still regularly menstruating and ovulating. Some women do start the process at 35, though. But no, you’re not menopausal.”

I felt like she should have handed me a damn t-shirt saying as much. I felt reproductively spry. Then, I gave her a hug bye and said, “Can you pass the word along to the rest of your staff and… I’ll take that referral for a vasectomy for my husband now. You know since obviously, I’m still fab, fit and fertile!” My uterus is a millennial even if my breasts are looking middle-age ish these days. Damn you breastfeeding.

And we both laughed.

Have you ever suffered a gynecological misadventure or (any doctor for that matter) and how did you handle it?

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Revo alcomate, DUI, how to avoid a DUI, breathalyzer

Have you ever heard of Revo AlcoMate? Neither had I until I was recently sent one to review but now, I can’t believe everyone doesn’t have one. It’s a simple, easy way to keep ourselves safe this summer during all the fun and celebrations.

Summer is right around the corner. You can already feel the electricity in the air.  It happens every year, the weather warms up and the atmosphere is instantly charged. It’s like we can’t help ourselves; we need to celebrate the sunshine. We are happy for no reason and then we become our most primal selves.

I love summer. I love being outside. I love barbeques with family. I love a frosty cocktail after a long afternoon of yard work or playing with the kids. I love the beach, the lake and the pool and exploring on new adventures in undiscovered places. I love late nights with friends around a campfire. I’ve been known to involuntarily dance and smile like a simpleton. I can’t even control it. Doesn’t everyone feel that way when the birds are singing, the world is blooming, the sky is blue and the sun is shining bright in the sky? Summer is the best.

There are a million different music festivals, fairs, and outdoor concerts. There’s baseball and fireworks and beach nights and do you know what comes with all of this? Alcohol. Maybe not for everyone but for a lot of us, summer celebrations go hand-in-hand with sitting on a deck somewhere enjoying a glass of wine, a frosty beer or sipping on an ice cold cocktail. There’s no shame in it. I think most of us learned in college that alcohol makes things a little more fun. Or maybe it makes us a little more relaxed so that we can enjoy our lives.

I don’t think most of us need it but a lot of us like it to be part of our summer ritual. We consume in moderation, or if you’re like me, almost nothing at all. Not because I have anything against alcohol, in fact, in college I was a big fan. Just ask anyone who knew me back then. They would be shocked to know I’m not a falling down drunk these days.

The thing is that once I got pregnant, I obviously didn’t drink. Then there was breastfeeding and then I became this responsible person, the one my mom said to always make sure that you’re wearing clean undies in case you were ever in an accident. Well, I wanted to have a clear mind in case my child ever needed me during the night or there was an emergency. There just didn’t seem like there was anything worth me not being mentally available and alert at all times; spoken from my high horse of 11 long years of parenthood.

Anyways, at this point, I’ve mostly just lost my taste for it. I do still want and have drinks on occasion but it always seems to be predicated on something else happening. For instance, I ‘ll have a drink once the kids go to sleep but by the time they go to bed, I’m too tired to pour my glass. But a few times a year, the Big Guy and I get an overnight baby sitter (grandma, I’m looking at you) and we head out on a date night and return to a kid-free home. On those nights, I have drinks because I can actually enjoy them.

This weekend will be one of those such occasions. The Big Guy and I will be heading to our local RockNBrew Fest! That’s my gift to him for our 17th wedding anniversary. He is a big craft beer fan so we’re going to a fest with 150 different beers to sample. He’s very excited and so am I, just to be out as an adult but we’re responsible so, tucked away discreetly in my purse will be the portable AlcoMate Revo breathalyzer. This way if the Big Guy consumes too many samples, we can check his blood alcohol level before ever getting behind the wheel and aside from keeping us safe and out of jail, it could be saving someone else’s life. The technology behind the product makes it the most accurate of any commercial breathalyzer.

Revo alcomate, DUI, how to avoid a DUI, breathalyzer

This Revo AlcoMate really is ingenious.

I wish I would have had one in college, luckily I walked everywhere so I didn’t get into too much trouble, other than the occasional wipe out on the walk home. The AlcoMate Revo have replaceable sensors, which means they never have to be sent in to be replaced, can always be manually re-calibrated, have a longer lifespan and can be returned to day-one accuracy. The AlcoMate Revo is so reliable, in fact, that they’re the only breathalyzers trusted by the Marines and the Navy. I think these should be standard issue in every single car and maybe there should be a fail switch that if you don’t pass your breathalyzer, your car stops running?

Anyways, like my mom always says, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” So wouldn’t it make more sense that we have access to a Revo Alcomate because then we could all make the road’s safer by just taking an Uber or a cab instead of “hoping” we were sober enough to drive. We would know.

My point is that I never even thought about owning my own breathalyzer before but the Revo Alcomate has proven to be invaluable when it comes to all the summer time outdoor parties and such. Simply do everything in moderation and always check your alcohol content before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle; its against the law and it’s dangerous.

What do you think of the idea of owning a personal breathalyzer like Revo Alcomate?

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