Monday, September 5, 2016

A Love Story

Hi everyone!

It's been a while.

In fact it has been long enough to create a human.

That's right.  

Shortly following writing my previous post... the one where I ended a relationship just as it was starting...I found out I was pregnant.

Yep. Forty years old.  Single.  Working on my activity and commitment to my church.  AND PREGNANT.

Instantly my life changed.  

I wish I could say I handled the news well.  I wish I could say I was all excitement and joy.  That is not my reality.  I was ashamed.  I was full of fear.  I was confused.  Broken. Alone. There were moments I felt excitement.  The thrill of having another child was something I had only dreamed of, especially in my situation.  

What I am about to share is the reality for me.  It is a true love story.  Not in a typical sense.  This story could have ended very differently.  There are those that may not understand this journey.  They don't have to.  This is my journey.  There are those that will relate.  There are those that will understand.  I write this for them.  

The news of my pregnancy sent me into a panic.  The darkness that has plagued me from time to time began to descend again.  It didn't take long to grab hold.  I found myself placing a call to Planned Parenthood.  I asked about my options.  Options that are not in agreement with my personal beliefs.  I am not saying what I believe is right for anyone else.  I am only saying what is right for me.  I had the appointment.  I wasn't going to tell anyone.  If I didn't tell anyone about my pregnancy and I went to  the appointment, then no one would ever have to know. Yet, I knew I would know. 

Luckily, there was also something telling me this wasn't right.  I wrestled at night with the darkness. On one hand I tried to tell myself this would be the easier choice.  Easier.  That word kept staying with me.  Easier on who?  I couldn't do it. I truly believe one day there will be an accounting.  I will face that spirit that I did not allow to come to earth and I knew he would ask me one question.  WHY?  How could I tell him I couldn't bring him to earth because I was afraid of what people would think if me?  My fear of what others would think of me led me to end his life before it began.  I didn't go to my appointment. Instead I text my previous therapist.  I hadn't seen him in a while.  

I don't remember exactly what I sent him.  Although it was something to the effect of, "I am pregnant and it is getting very dark very fast."  He responded by telling me I need to get into a therapist right away and that I needed to go to someone that shared my same beliefs.  He knew in my state I could be easily influenced.  He knew the world could see my situation and offer a solution that made everything go away.

The short story is that I got in with an amazing therapist.  He understood my dark.  He helped me understand choices and temptations.  We discussed weakness.  We discussed strength.  He shared with me that my worth does not change because of this.  He had my Bishop (leader of my faith community) come to one of my sessions.  The three of us worked through my fears, my shame and my joy.  I won't share all the details of those conversations.  I will tell you, I felt nothing but love.  There was no judgement.  There was no scolding or chastising.  There was no discussion of consequences,  Only love.  Concern.  Support.  

The next few weeks were a roller coaster of emotions for me.  We are into March.  The kids and I went to Florida for Spring Break.  Pregnancy hits my body hard and fast.  I was already having morning sickness and fatigue.  I told my kids while were on vacation.  Once we returned home I had to tell my parents.  It was Easter Sunday.  Again I won't go into all the details of the conversation except to say that again I came away with only love.  Obviously concern.  Mostly there was love and support. My dad shared with my siblings (with my approval) that were present that evening.  There was shock but always love and support.  

The next day I went to my sister.  Although there are 14 of us kids, I am not exceptionally close to many of them.  I would like to be.  This one sister has been the most involved in my life. Again, only support, concern and love.  She also stated, "It's a baby.  A baby is a miracle, a gift, no matter."  Another sister I called on the phone.  She also only focused on the gift that was coming.  

I write about all this only to share that never did I find a negative response or a harsh word from someone I shared my story with.  Yes, I did get a few bizarre text messages from acquaintances that heard through the grapevine.  However, from those around me never has there been yuck.  The yuck I experienced was all internal.

It took me quite a while to balance my emotions.  One, as sick as I was the first 16 weeks it was hard to be happy about anything.  I could barely function the nausea and vomiting was so bad. Second, I had this terrible shame to deal with.  It was completely self induced.  Early on I went to dinner with a friend.  At this point I had not told my family.  I'm not sure if I had even been to see the therapist yet.  I know I had decided to not go to my appointment with Planned Parenthood.  As we sat and talked things out I shared with her just how big I felt this burden was going to be to get through.  She said to me, "Sometimes our greatest burdens become our greatest blessings." I hung to these words.  They sustained me when the dark tried to creep in.  

Over time I started to share my news with people.  Somehow I always felt like I had to apologize to them for my situation.  It was exhausting.  I realize they didn't ask for an apology or any justification.  I just felt I had to offer it.  Eventually I stopped wanting to share my happy news for each time I shared I felt I had to offer all this other background instead of just saying, "Hey, I am pregnant."  So many would tell me not to feel that way.  Never did anyone demand an explanation.  It was all my own projecting.  I wanted to just share my joy. Instead I kept stealing from it.  Until . . .

I was seeing my midwife for a checkup visit.  It was maybe the second time I was able to hear the heartbeat.  The midwife was searching for the sound and while it was probably only a split second, there was a little bit of time before she could find it.  In that moment, that felt like eternity, all my shame, fear, regret, and justification went away.  It was in that moment I faced the idea that my child may be gone.  Fear of facing people with my truth was replaced with the fear of losing him (in my heart I already knew it was a him).  Time stopped.  I closed my eyes as they filled with tears.  I said a silent prayer that he would not be taken from me.  Nothing else mattered.  It all came into perspective in that moment.  Bring on the looks.  Bring on the questions.  Bring on the judgement.  I didn't care.  In that moment it became so suddenly clear that he was all that mattered.  Then she found the heartbeat.  And with that I got past my shame.  It was a beautiful turning point for me.

There is something else I want to share.

I have known this boy was coming for a while.  Never would I have imagined it this way but I did know.

When I was married to the father of my girls, we had planned to have two children.  I already had three.  We had our Olaya and were planning to get pregnant again relatively soon.  That all came to an end when Olaya was 9 months old and he called home from the oil field to inform me he had a girlfriend in the town he was based out of.  My marriage ended.  My staying home to raise my children ended.  The idea that I was going to have another child did not go away.  Over the years I would question Heavenly Father in my prayers why he did not take this desire away from me if there was no way for me to fulfill it.  I finally found comfort in knowing another child didn't mean I was to be pregnant.  It could easily mean adoption (I had done that once already as a single parent).  It could mean a step-child if I was to ever marry again.  Over time I allowed that desire to live in the background of my thoughts.  I knew one day I would have another child call me mother.  

Jump to October of 2015.  Don't think I am strange.  I have been closely linked to my role as a mother on a spiritual level,  I have always known the gender of my children before an ultrasound gave us the official result.  When my grandmother passed away I was comforted to know my next child would be a girl and she would carry the name of my grandmother. These promptings were never wrong.  So when I received the prompting in October I didn't get all that surprised.  The distinct notion came to me that I needed to prepare because HE was coming.  This prompting came multiple times.  At the time I was not actively doing foster care.  I had asked to only provide respite for other foster families.  In my mind it meant there was a little boy needing me through foster care.  Sure enough, soon came a call that a three year old boy needed a home and possible adoption.  I figured this was just the playing out of my prompting.  

The thing was, this sweet little boy came to me and I never felt he was truly mine.  When my daughter was placed in my arms at 10 months old, I instantly knew we were only being reunited.  I knew we had been together before this life.  I never felt she was mine, I knew I belonged to her.  Her officially adoption only made right what had been in place from the beginning.  As much as I wanted to love this little boy, I never had similar feelings for him.  Something just didn't feel quite right.  I could easily love him.  That was never the question.  Deep down I knew he was the son of another.  As it tuns out, there was a relative that had been fighting for him since the first day he was taken into foster care.  So what was I to do with this feeling that I was to get ready for my son to come?  End of February I find out I am pregnant.  I knew the child was a boy.  I sensed it from day one.  As we searched for names I could only settle on boy names.  Not a single girl name stood out.  Funny thing was I would have wanted a girl.  I already had girl clothes and girl things.  Yet, I knew the little one growing inside me was a boy.  I knew before I was ever even pregnant.

I can tell you that today, I wouldn't change a thing.  Back in February I would not have set out for this path.  Now that I am on this journey, I wouldn't change a thing.  I have been so richly blessed in so many ways.  I feel this boy inside me move and I am thrilled and anxious for the day I get to meet him.  He picked me to be his mother.   The magnitude of that blessing is not lost on me.  The emotional and spiritual journey I have taken because of him has brought me to a beautiful place.  Our story tells me there is something at work greater than myself.  I shouldn't have gotten pregnant.  It took me three years to get pregnant with my first child.  With my age, my fertility rate should be lower.  With my weight, my fertility rate should be lower.  Yes, I do know how babies are created.Yes, that did happen.  I just know, this was part of the bigger plan all along.  

So there you have it.  I am now 32 weeks pregnant.  My due date is November 1.  I am shooting for mid October as two of my pregnancies came two weeks early and one came one week early.  Hoping Mateo Antonee will follow the example of his siblings.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Rock Bottom

I have a feeling that much of what I am about to say will come out as word vomit.  Warning you now so that you don't regret jumping on this crazy train after you read this.

The last few months I have been working on my physical health.  Through encouragement, self determination and plain loathing for my current physical state, I have been getting in more workouts.  My food plan is high protein/low carb/high fat.  While I know this plan works for my body, I have not been consistent with sticking with it.
In addition, I have been battling something spiritually and emotionally.  While some of what I will touch on is based on my religion, please understand these are my choices.  No one is forcing me.  This is who I am and where I want to be . . . spiritually. 
A couple months ago, right around Thanksgiving, I committed to my faith and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  With this has come many beautiful blessings.  It is what I have wanted for a very long time.  In addition, by getting baptized I committed to abstain from a few things.
Ok.  This part is super hard.  So much doubt, confusion and even some anger is settling in right now.  Typing this out is bringing tears with each keystroke. 
This is my truth.  I wish no harm to my family of friends that may take offense of be taken back by what I am sharing.  This is my story.  I can't hide from it.
As a teen I was always a little over weight.  Nearing my sixteenth birthday I distinctly remember my mother saying to me how happy she was it would be my sweet sixteenth and never been kissed.  Well, this wasn't the case at all.  I had kissed boys.  Then there was another conversation that I remember her telling me that she was grateful I was a little heavy because it had kept the boys away during my teen dating years.  This came after a conversation about some neighborhood girls that had gotten pregnant very young or were causing their parents stress due to their dating and boy crazy behaviors. 
The thing was...I had lots of male attention.  I had been kissed.  Much more than just kissed.  I never went without a boyfriend.  Yet somehow in my mind I associated being fat with being less desirable to the other gender.  Never would I begin to imagine my mother meant harm from her comment.  I know her reading this will not sit well.  She never meant harm.  I believe she was really meaning to say she was happy with my choices during the beginning of high hormone years.  Yet, my mind has held to that comment to this day. 
The thing is I have struggled my entire life with seeking validation through physical.  It is my way to feel loved, valued and of worth.  It is the way I show love. Touch is my language.  So without getting into to much detail, my membership in my faith was taken away because of actions of immorality.  Basically I have had sex and not been married.
Fast I am trying (like I have never tried before) to stay morally clean as I work to return to the temple. Somehow my mind interprets that as eat everything in sight because the boys will stay away if I am heavy.
There... I said it.  It is like deep down I feel if I can only get heavy enough I will no longer be a temptation to men and I can move forward with my desire to stay morally clean.  YES! I see all the flaws in that thinking.  One, no matter how heavy I have been, I have never lacked male attention. Two, it takes all the power and gives it to someone else.  
The crazy part is all these negative thoughts are happening at the same time I am working so hard to change my health.  Workouts.  Following a food plan.  Reading from personal development. 
It is enough to make me crazy.  My weight has continued to go up since the day I got baptized.  This piece of me does not trust that I can make choices that are in balance with my spiritual choices so I am self-sabotaging with food and gaining weight to become undesirable. 
I can't keep doing this.  This crazy train has to stop and I want off.  I have to find a place where I am okay taking care of my body physically (workouts, losing weight, looking and feeling good) and be able to move forward to my spiritual goals.  I want to look and feel strong and beautiful and be able to move forward with attending the temple.
And another thing....this isn't keeping the boys away.  They keep coming.  So why am I doing this to myself? 

I am aware this won't happen overnight.  I know my way of thinking has been with me for so long that it will take daily work to change it.  I am willing to do the work.  My silence the last little while has been me working through all this.  I have had to understand it to a point that I could even begin to say the words and speak my truth.    

Today is a new day.  It's my rock bottom. 
This day started with me letting a male suitor know that I wasn't interested in pursuing a relationship with him any further (actually told him as I was in the middle of writing this).  His attention and assertive actions to be with me were highly attractive.  That is where it ended.  My old way of thinking would be to allow this relationship to continue while I contorted myself to what he needed and never once asking for what I needed.  I can't do that anymore.  My value doesn't come from the man that stands beside me.  In fact it doesn't come from the absence of someone beside me.  My value is based on me.  I am finally understanding this fully.

I can find a place where my physical, emotional and spiritual goals are met. I wish pursuing one didn't mean a struggle in another.  Such is my life.  The one thing I can say is that I am not quitting.

This morning I came across a picture I posted to Facebook on this day three years ago.  I'm fighting to be her again.  That girl was fighting.  I will get back to that point and push further.  I have done it once.  I will do it again.
Okay, just a glimpse in my I type this my two littles have now joined me.  They are spraying my hair with water, combing it soft and putting crazy ponytails in it.  I think I am done being introspective for now.
Time to get after this day.
Remember, I stated at the beginning this post was a little unorganized.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I'm Not So Good At Letting Go

A few years ago I went on trip to a place that quickly captured my heart. The things I saw...the things I felt...the things I shared...the person I shared them with.  Every moment was breathtaking.  The landscape consumed all my senses.  Leaving broke my heart.  The one thing I took with me was this little piece of baked clay from a local shop filled with pieces created by local artists.  Not exactly sure what it was, I used it as a jewelry dish in my bedroom.  Since the day I returned home, every time I saw that dish my thoughts were taken back to the short time I spent in that beautiful place and the person I shared it with. 
Image Credit Here
Over time, memory of that experience began to blur.  Time has a way of changing, distorting and allowing us to forget.  Promises made.  Promises broken.
In addition, objects brake.  One day my dish dropped from my grasp.  I was holding it.  Then....I wasn't. It fell right out of my hands.  I couldn't stop it.  I watched it happen.  There was nothing I could do to keep the dish whole.
As I picked up the pieces, I swore I would glue it back together.  I would fix it.  I could do this.  As I collected the pieces off the floor it was easy to see how they fit back together.  With the right glue and extra care, I was determined to have my special dish back to normal.
However, that's not what happened.  I never bought the glue.  The broken pieces got lost.  I kept using my dish.  Every day remembering the happy time and happy place when it became mine.  I held on. I justified that even in this broken state, the dish still held value.  It still had a purpose.  Yes, it did. It still worked to some degree.  I could still place my rings and necklace in the dish each night and retrieve them each morning. Although now, I wasn't reminded of that happy place.  Each time I looked at my dish I thought of the broken.  I felt it every single time.  The thing that once reminded me of joy, now reminded me of what I once had. 
And still I kept that dish.
Until now

I kept holding on.  What purpose is served to remind myself every day of what once was or what was once promised?  How does that move me forward? 

So my beautiful dish...the color of my eyes....the clay from the land where I fell in love...purchased with a lover by my side and so many promises of a future together...this is goodbye.  You said goodbye to me so very long ago.  You told me your usefulness in my life was over long before I was ready to accept it.

I'm not good at this part . . . letting go.  I never have been even though I have had an ample share of goodbye's.  I have held to the memory of that happy time.  Although this dish brought me angst and pain it also reminded me of love, joy and hope. I can't keep having the back and forth.

It's done.  It's gone. 

No jewelry dish.  I'm letting go.