This really probably shouldn’t be a blog entry. It’s gonna be too personal. But it is what it is and I am who I am, so here we go. My therapist suggested this exercise. Not putting it in a blog, no, but writing it all out. I’ve got a lot of anxiety around childbirth/babies that is probably definitely not all about childbirth/babies, but also includes the trauma of the fact that my entire life fell apart the year after my son was born.
So this is going to be VERY long, VERY rambling, VERY detailed in parts and VERY vague in others. I didn’t really blog or keep a journal in that year, and only really started to write about my marriage in a FB group as it was actively falling apart. This story will also, obviously, be very, VERY one-sided. The only other person that can speak to what all happened in that time is probably not going to be willing to guest-spot on my blog, even if I was willing to ask them.
Anyway, timeline time…
2008 – 2010
My ex and I start dating when I’m 20. I’m in college and he has dropped out to start apprenticing to be a tattoo artist. We’re super broke, but young so it doesn’t matter. I have a cat and rent a townhouse and he basically lives with me, even though he officially lives with his grandparents. He works a second job to be able to save up to buy me an engagement ring.
We don’t fight often, but it’s always weird and unresolved when we do. He’s very paranoid about me cheating on him. He tells me that I can’t say I’ll “never” do it, because “never say never”. It doesn’t help that all my friends are males due to my chosen major.
2010 – 2011
We get married. I’m 22. Fresh out of college, about to start grad school. I cut all my hair off and dye it purple. Then green. Then pink, black, orange, blue… My cat and I move in with my husband and his grandparents. We stay there for almost a year, then we find a rental house near campus. We host parties all the time because we’re young, our friends are young, and we all have a ton of free time. We adopt a dog and another cat. We have a roommate almost the entire time we rent that house. My ex is legit my best friend and we basically spend all our free time together.
2012 – 2015
I graduate with my MS in Computer Science. Get a job as a software developer for a company an hour’s commute away. Go back to my natural hair color and start growing my hair out into a mohawk that I never spike up. We buy a house across town to make my commute easier, take on a wide assortment of roommates, adopt a second dog and foster several more.
We still host parties, but less frequently. I’m tired all the time because now I work an 8-5 job with a commute, but still try to hang out with him when he gets off work around 9 or 10. I usually fall asleep on the couch while we’re watching TV. He gets upset that we never do anything anymore. I turn into a super homebody and never want to go out – esp on work nights.
We start several home projects – I have a million Pinterest boards. Neither of us have very good follow-through, so things rarely get finished. He tries to make more elaborate versions of my plans, but neither of us know what we’re doing and we don’t own any tools. Everything is done in the cheapest way possible. He’s terrible about asking for help so he usually ends up doing things alone. I don’t know how to give constructive criticism so I either come across as bitchy or don’t say anything at all. We get worse and worse at communication to the point where we basically can’t have a “negative” conversation, so we avoid them and spend a lot of time walking on eggshells around each other.
So of course now is the perfect time to choose to conceive! I get pregnant almost immediately the summer of 2015.
2015 – 2016
I have an easy pregnancy, all things considered. I’m pretty nauseous my first trimester, but not to the point that I need medication. I throw up exactly 3 times. We’re terrible housekeepers, so our toilet is kind of gross. After the first 2 times I throw up, I ask my ex to clean the toilet before it happens again. He never does. The 3rd time I feel it coming on, I actually get up, get the supplies to clean the toilet, and clean it – all the while holding back the desire to vomit. lolol This is in the middle of the night, by the way. He wakes up at some point and tries to convince me to wait and let him do it in the morning. I’m just like “NO! THIS IS HAPPENING NOW!!” As I flush the toilet to clear out the chemicals, I throw up. One of my greatest vomit accomplishments to-date.
Nothing crazy happens the second trimester, other than he rearranges the living room and when I see it I cry for 45min before finally waking him up and telling him he has to change it back, because I hate it. 100% crazy pregnancy hormones. lol! Another time we get in a fight over something (I can’t even remember what it was now) and I leave the house without my phone because I don’t want him to call me…then I realize I have nothing to do without my phone, so I sit in a parking lot for about 15min before going back home. Third trimester I have terrible heartburn, and acid reflux at night.
I also get INCREDIBLY massive. Like…incredibly. I think I gain 60lbs and almost all of it was stomach. It’s remarkable. I kind of love it. I kind of hate it. My son is VERY squirmy. The movement often makes my eyes water. Oh, and I cut all my hair off so I cangrow it back out to one length.
My induction is scheduled for April 6. I don’t think I have a single contraction prior to the pitocin drip. lol! But it’s nice. Everything is all scheduled – we have someone to watch our pets, we have our bags packed, we get a nice dinner (Olive Garden, if you care), and we go in and get comfy before I have the baby. I’m gonna skip over the birth story because whatever. It happens and I have a baby. He’s amazing.
Basically from my very first attempt at breast feeding, I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t enjoy any moment of it ever. I only last three months. It takes three lactation consultants and two months before he gets diagnosed with tongue and lip ties. We go to a doctor in Chattanooga to get that corrected, but it’s too late – I’m tapped out. Both physically with my supply and mentally with the stress of the previous two months. I try so many ways to feed that baby with my boobs, and it just never works. I cry so hard in the pumping room at work the day I decide to give up, but it’s almost as much with relief as it is with sadness.
Looking back now, I can say with confidence that I had PPD. In the moment, I think I’m too tired to really process it. And don’t really know what to do about it if I think about it. I have two months off for maternity leave. My ex takes a couple weeks off. Once he’s back at work and I’m home alone, as soon as the sun goes down I start crying. Several times I call him in tears and ask him to come home just because I need someone else in the house. That time of my life is SO hazy now. Between the PPD and exhaustion…it feels like an eternal twilight.
Going back to work is hard for so many reasons. It’s a relief to get away from the house/baby. But then there’s guilt for feeling that way. There’s also sadness over being away from my baby. The commute feels so much more brutal now that I have to add two hours of being away from my child. Especially when I have to drive through a school zone TWICE to get him to daycare before work. By the time I get off work, drive to the daycare, pick him up, and get home it’s almost bedtime. I feel like I never get to see my child.
I’m also so, so exhausted. He wakes up before 6:00 every day. I get up with him, get him ready, pass him off to my ex while I get ready, take him to daycare, work all day, pick him up, bring him home, am home alone with him all evening, then he (and often me, too) is in bed before my ex gets home from work. Saturdays I wake up with him to let my ex sleep in. Sundays are supposed to be my mornings, but I’m always the one that wakes up when our son does, so I have to wake my ex up. Too often he tries to get me to get up instead. Regardless, we go to church so I have to be up by 8:00.
After I give up breastfeeding, my ex tries to start…getting intimate…again. Have I mentioned how tired I am? I’m also paranoid about pain (doesn’t help that it does, in fact, hurt at first) and basically just don’t ever want to be touched. That aspect of our lives was always a bit…rocky…and postpartum just flipping wrecked it. I’ve heard stories of women who go into their 6wk checkup only to find out they’re already pregnant again and I just cannot fathom that. It was probably 6 months before I was up for trying anything.
We start trying to get out and do more. It’s easier as our son gets older, especially once he’s 100% on formula. I visit my parents a lot that first year, while my ex does projects around the house (again, hit or miss on quality). I distinctly remember coming home after he built shelves in our living room. As he explains how he built them – no help, no measuring, no studs, no wall anchors – I just keep thinking…my son is going to die on these shelves. He’s going to climb on them and fall, or be crushed, and he’s just going to die. (After the divorce, my dad comes over to help me dismantle them and is amazed that they’ve stayed up. I KNOW, RIGHT?!)
There are lots of weird fights where I will say or do something to upset him, but not realize it until much later, when it finally clicks that he’s acting strange. It takes me all but nagging him to get him to tell me what it was I did an hour or more ago to upset him. One example: We do a 5k in Nashville and take our friend, our son, and one of our dogs. It rains the WHOLE time. He’s trying to position umbrellas over the stroller to keep our son dry. I attempt to help, but something about the way I do that makes him feel that I think he’s incompetent. So many eggshells. I’m sure my personality that first year wasn’t exactly stellar, either, to be fair.
Gossip turns into truth at my job, and we find out that a much larger company based out of Ohio has purchased our company. Since we’re the corporate office, all of our jobs are redundant and we get laid off. My termination date is the end of May – almost exactly five years from my start date. Meanwhile, my ex is convinced that the storefront he’s been renting for his tattoo shop/art gallery is going to be demolished at any moment, so he moves to a location directly on the square – half the space for twice the price. It is…shall we say…a stressful time. (Side note: That building is still standing, long after my ex’s shop had to close. There’s a bakery there now.)
The positive of everyone knowing you’re all looking for new work is that my bosses help me with my resume and job search. No one cares that you’re going on a job interview, because everyone is going on job interviews. I interview at several tech firms in the Nashville/Brentwood area, but Google Maps tells me my rush hour commute could be as bad as two hours – and that’s just one-way. Miraculously a position opens up at my alma mater and they’re willing to wait until my term date for me to start (otherwise I lose my severance…shitty companies are shitty sometimes).
Meanwhile, my ex starts hanging out with younger people. We’re now right at 30, but he’s got a bunch of barely-twenty youths coming around his shop a lot. Male and female, to be fair. But they’re living the life we had been living a decade before – late nights, parties, no responsibility. He wants to go out more, but again – I’m tired, yo. Also, no we have to find babysitters if we want to do anything. So sometimes he goes out alone, sometimes we fight about him wanting to go out, and very rarely we go out together.
Honestly, even with all that, I’m really starting to feel hopeful about the future. I’m about to start a job IN TOWN. NO COMMUTE. GLORIOUS DAY. I have our son on a wait list for a daycare ON CAMPUS. That is $80 cheaper PER WEEK than the one he had been going to. My ex is settling in at his new location and things seem to be going okay. I’m fantasizing about getting lunch together, our son going to the shop after school until I can get off work, stopping in to say hi on my way home…
I’m not naive. I know that things have been hard – really hard – for us the past year. But, like…my ex turned 30. I was going to be turning 30 in 2018. We had been married for SEVEN YEARS. We had just gotten though our first year of parenthood. We both had major career shifts that were unexpected. These are all things that I know can be brutal to relationships…BUT WE HAD MADE IT THROUGH THEM. I felt like I could see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I, of course, was horribly, horribly wrong. And now I’m leaving this on such a cliffhanger ending because I just realized I have to leave for a chiropractor appointment. Definitely didn’t mean to do this, but this is already hella long, and I haven’t even started on the three-month spiral that killed my whole marriage and forever changed my life. SO I GUESS I’LL DO THAT LATER.
I’m also not proofreading…just gonna hit publish and run. So many good choices being made right now.