Archives For Mental Health

I’ve had the phrase ‘the future is female’ rolling around in my head for days now. Sometimes when it pops into my head, I think of the Fast and Female run I just did in Canmore a few weeks back and I smile at all the grandmas and moms and girls running together. And sometimes, when I look at my baby girl in my arms and think ‘the future is female’, I want to cry.

I’ve wanted to write a blog post about the future being female for awhile now, but every time I sit down to type it, I fear being ‘too political’, and I stop.

And that right there is why I must write this post. Discomfort.

This post makes me uncomfortable.

And I hope it makes you uncomfortable too. 

When I found out I was pregnant this time around, I let myself get excited. We were five weeks and 4 days along when we found out, and I started telling Ryan right away that it was a girl.

When we saw her heart beating for the first time, I knew she was a girl.

I had told Ryan so many times that she was a girl that by the 20-week gender scan I was dying laughing, picturing the moment the ultrasound tech told us we were having a boy and Ryan had permission to tease me about it for the rest of our lives.

But, sure enough, at our 20 week scan, the tech looked at us and said ‘I do believe you’re right; it appears we’re looking at a girl!!’ And tears streamed joyously from my eyes. 

I always pictured myself being a boy mom, and here we were, after a termination that I chose to call Matthew, and a miscarriage that we were sure was a Henry, being told that we were going to be parents to a little girly. 

My heart grew a million sizes that day.
A daughter.
A girl.
A Woman, some day.

And once she came forth from my body, I called my mother- a mother of three daughters- and sobbed some sort of warbled voicemail into her machine.

The moment I held my daughter in my arms, I realized how much my mom had ever loved, and lost, in the raising of her three daughters.

I thanked her on the voicemail for managing to live her life with ‘three hearts beating outside of her body’.

That is what my Sadie Greta is to me. She is a piece of my heart that beats outside of my body, and I would do Anything to never see her in pain.

My mom is at my house now until late July, helping me parent this child while hubby is away at work, and as the days go by, we’ve been covering giant sections of family history.

And it strikes me, in a lot of our family history, that women must bear Great burdens.

In our family history tales thus far, we’ve covered domestic violence. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. Emotional abuse. Manipulation. Deceit. Extramarital affairs. Financial control. Abandonment. Sacrifice. Alcoholism. A whole host of nasty things that various women in my family history have had to live with, or die from.

They are stories that I know scraps of, as I have collected bits and pieces of them over the years in my own transition into womanhood, but to hold my baby girl in my arms, and hear them myself as a mother, is Quite different.

This morning’s story time involved the tale of one of my mom’s closest coming of age gal pals being savagely raped and murdered in her boyfriend’s apartment while he was away on tour with his band.

Her crime? Being a girl, and alone, in their apartment.

These stories are not new to me, nor are they uncommon. 

I know the statistics, that 1 in every 3 North American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. And I can only estimate that with rapes that never get reported, that figure is much more like 1 in every 2.

And I look down at my sweet, sweet baby girl, and I think ‘which one of the coin toss will you be?’. And I know that is a friggin Awful thought to have in your head, and trust me, that thought doesn’t live there all the time and take up any more space than it needs to- but it is there.

Because, by birth right, I have had a girl, in North America. And I worry for her.

She was born in a great country, to a loving family, and she undoubtedly has a wonderful future ahead of her, but she also has some mighty steep hurdles to tackle.

At the time that I write this, the stats are:

That Sadie has a in 1 in 3 chance of getting sexually assaulted in her lifetime (http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics)

That for every $1.00 a Canadian man makes, she will make $0.74. (http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/en/GWG/Pages/what_is_GWG.aspx)

That she will have only a 10 per cent chance of becoming one of the top executives of a Canadian company, and only a 4 per cent chance of ever becoming one of Canada’s CEOs. (https://www.google.ca/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/4807359/female-ceo-wage-gap/amp/)

Those are just her absolute stats, the controls, if you will- but god forbid these following stats ever need apply to her as well:

Every 6 days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Over 80% of police-reported intimate partner homicides are women. On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because it isn’t safe at home. On any given night, about 300 women and children are turned away because shelters are already full. (https://www.canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/)

As I hold my sweet baby girl in my arms, and I listen to my strong warrior mama tell me the tales of the women who have come before me, I trust that Sadie will beat these odds. I trust that she will be a trailblazer, smart as a whip, fearless, loving and confident. 

I know that she is the future, and that the future is female, but a small part of me grieves for her nonetheless. For the extra obstacles she faces simply because she was born a girl. And I am begging you, my boy mom friends that are reading this- please, Please, keep doing your part to raise strong boys. Strong, loving, fearless, confident boys that can help level these crappy stats into rubble. 

The future is in our hands.

XO, Em

Get Outlook for iOS

Advertisements

I wanted to have a baby and still leave the house and still see my friends and still do everything I did before the baby.

So I did.

I had the baby. She stayed in NICU for 4 days, then she came home, and the whirlwind began.

Family came to the house to stay and help us out.

Extra people in the house means extra cleaning, extra bed-making, extra sheet-washing, extra food-buying, extra food-making, extra communication and doesn’t allow for a routine to be built as a family; because each new family member that arrived to help arrived with different methods of communication, different areas of helping out (some walked the dog; some did dishes; some loved baby snuggles on the couch), and each week was different.

And that was so great and so wonderful and so nice and we are eternally grateful for the army of family that arrived week after week to help out- but all those extra things are one more extra thing on top of the original thing- which is navigating how to all of a sudden snap your fingers and become someone’s Mom.

So I was managing all those house guests.

And trying to be nice. And friendly. And polite.

To everyone that came through my door.

With throbbing nerve pain resounding through my clitoris, a newborn baby squawlering on my hip, and running on three hours of sleep.

I wanted to please everyone. Be a nice mom. A mom that had it all together, never lost her temper, was never demanding or bitchy, pleased everyone and had a perfect home.

Also in those first six weeks were a plethora of necessary appointments.

Between Sadie and I, we had weekly appointments at: the midwife’s, the obstetrician’s, the chiropractor’s, Calgary Lab Services for lithium testing, the psychiatrist for mental health check-in’s, and the family doctor’s. They weren’t all in one week, but it usually worked out to be about 4 out of home appointments per week- with a revolving door of guests in my home, throbbing nerve pain resounding through my clitoris, a newborn baby screaming on my hip, and running on three hours of sleep.

So I bundled the baby and I up and went to all those appointments.

I wanted to do it all.

I had made the decision to stay for the first 6 weeks with the family doctor’s clinic that had supported me throughout my pregnancy. The catch was- they were located in Canmore, where I had moved from at 34 weeks pregnant, and now the drive to see the doctor was an hour and 15 minutes away.

My reasons for this were twofold- Canmore had been my home, and as such, my core group of girlfriends that had been with me through all the stages of my pregnancy was still located out there and if I drove out there, I could pop in and visit them- and also, I wanted the doctors and nurses who had been so kind to me during those first 34 weeks to see the fruits of my labor.

So three (or even four times- I can’t remember), I bundled up my very newborn baby and drove an hour and 15 minutes one way to go to Canmore.

One of the times I was there, I popped into my old workplace and surprised one of my closest friends with her first Sadie-hug as she had yet to come out to Crossfield to see us and I thought she might like that.

That day was a hard day for us; Sadie, Ryan and I were all exhausted, in a rush, sick of spending all our day stuck in the jeep and rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off- but I demanded that we stop at my old workplace to give that friend a nice surprise.

I wanted to be the cool mom. I wanted to do it all.

The other three or four times I went out to Canmore, I would always visit my old friends at my old workplace, or send out a group message saying ‘Hey, Sadie and I will be in town this Friday- does anyone want to hang out?’. If the answer was no, I tried to invite them for fun events in my new neck of the woods. Boozy Stampede party? Group sleepover at my house after?

I wanted to be a cool mom. I wanted to be a good friend. I wanted to do it all.

This week- it all kind of hit me at once.

I had a friend come over to help me at my house for the week because my husband was away for work again. Because, oh yes, in the midst of all this- my husband took a new job wherein which he is pretty much gone for the first 6 weeks of his new job training, so that’s been fun…

I’m not a diva- I’m not a princess- I need to make it clear here that I don’t have a revolving door of people coming to stay with me because I’m demanding or selfish or incapable of operating as a mother of a newborn-

I have a revolving door of people coming to stay with me because I have bipolar type 1. And as someone with bipolar type 1, I have a medically necessary requirement to sleep at least 5 hours straight for at least every 1 in 3 nights, or for lack of a better word, I will go psycho and need to be committed to a mental hospital for 14-30 days.

It sucks, and it’s embarrassing (even though that’s dumb to feel, because its not like I asked for bipolar- its just a shitty life card I’ve been dealt)- but it sucks and it’s embarrassing to need these people in my home as an otherwise capable grownass woman of 33 years of age. It sucks to have to beg people to come stay with me so I don’t go crazy.

So my friend came to stay with me this week and I was trying be nice, and polite, and perfect, and happy, and not demanding, and not bitchy, and not short-tempered.

And I failed.

Four days into her stay, I yelled at her to move her stuff away from my child’s closet doors so I could put my child’s laundry away.

A fight ensued; I ran away into my bedroom, shut the door and cried, and my friend left my home shortly thereafter.

I spent the whole rest of the day crying intermittently while trying to get shit done, like clean the house and feed myself and my child.

The fight with my friend made me so upset that I started thinking of some other friends with whom I had recently fallen out of touch, so I reached out to them by text and basically said ‘Hey, have I done something wrong? I don’t hear from you anymore and it makes me sad.’

And within four hours, the two friends basically wrote back what I feared they might, which was something along the lines of ‘this relationship is one-sided’ and ‘you’ve changed, so you’re not worth my time anymore.’

And I bawled my eyes out.

I had tried so hard. I drove out to Canmore 3-4 times in the first 7 weeks of my baby’s life. I had texted. I had tried to make plans. I had tried to maintain those friendships. I had wanted to do it all, and to do it all well.

Be a Mom. Be a Cool Mom. Not let it change me. Have a clean home. Have a Perfect home. Have people over. Entertain them. Feed them delicious meals fresh out of my oven. Be fun. Be gracious to those who came to stay in my home. Maintain all my old relationships. Keep my head up.

And yesterday was my final straw.

Who am I kidding??? I can barely f*cking meet my Own basic needs on the daily- why am I power cleaning the house and whipping homemade meals out of the oven for guests when all I ate yesterday was a chocolate bar and a bag of corn chips I found stuffed in my couch???

Why am I trying to be gracious to those who enter my home and know that they are here to help me sleep- why can’t I just tell them my life is a mess, I am exhausted and I need them to shut up so I can go the Eff to sleep?

Why am I driving multiple times over hell’s half acre to try and maintain friendships with people that haven’t come to see me or my daughter once since my baby was born?

Why am I trying to hard to be the Cool Mom and to please Everyone Else??

So I’m done.

The Cool Mom is dead. I did away with her yesterday.

Whoever doesn’t like me now that I’m just a boring old Mom can continue not liking me- and I’m no longer going to shed tears for those losses.

I’m going to lean into my loving husband, tuck my child into my armpit and gaze at her big blue eyes, and hunker down in my beautiful home.

As my Mom always says: “You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Only some people, some of the time.”

I’m going to start trying to live that way, and letting it be okay to not be okay.

XO, Em