Saturday, May 31, 2008

Triggers, Causes & Anxiety

My husband keeps wanting me to call the doctor. He is convinced that the dizziness of my anxiety attacks are something a medical doctor can cure. All my fault since I mentioned having my ob check my iron and sugar levels - just to rule out a medical cause. But I know it is not anything medical. It's just the old anxiety and panic attacks rearing their ugly heads.

Husband wants to know what is causing it. I don't know. I can tell (sometimes) what triggers it. He doesn't understand the difference. I finally came up with analogy that works. The cause is the fuel - gasoline for instance. Often it blends in with its surroundings and you can't see it. You know it is there. The trigger is the match. It's what causes combustion - sets the panic attack off. I know what my triggers are - it's Husband chomping his taco shells (why oh why can that man not eat quietly); BIL clasping his fingers between his toes (he clasps the fingers of one hand to the toes of the opposite foot like people lace fingers together); it's anyone walking up behind me when I'm doing dishes or getting something out of the fridge or otherwise have my back to them; it's certain smells or sounds.

It's summer time. My anxiety is higher in summer - my depression worse in winter. Summer is when the worst of the abuse occurred. Summer means shorts. It meant Toilet hanging out of his shorts. It meant comments about my legs, chest, etc. It means wearing less clothes.

I went to a brunch today. Wore a sleeveless, scoop-necked dress. Resisted the urge to wear a camisole underneath. Spent all morning tugging the neckline up, and clenching the fabric when I leaned forward. Someone I know who I hadn't seen in awhile commented on my pregnancy. The she said, "actually I didn't notice you were pregnant at first, I just noticed your chest looked larger." UGH. To her credit, she just underwent surgery for breast cancer. She explained that she notices everyone's chests lately - understandable. Little did she know I'd trade - give her mine - in a heartbeat. My sister mentioned finally finding a bathing suit shop online that will let her buy the larger sized bottom with a size A cup top. Oh I want that problem. Actually when I'm not pregnant, we really ought to shop together. I'll trade her my larger bottoms for her larger tops.

The bad, disjointed, mirror images are back. If I am clothed I'm more likely to see myself in the mirror - although there is still that disconnect. I never feel a connection to that person. If I'm getting changed or out of the shower, I don't see myself in the mirror. I see disjointed parts. Distorted. That makes my anxiety skyrocket. I used to see my legs - those were the areas of comment. I marked them when I SI-ed. Now I see my chest. And while there has not been any SI yet, it's only because I'd have to get really creative with what I used - since I threw everything else away. Although fingernails can do enough damage at times. Thus far the negatives are keeping me in check - knowing that I have ob appts every 2-4 weeks and SI scars are hard to hide in those skimpy gowns, let alone at delivery when everything is up for viewing. Funny how no one (except me) has figured out that the real reason I want a midwife is because it guarantees a female at delivery. I did okay with a male doctor last time, but I had a friend (female nurse) with me. And that was before all the anxiety/panic issues really set in.

Good thing T is this week. Lots of issues to discuss. If I bring them up.....if work, and my hectic trial schedule, doesn't force me to cancel both my ob and my T appt.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Home Again - general update

I am home again. We had a wonderful time. My daughter was remarkably well-behaved during the long car ride there and back. It helped greatly that we stopped at hotels which had indoor swimming pools.

The vacation was very nice. I feel like I actually had a vacation for the first time in years. Too often we go places like the beach, where we feel overwhelming pressure to go, go, go. To see everything and do everything. This vacation was much more relaxed. We slept in every day, took naps, and didn't stay up too late. However, we also found time to visit some scenic areas, meet up with friends, and interact with our hosts. All in all, the perfect blend of activity and rest.

We stayed with some people that, up till now, I had only interacted with via computer. I won't give too much information for privacy reasons. But it was great. We were a bit apprehensive at first, even though we felt like we had gotten to know these people quite well. It was like finally getting to meet family. Very little awkwardness. We hit it off well and were able to laugh and enjoy each other's company. I'm looking forward to many more visits in the years to come.

The place we stayed was beautiful. A land unlike where we are from. The accommodations were great - we had our own space but still interacted with the people we stayed with. The picture above is looking out one of the windows. It's a walnut tree that one of the Owners wants to cut down. But I think it's beautiful and I had to get a picture.

One of the best parts of vacation was meeting these people. They are truly unassuming, laid-back, unpretentious folks. We got to meet most of the family too. Not such a big deal for my husband. But I enjoyed seeing a "real" family - the typical things that most people take for granted - children calling home to say they won't be in that night, daughters hugging their moms goodbye, dads putting a hand on a daughter's shoulder, family prayers, discussions among family, and lots of laughter too. It was a blessing to be a part of that for a little while. Part of NORMAL!

We got home late afternoon yesterday. After sitting all week, closed up with no air flow, the dust had settled on all my floors. I swept and mopped while Husband did laundry, and Daughter destroyed her room. We stayed up late watching TV and then slept in our own beds. Daughter was a bit dismayed at not staying in our room, let alone our bed. But she managed. We have caught up on laundry and went grocery shopping this morning. I'm at work catching up on a few things and then home.

The pregnancy is going well. I'm definitely starting to feel pregnant. I've noticed that bathing my daughter is hard. All that bending over the tub. Laundry is almost impossible. My belly makes it impossible to reach those clothes at the bottom of the washing machine. I am still struggling with the physical changes. I actually wore a bathing suit in the pool at the hotel. The scars on my legs don't show as bad now - probably because I'm not tan this year. As I wear shorts and sleeveless tops more often, the struggle not to resume SI-ing is harder.

My anxiety (or something) has been up the last few days. Had a bad panic attack on the drive home yesterday and then a less bad one this morning. I have a doctor's appt on Tuesday and am going to have them test my sugar and iron, just to rule out medical causes. My husband got to experience a bad panic attack on the drive home. I was driving and pulled over to the side of the road without warning. I told him that my anxiety was too bad to drive. I grabbed a blanket, hid underneath, took a phenegren and passed out for the next 5 hours of the drive. Not a bad way to travel overall. Not sure what is causing it. I think too many hours of being cooped up in a car with no QUIET or alone time certainly contributed.

So it's back to life and back to reality now. And time to catch up on some blogs. And to find a computer person to fix my laptop which is still defunct.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Outta Here....

The longest car trip I have ever taken was about 12 hours when I was about 16 years old. Today I will leave on a 14 hour car ride - with a 4 1/2 year old, while 5 months pregnant. I must be nuts!

I'm super excited to go. I'm excited to be off work for an entire week. I'm even (sort of) excited to get to spend that much time with my husband and Daughter. I've gone to the Dollar Store and bought $20 worth of car toys to occupy my Daughter. We also have the portable DVD player and her Leapster computer. If my computer cooperates some, I might even bring it and work on some digital scrapbooking.

We're going to the midwest and have never been there. It will be fun to see the scenery and I'm super excited about visiting a wonderful family.

I might not be around to visit blogs or post for awhile. Take care everyone!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Prayer Request

Remember this post about the Cinderella song by Steven Curtis Chapman about his young daughter? At the end of the video he talks about how the song was inspired by his two youngest daughters (3 at that time), one of whom is Maria Sue.

Please join in praying for singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. Their daughter Maria Sue Chapman 5 years old and their youngest was accidentally run over and killed in their family driveway by her older brother. Please pray for the entire family's grief and especially for her brother.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Can You Imagine?

A friend of mine was just asked to provide personal informaton to a sibling who is applying for the secret service. She joked back and told him, "hope the fact that I grow 'shrooms in the back yard isn't a problem."

I've been asked several times if I have any interest in running for a Judicial position. Can you imagine? Me running for any public office? Think of the headlines and scandals if ~my~ family background came out. There'd be a field day.

Thanks but NO thanks. No way am I exposing myself to that kind of press.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Injustice for All

Some days I don't know how I continue to do what I do for a living. I'm fortunate to be able to pick and choose the cases I want to handle. I seldom represent anyone accused of abuse, and will only take those cases if I am 100% sure in my heart that the accused is innocent. Those cases, though, fire me up like no other.

Why do I take those cases? I take those types of cases because there are trashy people out there that will throw out abuse allegations in an attempt to gain an advantage in a custody case. It undermines the veracity of legitimate abuse cases. It makes the "system" look with skeptical eyes at every abuse case. And it infuriates me.
Yesterday I represented a witness in a case. It was pretty easy work as far as legal representation went. My witness didn't even get called so I sat and observed. My client's first grade son was accused of "raping" his kindergarten cousin. My client is getting calls from law enforcement and Social Services. Before taking the case I looked at all the facts - was there physical evidence? If it did happen- why? It's not typical for first graders to act like this (if he did act like that) - what may have happened to this child?

There was no physical evidence at all. Nothing except a victim who said she fell. Nothing except a severe UTI infection that caused the child to hurt/itch so bad she caused redness to herself. The victim when questioned (extensively and multiple times) said there was one incident of the cousin and her showing themselves to each other. That was it. The mother of the child attempted to make allegations about something "more" happening (including rape) by the little boy to her little girl - allegedly when they were sleeping in the same bed. Problem is that these cousins slept in the same bed on two occasions - one time one parent slept in between them all night long and the other time a parent was in bed with their child and in the same room as the other child.

In the initial report, the mother accused the father. Then when that proved impossible to support, she turned here eyes to the young cousin, alleging the father was unfit because of his improper supervision. She put her young child through multiple interviews, multiple exams, including pelvic exams. Now my client's son is going to have to be interviewed as well.

I heard the comments of the Social Service workers, doctors, counselors and other professionals as they talked behind me. Not one of them believed anything happened to this little girl - except perhaps some innocent "show me yours" between cousins. And even that was doubtful. Every single one of the professionals testified that they advised the mother that nothing indicated anything other than a UTI and that they told her not to press forward with this.

At the end of the case we all felt sad for the victim - and she really is a victim. Victim of a vengeful mother who will stop at nothing to gain an edge in a custody case.
That was yesterday.

Today I've dealt with domestic violence calls. A father who did nothing during the entire week his wife was gone missing with their two children. But now that the wife is back and threatening to sue for child support, he decides he wants custody. Hmm...think it's about money? I do. I quoted him a high fee and he decided to go elsewhere. Sorry buddy but I'm not in the business of buying and selling children.

I've got the other guy whose wife decided that he shouldn't take a nap while his middle school child, home sick from school, was also napping. So she snuck into his home and took the child. He woke up frantically wondering where his child was. Drove to her house since she wasn't answering her phone. When he gets there, she spits on him. Then shoves him. But he is denied a domestic violence order because "he's the guy and should not have gone over to her house."

Then I get a phone call from a female client. We met. Her husband is an awful husband, but a halfway decent dad. So we filed for property distribution and equal custody. Yesterday we get a nasty response from husband. Now my client is made because we weren't mean and nasty from the beginning. I can't convince her that we'll win in the long run.

I am sick and tired of parents using children as pawns. I went into this business because I can get passionate on behalf of children that need protecting. But too often I end up dealing with ugly parents. I'm glad I have next week off. Vacation here I come. I need it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stuipd Computer

Several weeks ago my home laptop died. I needed a new harddrive. It was under warranty so it shipped for free. I just lost a bunch of stuff on my computer. Installed it and it worked wonderfully.......for a few weeks. Then I "caught" a virus. Installed virus software and spyware software. It's all clean now. won't let me access certain websites. It gets 'stuck' when it tries to load; google; wordpress; hotmail; or any search engine. UGH. I have no idea why. If anyone has ideas, please leave me a comment, lest I resort to throwing the computer out the window.
I may be scarce these next few weeks since I can't visit blogs from my home computer. At work I'm actually having to work. I'm on vacation starting Friday (YEAH!) and trying to get everything ready to leave is keeping me quite busy.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Convicted by a Four Year Old

If you read my blog frequently then you know I've been trying to get my husband to respect other people's belongings for a very long time. After work today I picked up my daughter and we came home to find my husband in the bedroom painting the ceiling. He was irritated because the paint we had bought (a different brand than before) was thin and was dripping everywhere. I went in the other room to change clothes and lay down for five minutes before checking on supper. I overheard the exchange between my four year old and my husband.

What I heard first was her screaming, "Daddy that is mine." Then I heard him mumble something and she started crying. I discerned that he had taken one of her princess tea cups (from her tea set) to put paint in in order to paint the trim while up on the ladder and painting. Daughter was NOT happy in the least. He was telling her he needed it and would clean it out. She wanted it back now. He said something about getting her a new one. She said she wanted that one. Her crying was getting worse. He kept trying to talk his way out of it. Finally I heard him say, "I'm sorry. Forgive me?" She said "No."

I called her into me, intending to comfort her. This was a situation that was going nowhere. Finally he came out of the room followed by her. He said something about washing the cup. I said it was ruined. He then went into the kitchen, rummaging through the tupperware cabinet. I told him he had already used all my tupperware with the last room he painted. He growled, "you told me it was okay." I said, "I told you it was okay after the fact. I did not intend you to use ALL of the containers. How about you either re-use containers or go to the dollar store instead of using $18 worth of tupperware." He began slamming cabinet doors and looking through things. I told him that he was not using any of my dishes. I was tired of my good dishes being used as dog bowls, painting supplies, to hold gun cleaning solution, etc. He continued slamming and mumbling. I told him to leave my stuff and Daughter's stuff alone and go use some of his hunting stuff.

After dinner, and Daughter still being upset, I decided I'd go ahead to the grocery store. Since there is Dollar Store next door I told Daughter we'd pick up some cheap containers to hold paint. Husband came out and said, "We need to talk later." I told him "you're darn right. I'm sick and tired of you not respecting my stuff or Daughter's stuff. You have absolutely no sense. We've gone over this a million times. Why can't you leave other people's belongings alone?" He said "we have to talk about the fact that you threw me under the bus. You should have supported me in front of Daughter."

I left before I said something I'd regret. I will support my husband in a lot of things. It is important we present a united front in many areas. However, I will not defend his taking her things and ruining them.

When we got home, he had calmed down. He apologized to both Daughter and me (she did forgive him). He told me that he was taking his irritation with the thin, dripping paint out on us. I accepted his apology but told him that I was extremely frustrated with his inability to remember to keep his hands off of other people's belongings.

Maybe, just maybe, the tears of his four year old daughter will be enough to get through to him. We'll see..........

Friday, May 16, 2008

Major Panic Attack

Deep Breath - in and out. Smell the antibacterial hand gel.

I had a new consult. Before I went in, my assistant told me this guy was odd. I walked in to see a 5 foot (if he's lucky), bald with that ring of hair, 50-something year old guy named Chester. Yes his name was Chester. He is missing a lot of teeth. He had tattoos all over.

I'm thinking in my head "Chester, Chester the child molester."

He looked like Toilet.

I noticed earrings. Just like Toilet.

He started talking. He told me he had a hearing aid and needed me to speak directly to him and look at him so he could see what I said. He talked about an affair he had - it was "just for sex, you know?" He licked his lips. Full tongue out lip licking. Just like Toilet did. I gagged.

I zoned out and scribbled on my notepad.

He talked about riding in a motorcycle gang. Just like Toilet did.

Started bragging about fitness. Just like Toilet did.

He tried to get me to allow him to be my personal trainer. I told him no thanks. I quoted him an extremely high retainer and escorted him out. He shook my hand. I gagged. I told my assistant that if he called back to tell him I was not taking new cases because of my maternity leave.

I ran to the bathroom and washed my hands. Got sick. Slumped down the wall. Took deep breaths. Washed hands again - and again - and again. Hot, hot water. Gagged some more. Lathered up with antibacterial wash. Brushed teeth. Cursed because there were no razors or safety pins in my toothbrush bag. Remembered I had removed them all from the bag and thrown them all out. I guess that was a mixed blessing - I know I would have used them. The temptation has been really bad lately.

I came back to my office. The phone rings - thank goodness for distractions. I took deep breaths. Concentrated on the smell of the antibacterial wash - a garden mint cent. IM-ed my online buddy who is now talking me down.

Deep breaths......

Why Didn't I Have a Daddy Like this?

I am sure this will become the next "Butterfly Kisses" song - the one that fathers and daughters dance too on their wedding day. I didn't have a Daddy to dance with on my wedding day. I've not ever had a real Daddy - one that picked me up and twirled me and spun me around.

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,

Without a care in the world.

And I'm sittin' here wearin' the weight of the world on my shoulders.

It's been a long day and there's still work to do,

She's pulling at me saying "Dad I need you!

There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited and I need to practice my dancin'"

"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

'Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh I will dance with Cinderella

I don't wanna miss even one song,

Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight

And she'll be gone

She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed

She wants to know if I'd approve of a dress

She says "Dad, the prom is just one week away,

And I need to practice my dancin'"

"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

'Cause I know something the prince never knew

Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don't wanna miss even one song,

Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight

And she'll be gone

She will be gone.

Well, she came home today

With a ring on her hand

Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned

She says "Dad, the wedding's due six months away

And I need to practice my dancin'"

"Oh please, daddy please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

'Cause I know something the prince never knew

Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don't wanna miss even one song, (even one song)

Cuz all to soon the clock will strike midnight And she'll be gone

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And sometimes I regress....

I was irritated with my husband last night. We are leaving on vacation in 1 week. Daughter and I are gone again in July. Baby comes end of September. There is a TON of stuff that needs to be done before vacation, and before the baby comes. I tell him, we discuss it, he forgets. He adds more to his schedule. Again and again. I find myself slipping into the mothering role.
While I was getting ready for church, my husband informs me that he volunteered to help clean up after supper. The one activity I'm involved in at church is handbells. It practices after supper. There is a 10 minute window between when I go downstairs to practice and before Daughter's class starts. My husband expected me to make arrangements for my Daughter or take her with me (where she'd insist on "helping" me play). I did not take the bait. I just said, "Daughter will enjoy helping you wipe tables." He just stared at me.
Last night I went to bed overwhelmed by all that needed to be done. And irritated too. So I got all comfortable and realized the alarm wasn't set. Because we are in the process of painting our bedroom (a two week process thus far), we have temporarily moved into the guest room. The alarm is now on Husband's side of the bed. I was too lazy (and too pregnant) to crawl over him to set it. I thought to myself, "It's not my turn to get up early and work out. I don't need the alarm set." So I just ignored it. He didn't ask me to set it.
We woke up about 30 minutes later than normal. Husband says, "did you set the alarm?" I said, "No, did you?" Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.
I'm learning.........

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Body Image Issues

At 5'7" I am one of the shortest on both sides of the family. My father's side is tall and think, beautiful olive skin, and very athletic. That is my sister. She could eat anything and never gain a pound. Flawless skin - she never dealt with the adolescent frustration of acne. She attracted attention wherever she went and was known in our family as the skinny one.

If you ask my Sister how she sees herself, she'd describe herself as tall, gangly, flat chested, large hipped and plain.

I struggled with my weight. I tended to become quite chubby and then grow a few inches. I was an awkward dancer and quite clutzy. Not at all graceful. I had horrible acne as a teen and still struggle with it. I tend to look more like my mother's side of the family. Paler skin, dull brown hair.

In 4th grade I needed a bra. I got one in 5th grade. I was not one of those children whose parents bought them a bra because their friends had one, or the child wanted one for middle school gym class. I needed one.

My mother is quite large chested, as is most of her side of the family. My father would make comments sometime. Toilet made comments ALL the time. He would comment about strangers, my mother, playboy models, everyone. He called them boobies, titties and other blech names. I can't stand any name for them now
I remember reading that book by Judy Blue - Are you there God, it's me, Margaret. Margaret is desperate to get her period and increase her bra size. She and her friends begin doing this exercise, "I must, I must, increase my bust." I was the opposite. I prayed nightly never to get as large as my mother. I did not want to look like her.

Developing early garnered me a lot of attention, and not the kind I wanted. I dressed in baggy clothes most of middle school. After the abuse it got worse. I wore long pants and sweaters in the summer, telling everyone I got cold easy. After hearing my mother's comment that a recent diet had dropped her bra size a bit, I crash-dieted.

In high school I alternated between enjoying the attention I received from the opposite sex and despising it. I would throw sweat shirts over my outfits in the house to avoid the leering, lecherous stares.

In college, through candid conversations with other friends, I learned that my A cup friends were jealous of my C cup chest that I so despised. I would have given anything to trade. With poor eating habits, college diets and over-exercise, I was quite thin. Too poor to buy many "going out" clothes, I borrowed from hall mates and my wardrobe changed. I still stuck to mostly black colored items, but they began to fit a bit better. I began buying and wearing smaller sizes.

My husband appreciated my figure. He made comments, but was respectful about them (most of the time!). For our wedding, I dieted again and got so thin my dress had to be taken in another time. My mother told me I was getting too thin, but I loved it.

Between trying to be Betty Homemaker and fix those southern, greasy meals my new husband loved, and the eat-on-the-run lifestyle we lived that last year of law school and first few years of work, I gained much weight. I started weight watchers after I realized I was up 4 sizes of clothing. It was a struggle. Hitting age 25 seemed to be a barrier to weight loss and I had to really work at it. In May 2004 I hit my goal, right before we left for vacation to the beach.

I look at pictures of myself in a bathing suit now, and am astonished at how thin I was. Too thin really. But I thought I looked good. We came back from the beach to discover we were pregnant with our first child. I stopped dieting immediately and switched from my regular exercise routine to a prenatal routine. I gained quite a bit of weight back rapidly. My poor body didn't know what to do as it switched from diet mode to eat-what-you-want mode. I wondered how I would deal with the body changes, but surprisingly I enjoyed them. I loved watching my body grow and develop and knowing that it was for a good cause. For a short time, I was comfortable with my body. It was reacting for a purpose and good reason and I was okay with the changes.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I took all the classes and read all the books. Finally these "things" I despised would be useful and good for something besides lustful stares. I didn't really grow in bra size until right before delivery, and then everything else had swelled up so much, it didn't matter. I was pregnant through the winter and most of my clothes were maternity sweaters or long sleeve shirts.

My milk came in rapidly and my Daughter took to nursing pretty well. I remember walking down the hallway to take a bath a few short days after my daughter was born. My husband caught a glimpse of me and I watched as his jaw literally dropped. I was crying from the soreness of these huge watermelons that had sprouted overnight. He was astonished and asked if they'd "go down." They did, thank goodness. However, those were a long two days filled with tears as I was convinced I had become my mother.

I did enjoy nursing after that. My chest had a purpose. It nourished my daughter for 26 months and comforted her like nothing else could. I had wondered how I would deal with nursing - whether I'd be okay with it or not. But I was.

After my Daughter was born, I again dieted. My weight again went up and down. I got back down to a goal I convinced myself to live with. I realized I would probably never be as low of a weight as I had in my 20s and that it probably was not healthy anyway. I was at my goal weight when we started trying for Baby #2. Soon thereafter is when I began dealing with these abuse-issues. Between stress and medication trials and just poor health habits, my weight shot up again.

When I got pregnant this time, I was far above my goal weight. When I sat down in the doctor's office for the first prenatal visit, the nurse was being pretty pointed about how tall I was and what my weight was prior to pregnancy. I gave her a general answer, but she wanted to tie me down within 1 pound and 1/2 inch. Turns out that I was on the borderline of being in the next BMI category. I was "officially" overweight and I am restricted on what I am supposed to gain with this pregnancy. That was extremely difficult news for me to hear. It ate me up inside for many days thereafter.

Morning sickness made eating almost an impossibility. In some ways it was a blessing because I didn't have to worry about overeating. When I had gained zero weight at the first visit, and zero at another visit, I was happy about it. The midwife cautioned me that I might gain in fits and spurts. I did put on 4 pounds after the visit to my sister (all that ice cream). When I began to be able to eat again, I started back exercising. It's been a real struggle not to lapse into either the not eating or the overeating category.

My biggest weight gain this pregnancy has been my chest. I didn't gain a size at all with my Daughter until right there at the end. This time I noticed my bras were tight before I even knew I was pregnant. I'm up two complete sizes already and probably should be up another, but I refuse to admit it. This time I'm pregnant in the warmer weather. I've borrowed some maternity clothes. I don't know why designers think every woman wants to show off cleavage. Every shirt is low cut, with a plunging neckline. I've safety pinned nearly every shirt I have. I hate it. None of the button-up blouses fit. The person who lent me clothes relished her developing chest and so much of her wardrobe consists of tank tops and low cut shirts. I put one on today to wear around the house and my husband made a lewd comment.
I hate this. I hate looking in the mirror. I hate the stares - especially from strange men. I hate the self-consciousness I feel every time I lean or bend over, afraid everyone will see down my shirt. I hate the strain my back and neck are feeling. I hate the increased attention I am receiving from my husband who can't help but comment that he is enjoying my growing "body." I'm terrified these "Things" will continue to grow and will not go back down. I want to cut them off. The fact that in this pregnancy they are itchy and overly sensitve is driving me crazy. Talk about triggering - and no possible way to escape it.

I have also received comments over my life about my legs. I have long legs. I've been told they are shapely. When I really started struggling with SI, I cut my legs. (see my 'Why the Where' post). It ended my ability to wear short shorts or skirts without questions or odd looks. In a strange way, I like my legs better now with the scars. They are mine now - not someone else's object of lust.

My pregnant developing body is not so much a source of amazement and wonder this time around. It's causing me turmoil and stress. I love the kicks and movements I am feeling. But I hate the sight of myself in the mirror. I'm mostly okay with comments about my pregnant belly. I'm not at all okay with comments about my chest or allusions thereto. I'm struggling a lot with not giving in to SI again.
My anxiety over this is up and I am missing my medication here lately. On the positive front, all this deep breathing and relaxation is sure to come in handy during labor.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Memo to My Mother

TO: My Mother
DATE: Mother's Day 2007
RE: New Rules

Dear Mom,

I guess you missed the subtle memo, so here's a more blatant one.

Our relationship has changed. I am no longer playing the "everything is perfect game." I am no longer willing to overlook your constant infusions of "we" and "Toilet" into the conversation. I am no longer willing to engage in polite, meaningless diatribes about what "both" of you are doing. I am no longer calling you out of guilt and expectation.

I realize you are in denial about what is going on. I realize you are complaining to your entire family about the way ~I~ am treating you. You are probably whining to them about not having "any idea why I'm acting this way," in your usual, pitiful tone.

The rules have changed. I am no longer so pathetically in need of any mother figure that I will deny myself and follow after you like some ragged dog in need of another scrap of food and willing to endure any kicks or blows to get it. I no longer fall for your "poor and pitiful" facade. You are a master manipulator. Get over yourself.

Here are the new Rules -

* I will call when I feel like it. Not when I feel guilty about not having spoken to you in weeks. But when I genuinely want to talk. If you want to talk to me, you can call me. Don't give me crap about whose "turn" it is. This is life - not about taking turns. If you want to talk, pick up the stupid phone and call.

* When I do send you something on Mother's Day, don't say thank you in that tone that implies that it wasn't good enough. I know you miss the mushy "you're the best mom" cards. But guess what? Those were lies and frauds anyway. The "hope your mother's day is sunny and bright" is far more realistic. And no, I did not have Daughter send you anything or make you anything. You're not her mother.

* If you want to visit, ask to visit. Make the arrangements. It is your fault - not mine - that the burden is on you. I've offered to meet at the mall halfway in between our homes. However, don't act like it's a put-out to drive here. It's not my fault you choose to continue to live with a pervert. It's not my fault you choose to work at a job that beats you down and treats you like crap and doesn't let you have time off. Don't wait for an invitation - you might not get one.

* I am the one who gets to choose not to say "I love you" at the end of a conversation. You have to suck it up and deal with it. You do not get to play manipulative games to see if I'll say it first or to try to make me say it. All it does is piss me off.

* Don't send me guilt emails or "I need" messages. I don't care what you need. If you "need" to hear from me or your grandchild, then pick up the phone and call, or come visit.

* Don't answer my call or call me when Toilet is home and in the background. I do not want our calls to be interrupted by his needs. He can wait. I do not want to hear his voice - or worse yet - his laughter.

* If I ask how you are doing and you whine, "I'm okay" I'm going to leave it alone. I will not ask a follow up question. I do not want to hear about how Toilet's disability got cut off and the DOT won't let him go back to work until he gets an EKG and you can't get into the doctor, blah blah. Save some $$. Quit smoking two packs a day each and drinking like a fish. First, you won't have so many health problems. Second, you'll save up to $4,000 a year. Plus you don't NEED extended cable, high speed internet and all that other crap you can't possibly live without.

* Don't try to tell me how others will act. My Sister and I have a fabulous relationship. When I tell you what I'm thinking of naming this new baby, the proper answer is "that's lovely." Then shut up. Don't tell me that my Sister will shorten it just to make me mad. She's not like that. She's not been like that in several years. Guess you missed the fact that she is growing up.

* Don't start filling my head with the worst case scenario. Yes I am pregnant and tired. The world is not ending. I will survive. I know it will get worse - I don't need the "just you wait until the new baby is here and you're not sleeping and blah blah." And "I bet Daughter will be jealous. You'll have to deal with her..." NOTE this well Mom - I deal just fine with typical Mom stuff. Sure it's hard. That's part of being a mother. I don't need your tales of gloom.

* Yes I do spend a ton of time with my in-laws. Yes I am spending my vacation visiting people other than blood relatives. Yes I am spending money to fly up to visit my sister. Tough luck. If you'd make any effort to come here, I might use some free time to see you. But you don't. And frankly I like the company of these other folks far better than you.

* Don't call Sister and whine to her about how strained our conversation was and how you just don't understand. Don't call me and whine about Sister and how she needs to do this or that. Sister and I talk. Quite often. We don't have secrets. If you have something to say, say it to our face.

* Don't give me some snide message about how Grandma said to tell me happy Mother's day. No I did not send Grandma a card. She's not my mother. She doesn't call me, write back, respond to emails or care.

You're the one who got yourself into this situation. Wise up and take responsibility. You can wallow in your pit of self-pity and attempt to manipulate me as you always have. But guess what? I've finally learned my lesson and you will not win again. I've changed the rules. Catch up, or you'll be ejected from the game.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Tribute to Some Wonderful Mothers

Mother’s Day, as well as the soon-to-come Father’s Day, is a tough day for many abuse survivors. Most of us didn’t have good mother figures. However, some of us are mothers, ourselves now. I want to sing the praises of a few wonderful blogging Moms, who have been kind enough to allow their readers to catch glimpses into the lives of themselves and their children, teaching all of us about the joys of motherhood. To me they are wonderful examples of how I can learn to be a good mother to my children. I'm glad that they share.

(in no particular order)

Beauty - she is a wonderful mother to her sons and Nana to her grandchildren. Her supportive actions through her son's injury is a true testament to the strength of good mothers. Her stories of her grandchildren are simply delightful.

Cerebral Mum - Casper is a charming young child, which is evidence of his mother's love. Her conversations with him will delight you (see here). I miss the Monday's child pictures - however Cerebral Mum has returned to school, and will certainly be a better educated mother and provider for her adorable son when her education is completed.

Rindy - Rindy's boys are delightful and developing into fine young men. They even blog on their own (see here). Since I have no first-hand knowledge about raising young boys, I intend to look often to Rindy's blog for advice with my new little one. I know abuse survivors often have "issues" (me included) with men - if every man was raised by a mother like Rindy, I dare so all our issues would be moot.

Maia - Maia is not a mother. She is the sister to 19 (I think I counted right), with the addition of four more to their family. I enjoy reading her blog and seeing the overwhelming love her family has for one another. Maia's mother is a rape survivor who gives a new meaning to the word survive (read here).

Jewellybeano - Jewelly amazes me. She is constantly on the go, yet manages to find time in her busy schedule to homeschool her children. If you want to see wonderful pictures of happy, adorable children, check out her blog. The smiles that Jewelly captures evidence the lives of children with no worries, other than typical childhood worries. They are the smiles so many of us should have worn as children. It is a delight to see them on the faces of her children.

JIP - in recent months, JIP has evidenced a trait of mothers that we all wish our mothers had - protection. When her marriage became dangerous for herself and her children, she left. She took her children with her and has fought hard to protect them. It has not been an easy road for her, but she is persevering. (If you want to read about her inner children, see here).

Keepers - Keepers is a mother in more senses of the word than the average person. She mothers her inner children in such profound ways. Her blog is full of ways she nurtures her young alters. You can read about the wonderful care she takes of all parts of herself here, including her plans to become a mentor to other young children. The youngsters she works with will be lucky and blessed to have her as their mentor.

Perfect - I've had the privilege of chatting with Perfect for over two years now. I've also met she and her daughter in person. Perfect amazes me with her ability to manage motherhood as a single parent. She is the person I turn to when I need to know that "this too shall pass" and that I'm doing an okay job. Her daughter is delightful. You can read about her story here, but it's summed up best when she says, "And whatever else I do or don't have in this world, she has been the ultimate blessing of my life and I thank God for her every day."

Rising Rainbow - RR talks about her children here. She gives the best mothering advice when she says, "Ultimately, the only one who can decide what kind of person our child will grow up to be, is that child. All we can do is guide them and hope that they chose the right path. And be there to pick them up and comfort them when they don't."

Lynn at Spilling Ink - Lynn is the epitome of a mother that sacrifices for her children. She talks about feeling like their needs are more important than hers and recently did a remodel of her child's room. She's a great mother who truly cares for her children, and when necessary, to fight for them too.

I know there are other blogs I visit whose authors are mothers or mother-like. I wish I could mention them all. These blogs above though, are the ones who really get into the nuts and bolts of mothering, the struggles, the impact that abuse has on their role as a mother, and the failure of their own mothers impacting their lives.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Some People Are a Waste of Space

I enjoy playing literati, a scrabble type game, on yahoo. There is a chat feature. Sometimes I disable it - but usually I just ignore it. I'm not interested in that part - I just want the game. Tonight I got involved playing and wasn't paying attention the chat part of the other screen - it was minimized.

I finished my game (I won) and closed out the game screen. The main screen popped up with all the user names and what games were available. One of the users was "legalizerape" and it was chatting - "Rape should be legal, don't you think?"

I started to ignore it and just play - minimize that screen real quick. Then I started to write back and tell that loser what I really thought - but I couldn't. I just froze. I told myself it was useless to debate someone like that. I thought about telling my husband, but he would have become enraged and told me to quit playing - I enjoy playing.

It made me mad - and sad. What type of person can say that? On what possible grounds? Idiot. I know this person is an idiot and a total waste of space and life. But I can't get it out of my head now.

Can I Have Her?

My husband had still not sent out the Mother's Day card this evening, nor bought anything for her. It really irked me.

I spent a long time today waiting in court, which means idle chit-chat with random people. A lot of the conversations centered around the upcoming Mother's Day holiday. Whining by people about having to buy their wives or mothers something. I wanted to smack them.

If you won't appreciate your mother, can I have her?

I started to raise my voice with my husband - I told him that if our son treated me the way he treats his mother on Mother's Day, that my feelings would be hurt. I walked away.

I came back and sat down and told him that he really needed to appreciate what a wonderful mother he has. It bothers me that he doesn't show his appreciation. I know that expressing emotions is difficult for him, but I can help him with ideas and concepts - however, the effort has to come from him. He understood. It was a good conversation.

I think the next time I hear someone whine about having to do something for their mothers, I'm going to ask them something - Do you have a good mother? If the answer is yes, then I'm going to tell them that if they don't appreciate their mother, I'd love to have her.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Trying to Zip my Lips

One of the things I am working on is encouraging DH to take responsibility for himself. It's hard finding the balance between being cold and callous and taking over. Mother's Day is a prime example.
In the past, I would buy the cards and gifts, place them in front of him to sign, then mail them out. This year I needed to spend $$ at Hallmark to earn a free Webkinz for my daughter, so DH asked me to pick up some Mother's Day cards for his mom. I did that. His mom was up this past weekend. Did he give it to her? Nope. I even reminded him that Mother's Day was this next week.
On Saturday we were out shopping and I saw the coolest plate. It's one that a child can draw on and decorate. So I picked it up and showed DH and suggested that our daughter decorate it for his mother. I even hinted that I would like something handmade like that - something with some thought put into it. DH did nothing. So AFTER MIL left I had our daughter color it. Then told DH it and the card were all set for mailing.
Last night I put my generic "have a sunny day" card together for my mother. Along with the "you're an awesome mom" card for my Sister. DH saw me doing this. I told him I thought I ought to get these things in the mail so they'd get there on time.
His cards (one from him/us and one from daughter) are still on the counter. I hate the thought of my MIL not getting a card. I will make sure she gets a telephone call, even if I have to call her. I'm thinking of picking up a "To my MIL" card to send her from me, but that might really emphasize the "your son forgot about you" concept.
So I keep telling myself - I've done enough, back away. Over and over. It's a constant refrain in my head - back off, he's an adult. Now I'm writing it here in black and white as a reminder too.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

And Unto the Third Generation......

I am very fortunate to have good in-laws. Especially with such horrible parents. I truly appreciate the blessing they are. They are are wonderful people. However, they are not parent-like - especially with me. At least not in most areas. My MIL is more like a friend. She is a stereotypical small-Southern-town woman, defers totally and completely to her husband, has no knowledge of how to do any task that is remotely "masculine" and is baffled by the thoughts of doing anything out of her comfort zone - which includes, driving on an interstate, driving across a state line, flying in an airplane, or going up an escalator in a mall. She defers to me in most things, allows me to lead the way, and does not volunteer any advice nor think she has any worthy of giving.

My FIL is baffled by me. He raised two sons - one is my husband, of course; the other is my BIL, who is the oldest, but autistic, and unable to really care for himself. My FIL is completely confused by a modern woman, with more education that himself. He never finished high school. He travelled just a tiny bit with the Reserves during Vietnam. He has never flown. He pays all his bills in cash, and does not manage a check book. He and my MIL have lived in their same home forever. They've never had a mortgage or had to change jobs. They do not question authority, would never challenge a professional and can not fathom standing up in front of an audience.

My FIL and I clashed when my husband and I were first married. He couldn't understand why we needed both a checking and a savings account, or why we would mail off checks to pay bills. He wanted to assist us in making decisions about where we would live (make them for us) but could not understand the first step of finding a job and negotiating an apartment lease in a strange town. When I would talk about my job, he thought it was too dangerous and could not understand why I would want to argue against other people like that. He also can not understand that I might have my own opinion about how I want something done. In his house, he doesn't consult his wife on decisions.

We've butted heads a few times. It took me awhile to understand that he is from a different generation. His heart is in the right place. He isn't trying to beat me down or control me. His trying to make decisions for me is, in his mind, helping me. Once my eyes were opened to his heart and I realized his motives are pure, I was better able to tolerate things. That does mean, however, that I allow him to make decisions for me.

My husband has a very difficult time standing up to his father. And that causes a lot of tension and problems in our marriage. In fact, he simply doesn't do it. If he needs to say No to his father, he gets mad, calls his mother, vents to her, and lets her act as a buffer and tell his father. It's very bizarre.

We have several projects that need to be done at our house. My FIL is a brick mason by trade and has built houses. So he helps out a lot with simple projects. However, he does things the old-fashioned way, and with little thought as to design or taste. Our stairwell into our basement is dark. I want a light installed. FIL thinks we should mount a light on the side and just run wire down the wall - doesn't matter if the wire hangs out - we'll just tack it to the wall out of the way. He wants to put up a brace to sturdy up the railing, without a thought to how it looks. If I'm concerned about children falling through (and I am) he can put up some outdoor-type lattice. When our kitchen light burnt out, he and my husband picked up a new one - with coiled fluorescent tubes and no covering. UGLY.

I had taken my husband to the store and shown him the railing banister I wanted. Vertical spindles placed close enough together that a child's head can not get stuck through - and my 4 year old will stop jumping sideways off the staircase. I want the light installed on the ceiling, with wires hidden. And kitchen lights should have covers - no bare bulbs exposed. This is a home - and I want it to be nice.

Saturday was very tense around my house. My husband "forgets" the conversations we've had in which I've been very explicit about what I want as far as home design. His dad comes over, they do their manly powwow. And my husband has no gumption to challenge his father. Instead, I end up having to step in and say NO, which my FIL resents. Then my husband stomps off, pouting to the store to return the very item he knew I would not want in my home. He comes home and is snappy at me. When I remind him "we've already talked about this," he professes to have forgotten.

What I want my husband to do is to tell my FIL, "We've discussed it and this is what we want. How can we make it work?" And to stick to his guns. But despite numerous counseling sessions about this topic, it's not caught on yet.

In other ways, my FIL is completely helpless. It's bizarre. He can't make a decision about what he should wear. He can't navigate his way through a menu. Going to a Pizza Hut buffet today baffled his brain. He didn't understand why you needed a clean plate on every return trip. One time we took him to a restaurant with cloth napkins. He was appalled that you would use cloth to wipe your mouth. If things are done just slightly different than in his teeny tiny town, he can't get it.

In a joint counseling session not too long ago, we were discussing the possibility of this baby being a boy (which we now know that it is). My T mentioned that having a boy would cause DH to view the relationship between he and his father in a whole new light, and that he would be forced to examine some of the issues there. That statement has stuck with my husband who is clueless (or professes to be) about what those "issues" might be. In the two days since we've learned we are having a son, I wonder what is in store for my husband. Will he have to deal with some of the same struggles and issues I've had to deal with in examining my relationship with my mother as I've learned how to be a mom to my daughter? If so, this will be an interesting journey as we bring a third generation into this world.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Baby News - It's a ................

BOY !!!!!!!!!!!!

Everything looks great. The baby was all curled up and not cooperative in moving around a whole lot - despite the orange juice I drank. He is measuring perfectly - weighs about 1/2 pound. Our daughter, who wanted a sister, was nevertheless excited. She wants to name her baby brother "Snoopy Jone Jones" or "Junk Food Joe" - the names of her favorite book! I think we'll keep thinking on names!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Stay tuned

Friday afternoon I find out if this little soccer player (who delights in kicking me) is a boy or girl. I'll update later...........

I'll Be Your Troll Slayer

Yesterday my husband had off from work due to inventory being done at his job site. He picked me up and we went to lunch. Had a wonderful talk about all sorts of things. He asked about my having gotten up in the middle of the night, with what he assumed was a nightmare. I decided to take a leap of faith and let him in on what had really happened.

So I printed off yesterday's blog post, took out all references to him, and gave him just the general fact portion. He read it and was thankful I shared. He said it really helped him understand better. We had a great conversation about it. Then he got quiet.

He asked about this line - "I spent my life paying the troll under the bridge - paying a toll to get by. It's time for that troll to die. Now to figure out my plan of execution." Thereafter, we had some confusion. I meant a figurative troll representing everything bad about the abuse, childhood, etc. He thought I literally meant Toilet.

Him - "Do you really want to kill the troll?"
Me - "Yes"
Him - "Can I help?"
Me - "Sure"
Him - "really?"
Me - "Yes, to the extent you can help, that would be great."
Him - "I will do it for you. I want to do it. I want to see him die."
Me - "huh? Wait. What do you mean?"
Him - "You want me to kill Toilet?"
Me - "Not exactly - I mean not literally."
Him - "Oh," in a very disappointed tone, "because I'd like to do that."

I don't really want him killing Toilet. I'd miss him too much while he went to jail. And I don't want that for him. But it was super sweet of him to volunteer. And I do believe he was pretty serious about that.......I love my troll slayer.