1. Never felt good enough:
I always needed to feel accepted and loved. Always. In childhood, I needed praise. Hardly ever receiving it. My brother took most of the attention wether good or bad attention. If he was bad, it was always about dennis and his behavior. If he was good, it was always about dennis and his achievements. I needed to feel the same worth. I was a good child. I received good grades, never got into trouble, strived for perfection. Wanting to be noticed by my mother for my good deeds only to be forgotten because she was always yelling about something. Was I in trouble? Did I do something wrong? I’ll clean my room. Hangout in the closet and when the yelling stops, I won’t be in trouble. Dennis didn’t care. He was so use to it, it didn’t phase him. For me, it was hard to handle. The fear of doing something wrong always encouraged me to never do anything wrong. Never give a reason to yell or scream or be ignored. And when something would happen, either by a minor slip up or her just being in a mood, I would freeze. My mind could not comprehend what I had done wrong. I wanted so badly to just reach for a hug but was too terrified for fear of rejection. Rejection by the one person who should never ever have that word in her vocabulary for a child. (I asked what a blow job was once when I was 4 years old and got my ass whopped because I embarrassed her in front of her friends)
Even in adulthood, I seek to please. A wrong look or too long to text back thought will have me worrying that I had done something wrong. I always wished to be the kind of person that could care less what someone thinks of me, but you have to have the mind set to not care and I’m not there yet. I do speak my opinion, but often times will just listen and not object.
2. He left me.
Being married at a young age, I knew that if I left the house then I didn’t have to worry about being rejected my my mother. Plus I was 18 and of course knew everything. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I knew love. I knew I was being loved. But that wasn’t enough. Culture dictated the marriage and well I was crushed he left, I didn’t understand why. But I did know that again, it was me. I wasn’t enough. I was different. Different by being American, white and not Muslim. All three I know I have no control over, but still believed it was because I wasn’t good enough, right enough or as my mother told me, I didn’t fuck him good enough, that’s why he left me…. Again, it goes back to the feeling of being in trouble for something that was out of my own control. My own relm of thoughts was once again flooded my anxieties of doing something wrong.
3. The highway.
I once took a day shopping trip with friends about two hours from town. One the way home, while on the highway, some man thought my friend’s driving wasn’t up to par for his liking so he began following us. I noticed him speed up to get in front of us, making hand gestures of a pretend gun, and pointing it directly at me in the passenger seat. To say I was scared shitless is an understatement. My friend, who was driving, called the police, gave the lisense plate number, and continued to drive slow hoping to avoid him. And indeed we did. As out turn approached, he stayed straight ahead and we lost him. Thanking God that ordeal was over but I was super panicked to be in a car for a long time, especially in the passenger seat. I had years of always telling Jay please be careful, watch how you drive, saying constant prayers for our safety as well as others to our destinations. I never drove outside of town. If I rode with a friend somewhere, my anxiety of being followed or someone being too close made me fearful of the incident and it happening again.
4. She’s at it again.
After my separation or abandonment, as I like to call it, happened, my brother offered to drive from Virginia where he was living and come get me. I needed an escape. I needed to start over again and forget that he didn’t love me, want me, or desire me, or even need me. The night before we were to leave, Dennis and mom again had an explosive arguement/fight that resulted in an emergency visit to the hospital with stitches in Dennis’s finger. Full of rage and hatred, they both exchanged words, middle fingers and Dennis telling me we were leaving. I wasn’t prepared to leave. Mentally I still needed to see my dad. Hug him a few more times and listen to his words of encouragement. Instead I got a drunk mother flashing her tits in front of the headlights of the car screaming that my brother was evil because he never would latch to her. She screamed she hated us, wish we were never born, she should have aborted us both and to never call her again. With that, I got into the car, hugged my dad as he said he was sorry, gave me money, which my brother took and spent it, and we left. I hated the drive. I hated feeling like I was to blame. I hated feeling I had done something wrong. It never would have happened if my brother had not come to get me and he came to get me because my husband left because I wasn’t good enough. Somehow I was in the wrong. I don’t know why or what I had done, but I was to blame I knew that. And of course, running away was never the right choice, neither was living with my brother. Too many arguements, not enough money, no car for a job, and missing my dad, was too much. Dad flew and drove me home only to be ignored when entering the house, because mom knew I wouldn’t make it. Again, one of her kids had invaded her space. The kids she wished she never would have had, was home. So I got a job. Two jobs in fact and stayed away from the house as much as I could. I loved working. I felt needed. Felt wanted. I felt like I was free. Free from my thoughts, my worries and free to be myself. People liked me and enjoyed my interaction. I was never afraid to be myself. Working gave me a sense of belonging and peace. I knew working would free me and my mind that I could be independent. I got an apartment and a roommate. Nothing out of the ordinary there.
5. Love child??
I was finally able to speak my mind, but always cautious at my words. I felt if speaking truthfully but nicely would help, then I would be understood and liked. One thing I noticed with my mother was it was always her way or no way. If I understood what she was saying but didn’t happen to agree with it, then I wasn’t listening to her. I was listening, I just had a different opinion on the subject. That always lead to me being stupid, or fat, or a worthless bitch and I had no idea how the world works and so on and so on and by the time she was done with me, I no longer felt I had a voice. But I was her love child she would say. She made love to get pregnant with me. For Dennis she just fucked, and being just fucked can get you a horrible terrible kid. (Her words). I don’t think she ever realized I was the good child, not because love making was involved, but because I was scared to death of her actions to any disappointment I could potentially cause. It was pure fear. Nothing more….
6. My body failed her
I have a baby too soon. Too early. My body failed her. Somehow in my mind I’ve convinced myself that my body hates being pregnant and failed to carry her to full term. I was never to have children. As if God was saying it wasn’t meant to be, even though I know women give birth. It’s our right and duty as a woman. We are her to bear children. So by something that was never explained I finally got pregnant. I was being blessed. Something perfect was happening and I was being promised what was made for me to do. But it was horrible. Born too soon. So frail, so small, so vulnerable I had no control over this situation or what was happening. All I could do was watch. I watched this perfect life taken from my womb, a place that loved her and hated her, and watched a machine keep her alive. I couldn’t keep her safe. I couldn’t give her what my natural body could give. She didn’t want me. Will she ever know that before she was born I was failing her as a mother? Did she hate me? Did she hate my body as my own mother did? Will she know I did everything I could to keep her inside? The trauma from having a child can be filled will every type of emotion. Raw, unguarded, selfless emotions all trying to find a place in the mind at one time. Having a baby prematurely and not fully understanding what can and will happen, has the potintual to become overwhelming and heart breaking. Which happened to me. But I did realize that because I was alone in this, not by choice, I had to be her mother. I had to be the mom that cared and loved. It was one of the most profound parts of my motherhood. I had to fight my fears and be a mom. I had to learn to speak up, ask questions, demand answers, drive, live alone, trust others, trust my instincts. I watched her eye lashes grow. I watched ounce by ounce grow on her. When she opened her eyes, I was there. Her first bath I was there. I always say there is beauty in the nicu. You just have to look for it. Having that experience brought a new set of fears. Fears I didn’t know I had. I missed my husband, my kids, my life before her. I was guilty of that. I found peace in my future. I found happiness that my husband would be home soon. I found my joy when I held her at night dancing to a song. But I still failed her. Although she thrives today, I failed her. God gave me trouble because I wasn’t good.
7. N. I. C. U.
Every single time she coughs or gets a scratch or bruise, I worry. Not like I worry she won’t heal, but worry that I’m a shitty mom or people think I’m a shitty mom. If she gets sick, will I be blamed? If she doesn’t feel good, will I miss the change in her? I worry that something will happen and I will not see it coming. I worry she will be premature forever. I worry will my other kids love me? I can’t eat or sleep when one of my kids gets sick. I literally lose weight from worry. I can’t stop my racing mind for having some type of control because I can’t control when my children are sick. Will I have to relive the nicu again? Will I be judged for my kid getting sick? Thoughts that every normal mother has, mine manifest it’s self ten fold. I am over causious to the point where I bubbled Sidda’s first year and a half of life. Terrified of germs getting into her precious body that I watched form. Other kids wanting to touch her and play. Me being petrified she would catch something. And when she did catch a cold, then it was 10 exact days of hell. Not for her, but for me. I did something wrong. I didn’t protect her enough. I let her get sick. I didn’t pay close enough attention and shield her for germs. These are the thoughts that plague my mind when dealing with PTSD of the nicu and its lasting side effects. As she has gotten older, I am learning that she needs to play and learn and be around the germs. And so far she has came through with ease and I am slowly loosening my grips on bubbling her. The nicu teaches you life lessons on how to me a mother. What to watch for and how to build a trust with yourself. It’s a scary scene and the raw emotions that come with it for sure make you a stronger mother but being a stronger person is what I’m striving to be.
She is the best piece of me I have ever seen…
8. Feeling alone
While Jay was away in Saudi Arabia, I was home with three kids, one being a preemie with oxygen and monitors and worries that tag along. What they don’t tell you in the nicu is the constant worries and torment you give yourself while watching your child sleep,eat or just breathe. I would stay awake and just watch her sleep. Waiting to hear her monitor beep for a sign she wasn’t breathing. The nighttime was the worst because I was completely adult free alone. My oldest daughter helped me with arranging cords and bottles and would stay up with me watching movies so I didn’t feel so alone. That was a godsend but she was also struggling. She was struggling with self acceptance, self worth and just feeling replaced. She came to us in a time where she needed a mother. She needed me. She needed Jay. She waited patiently for her alone time with me and when my mind and time could be focused on her. It was a trying time for us all but especially for her. I battled not being good enough for her. Her actions showed I was failing. I worried would she feel the way about me as I felt about my own mother. I worried that everything we had worked to build up her confinence would fail because of this change in our lives. Again, I blamed myself for my body failing as a mother and now my mind was failing as a mother. I wanted to put life on hold and take charge again. To find my self worth as I knew I had it before. My kids were the reason I was breathing and smiling My kids have a desire to just be children and live a life we, as parents, promised them to have. Sidda kinked the plans because she was unplanned. Our plans were moving where Daddy was and being a family again. I failed in that plan for my womb was the problem. Again, I was in trouble. I created this diversion in our lives, when all we wanted was to be on a plane where Daddy was. Thankfully, and I write this with a grin, Sidda was a beautiful distraction to our own individual miseries. Every new milestone she had, we all witnessed. When she would cry, the kids took turns holding her, playing with her, making her smile and laugh. Her strength was beginning to improve and slowly she because a full baby. Now at almost two years old, she is the laugh we all take and the circle of our family. We all witnessed a miracle with her she has given each one of us something to look forward too. She was the laugh we were missing The extra hug we needed to give, and the complete completeness to our family that started to be made three years ago.