Continue on: Domestic Violence.

Before we get started with this rather serious topic allow me to say this entry may have trigger warnings: Also this is a rather lengthy post, so grab some coffee or tea and settle in.

I shall start with a quote then I will jump into the heart of it all.

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. Benjamin Franklin

I knew from a young age that I was MEANT to be a mom, it was something that I just knew, and I had my daughter’s name picked out way before I ever conceived her.  When I found out I was pregnant with a girl I was over the moon with happiness and excitement. I was 20 years old, and at the time my then-husband [now ex-husband], was thrilled with the news that we would be expecting a child.  The first two months of the pregnancy were okay and then I took a turn for the worse, my body was not taking well to being pregnant, I developed Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which translates to extreme morning sickness.  See the medical description below:

The medical term for severe morning sickness is “hyperemesis gravidarum” (which means “excessive vomiting during pregnancy”). It usually follows a timeline that is similar to morning sickness; however, it often begins earlier in the pregnancy, between weeks 4 and 5, and lasts longer.

Although some women with severe morning sickness feel better about halfway through their pregnancy (around week 20), some continue to experience it throughout the entire pregnancy. Often, the symptoms become less severe as the pregnancy progresses.

Most of the time, hyperemesis gravidarum occurs during a woman’s first pregnancy. Unfortunately, women who experience it in one pregnancy are more likely to experience it again in later pregnancies.

Now towards the end of the pregnancy, it got so bad that I had to quit my job, stay home and be on at home IV therapy, and then I was put on bed rest for the remaining portion of it. Laying there in the living room of our apartment was torture, we brought our bed out of the bedroom and put it there because we could not fit the TV into our bedroom at the time, and it put me closer to the bathroom. I would lie there watching TV and resting while my then-husband would go to work, well, for the most part, he was where he said he was… I would wait for him to come home all alone, sitting there just waiting. We had no family or friend’s that lived near us, so the days began to seem very lonely and endless in their nature. I had many thoughts that fluttered around in my head as I lay there still in that bed. I had dealt with depression in my younger years and knew it was taking hold, but this time I knew that I had hope, each time she kicked in my belly it reassured me that things would be okay, I was growing a life inside me. This little baby girl was loved so much even though she was not yet fully in our lives, she was a part of me and for that I had hope.  I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at the age of 20, she was 8 lbs 14 oz and 21 inches long, I was in labor with her for three very long days, but her arrival was welcomed more than she will ever know.

I watched this little baby grow before my eyes, her bright blue eyes and fair hair were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in this world! She looked at me without judgment, she needed me and I need her. But there was something no one had ever talked to me about before, postpartum depression, it was like a ton of bricks constantly sitting on my back and weighing me down. I fought to get it under control, I talked to my doctor about it and since I was breastfeeding he told me the only thing they could really do for me at the time was put me on a low dosage birth control to see if that would level out my hormones some… I realize now that I needed more back then more than just a BC med, but being so young and so far from family, I took the doctor at his word. He was a doctor,  he had to know what he was talking about, right?  I tried to maintain some sanity, but then our daughter developed colic, which stressed me in my depression and anxiety, I struggled to keep her comfortable, I struggled to put her to bed, occasionally when her father felt like it, he would attempt to help. Some nights I would just sit in the floor of her room and cry as she cried, just wishing and hoping she would fall asleep. I felt so lost. Between the new baby, trying to be a good wife and keep up with all my wifely duties, sometimes things would go undone, not because I didn’t want to do them, but because my depression would not allow me to function in the way that I needed to.  After a while I began to get a hold of myself and the house, I began to feel more like myself and then my then-husband, was deployed for the first time.  Now I was truly alone in the care of the house, our daughter, and everything, but yet I managed. When he returned home it was a brief but joyous reunion, then 6 months later he was deployed for a second time, it was while he was deployed that I found out I was pregnant with our second child. I had been taking the birth control like I was supposed to but it was not strong enough for my body’s chemistry, which I did not know. I had to tell my him about that pregnancy via email while he was on deployment.  He was deployed for the entire pregnancy with our son, and when I realized that I would be alone for it, I called my mother who lived in GA, to come to get me. I did not want to be alone through it all.

I disconnected everything at our home, I cleaned out the fridge and secured our home to make sure that we could limit our expenses while he was gone. The only thing we had to pay for at the time was the house payment and the car payment, that was as far as the bills were concerned. My mother picked us up and we came to live with her for a while, to ensure that I would not be alone through this second pregnancy. I decided at this time I would also go back to school while I could and got licensed as a phlebotomist and ECG/EKG tech. I was working on not only being the best mother I could be but working on myself too. I wanted to do something other than just be alone. At age 22 I gave birth to a son, he was so big that when he was born he got stuck on his way out into this world, he was born blue, the doctor had to resuscitate my son. I was thrilled to hear him scream after several minutes of worry and silence, that scream from that chubby and round little boy was music to my ears. He was almost 10 lbs coming into this world weighing 9 lbs 5 oz and he was 20 inches long, now I had two beautiful children in my life and had my licenses, my mother and grandparents were proud of me for what I was doing and the woman I was becoming. However, when my then-husband came back from deployment he was furious with me that I had gone to GA and would not talk to me for months, he considered my act of coming home for while as me LEAVING him. It was never my intention to leave my husband, however, that is how he saw it.

It would take 5 months before he began to talk to me again, 5 months he had not seen our newborn son at all, up until then he still considered what I had done was leave him for good, he even went as far as to have an affair and to tell numerous women that we were separated at the time. I was the “bad guy” in the story because in his mind I was. We finally were talking at the end of the 5 months and he decided he wanted to be with us, so I packed up the kids and went to his mother’s house in North Carolina, where it would be another month before he was willing to allow us to come home, in Virginia. We waited for him to be ready, ready to be a husband and a father… the truth of the matter was he wasn’t ever really ready to be either of those things, but we will get to that in a little bit.

We moved back to our home in Virginia when our son was 6 months old. My husband then came to pick us up and move us back into our home, everything seemed to be okay for a while, then he started to slip into his own depression, he became totally withdrawn at times, locking himself up in our bedroom or glued to the computer so he could avoid us completely. I tried to keep it together, I tried to continue the healthy habits that I had learned while being back in Georgia, but without continuous love and support of family and friends I too began to slip back into depression, the housework got away from me sometimes, the babies always had what they needed but sometimes I would go for days without eating just so they had what they needed. My husband was spending money faster than he could make it, our bank account was often sitting in the red, instead of talking to me about our issues, he would tell anyone and everyone online what was going on to generate sympathy from other females. I again became the “bad guy” in his narrative, he began to have online affairs with several women. Through all of this he began to drink and drink heavily, he would often get into the mood after being online for days at a time and then expect me to perform the wifely duties in the bedroom without question or dispute. He often would not take no for an answer, if he wanted something he didn’t care what I said or thought, because I was his wife, he thought I owed it to him and in turn, he would just take it. And then… he had to be deployed again, this time I was relieved to an extent. It was a short deployment this time only a couple of months, however, when he came back this time he was a different man altogether. His whole outlook had changed on how to be with me and the children… Now we had an unexpected surprise, I was pregnant again… I had been on another type of birth control this time, I had begged my doctor to switch it several times over because I knew that it was not the right one, and yet they refused to switch me. We used condoms for the first time in our marriage and still somehow we were expecting another child, it was a shock to me and a hindrance to my husband.

He yelled at me, he screamed, he was belligerent, he was furious. One day, shortly after I figured out that we were going to have this third child, this third beautiful creation, I was overly exhausted and asked him to please watch the children while I rested for a bit. I promised to clean up the house and make dinner shortly after I got back up. I had been laying down approximately fifteen minutes when I heard our son scream at the top of his lungs, I rushed to their bedroom to find him sitting on the floor with baby wipes all over the room and our daughter screaming at the top of her lungs, he had picked her up and threw her into her crib. I picked up my son and ran to my daughter, my husband standing in the middle of the room with his hands clenched into fists, his chest heaving up and down.  My mind raced as I wondered what had happened. He walked out of the room and I followed after rubbing my daughter’s head and kissing her, our son on my hip. “What happened? What’s wrong? Why are the kids screaming and crying?” he stared at me blankly as I asked him the questions, then with a crash and a slam he was breaking things in the kitchen. “STOP! Don’t you dare throw that at me and our son!” I screamed and he picked up a vase and held it tightly in his hand, he raised his arm and paused as he looked at me, seeing me there with our son on my hip still crying. I turned quickly and rushed our son into their bedroom and placed him in the crib. I closed the door and stood in the living room, tears streaming down my face and my heart racing. I looked him dead in the eye and said ” Throw something at me now that our child isn’t on my hip. I dare you.” He looked at the vase in his hand and then threw it at the wall beside him. He then pushed everything off our dining room table and on to the floor. He screamed, ” Where are my keys?!?!” He was tearing the house up to try and find the keys, but in all the mess he had created, he could not find them. I grabbed my keys and opened the door. ” I said here are MY keys!” he stormed towards me and got in my face. ” If you throw those keys out the door, I am never coming back.” I handed the keys over and he walked out the door. I shut it behind him.  I had dialed my mother, she picked up the phone and I was frantically trying to tell her what was going on but before I could walk back to our children’s room I heard a loud bang and then felt a sharp pain in the back of my leg which sent me to my knees. He had kicked in the front door and it splintered into the back of my leg. I screamed in pain and dropped the phone, it disconnected.

The police were called to the house, by my mother in another state and by our neighbors hearing all the commotion going on. The police took my statement as my husband had driven off yet again in our car. The police stated that since it was HIS house he could do whatever he wanted to it and basically to us as well. They left and I called my mother again, I told her I was packing up the kids and was leaving. She and my sister made arrangements to get us a hotel room. I scrambled to pack, I forgot so many things that cold December night, in the middle of a snowstorm. As I was getting the kids in the car my husband had returned home and yelled at me as loud as he possibly could from the doorway ” Good luck going anywhere, I drained the accounts!” I did not say a word and hopped into my car and drove off into the night. Fearing that he would seak us out and try to drag us back home. I took a long way, down many different roads in hopes he would not know where we were going.  I had to wait for my mother to wire me some money to get diapers for the kids and food for my daughter to eat. I went into the grocery store and got the money, then we went to the Dollar General because in my rush I had forgotten to get socks for my son. While we were looking for the socks two women approached me and said: ” HOW DARE YOU HAVE THAT BABY OUT WITH NO SOCKS, WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU?” I broke down in the store and cried. I walked away with my children in tow. I found the sock and paid for them. We arrived at the hotel in the early morning before the sun had come up.  I waited to hear from my mother, fearing now that at any moment, my husband would have my cell phone cut off. She and my brother in law at the time were coming to get us. I checked us into the room and put my exhausted children down to sleep. I curled up in a ball in the large chair, I grabbed the stick from the sliding glass door in the room and stared at the door for hours, I was going to protect my children at whatever cost, if he had somehow found us, I was not going down without a fight. I dozed off for a few and then there was a knock on the door. I ran to it to see who it was, it was my mother. I flung open the door and hugged her tightly, the kids were still sleeping. She checked me over then check over my children, she looked over my daughter, lifting her shirt up and we could see giant handprint bruises on her ribs.  I cried, he had left a mark on her, I was DONE!

We left later that day and headed back to Georgia and this time it would be for good! No matter how bad my depression had gotten, no matter what had happened to me, I had never in a million years even considered hurting our children. I had often tried to connect with my husband, I asked him what was wrong, I tried to help in any way I could, but he pushed me further and further away. I tried to get him to go to therapy with me and he refused. I tried everything I could think of, seeing the signs start to add up, but never had I thought we were in any danger until that night. That night I saw flashbacks to my childhood, flashbacks of things I never wanted my children to experience.  The whole ride to Georgia, I replayed the events over and over in my head, what set him off, what caused this?? I was at a total loss. We arrived back in Georgia, and for two weeks we stayed in my Grandparent’s home, then we acquired an apartment of our own. I now not only had to heal myself but two children… and then there was my third child that would be here in just a matter of months.

Depression hit me and hit me hard, What was I going to do, how was I going to do it, how was I going to raise three kids on my own… I struggled each day to get out of bed but I knew I had to, I had to fight it off, I had two tiny little humans that needed me to be their rock, their comfort, their support. So I did, I forced myself out of bed and forced myself to function, but at night when they were sleeping I cried myself to sleep every night or I would sit in the shower with the water running over me, curled up in a ball. Yet, I still pushed on. It took months before I was semifunctional, I pressed on and continued to be what my children needed of me, they saved me, they saved my life! Without my children, I honestly do not think I would be here today.

When I was 23, I had my third child, another boy, he was 7 lbs 14 oz and he was 19 inches long, I think the stress of everything that had happened caused him to be smaller than his siblings. His birth was a happy moment for me, even though their father was no longer in the picture. My little family would be okay because I was going to be okay. I had the love and support of my mother, my sister, and my Grandparents. I would find a way to make our new life a happy one. I would find a way to get through it all, even though the nightmares of that night would be a constant thing for years, I would get through it for them. These tiny little, precious children, they were my anchors, they were my happiness and I would do anything in the world for them.

My daily mantra became ” One day at a time.”  I took that to heart because it is all we as humans can handle, take one day at a time, take the day as it comes, work through it and move forward. Healing takes time and you have to allow yourself that time to heal. I enrolled my daughter into a childcare program and then took a job working as a teacher at the same facility, the boys were also in their own classes. I had a job again and a place for the children and me to stay, it wasn’t long before we would move into a trailer with my mother, then I took a better job at a different pre-k, I transferred the kids there and worked when I could. I managed with the help of my mother to keep the food on the table and their bellies fed. It was a struggle with three children now, but I knew I could do it I knew there was hope. Hope had returned to me again, and for this I was thankful.

Being a mom isn’t for everyone and it isn’t an easy ride for most, it takes a lot of time and commitment, a lot of patience and understanding, and above all, it takes loving someone so selflessly that you often forget about yourself.  I always knew I was meant to be a mom,  I felt it in my bones, in my heart, and in my soul. Being a mom is one of my purposes in life, and I love each one of my children completely, they saved me, they are my hope, my joy, they are my everything. I would not change a moment of our lives together, even though we went through hell in the beginning, we came through it together and are closer for it. Time itself is fleeting in our lives, we only have so much of it to share with one another, and I for one want to make the best of the time we have together. So I continue my story and my children have a chance to continue theirs.

To my children, I say this ” Thank you, and I will always love you, no matter what!”

Love you infinitely <3

Mom

 

**********************Domestic abuse and Spousal Rape are never okay! Never allow your self to suffer through them, there is a way out, you can escape. If you need to escape but do not know how or do not have anyone to turn to, please contact local shelters for domestic violence and seek help.  You can also reach out to the domestic violence hotline or website for finding those shelters in your area. Also if you know of anyone you suspect is being abused but they are too afraid to come forward, step in and be there for them, let them know they are not alone. https://www.thehotline.org/  No one is immune to it, it can happen to both men and women! Shatter the silence and stop the violence! ***********************************************

****** For additional help and support if you suffer from depression, please seek help and talk to someone, there is no shame in seeking help when you need it!  Resources for this are in the links below*******

Call 1-800-273-8255

 

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