Monday, March 28, 2011

Kind of a heavy read...

It's Monday (you know what that means)!

We are 27 weeks along today, and officially in the last week of my second trimester. J pointed that out to me last night, and I was a little taken aback. It's not that I didn't know the transition was coming, I just don't think I was prepared for how quickly the second trimester would whiz by.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that we're getting closer to being able to hold our little girl in our arms and that said little girl is bumping along just fine despite scaring us half to death 5 weeks ago. But it's a little sad, too. Despite my many (J would probably add a few more "many"s here) complaints about the aches, pains, and general make-me-feel-bad's about pregnancy, I have enjoyed having her with me every moment of the day. When I wake up, she's with me (at this point she's usually the reason I'm awake)- when I'm waddling around the supermarket, she punctuates the mundane shopping decisions I make with little kicks and flutters and when I lie down to sleep at night (after the inevitable hour or so of indignant squirming subsides) I can feel the outline of her little body snuggled into mine. I am so excited to have her on the outside (in 13 short weeks) to share with J, our families and our friends, but a part of me is a little heartbroken, too. After I deliver her, I will never be pregnant with this baby again. My worries about her will no longer be able to be soothed with a wiggle - she will be out in this big, bad world and there's not a thing I can do about it. I treasure the time that I have her with me like this, and as much as I am looking forward to getting to know her as an individual and my daughter, I feel almost like there will be some separation anxiety when she's not quite as literally close to my heart.

Before you jump to any conclusions about my mental state (ha!), I should point out - I entertain no notions about being pregnant forever, and it's not really what I want. I can't wait to meet Carys and I know her birth will be the beginning of a new, fantastic chapter of our lives. I have daydreamed since the moment I found out she is a girl about putting her in sweet little dresses, and I can't really start being Mommy to her until she's flown my coop. I can't wait to show her off to friends and family! I, like all new mothers, already know she's going to be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I can't wait for her to be Daddy's little girl (it's happening - I've never seen J so excited!), and I know someday she'll look up to her father the way I look up to mine. J has waited patiently (mostly) thus far, but I know he's chomping at the bit to start his new job as 'best dad ever'. I know he will be, too. I suppose the reality that two-thirds of my first pregnancy is almost over is just a little bittersweet. Everyone says that it will slow down drastically during the last few weeks while I'm waiting for her to make an appearance (and I know at that point I will probably be turning the coop upside down in my desperation to jostle the chick loose). I hope when that time comes, I remember to come back and read this entry and to be thankful for the last few moments of an experience that has been the single most life changing one I've ever had.

Am I uncomfortable a lot these days? Sure. Are there moments when all I want is for her to stop jamming her little feet into my ribs? On a nightly basis. If there was some way I could go back and have the end result without the journey and all that it entails? Not a chance.

(Warning- this next part goes into some heavy territory, and some specifics about me that you may not wish to know. It might serve as a trigger for anyone that has suffered from traumatic experiences, and it is not my intention to shock or upset anyone. I write it for my own benefit, to record yet another part of this pregnancy and to help myself work through some issues that have come up. I completely understand that sometimes people are just looking for a light read -I warn you, you won't find it past this point and I urge you to stop reading now if that notion makes you uncomfortable. I value the opinions of you, my friends and family and I'd be lying if I said I didn't worry at all about how this will affect your thoughts of me, but for my own sake, I have to get this out.).

Along that train of thought, I have been giving more thought to the fact that she will be here in a relatively short amount of time and how that will impact our daily lives. I have noticed a considerable change in the way that I think about things already. Although I didn't always apply this theory during my younger years, as an adult I try to be a forward thinker in daily life. Having a little person on the way that I will be responsible for has immeasurably (and probably irrationally) increased the level of what-if scenarios that I allow to play out in my mind. Over the last several months I have spent an inordinate amount of time comparing and contrasting my experiences and those of my husband with events that I see unfolding, and in turn imagining my daughter going through like situations and her reaction/the bearing it could have on her.
They're not all doom and gloom, I like to imagine happy things - all of her firsts, birthdays, holidays, family vacations, trips to the zoo, etcetera.

But on occasion, my mind traipses down paths that I've purposely sequestered from myself and it manifests in the form of a nightmare or long-hidden memory that pops up unbidden while I'm doing something routine. It serves to remind me of one more thing I can add to my "who am I" list...

I am a wife.
I am a friend.
I am a daughter.
I am a mother.
I am a sister.

and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

I have debated with myself over the last week or so whether or not to touch on this topic in my blog, knowing that people can see it and it will uncover a part of myself that I have sought to hide for a long, long time. The truth is, this topic has haunted me for a great deal of time during my pregnancy and after the baby's gender was revealed, it became apparent that I have to face it in order to continue the process of moving on. I'm not going to go into specifics of what was done to me -I sincerely don't wish to make anyone feel uncomfortable, and what happened, happened. I don't need to recount every gory detail to know that it did. Throughout late childhood and into my years as a teenager/young adult, I spent a lot of time with both secular and Christian counselors, trying to work through my feelings and the lasting repercussions that the actions of the man that I now refer to only as the Offender had on my life.

I, like many others I imagine with similar backgrounds, was angry and bitter for a long time. Resentment followed me around like a lost puppy, and I allowed the Incident to 'empower' me to act out. I justified my actions with a mixture of rage (that was ultimately there to hide the pain I felt) and a feeling of fault and worthlessness. In my mind, if I allowed something so vile to happen to myself, what was the point in treating myself with respect after the fact? I remember feeling like the world had let me down. Horrible things weren't supposed to happen to little girls, and they weren't supposed to happen to me. I was supposed to be protected. I didn't really know who to assign the blame to, just that I wanted someone to pay for what happened to me.

The Offender (as far as I know) was never prosecuted because of a lack of physical evidence at the time it was reported. I ended up shouldering a lot of the guilt, and I spent the next several years punishing myself. I self-medicated, which led to a whole new slew of problems.
But, eventually, after years of struggling with what to 'do' with the backlash of the Incident, I was able to come to a few life-changing realisations.

I can't change history.
What happened was not my fault.
The responsibility for the Incident lies solely on the shoulders of the Offender.
If I put my trust in the world, it will always let me down.

and the biggest of all ...

I refuse to allow my past to dictate my future.

It took a long time to get to that point, and realizing that I wanted to feel a certain way didn't automatically make it so.

I'm not going to sit here and claim that I was not changed by happened. But my prayer was then, at age 19, tired of being angry and sitting alone in a chapel crying out to God to fix me, what it is now.

take what was ugly and make it something beautiful. Make whole what was broken, purify what was defiled and heal my wounded heart.

The upcoming birth of my first child, a beautiful, sweet, innocent little girl, has prompted me to add a few lines, however.

Help me have the strength and the knowledge to keep her safe. Give me wisdom to discern dangers that I may not see on my own. Surround her with loving, fierce protecters that will keep watchful eyes trained on her and those that would seek to harm her. I know that You have fixed what was damaged in me, but I would sooner die than to see her on the roads that I've traveled to get to this point. I beg with everything that is in me that it will not be a part of Your will that she should suffer the way I did. But if it is ... I pray that You wrap her in Your loving kindness. Help her see, as you helped me see, that although the path she walks is dark, You are light. Although human hands hurt, the hands of the Great Physician heal. And that though there are times that she will feel utterly alone, You never left her side. Thank you for never leaving my side, even when I couldn't see You walking beside me. Thank You for putting my pieces back together and for seeing me worthy of love when I didn't see it myself. You have blessed me so much over my short life, and the place I am now is worth every part of the journey I took to get here. Thank You for my sweet baby girl, thank You for my strong, fierce, protective husband, who I know would walk through fire to keep anything from happening to us, thank You for family and friends that have been a constant support over the years.

1 comment:

  1. You've got an excellent way with words, thanks for painting an honest and real portrait of your thoughts. I had never fully considered what it would be like to spend your days traveling with your child inside you at all times. It sounds like a truly beautiful experience. I'm so proud of everything you and your husband have accomplished, and am excited about seeing what you will do together in the life of this child. Thinking back about all the things that had to happen over the years for you to find each other and get to this point is mind boggling, and I can't help but feel that everything in your lives was leading you to this point. I find myself thinking about the process she is going through, growing and changing, preparing to come into the world, and for all the work she's putting into developing she has no idea what awaits her in this world, and how (and I mean this with the deepest sincerity) truly lucky she is going to be to have parents like you both.