Him

His silhouette was dark in my doorway, my bedroom dark, the light of the hallway casting an amber aura around him. “Is there a reason why you can’t fully close the toothpaste cap?”

I laid there, half laughing, half in shock. “What?”

“Are you that lazy that you can’t even put the cap on the toothpaste? How much effort do you think it takes to do something so simple? If you can’t do these little things then how can I expect that you can maintain a relationship? A REAL ADULT RELATIONSHIP, JENN!”

I started apologizing profusely. He was right. I was lazy to not cap the toothpaste. I will do better, I will be a better person, I will make more of an effort. But that wasn’t good enough though… Nothing was.

We met in June at a rock benefit, but didn’t start officially dating until October; Unbeknownst to me, while he was with another woman. I was warned of his chronic womanizing, that he was a perpetual user, his “M-O” being that he goes from female to female for a place to crash, food to eat, and someone to care for him. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that he could be so evil, or apathetic. To me, he came off as overly caring and sensitive. He was highly affectionate and made me feel like I was the only girl in the room. He couldn’t be the same person that these people were talking about… Perhaps he just had a bad rep. We all have stories; perhaps his was just a bit longer than others. I should have listened though, because they were right.

He moved right in, manipulated his way into my life and the life of my daughter. The first few weeks he put me on a pedestal, almost smothering me. He wanted all of my free time and at first I thought it was cute, but then he began to give me hell when I would want to go out with my friends. If I even stepped out to get something to eat with friends I was given a massive guilt trip.

“Real adults stay home. Real adults shouldn’t have to go out all the time. If you want to be in a real adult relationship, then you should start acting like it, Jenn!”

I started to go out less and less, mostly because I didn’t want to upset him. He was right; I shouldn’t have to go out all the time. I should be home were I belonged, waiting for him. He wouldn’t abide by the same rules though because there were many nights where he just didn’t come home and would either attribute it to having to work late, or that he was staying with his friend. Those nights I didn’t hear from him at all, and if I so much as texted him “hello”, I was accused of being jealous and insecure.

I would often lie awake at night thinking “What have I done?” I don’t even know this person… How did I just let him move into my home-my life? Why was I so weak? I didn’t want him there, but at the same time I needed him. He knew my vulnerabilities and would play off of them often. The minute I started to question the relationship, he would become romantic, caring and sweet- The person that I fell in love with, the person that I initially started to date. The minute I felt comfortable he would revert right back to the person that made me feel insecure and unwanted. We rarely slept together, and If I even mentioned that, I was called needy, that all I cared about was sex and attention. I began to feel like I was a bad person for wanting to be intimate with my partner, so I eventually stopped asking. Aside  not being intimate with one another, he wouldn’t even sleep in the same bed. He claimed he needed to sleep on the couch because of a previous back injury. That “back injury” texted him often.

At first I had no real proof that he was cheating, other than my instincts. When I would question him I would get berated, told that I was too needy, insecure, and that no one wanted a girl like that. Over time I was manipulated into thinking I was crazy, that I had “trust issues” and was far too jealous and insecure for our relationship. Even though I was right all along, he literally had me thinking I was crazy, even when concrete evidence was finally put in front of me, I still believed his lies.

My home had to be spotless or I would have to listen to the endless insults against my womanhood. If I dare leave a plate in the sink, or a bobby pin on the counter, I would hear how I was a terrible girlfriend, a lazy human, and not marriage material. There were nights when I would wake up at 2 in the morning to the smell of bleach and rubbing alcohol, he would be downstairs having a fit while scrubbing the floors. I didn’t dare go down, I made that mistake once. He glared up at me in contempt asking why I was up and out of bed, then demanded that I get back to my room so I can “Get my much needed sleep” while he “Cleaned up after me and my child”. He hated the cats and I often wondered what he was doing to them while I was at work all day. Most of the time he kept them locked in the basement; I wasn’t allowed to let them out at night. My oldest cat would urinate on the floor whenever he would approach him, which deeply troubled me. He would often joke about killing them, or “throwing them by their head down the stairs”. He also made the same kind of jokes regarding me.. .That he knew how he was ‘going to kill me’, by either chopping me up into pieces or by striking me with a hammer. He would often make these jokes with a smile on his face… I would smile back, but deep down was concerned that he just may be serious.

I would like to say things never got physical but that would be untrue. The first time he put his hands on me was after he had too much to drink at a party. He sat in the reclined passenger seat of my car calling me a whore and a poor excuse for a mother; His eyes on fire and hot spittle flying from his mouth as he screamed obscenities at me. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong to deserve his anger. When we arrived home, and I made my way into the house, him close behind.. He was in my face, I could feel the spit hitting my cheeks as he slurred and screamed.. He said it again-“whore” and I slapped him. He stood there for a second, drunkenly swaying; As if in slow motion I watched him cock back, and felt the sting as his hand met my face. My jaw immediately throbbing, I was on the floor. Sobbing, I laid there afraid that he would strike again. He glared down at me, called me a baby and told me to get up. He then sloppily threw himself onto the couch and passed out. At first I was too afraid to move, but then I quietly grabbed my purse and keys and snuck quietly out of the house to seek the words of a friend. The entire time my jaw ached, I had trouble eating M&M’s that I grabbed from a vending machine. I just couldn’t believe that he had put his hands on me. As scared as I was to go home, I knew I had nowhere else to go so late at night. I quietly entered the house as he snored on the couch and inched my way upstairs, careful not to make a sound. I eventually fell asleep. The next morning he texted me apologizing profusely claiming that he had no idea what happened, he didn’t remember hitting me. I finally accepted his apology, but it wasn’t until then that suddenly he remembered everything… He remembered hitting me, but he also remembered “why”. I hit him first. I “deserved” it. Once again, I was apologizing to him, I would be better, it wouldn’t happen again. I would like to say that that was the one and only time that it got physical, but unfortunately it wasn’t. There were times when he physically held me down because he wanted to take my phone from me since he owned the contract. There was also the time when he dragged me through the streets of Providence, my arms bruised and face streaked with tears and eyeliner.

I know many of you are thinking “Why didn’t she leave?” Well it was a lot more difficult than you think. Most of the times that I tried to leave; he would revert to someone almost human, someone loving and caring of the relationship; The human side of him would usually last for a few weeks, or at the most, a few months then he would go right back to the person that I loathed and feared. If the loving and caring side of him didn’t come out, he would scare me into staying by threatening to ruin me to my friends and family by making defamatory posts about me or by calling the police or the state stating that I was the abuser. Often, he would play off of my sympathies by saying that he was going to kill himself or that he was seriously ill, knowing that I would immediately coming running. The mysterious illness would always disappear when I would let him back in though, and he would be miraculously healed. The suicide obviously never happened. Scared of the threats that he made against me and himself, I ended up falling back into the relationship, and the abuse.

His presence dominated the apartment and I felt like a prisoner in my own home, afraid to enter any room he may be in, in case he was in one of his moods. Even if he was not present, I was afraid of him walking in and seeing me resting or doing anything other than cleaning because then I was once again deemed lazy and not appreciative of his being there. He isolated me from my friends and was beginning to do the same with my family. He made me feel like everyone was the enemy, and that he was the only one that had my side. I found myself going into deep depressions and violent rages, unable to control my emotions. My relationship with my daughter started to fail, making things rocky between my family and I. My daughter felt like I was always taking his side, when in reality I was just trying to keep the peace. I was completely losing who I was, who I thought myself to be. My identity became “His Girlfriend” rather than Jennifer. I slowly felt myself morphing into the Stepford Wife that he wanted me to be. Alcohol became my means of escape, and I began to drink daily to the point when I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t want to feel the pain. I just wanted to be numb.

I finally sought therapy so I could become the quintessential girlfriend and wife that he envisioned. I felt like I was the problem in the relationship. That my insecurities and emotions were holding us back from becoming the couple I wanted us to be. I wanted nothing more than to be a good wife to someone someday, and under the pressure of Him I was told to seek help becoming such… This move would become my saving grace.

My therapist taught me that the relationship was not healthy, and even though he claimed I was, I was doing nothing wrong. With her help I was finally aware of the abuse and my esteem grew with each session. His attempts to control me started to fall onto deaf ears. It wasn’t going to happen any longer. Not on my watch. He began to get frustrated and angry. He accused my therapist of being a quack because instead of helping me, she was in turn making me “defiant” (in other words, I wasn’t adhering to his rules). I was no longer going to be a victim. I was going to rise above. He pleaded to make things work, he even stated that we were engaged, which I fell into for a bit. He bought me a cheap ring to symbolize “the engagement” and even changed his Facebook status to say engaged; all a ruse to gain attention on his end. He kept telling me that marriage was a business agreement, by then I knew he was just looking to secure his place. I knew his desire to stay in the relationship had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with his fear of losing his “comfort zone”. I finally gained the strength to tell him to leave. He took my cell phone from me, and my daughter’s from her which was fine truthfully. I let him keep them and I opened a new contract and stuck him with the cancellation bills. He was plenty mad about the bills, but even more so when he went through my phone and read a daily journal that I kept. It contained every horrible thing he did to me, and how I felt about him. My words were not kind in that journal. He deserved to read it.I got a new number and blocked him from contacting me unless it was in writing. He began to stay with a friend, and finally moved out by Independence Day weekend, both symbolic and ironic.

Since then he tried to re-enter my life, but I have learned to recognize the signs and symbols of his desperation. He will come off as human, but the moment he is shot down he will go right back to the controlling abusive person that he always was, which only gives me confidence in my decision.

Since then I can’t say that it’s been easy to trust or date again. I’ve decided that I need a lot of time to just stay alone and figure out who I am first. I still have nightmares, and I still see my therapist to help me work through the aftermath.

Writing this blog hasn’t been easy, but I need people to know the story, or shortened version of it anyway.

The next time you catch yourself judging your friend or relative for being in an abusive relationship, think before you judge. Perhaps your friend knows just what they are involved in, but they are afraid to make the move to end it. Be supportive; be there for your friend. Even if your friend cuts you out of their life, know that they will be back. It takes time to learn what they truly need to do. You can’t tell them what they need to do; they need to see for themselves… And when they do finally see, make sure you are there to catch them when they fall. They are going to need you to help them pick up the pieces; they will need you to lean on as they piece their lives back together.

For those of you in abusive relationships seek help- if not now, then when you are ready. The longer you stay, the more they can manipulate, and the harder it is to leave.

Lastly, remember- it’s not you, it’s them. Abusive people tend to come from abusive households, or are just plain sick. Learn from it and accept that it is NOT you. You CAN get past it, you CAN leave. Nothing is impossible; you just need to know you can. There are people that are out there that love and care for you, which will be there to help you if you need it, and while it won’t be easy, it’s certainly not impossible. Breathe. Your time will come.

Advertisements

Him

His silhouette was dark in my doorway, my bedroom dark, the light of the hallway casting an amber aura around him. “Is there a reason why you can’t fully close the toothpaste cap?”
I laid there, half laughing, half in shock. “What?”
“Are you that lazy that you can’t even put the cap on the toothpaste? How much effort do you think it takes to do something so simple? If you can’t do these little things then how can I expect that you can maintain a relationship? A REAL ADULT RELATIONSHIP, JENN!”
I started apologizing profusely. He was right. I was lazy to not cap the toothpaste. I will do better, I will be a better person, I will make more of an effort. But that wasn’t good enough though… Nothing was.
We met in June at a rock benefit, but didn’t start officially dating until October; Unbeknownst to me, while he was with another woman. I was warned of his chronic womanizing, that he was a perpetual user, his “M-O” being that he goes from female to female for a place to crash, food to eat, and someone to care for him. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that he could be so evil, or apathetic. To me, he came off as overly caring and sensitive. He was highly affectionate and made me feel like I was the only girl in the room. He couldn’t be the same person that these people were talking about… Perhaps he just had a bad rep. We all have stories; perhaps his was just a bit longer than others. I should have listened though, because they were right.

He moved right in, manipulated his way into my life and the life of my daughter. The first few weeks he put me on a pedestal, almost smothering me. He wanted all of my free time and at first I thought it was cute, but then he began to give me hell when I would want to go out with my friends. If I even stepped out to get something to eat with friends I was given a massive guilt trip.

“Real adults stay home. Real adults shouldn’t have to go out all the time. If you want to be in a real adult relationship, then you should start acting like it, Jenn!”

I started to go out less and less, mostly because I didn’t want to upset him. He was right; I shouldn’t have to go out all the time. I should be home were I belonged, waiting for him. He wouldn’t abide by the same rules though because there were many nights where he just didn’t come home and would either attribute it to having to work late, or that he was staying with his friend. Those nights I didn’t hear from him at all, and if I so much as texted him “hello”, I was accused of being jealous and insecure.

I would often lie awake at night thinking “What have I done?” I don’t even know this person… How did I just let him move into my home-my life? Why was I so weak? I didn’t want him there, but at the same time I needed him. He knew my vulnerabilities and would play off of them often. The minute I started to question the relationship, he would become romantic, caring and sweet- The person that I fell in love with, the person that I initially started to date. The minute I felt comfortable he would revert right back to the person that made me feel insecure and unwanted. We rarely slept together, and If I even mentioned that, I was called needy, that all I cared about was sex and attention. I began to feel like I was a bad person for wanting to be intimate with my partner, so I eventually stopped asking. Aside  not being intimate with one another, he wouldn’t even sleep in the same bed. He claimed he needed to sleep on the couch because of a previous back injury. That “back injury” texted him often.

At first I had no real proof that he was cheating, other than my instincts. When I would question him I would get berated, told that I was too needy, insecure, and that no one wanted a girl like that. Over time I was manipulated into thinking I was crazy, that I had “trust issues” and was far too jealous and insecure for our relationship. Even though I was right all along, he literally had me thinking I was crazy, even when concrete evidence was finally put in front of me, I still believed his lies.
My home had to be spotless or I would have to listen to the endless insults against my womanhood. If I dare leave a plate in the sink, or a bobby pin on the counter, I would hear how I was a terrible girlfriend, a lazy human, and not marriage material. There were nights when I would wake up at 2 in the morning to the smell of bleach and rubbing alcohol, he would be downstairs having a fit while scrubbing the floors. I didn’t dare go down, I made that mistake once. He glared up at me in contempt asking why I was up and out of bed, then demanded that I get back to my room so I can “Get my much needed sleep” while he “Cleaned up after me and my child”. He hated the cats and I often wondered what he was doing to them while I was at work all day. Most of the time he kept them locked in the basement; I wasn’t allowed to let them out at night. My oldest cat would urinate on the floor whenever he would approach him, which deeply troubled me. He would often joke about killing them, or “throwing them by their head down the stairs”. He also made the same kind of jokes regarding me.. .That he knew how he was ‘going to kill me’, by either chopping me up into pieces or by striking me with a hammer. He would often make these jokes with a smile on his face… I would smile back, but deep down was concerned that he just may be serious.

I would like to say things never got physical but that would be untrue. The first time he put his hands on me was after he had too much to drink at a party. He sat in the reclined passenger seat of my car calling me a whore and a poor excuse for a mother; His eyes on fire and hot spittle flying from his mouth as he screamed obscenities at me. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong to deserve his anger. When we arrived home, and I made my way into the house, him close behind.. He was in my face, I could feel the spit hitting my cheeks as he slurred and screamed.. He said it again-“whore” and I slapped him. He stood there for a second, drunkenly swaying; As if in slow motion I watched him cock back, and felt the sting as his hand met my face. My jaw immediately throbbing, I was on the floor. Sobbing, I laid there afraid that he would strike again. He glared down at me, called me a baby and told me to get up. He then sloppily threw himself onto the couch and passed out. At first I was too afraid to move, but then I quietly grabbed my purse and keys and snuck quietly out of the house to seek the words of a friend. The entire time my jaw ached, I had trouble eating M&M’s that I grabbed from a vending machine. I just couldn’t believe that he had put his hands on me. As scared as I was to go home, I knew I had nowhere else to go so late at night. I quietly entered the house as he snored on the couch and inched my way upstairs, careful not to make a sound. I eventually fell asleep. The next morning he texted me apologizing profusely claiming that he had no idea what happened, he didn’t remember hitting me. I finally accepted his apology, but it wasn’t until then that suddenly he remembered everything… He remembered hitting me, but he also remembered “why”. I hit him first. I “deserved” it. Once again, I was apologizing to him, I would be better, it wouldn’t happen again. I would like to say that that was the one and only time that it got physical, but unfortunately it wasn’t. There were times when he physically held me down because he wanted to take my phone from me since he owned the contract. There was also the time when he dragged me through the streets of Providence, my arms bruised and face streaked with tears and eyeliner.
I know many of you are thinking “Why didn’t she leave?” Well it was a lot more difficult than you think. Most of the times that I tried to leave; he would revert to someone almost human, someone loving and caring of the relationship; The human side of him would usually last for a few weeks, or at the most, a few months then he would go right back to the person that I loathed and feared. If the loving and caring side of him didn’t come out, he would scare me into staying by threatening to ruin me to my friends and family by making defamatory posts about me or by calling the police or the state stating that I was the abuser. Often, he would play off of my sympathies by saying that he was going to kill himself or that he was seriously ill, knowing that I would immediately coming running. The mysterious illness would always disappear when I would let him back in though, and he would be miraculously healed. The suicide obviously never happened. Scared of the threats that he made against me and himself, I ended up falling back into the relationship, and the abuse.

His presence dominated the apartment and I felt like a prisoner in my own home, afraid to enter any room he may be in, in case he was in one of his moods. Even if he was not present, I was afraid of him walking in and seeing me resting or doing anything other than cleaning because then I was once again deemed lazy and not appreciative of his being there. He isolated me from my friends and was beginning to do the same with my family. He made me feel like everyone was the enemy, and that he was the only one that had my side. I found myself going into deep depressions and violent rages, unable to control my emotions. My relationship with my daughter started to fail, making things rocky between my family and I. My daughter felt like I was always taking his side, when in reality I was just trying to keep the peace. I was completely losing who I was, who I thought myself to be. My identity became “His Girlfriend” rather than Jennifer. I slowly felt myself morphing into the Stepford Wife that he wanted me to be. Alcohol became my means of escape, and I began to drink daily to the point when I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t want to feel the pain. I just wanted to be numb.
I finally sought therapy so I could become the quintessential girlfriend and wife that he envisioned. I felt like I was the problem in the relationship. That my insecurities and emotions were holding us back from becoming the couple I wanted us to be. I wanted nothing more than to be a good wife to someone someday, and under the pressure of Him I was told to seek help becoming such… This move would become my saving grace.
My therapist taught me that the relationship was not healthy, and even though he claimed I was, I was doing nothing wrong. With her help I was finally aware of the abuse and my esteem grew with each session. His attempts to control me started to fall onto deaf ears. It wasn’t going to happen any longer. Not on my watch. He began to get frustrated and angry. He accused my therapist of being a quack because instead of helping me, she was in turn making me “defiant” (in other words, I wasn’t adhering to his rules). I was no longer going to be a victim. I was going to rise above. He pleaded to make things work, he even stated that we were engaged, which I fell into for a bit. He bought me a cheap ring to symbolize “the engagement” and even changed his Facebook status to say engaged; all a ruse to gain attention on his end. He kept telling me that marriage was a business agreement, by then I knew he was just looking to secure his place. I knew his desire to stay in the relationship had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with his fear of losing his “comfort zone”. I finally gained the strength to tell him to leave. He took my cell phone from me, and my daughter’s from her which was fine truthfully. I let him keep them and I opened a new contract and stuck him with the cancellation bills. He was plenty mad about the bills, but even more so when he went through my phone and read a daily journal that I kept. It contained every horrible thing he did to me, and how I felt about him. My words were not kind in that journal. He deserved to read it.I got a new number and blocked him from contacting me unless it was in writing. He began to stay with a friend, and finally moved out by Independence Day weekend, both symbolic and ironic.

Since then he tried to re-enter my life, but I have learned to recognize the signs and symbols of his desperation. He will come off as human, but the moment he is shot down he will go right back to the controlling abusive person that he always was, which only gives me confidence in my decision.
Since then I can’t say that it’s been easy to trust or date again. I’ve decided that I need a lot of time to just stay alone and figure out who I am first. I still have nightmares, and I still see my therapist to help me work through the aftermath.
Writing this blog hasn’t been easy, but I need people to know the story, or shortened version of it anyway.
The next time you catch yourself judging your friend or relative for being in an abusive relationship, think before you judge. Perhaps your friend knows just what they are involved in, but they are afraid to make the move to end it. Be supportive; be there for your friend. Even if your friend cuts you out of their life, know that they will be back. It takes time to learn what they truly need to do. You can’t tell them what they need to do; they need to see for themselves… And when they do finally see, make sure you are there to catch them when they fall. They are going to need you to help them pick up the pieces; they will need you to lean on as they piece their lives back together.
For those of you in abusive relationships seek help- if not now, then when you are ready. The longer you stay, the more they can manipulate, and the harder it is to leave.
Lastly, remember- it’s not you, it’s them. Abusive people tend to come from abusive households, or are just plain sick. Learn from it and accept that it is NOT you. You CAN get past it, you CAN leave. Nothing is impossible; you just need to know you can. There are people that are out there that love and care for you, which will be there to help you if you need it, and while it won’t be easy, it’s certainly not impossible. Breathe. Your time will come.

My little curve-ball

Every so often life will throw us a curveball, sometimes interrupting a good time, sometimes to teach us a lesson. I have a feeling that my little “curve ball” was especially meant for me; possibly sent from a passed on relative to get my ass back on track. I wasn’t exactly headed in the best direction, My priorities were that of any 18-19 year old. I was motivated by greed, I was lazy, and I expected things to be handed to me. What I got handed to me wasn’t quite what I expected though..

It was the month of January, the year 2001. At the time I was working, and in a relationship. I was unhappy with my job, and not exactly happy in my relationship. I was irresponsible, and flighty. I had issues with fidelity. I was 19, and not exactly ready to settle down into something serious. My boyfriend at the time was a bit older, committed, and ready for a long term thing. Our differences were an issue. He knew I wasn’t faithful, and he didn’t trust me. I knew I wasn’t happy, and shouldn’t be in a relationship. Our co-dependency kept us together though. Neither one of us felt comfortable together, but we also didn’t want to be alone.

I started feeling sick towards the end of the month. I thought it had to do with stopping my anxiety medication, and really didn’t pay much attention, but when I failed to get my period, my attention came back quickly.
Just to be on the safe side, I took a pregnancy test. Because I was in my late teens, I had the immortality complex. I never thought that that test would come back positive.. But as I sat there on the toilet, holding the stick I had just pee’d on, mouth agape, I was proven wrong.
Here’s the thing with pregnancy tests. If you’re pregnant, you’ll know. That test will come back positive in SECONDS. They say to wait three minutes, but it’s really only 3 seconds you have to wait. The 2 minutes 57 seconds left is time for you to register what you’re seeing.

So there I was, on the toilet, mouth hanging open, heart racing, stomach regurgitating, eyes welling- SHIT! I was pregnant.
Once my ears stopped ringing and my hearing slowly started to come back, I heard my boyfriends muffled knocks on the door, becoming more urgent as I wasn’t answering.

“Are you ok?”

“No” I replied.. “I’m pregnant”.

I stood up slowly to avoid the head rush, pulled up my leggings, flushed, and blindly walked to the door and opened it. I could feel him taking me into his arms, but I couldn’t move. My arms were pinned to my sides, I was stiff as a board.

“I need to call my mother”.

I walked into my parents bedroom, grabbed the phone and dialed the school. At that time, my mother was a principal. The minute she heard my muffled “Mom?”, she knew.

Mom: “what’s going on?”

Me:(sobbing)

Mom:”You’re pregnant aren’t you?”

Me:(sobs)

Mom: I’m coming home.

That was the extent of our conversation until she got home and took a seat to speak to us. The obvious questions were asked, “What are you going to do?” (No idea)
“Are you getting married?” (No)
“What are you going to say to your father?” (Shit!)

That was the question that scared me the most. I KNEW my father was going to flip his shit hearing this. I thought maybe I wouldn’t tell him.. Just say that I’m getting fat, and oops! Here’s a baby! How’d that get in there?

But that wouldn’t work..

Of course I was right about my father. His shit=flipped. He kicked my boyfriend out of the house, called me a product of his stupidity, said my child was a bastard and that he would have nothing to do with it. He didn’t speak to me for the next 7 months.

The next few days were a blur. Lots of whispering about me during my mothers phone conversations, lots of ignoring me by my father, and lots of crying from me. The only person that was genuinely happy was my boyfriend. As he spoke of how happy he was I would sob into my food.. Which there was a lot of. Depression + pregnancy= food frenzy. My face was usually stuffed with fried food from Friendlys, Shakes from Burger King (which I suddenly had to dip my hamburgers in), and hot weiners. My weight skyrocketed. In the first 3 months alone I gained 20 pounds. My baby was the size of a plum at that time, so the whole eating for two excuse was BS. My pregnancy didn’t make me fat, my fat ass made me fat.
I remember one morning in particular I ran out to Dunkin Donuts. I got a coffee cake muffin, 2 sprinkled donuts, and a box of 50 munchkins. Now seeing that the muffin ITSELF was 700 calories, you can do the math. “Free Willy 4, Willy Has A Baby”.

As time went on I started to accept my pregnancy. The one thing that helped me accept it- SHOPPING! I had my child’s nursery decor bought when I was only 3 months along. Everything I bought, even if not from the baby department, was “for the baby”. Curtains? For the baby.
Home decor? So the house would look nice for the baby.
Maternity Clothing? Because I am having a baby.
Books? DVDs? So I am entertained while I am building the baby.
See how it works?

I’ll never forget the day when I found out that my baby was going to be a girl. Can you imagine the shopping I did after I found that out? Although to be honest, I always knew I was having a girl. I had a secret “girl baby” stash hidden in the upstairs closet. I started buying baby girl clothes just a month into my pregnancy. A mother just knows.
After I saw my baby for the first time on the ultrasound screen, I couldn’t get enough. At my monthly exams I would make up complaints that she wasn’t moving enough just so I could go back into that room and see her again on the screen, sucking her thumb, or flashing us with her tush. My complaints of her not moving enough were far from the truth too. She was QUITE the mover; Often kicking me in the ribs, or my lower regions (which was especially “fun”). She would hiccup every night, whenever I went to bed. I would lay awake for at least an hour waiting for her hiccups to subside so I could fall asleep. Once I was asleep though, the heartburn would kick in, and I was up again. My pregnancy was easy for the most part, but the heartburn was the worst! I made sure to carry a container of tums with me everywhere I went. To this day I hate eating tums because of the amount of them I had to consume while pregnant. It was the equivilant to eating a box of chalk. Yuck!
I won’t even get into the gas.. Lets just say it rivaled the heartburn.

Another weird symptom of the pregnancy were the mosquito bites. I was pregnant throughout the summer, and the Mosquitos found me quite delectable. I was secreting some sort of scent that drove them crazy. I was at a family party one night and remember getting bitten everywhere; Through my clothing and on parts I can’t even mention. The next day I was swollen, covered in bites, and mildly feverish.

As my due date grew near I started to become more excited about meeting the little person inside me. I would watch TLC’s “A Baby Story” every morning when I woke up, and cry every single time.
My baby shower was small, just a group of family and a few friends. My mother put it together to surprise me, but when she was overly adamant that I was NOT to do anything on that particular Sunday just because she wanted to do lunch, I pretty much had it figured out.
Things were going great, I was happy, my family was coming together, things couldn’t have been better. Then it happened..

September 11 2001, I woke up usual time, around 8:30, laid in bed for a bit, and the phone rang. My boyfriend was on his way to work and heard that a plane flew into one of the Trade Towers in NYC. He told me to turn on the TV to see what was going on. I waddled downstairs, and turned it onto channel 10. I saw Tower 1, big gaping hole in its side, with billowing black smoke. I was just about to answer him when I saw the second plane hit. I screamed, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He said he would call me back, and hung up the phone. The pentagon was hit, United 93 went down, and I thought the world was ending. Panic filled my chest as I realized that my child had less than a month until arrival, and I was bringing her into a world where horrible things like this happened. As the never ending threats started to pour in, I was too afraid to leave the house, and too scared to stay home. My boyfriend at the time worked north of Boston which was threatened. I begged him to come home but he wouldn’t. I was alone. I didn’t move from the couch that day. I watched the news, watched New York city being rained on with paper, watched people jumping to their deaths because it was a better way to die, watched the towers live as they crumbled. My heart hurt, as I sobbed into the couch pillow. I’ll never forget the way I felt that day.
That week was somber to say the least. I had to get the rest of the nursery furniture so that Friday I ventured out. It was the night of the candlelight vigil. I remember driving down Newport ave, my daughters crib and nursery items in the trunk, the street lined with people holding candles. It was also the night of the wake of the Pawtucket couple that died on one of the flights. The funeral parlor had a line that went out the door, down Newport ave, and around the corner. It was absolutely surreal. People lined the streets, heads bowed, just watching the flames of their candles. Your could hear a pin drop that night.

The next few weeks were filled with color coded security threats, and Anthrax scares. I couldn’t tell which was distracting my thoughts more- my baby, or 9/11.

Sarah was due on October 5th, but October 5th came and went. As much as she loved trying to push her way out, she was still there. For 9 days. I was ready to take her out myself. As much as the impending doom of labor pains scared me, I wanted her out! I was hot, fat, gassy, moody and just plain done. I was set to be induced on the 14th. We had to be at the hospital for 6am. The day before, my nesting REALLY kicked in. I HAD to buy new curtains. I meant business! As I waddled around Ann&Hope I noticed my back pain was a bit more painful, but pushed through it. The minute I got home, I had to sit down. Damn my back hurt, but I was also carrying a beer-belly full of baby, and chalked it up to that.
My boyfriends mother came up from Texas for the birth of our baby. She arrived that afternoon with his sister who stayed for a short time to hang out before we went and had my “last meal”. His sister kept insisting that I was going to go into labor that night because I was so uncomfortable, but I felt that would have been too ironic. The minute she left, my baby pushed against my lower region so much I nearly went down. I laid on the couch for a minute to let the pain subside while rubbing my belly. I was STARVING but I was also in pain. Not exactly looking forward to going anywhere. As I laid there I felt a weird “Pop!”, then a “Whoosh!” Then a “Oh shit!” as water soaked the couch and my floor. I jumped up, still dripping, and started to panic. My water had just broke.

“OH MY GOD” I cried. “CALL MY MOM”
I was sobbing now, because it was inevitable, I was going to have this baby. Not that I wasn’t before, but 10 months of pregnancy seems never ending. You don’t actually envision the labor until its there.
My boyfriend hands me the phone.
“Is it my mom?” I ask.
“No she was in the shower. I told your dad, he said he’d give her the message. It’s my sister” he said.
Give her the message? Give her the message!!!?? What the fuck did “give her the message” mean?!? I was in labor goddammit! Not calling to chat!
I angrily grabbed the phone and his sister immediately jumped into questionville.
“Your water broke?!”
No I pee’d the couch..
“It should have happened when I was there!”
Oh so sorry, I’ll put it all back in and wait for your arrival.
“Are you having contractions?”
“No” I answered.. And just as I answered, my stomach began to tighten into a ball, like a vice. I dropped the phone and curled into a ball.
“I’M CONTRACTING!” I yelled.
“Good!” He said as he hung up the phone, “we can go to the hospital now”.
I was still on the “good”.
“GOOD?! WHAT. DO. YOU. MEAN. GOOD?!!” I asked. “THEY HURT!”.
He helped me up so I could change my soaked pants. I went upstairs, threw on a pair of pajama pants, and 5 maxi pads stacked on top of one another. I grabbed my overnight bag and made my way downstairs, walking like a sumo wrestler since I couldn’t bring my legs together due to the thickness of the padding.
I got downstairs, looked at my cats and began to cry again.
“I’m going to miss you guys..” I looked at my boyfriend “They’ll be ok right?” I was full on sobbing now.
My boyfriend just stood there looking at me strangely.
“What???” I cried
“Oh boy, lets just get you to the hospital”
And we were off…