Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Nobody Said This Was Going To Be Easy March 15, 2013

I am incredibly overwhelmed.

I put off my coursework to care for my kids.

I do my housework since I’m not doing coursework.

I put off my housework to do my coursework.

While doing my coursework my kids wreck the house.

The baby will not let me put her down.

I am constantly nursing, changing diapers, leaking milk, burping, soothing, being spit up on, peed on, pooped on.

I am constantly serving meals, washing dishes, pre-washing cloth diapers, grooming my children, educating my children, feeling guilty that I cannot find the time for educating myself, running errands, running myself into the ground.

I want to cry like my baby. Her cry is so committed, wholeheartedly unabashed.

I want someone to hold me, to rock me, to love me, to shhhhhhhh in my ear while I cry.

I want so badly for things to be alright.

 

 

Welcome earth-side Nohra Florence February 22, 2013

She’s here!

Nohra wearing her first outfit ever.

Nohra wearing her first outfit ever.

I am so happy to announce the birth of my third daughter.

Nohra Florence was born at home on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 9:52am.

She was 7lbs 4oz, the smallest of my brood. 21 1/2 inches long, lanky like her father,and oh so cute!

Her features are the perfect combination of both of her sisters’.  She is another unique mix of my husband and I.

Shortly after her birth. She is so attentive, strong, and curious!

Shortly after her birth. She is so attentive, strong, and curious!

And guess what? She came out head first! I’m not sure when she turned, it must have been while I was in labor because she was still breech at my prenatal on Monday. I’m so glad that I trusted her, that I trusted birth. I knew she’d come out alright 🙂

I will write up and post her birth story sometime soon, but for now I will just tell you that labor was more intense than I remember it being. It’s a journey every time, but I stayed strong. I labored for ten hours, and pushed for about eight minutes before she was born. So incredibly worth it, even these crazy postpartum contractions are bearable when I look into her eyes!

Terra holding Nohra

Terra holding Nohra

Amara holding Nohra

Amara holding Nohra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My big girls watched their baby sister being born and handled everything so well. The months of prep that we did really paid off; they were well prepared for the experience and able to enjoy it without any fear.

I am in love, once again. I cannot think of anything negative. I do not know how things will go these next few months or any of that. All I know right now is that I have a lovely, healthy newborn. I am going to indulge in her newness, her perfection, our bond. I am going to cherish this time getting to know her and enjoying her with my daughters and everything beautiful.

Nohra smiling in her sleep :)

Nohra smiling in her sleep 🙂

All of the circumstances I deal with will somehow unfold. At this moment I cannot imagine anything having less than a beautiful outcome.

 

A Letter to My Unborn Child February 11, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dear Nohra Florence,

Hello my darling 🙂 How are you in there? I hear that things must be a little cramped by now. I feel you moving slightly and I am comforted by your gentle strokes. Sometimes you like to jab and poke, but you’re being fairly kind to my body at the moment. Thank you!

I am so excited that you’ll be earth-side soon! I have been unable to sleep these past few nights because I’m so anxious for your arrival 🙂 I really need my strength and energy for labor and birthing, so I should try to rest as much as possible, but it has been difficult to get everything prepared for you and find the time to rest too. Don’t worry though. Your mama is a very strong woman and I will push through my lack-of-sleep to make sure that you arrive earth-side safely. Mama’s name means strength. Did you know that? People call me Jet, but my real name is Brigette (pronounced Bri-Jet), and it means strength; its alternate meanings are “high goddess” and “exalted one.” Name meanings are so important!

Your name has a special meaning too. Nohra means honor, or honorable. It is an honor to be your mother, to know you, to be your friend. Your sisters are honored to have you join our family, and we have no doubts that the world will be grateful for your honorable soul to make its impact. You are already amazing to me, and I am so pleased to have the honor of meeting you…soon!

I chose your name for several reasons. I decided on the German version of the more commonly seen N-o-r-a and N-o-r-a-h spellings. Your father is of German and Swedish descent, but since our last name is Swedish I figured we could pay tribute to both sides of his heritage by spelling your name the way I have. You’ll also notice similarities between your name and your sisters’ names; everyone’s name is five letters long and ends with the letters “R-A.” That began by accident, but I continued the trend for you. Amara’s name means unfading and eternal, personifying the elements of nature. Terra’s name means earth or soil, from that which our sustenance is derived. Your name completes the circle. Your name signifies the way I feel about living, being a part of the life cycle, and being able to contribute to mankind. It is an honor. As are you.

I hope you don’t find your name and its spelling to be a nuisance; I’m sure you’ll have to constantly correct people. I have that same problem when using my real name, and your sisters are already being initiated into the no-one-pronounces-or-spells-your-name-right-the-first-time club. None of us will ever find our names pre-printed on mugs or key chains or any other gift shop paraphernalia. I apologize for that. I think it’s more exciting to have things custom made anyway though, and I hope you’ll come to agree 🙂

Your middle name is Florence, my great grandmother’s name. My mother’s mother’s mother. She was a big part of my childhood and I love her dearly. She was born on December 25, 1923 and she is still alive today. She will be so happy when she’s able to meet you! Florence means blossoming, flourishing, and charming. I am sure you will be all of those things. You sisters, who wanted your first name to be Florence due to their infatuation with Florence Welch, also have family names for their middle names. I love how your name sounds and I love its significance. I hope you grow to enjoy being called Nohra Florence.

My due date is tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to come out yet. I trust you and I will be patient for you to choose when to begin your journey. You are considered “breech” in a bottom-down position. Breech babies are typically delivered via cesarean section in this country, but I do not want to subject us to such torture unless absolutely necessary. I trust that you’ve chosen the best position for you, and I will work with whatever you do. Please don’t feel obligated to position yourself in a way that isn’t comfortable for you. Mama will manage regardless.

There are so many things that I look forward to with being your mother. There is so much to teach you, experience with you, enjoy watching you learn on your own. One day you may look back at this letter, at this time in our lives before your arrival and wonder how I could possibly be excited about bringing another child into such a world, but it is times like these and situations like ours that make new life so vital to human existence. If nothing more, please know that I love you. You are perfect just the way you are, and I vow to do everything possible to help you reach your potential. I am already so proud to call you my daughter. I will work tirelessly to be worthy of being your mama.

2.10.13

2.10.13

Unconditional Love and Gratitude,

Jet (The Mama)

 

Due in 1 Week with Baby #3 February 4, 2013

Last week was an awfully trying week. Both of my little girls were sick and the weight of being a single parent was heavier than usual. The girls’ illnesses affected everything else. The dirty cups overran the sink, each having contained two to four ounces of a clear liquid; a multitude of cups used at once to encourage the girls to drink from the variety. The laundry kept piling up as everything was getting wet with one disgusting substance after the next. I got hardly any sleep; if no one was vomiting on me she was wide awake and wailing, having slept away the afternoon.

OverwhelmedCatI pushed through it, somehow. I really didn’t have a choice.

Maybe it’s the hormones of my impending delivery or maybe I’m just more depressed lately, but I cannot stop considering the bigger picture of my life. It looks like a catastrophe from a distance. How the hell am I going to get by? How am I supposed to manage caring for four human beings? How am I going to get through graduate school with all of these other responsibilities? How am I going to make it through these next few weeks without crumbling?

I keep finding my finger on the button with his name on it. Just one slip and I’d be calling him. I know I shouldn’t. I know it would just bring me down. What would he say if he answered? Surely nothing to ease my suffering at this point. What could he say to make this better? What could I believe from his lips even if they spoke the perfect words? What if a girl answered? Sigh.

I have more important things to consider at this time. I cannot get caught up worrying myself about his life.

Baby is still breech. I am willing to do whatever it takes to avoid having a c-section. I’m due in one week, but Baby might need more time to turn so I’ll be patient with her. These next few weeks may include hypnosis, acupuncture, a lot of time upside down, and if all else fails, a version. I’m not afraid of going past my due date, that doesn’t concern me. Getting cut open and needing weeks to heal while I’m alone taking care of three babies concerns me.

The Braxton Hicks contractions are coming on stronger and more frequently these days. My appetite is nearly non-existent. I’ve missed the past three weeks of sessions with my therapist so that’s probably another reason for the funk that I’ve been in. I just want to give Baby a happy, healthy welcome. I want to shower her with my affection, not postpartum depression. I want to be a good example for all of my girls. It’s just so hard to handle it all lately.

I cannot believe that in give-or-take one week I will have three babies. I really don’t know how I’m going to keep it together, but I suppose I do not have any other choice.

 

Deliver Me January 14, 2013

I am 36 weeks along today. Full term in one week with Baby #3.  I keep thinking that maybe if I say it enough, maybe if it’s written, maybe if it’s published it will seem more believable.

But this still feels like a dream. At times it has been a nightmare.

Somehow it was nearly eight full months ago that The Big Incident occurred. I found out that I was pregnant just over two weeks later. Being pregnant throughout this transition has made all the difference in the world.

The pregnancy has given me the strength to focus on something other than my feelings for him. Through it all, I still love him. I still miss the parts of him that weren’t abusive. I still wish there was some way it could have worked. Especially now, four weeks away from the birth of our third baby.

Every other pregnancy brought me back to him, but I knew that I could not allow myself to submit this time. I knew that I could not go through another pregnancy praying that this baby might help him to treat me better. Maybe if the baby were a boy? Maybe then he would think I was worthy?

The pregnancy kept me from going into a stupor. I could not let myself slip away. I could not bury my feelings in alcohol or illegal substances. I’ve had to face my situation without anything to numb the pain. I’ve had to continue eating, although I wanted to mentally and physically fade away.

This pregnancy has kept me focused. I remember vividly the feelings that I carried throughout my previous pregnancies. The constant wishing that we would be more unified by the baby. The contrasting resentment over being pregnant, being trapped with him again, because I knew deep down that things weren’t ever going to change.

Every pregnancy made me want more, but every baby born or lost led to worse treatment.

Had I not gone to the police the night of The Big Incident…had I gone through another honeymoon phase and allowed myself to be wooed again…the cycle would have certainly continued. I was so afraid. How could I leave him? How would I manage three children? How would I finish school? How could I reach my goals if I let him go?

This time the debate wasn’t as difficult. This time he was already gone when the pregnancy was confirmed. This time I could look at my restraining order instead of listening to his voice. This time I had vivid nightmares to remind me of The Big Incident, and a healing body to match the memories. In the weeks after The Big Incident I had no time to brood over everything I missed about him. I had to figure out how I was going to feed my daughters, pay our rent, stay in Massachusetts to finish my education. How could I possibly manage everything? How could I keep us safe from his vengeance?

Being pregnant has made me want to go back to him; I feel so dependent on our family unit when I’m carrying his seed. But how could I take him back after The Big Incident? How could I ignore the history of what occurred during and after my other pregnancies? In the end I knew that allowing him to return after The Big Incident would be allowing him to control me forever.

I had to do things differently this time. I would not allow another child to go through what my other two have already been through. I would not continue to raise them under his reign, trying to be the buffer between his rage and their safety. I would not allow them to grow up thinking that love was supposed to look that way. Things had to change. I did not have the strength to be apologetic to another baby for bringing her into the hell that was our household while he was in it.

Soon I will give birth to my third baby, but I cannot keep from feeling as though she has helped to deliver me.

 

Nesting…or not January 7, 2013

Nesting.GlovesThere’s still so much to get done and nothing is clean enough and nothing stays clean very long around here.

I’m always doing the dishes. I’m always folding the clothes. I’m always cleaning the girls’ room for them because I’m too tired to incorporate it into their schedule.

I’m always cleaning their gerbil cage. I’m always giving the girls baths, washing, conditioning, combing, and braiding their hair. I feel like I never stop cooking.

I am so low on energy as I am still rarely sleeping, but every ounce of me is saying…MUST PREPARE FOR BABY!

I have to get the bookcase disassembled so that I can put up her swing in that corner. This entails removing the knickknacks, boxing the books and moving the boxes down to the cellar. There’s no space in the cellar for the boxes until I bring the baby gear up. There’s no place in the condo to store the baby gear except the kitchen, but I still have the Christmas stuff in the kitchen and the buckets for the laundry detergent. I need to take the Christmas boxes to my storage unit, make three batches of laundry detergent and clear the kitchen space to get the process started.

But I never have the time to make it to my storage unit or the strength and will to load the boxes in the van. I have little opportunity to be in the kitchen making laundry detergent because I cannot seem to get a break from cooking and cleaning. I just…AAUGH!!! There is so much to get done and so little time before she comes and I want everything to be perfect and I’m just not doing enough.

I am not capable of doing so much.Overwhelmed Mother

Despite my desire to get everything perfect I have to listen to my body as well. When I am low on sleep and doing everything to provide for my two little earth-side ladies it’s hard to find the time and energy to focus on Baby #3. I really want everything to be clean and organized and ready, but it’s so hard to do my nesting when I have so many other responsibilities.

School starts back up in ten days. It does not feel like I’ve had nearly one month of a break. I cannot believe that somehow I am supposed to keep up with the every day, my education, a new baby, a three-year old, a five-year old, and the aftermath of a failed marriage. What am I thinking?! How am I going to handle this?!

Keep breathing…that’s the first step. Keep doing what I can handle every day. Keep being the mother that I want my children to remember me being. Keep believing in myself. Keep refusing to quit. I can get through this. Maybe I will not make it to every nook and cranny of the condo, and maybe the baby gear assembling will take the back seat to sorting cloth diapers and infant clothing. The most important part is getting Baby here safely; I must remain confident that I will be able to sustain.

We’re going to make it through this okay. I would feel so much more relaxed though, if I could just dismantle that bookcase.

 

It’s Almost Time November 28, 2012

Filed under: Mama Moments — B_Momof3 @ 10:00 am
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Ten full weeks left of this pregnancy. ONLY TEN MORE WEEKS!

It seems impossible. Where did the time go? How has the majority of this pregnancy possibly passed by so quickly?

Just moments ago I was sitting in my bathroom, laughing at the hand I’d been dealt; I was already going through hell, facing insurmountable obstacles, but now the purple-tipped stick told me that I was pregnant as well. I laughed, unable to do anything else. Yet that was almost 30 weeks ago, and in another ten I will be holding my third daughter.

My third daughter: another strong-willed baby girl. More than likely to be a curly-haired sister; another honey-oak skinned beauty I’ll contribute to the world.

I remember being nauseous. Those first 14 weeks or so of feeling fairly low. I am still in pain; my ribcage and my pelvis ache, the Braxton Hicks contractions keep coming, and I cannot ever find a decent position for peaceful sleep.

Still, one month until Christmas and then only two more weeks before I’m full term, then only four more weeks before my estimated due date. It all seems so soon.

I need time to nest. I need time to set up her bed (though she’ll spend most of her time nursing beside me). I need to pull out all the cloth diapers and clothing; sorting, washing, folding. I need to buy a play yard, a quality baby carrier/sling. I need to test the monitors. I need to make more laundry detergent because I started dipping into my stash.

I need to finish my classes; I need to not only pass, but to get an A in both, because I’ve yet to get less since starting grad school. I need to hand in proposals for my Master’s Project and a Directed Study. I need to find the time to apply for my PhD, and an MFA…so many things.

I suppose I could use some sleep, but more realistically I need to spend my days doing as many things as I can manage. When Baby comes I need to be certain that I used my time wisely; that I’ve done all I can to make sure she has a nice earth-side entry.

Ten full weeks left of this pregnancy. ONLY TEN MORE WEEKS!

 

M.A. Candidate – Publishing and Writing November 16, 2012

I’ve always been fascinated by the Book Publishing industry.

Book

When I was a child I was enamored by books; their creation was such a mystery and I was interested in everything. Who was the author? How did the author get the idea to tell this story? Who was in charge of making it a book? How was the book manufactured? How is it that the book is available for us to purchase? How did they get that shiny gold edge on the pages of our bibles? How do people get into this business?

Upon acquiring a new book I would look first to the copyright page. I wanted to know as much as possible about its origins, I wanted to somehow unravel the mystery, but for some reason it never occurred to me that book publishing was a tangible career possibility.

Not until my senior year of undergraduate college, while interning for a journal published through my university, was I introduced to the behind-the-scenes of publishing. I found it fascinating. From acquiring works, to selecting which pieces to include in the journal, to editing the pieces, to electronically formatting the works for print publication, everything was enthralling.  I enjoyed it so much that the journal’s Editor suggested I intern for the university’s press. My university had a press? I hadn’t known a thing about it, and I was ecstatic.

During my time at the university press I began to see the mysteries of book publishing revealed right before my eyes. I wanted to know more; I wanted to learn everything. There are only a handful of universities in the country which offer Master’s degrees in Publishing; I knew that Emerson College would be perfect for me. Five years passed before I was able to attend; one mortgage, two children, the roller coaster of my abusive marriage, and the continual lack of finances all attributed. Nevertheless, I was determined to make it to Boston, to learn even more about the ins and outs of the industry, to meet and network with people who actually work in publishing, to further unravel the mystery, the magic, of bookmaking.

Being here has been wonderful. I love the city, I love the school and the people that I am surrounded by, who are as enamored by good writing and beautiful manufacturing as I am. I have met people on all sides of the industry, from authors, to editors, to marketing folk, from agents, to booksellers, to those who are brave enough to do rights and permissions, from traditional booksellers to eBook professionals, from printing facility personnel to distribution managers. All sides of the spectrum are being shown to me through this program, and I feel so fortunate to have made it here. I love that I am getting my Master’s degree in a field that intrigues me, fulfills me in a way that no other profession has the ability. I belong in this industry, I breathe publishing.

After this semester I will be three courses away from obtaining my M.A. in Publishing and Writing. Just three courses away; I am going to make it. I will have no choice but to stay in school through the birth of Baby #3. I will not be able to take a break as we are currently living off of my loan money. It scares me a little, but I have the support of my program’s faculty, and I hope to be allotted flexibility. I will not give up, I will not drop out. If I quit now I will probably never finish; I am too close to quit. And I want this.

career-opportunities

I don’t know what the future holds for me as far as it goes with me actually working in the publishing industry. I have learned so much throughout my schooling that I have a wide range of interests in various aspects of the trade. I absolutely love marketing, but I unexpectedly fell in love with production as well. I think that trade books would be exciting to sell, but I am compelled to work for a scholarly press. Then there’s always novelty books, textbooks, electronic publishing, or something else.

Only time will tell which direction I may go. Right now my focus is on graduating, taking care of my three babies, and stabilizing our lives. One thing I can count on is the industry still being around when I am back on my feet. Only three more classes and I will have a Master’s degree in the field of my dreams. I must find the strength to keep going. I’ve come so far. I am so close now.

I will succeed.

 

Generosity November 14, 2012

I joined a new support group a few weeks ago; it’s so comforting to know that other women understand.

I always find it a little bittersweet to know that someone can truly empathize with my struggles. I wouldn’t wish this pain, this emptiness, this state of destitution, these hardships on anybody; yet there are so many women who can relate to my position, who have previously or are currently fighting a very similar battle, who keep wishing for their abusers to drop out of the game.

Tonight, without having anticipated it, I was given a gift. It was the most generous thing to receive a tub filled with items for my baby girl. I almost couldn’t accept it; I didn’t want to take it from some other mother who might need it more, but my counselors gently insisted. I also felt a bit reluctant because there were disposable diapers in the bundle and I use cloth, but I figured it might come in handy to have disposables at some point. My last twinge of guilt was over the fact that baby may not need anything; she has two older sisters and I kept almost all of their clothing. It will be nice though, to allow baby just a few new things to call her own.

Upon arriving home from group my daughters helped me to open the package; it was like having a small baby shower, just us three. I couldn’t believe the amount of clothing and supplies and utterly adorable things inside!

  • 1 adorable blanket with a bunny on it
  • 4 bibs
  • A 50 pack of newborn diapers (8-14lbs)
  • 1 pair of crocheted mittens
  • 6 sleepers
  • 4 complete outfits
  • 2 dresses
  • 1 blue jean jacket
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 5 onesies
  • 1 packet of wipes
  • 3 hats
  • 1 set of Johnson & Johnson baby supplies (baby powder, shampoo, lotion, baby wash, diaper cream)
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 1 embroidered burp cloth
  • A Peter Rabbit themed Baby Book (something I’m committed to filling out for Baby#3)

I will most definitely express my appreciation to my counselors, but I am also hoping that someday I will be in the position to make another woman’s baby prep a little easier. I would love to give back in that way, to prepare a stranger’s baby shower basket, and to enhance her life from the shadows of anonymity. There are so many women out there in need.

I am so very grateful for this unexpected generosity.

 

Birthing Baby #3 November 7, 2012

I’ve decided to deliver at a birthing center.

After this delivery I’ll have birthed in a standard hospital (though we weren’t there very long before I delivered her), I’ll have had a homebirth (absolutely wonderful to experience), and I’ll have given birth at a place that’s a bit in-between one’s home and a medical facility.

The decision wasn’t easy, per say. After two successful, drug-free and intervention-free vaginal deliveries I really don’t see the need to leave my house while birthing, but…I’ll be alone. This time, not only in spirit, but I won’t have his body to knead like bread through the waves of contractions. I also don’t know if my mother or sister will be with me. So, even though I know that I have the strength to delivery my baby safely and peacefully, I’d rather not be alone.

I wanted to hire a homebirth midwife. I interviewed some and met one that I really liked, but that was months ago, when I thought I’d be better off financially by this time. However, I am not receiving child support, and with all of my other expenses I cannot afford to hire a midwife who isn’t covered by my insurance.

It does sadden me. I know that I’m fully capable of delivering my baby without anybody’s assistance. But with two little ones in the house who need tended to, and with us being so many miles away from a healthcare facility, it just seems safer to be with midwives during the delivery. Plus, I really don’t want to be alone.

2009 – Terra’s Homebirth

Birthing is difficult. It challenges your core strength as a person, as a woman, as a mother-to-be. It grounds you, and sweeps you off your feet simultaneously. It empowers you while bringing you to your knees. I love birthing. I feel the strength that I typically suppress consuming me. I am unstoppable and fully capable of riding out the rushes; in, out, up, down, squeeze, opening my body.

But I don’t want to be alone. Birth is a celebration. Someone come earth-side, someone taking their first breaths, someone welcomed to life. I want to be in good spirits when I push her through my bones, I want to give her a wonderful welcome. If I am not surrounded by loved ones, or loving midwives, it will be much more difficult to not succumb to the sadness, to the emptiness, to the fears. I do not want her to come into this world and be greeted by my grief.

I need the birthing center to distract me from brooding over him during labor and delivery. I do not want to focus on my worries, I cannot spend my labor wondering what my future holds. From my experience the best way to get through a delivery is to be totally present. It’s difficult though, when the sensations make you want to push against them or run away, and what is really going to help you is to embrace them, allow them to invade your idea of comfort, reorganize your concepts of control.

It still saddens me, that I cannot have another homebirth strictly for monetary reasons, that I will give birth to our third baby and he will not be there with me, that I will bring her into this world so uncertain of what will be. But I am happy that she’s coming. I am excited to prepare for her. The girls already consider her in everything that they do and enjoy imagining the ways that Baby will contribute once she’s here with us. I will do my best to bring her into this world safely and surrounded with love.

This may not be the situation of my dreams, but I’m still going to give birth naturally, and I’m going to make her earth-side entrance as positive and peaceful as can be.