Coming out as autistic

I’m having a hard time picking a song to listen to. There are no songs to describe how I’m feeling right now.

This past week, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, if you’re familiar with the changes made to the DSM V.

Relief at the diagnosis. It more or less explained the “why” to nearly everything in my life; why I’m always the last to get the joke, why I don’t look people in the eye, why I blurt out apparently inappropriate things, why I don’t understand people, why I was bullied in elementary school, why I sucked in P.E., why I can’t spend the night anywhere but home, why I have to brush my teeth after every meal, why I seemingly suck as a mom,etc. etc. etc.

I’m relieved. But I’m alone. I look up “Autism Support Groups” in Google. Site after site for those struggling to deal with their autistic children, autistic spouses, autistic parents. People struggling to deal with people like me. People needing to cope with people like me. People searching for a cure.

I hear “Your diagnosis doesn’t change anything.”

Except it changes everything.

Up until Wednesday evening, I thought that I was just an incompetent human being. I thought that I just sucked at interacting with people. I felt alone and had no cause. Instead, I discovered that I’m an incredibly adaptable person with a different brain.

It changes everything because my brain is physically different from other people’s. I’m not socially stupid. It’s that I’m socially colorblind. I don’t see the colors that other people do. I try picking up on patterns. I mimic. I act. Etc.

It’s lonely, but now I know why. I have two seemingly neurotypical children. I have a little girl who looks me in the eye and tells me that I’m sad. I have a little boy who stares and cuddles. They embody my very concept of adoration. I can only hope that I’m enough for them. Damon is much more emotionally aware an in-tune than I am. Hopefully, between the two of us, we can provide the balance for our children.

Boy, is it lonely. I have an answer to why I am this way, but now need to come to terms with it. I’m always going to be this way. Obviously, people can improve themselves. But is acting less autistic really an improvement? By whose standards? It sounds so weird to say.

I am autistic.

I don’t know how to feel about this. There aren’t instruction manuals for how to deal with this situation. I’m still the same person, but acutely aware of who I am. Aware that my brain will never change. I will never be like other people, other than faking it under the guise of normality. There are more groups for dealing with me than being like me. I now understand myself, but need to understand myself. What a conundrum

I am autistic.

And I don’t know how I feel about it. I saw a quote that summarized pretty well how I see things.

“I don’t experience autism mildly. You do.”-No idea. But it’s a good quote.

I’m on the same spectrum as people who need help going to the bathroom and wear adult diapers. I’m also on the same spectrum as kids who scream and meltdown in the grocery store. I’m on the same spectrum of people who are hardly noticed. A spectrum. One to ten? Or mild to severe? Like a disease?

But it’s not. There’s no cure. It’s not a disease. It’s a personality. It’s a literal shape of mind. It’s a state of being. We are aliens dropped into the middle of a world that wasn’t built for us. Interacting with beings who don’t think like us.

This is why I miss the things that you see so easily. This is why I’m the last to laugh at the joke. It’s why I don’t think that some jokes are funny. It’s why my voice is monotone. It’s why I twist my hair when I’m freaking out. It’s why I curl up into a ball and shut down when my children are screaming. It’s why I can’t wear clothes that are tight in the armpit or 3/4 length sleeves under long sleeves. It’s why I hate hate HATE job interviews because they make me have to engage every ounce of my brain to appear normal. It’s why I’m afraid of the stove. It’s why I have a small voice that tells me when to blink and look away and tilt my head in every social situation. It’s why I don’t understand the emotional undertones in movies. It’s why I get super antsy and uncomfortable when people are crying or otherwise feeling strong emotions. It’s why I can’t listen to music in the car and talk to someone at the same time.

It’s why I didn’t understand the expression “barking up the wrong tree” until I was 17.

It all makes sense now.

I’m still partially in denial. This is what’s been different about me. This is why.

Stigmas cling to autism like burrs. Anti-vaxxers use us as an excuse to not vaccinate their children. Parents weep when their child is diagnosed. Families gather round to support the parent who has brought this “broken” child into the world. People want to cure it. They want us to be like them.

I am not broken. I am not retarded. I am not a special snowflake. I experience the world differently. I experience the world vividly.

I didn’t discover this aspect of my identity until I was 22. I didn’t know that this was part of me. I didn’t know that this was why. This is my way of coming out. This is my way of saying, “I’m different from you. I’m tired of trying to be like you.”

I’m tired of pretending to be neurotypical. I’m tired of pretending that my brain works the same way. It will never work the same way. I will never see the same social hues that you do. I will never understand the world the same way that you do.

But you will never understand it the way that I do.

I’m lonely. I’m different, not inferior.

I’m a mom. I’m a student. I’m a wife.

I’m autistic.

 

 

 

 

Coming out as autistic

Sickly children and falling in love

Kids ruin everything.

Maybe not everything…but they wreck your marriage!

My two smalls have been taking turns getting sick. Haven was a fountain of liquids out each end for a week. Ty got RSV, followed by Haven getting sick as well.

I’m pretty sure it’s been planned for months now. They rise early, crawling over my husband and I in our dead slumber, plotting skipped naps and infectious illnesses. They probably go drink out of the toilet too, just to be sure that they contract something!

You think I exaggerate? Nay. I’m blowing my nose loudly in the quietest part of the science building that I could find. I wandered around campus for a good forty minutes to find it. I packed an entire box of tissues in my backpack.

Kids suck. They’re really cute though, and you deceive yourself into believing that they’ll fill some existential void within yourself. Really, they just create a new one.

BUT I DIGRESS! Damon and I had been living like roommates for the last month. Sick kids are the neediest creatures on Earth. One day, you THINK that they’ll start exploring their independence. Maybe today, you’ll get the dishes done. Wouldn’t that be rad? Ooh! Ooh! Maybe the clothes will get put away that have been sitting on the floor of the bedroom for weeks. Maybe you’ll even sneak in some sex…dare to dream.

I felt like I was losing my friggin husband. Between our sickly babies, my sickness, and alllllllll the things that needed done, he was tired. I was tired. We couldn’t ever spend time alone even just talking. Haven is going through an exciting new toddler phase called “DON’T TALK TO MY DADDY OR LOOK AT HIM! HE’S MINE!!!!” Friggin territorial little princess. She freaked out when Damon tried talking to me in the shower. I don’t know why they always pick these moments to dogpile us, but they do.

I had enough.

I headed out to work, after saying some very unkind things to my poor husband. After a good shift, I returned home and said a prayer in the car. I prayed to be in love with Damon again. I said “Look, I’m spent. But if I put forth some effort, will you fill in the gaps? Please? I want to fall crazy in love with him again.”

I walked in the door of my house. To my utter shock, Ty did not immediately crawl over like I was rescuing him from a prison camp. He was actually chipper! The living room was vacuumed…thank goodness. Haven was plopped on Damon’s lap as he read her Dr. Seuss. It was adorable.

And we made out in the kitchen. We haven’t made out in….okay this is embarrassing…forget that timeline. But it was good. Really good. Ty ended up climbing up between us, gripping my pants, wailing for attention. Babies can smell romance from another room. We made out on the couch too, with Haven jumping up on Damon’s back. But it happened.

Somehow, that did it. It worked. It’s only Day #2 of this newfound happiness and loveliness. I’m going to try not to let it burn out for awhile.

 

 

 

Sickly children and falling in love

7 confessions about having a toddler and baby

My kids are 19 months apart. I’ve got a 2-year-old girl and an 8-month-old boy. Planned? Yeah…like THAT makes it any easier.

Our neighborhood has like 80 newlywed couples. I love seeing them at church, holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes…’cause they prolly got laid like 20 minutes before showing up. WHO ME?!! Of COURSE I used to do that!!!

But it’s been years.

Why? BECAUSE FRIGGIN BABIES, MAN!! Wanna know what it’s like to have 2 smallers in diapers? Here ya go..

  1. My house is literally NEVER clean.

I shi* you not. My house is a disaster. We vacuum like every day. Haven polished off a package of Saltines (I don’t even know where the ef she got those. I thought we were friggin out..), and Ty emptied all of the salty crummies all over the carpet. Damon has these rubber sword things that somehow made their way to the living room. The contents of my purse…diaper bag..are all over the floor. When I go to class, a diaper or stuffed rabbit winds up in my backpack. We try deep-cleaning twice a month or something. It gets trashed within like 10 minutes. And my babies get bored if the house is too clean. They refuse to appreciate it for the comfortable, stress-free environment that it brings. Which brings me to point #2..

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Every friggin day
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Like our makeshift baby gate?

2. IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK THAT TWO PEOPLE BE REASONABLY CONTENT FOR LIKE 10 MINUTES?!!

Are they making a ginormous a** mess in the living room out of honeydew? Yes. Are they doing it happily? No? CEASE THE MADNESS! Are they doing it happily? Yes? Just…just let it happen. I close my eyes and focus on whatever I’m doing that doesn’t involve holding a pissed-off or otherwise disgruntled child. Unless it’s the baby eating my lotion..because that stuff’s expensive.

But seriously. Why can they not just play together happily?! That’s why I decided to have them a year and a half apart!!! JUSTIFY YOUR BIRTHS, BABIES!!

I’ve made a lovely little pie chart to illustrate…

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3. I used to do cool things with cool people…now I inspect a** cheeks.

The two-year-old emerges from the bathroom, declaring that she has pooped. Of course, she’s flushed the toilet, ergo..all evidence of said poop. Not thinking, I give her the promised chocolate. Five minutes later, I hear the toilet flush again. The toddler emerges once again, declaring that she’s defecated. Suspicious…I tell her to get over here. I tell her to bend over while I spread her cheeks. Indeed. She has pooped. Congratulations, you nasty creature. For the love of Zeus, wash your friggin hands!!!

This is my life now. Like 3 years ago, I was hot-tubbing with my big-boobed friend, eating lime popsicles, talking about the future…*SOBS*

4. SO MANY DIAPERS.

Last week, the toddler was violently ill with vomiting and diarrhea. Potty-training had to cease, but that didn’t stop her from wanting her diaper changed any time she got even a drop of poop in it. We went through like 50 diapers, just for her. The baby kept up his usual routine of unleashing his daily buttery-sour-popcorn poop accompanied by like a gallon of pee.

And the baths. I got a text from Damon while in my Saturday math class (which we won’t talk about…because FML) saying that Ty would not stop screaming until he threw him into the bathtub. Both babies will just sit in the tub for hours if you let them. It’s a quick-fix. Until the baby tackles the toddler and makes her scream. Yes, he does that now. He weighs almost as much as she does.

But so many diapers. All of the motherly figures in my life (my mom, Damon’s mom, my grandma) have graciously donated to our plight with diapers and wipes. I simply cannot express enough gratitude. Diapers have almost cost us as much as textbooks. HA! Just kidding!….Textbooks are still more.

5. Babies have a sixth sense. It’s calling ruining your sex life.

You think I exaggerate? Go in a different room and just LOOK at your partner. Silent? Goodie! Now embrace them. Smooth them lovingly. Gently lay them down. Just kidding…don’t have any foreplay at all. There’s no time. Dive right in!! And do not quiver! Do not hesitate!!! YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES! THE BOMB IS COUNTING DOWN!!!!!! THEIR EYES HAVE OPENED AND THEIR GUMMY SMILES HAVE RECEDED INTO THE COLD FANGS OF RESENTFUL-ABSTINENCE!!!!

Unless your children are in another house, you won’t have any time to don your sexy bra and thong. It’ll look more like sneaking into your bedroom, dropping your sweat pants and snarling “Dropyourpantsbeforetheyhearus!!” And there is NO BIGGER BUZZKILL AT ALL EVER THAN HEARING A LITTLE CHIPPER “Daaaddddyyyy!” from the side of the bed. Or having the door busted open, giving way to the diapered prison wardens.

Seriously. The only solution is to dump them off at somebody else’s house, then come home and try to ignore the disaster-house, and try to get in the mood with piles of laundry everywhere. Sexy.

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6. I told myself I wouldn’t be the mom who yells…

I yell. A lot.

Usually short, broken sentences starting with “HEY! CUT THAT OUT RIGHT NOW!” “LET HIM PLAY WITH IT!” “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

I know she’s not TRYING to be a brat. I know that she didn’t REALLY mean to push the baby over. But she did. And ughghhghghghgh. I yell a lot. So sue me. Damon is usually better at not yelling. He warns, then takes decisive action. Much calmer. Much better at handling conflict. Be like husband.

Lotsa stuff I said I wouldn’t do. Like let the toddler watch the iPad for 2 hours in the playpen (which she uses to escape from the baby, whom the playpen was originally intended for) while I get homework done, or watching Pride and Prejudice on my tablet. I ended up having to watch like half of that while I showered. The BBC version is wonderful.

I would never bribe or punish my child. Lies. So many lies. I would never let my child eat food off the floor or get away with anything ever. They would sit at the table politelyI would be the BEST mom.

Turns out, for me, that means holding a truce along the lines of “I will give you chocolate if you stop talking for 2 minutes so I can hear myself think. Deal??”

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Stumbling over a box..
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Toddler. Safe at last.

7. This is insanity. But one day this will all be over, and that makes me want to cry

One day, I’ll wake up, and there won’t be kids in my bed. One day, they won’t have chubby cheeks. They’ll be off at college or getting married or having babies or having adventures in Africa. Something. One day, I won’t have a smushy fat baby to snuggle. Unless they have kids at the same age as the last….few thousand generations. Oh boy. I’ll miss the toddler’s incessant chattering and thigh rolls and milky smiles. Ughhhh! WHY?! One day, I’ll be able to sit with my husband in church without having to take one or both children out. One day, this will all be gone.

NOOO-YAAAAAAAAA-BUTNOOOOO!!!!

 

Obsessed. Even though the baby just scratched me in the eye.

7 confessions about having a toddler and baby

Childbirth Douchebags

Other people’s children are one of the last things that I worry about.

Especially how they decided to emerge from their mother’s bodies. It’s none of my friggin business if your babies shot out of your vagina or were lifted from an incision. I don’t care. Nor do I make assumptions….okay, usually. Even if I do, I don’t say it. Because telling any woman your opinion about their birth, unless positive, is a dick move.

I don’t assume that you’re a wuss who is just too lazy to go through the pain. I don’t assume that you don’t love your children enough to “do the right thing”. I don’t assume that you aren’t willing to fight for your children. I don’t assume that you’re a shallow beeotch for getting a C-section who just didn’t want to mess up your vag.

I seriously don’t. Why? Because I’ve had two babies without pain medication. It hurts. It’s intense. I do not blame any woman AT ALL for getting an epidural.

But that respect usually doesn’t go both ways.

I was talking to a mom from my math class. She had her third child last week. How she managed to come to math at 8 AM on a Saturday is beyond me. She discussed the details of her birth with me and another mom after class. Her midwife basically had to go “hands-in” to get the baby out. Her daughter was turned.

Other mom: Wow! Did you do natural?

Mom of 3: Oh, God no! I’ll run races for medals.

Me: I had both of my kids without medication. My daughter was turned halfway face-up. I remember that back pain. Did you have that too?

Neither of them said anything.

Really? REALLY? So, I’m a dick if I say anything about another woman getting an epidural, but other women who have never gone through an unmedicated childbirth can freely throw out comments like “I don’t want a medal, so I’m not doing it naturally.”

Yes, because all moms who have unmedicated births want a medal. We all want to broadcast our “superiority” to the other vagina-card-holders of the nation. We are all drowning in insecurity as we lay in that birthing tub. We all have something to prove to the world…and ourselves. PLEASE TELL ME THAT I’M A HERO. IT’S ALL I’VE EVER WANTED!!

Oh boy, oh boy. Where do I start?! One sounds like a good place…

  1. NOTICE MY USE OF “UNMEDICATED” VS. “NATURAL”- Frog poison is all natural, but it kills you. Poop is natural, but I wouldn’t add it to my salad. “Natural” has become the idiot’s go-to for “I make better decisions about my body than you. You’re unnatural. Artificial. You probably feed your kids McDonalds for every meal.” I hate the word “natural”. “Unmedicated” accurately describes the situation. You are not being given pain medication. Whether you have a C-section or birth in the inflatable tub in a garden of marigolds, the end result is a baby. Your baby is not any less natural or real, regardless of how they came into the world.
  2. It’s pretty lonely being a mom who gave birth without medication. For the most part, people are quiet and don’t quite know what to say. Either that or they make some sort of comment about how you probably had it easy. Or a shorter labor. There must be some reason why you decided to do this to yourself!! When you do meet a mom who has had a baby without medication, it’s like meeting a fellow vet. You can swap “war stories” about your labors. When women who have an epidural talk to me about their births, I usually get lost at about the point where she gets the needle in her back, then realizes that the baby is crowning a few hours later. And that’s usually about it. Like….that’s it? Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s just not something that I can relate to. Meeting a mom who knows what transition feels like is pretty rad. Or one who can relate to pushing that baby out without an army of people screaming at her. There’s this understanding that we have amongst ourselves. We don’t think that we’re better than anyone else (well, usually. There are douchebags on both sides of the fence), but boyyy do we get it. It’s a silent salute that says, “You’re badass, lady.”
  3. No. Shorter births are not “easier”. My labor was about 10 1/2 hours long with my daughter. I was a first-time mom who didn’t know what to expect. I pushed for almost two hours. But overall, my birth was much more manageable. Active labor with my son only lasted about 3  1/2 hours. “Active” is when you make the jump from “Am I in labor?” to “Holy sh*t. This isn’t going to stop until the baby is out.” I pushed for 9 minutes with my son. Guess which birth was harder? My second. All of the pain and intensity gets crammed into a much shorter time frame. They are usually not easier just because they’re shorter. That isn’t why we can handle it. In fact, the most crucial part of childbirth is that it doesn’t matter if you can “handle it”. It happens anyway. You have a baby whether you’re prepared for that next contraction or not.
  4. Some of us just don’t want people touching us. One of the biggest reasons why women don’t want an epidural is that they want to be the ones in control of the process. I don’t want people freakin touching me. So shoot me. That doesn’t make me a martyr. That doesn’t make me a hero. In fact, I’d really rather people just mind their own friggin business. I didn’t want people telling me what I could and couldn’t do. Just…No. This is my body. My baby. My midwife was very attentive, but let me handle my birth the way that I wanted to. She checked my babies with her doppler. She checked me when I asked her to. But other than that, she left me alone just like I wanted. For a generation so keen on “women’s choice”, we sure treat women like sh*t who actually do choose for themselves.
  5. It’s intensity and pain. But nothing else. Yes, you feel like your body might just burst. It might feel like your hips will split. You might cry. You might feel nothing but waves of intensity. But that’s it. This pain is unlike any other pain because it’s not your body working against you. There’s nothing wrong. Your body is doing what it was designed to do. It’s a productive pain. Your body tells you, “Listen. Imma take over. You need to get on board or gtf outta the way. This baby is coming out.”
  6. You don’t get to take away my pride just because you didn’t do it. I worked hard to get my children here. Much of it, like I said, happened whether or not I was prepared for it. But I felt the entire process. I felt everything. I coped with it.I  did it. And you don’t get to take that pride away from me. You don’t get to tell me that I can’t feel good about myself. You don’t get to tell me that I’m a martyr for not getting an epidural. You don’t get to dismiss my victory as me trying to be a hero. F*ck off.

The eleventh commandment goes as follows: Thou shalt not be a dick unto one another.

 

 

Childbirth Douchebags

I’m an insensitive wife

Marriage counseling sucks.

As I’ve said in a previous post, marriage could just be called “the process of making you less of a dick”.

Estimated length of time to learn this lesson: I don’t friggin know. I’m not there yet.

Damon and I tried marriage counseling a few months ago. There wasn’t anything seriously wrong in our relationship. We were going in for a tune-up. In those two sessions that we went to, there were a few things that we learned about ourselves.

Lesson that I learned; I’m kind of a dick.

The old dude quizzing us about our relationship made the comment that the issues that we brought up were typically voiced by the opposite gender. Namely, it was usually the dude who wanted time alone and space. The woman wanted sensitivity and understanding. We had the opposite issues.

Old-dude therapist even asked me if there was a time in my life when I had to shield myself and shut off my feelings. The answer was no. He told me to work on feeling. I stared at him blankly. Feelings are not something that I can force. I generally don’t feel anything but nothing and extremes. There’s not really an in between. I’m either enraged or don’t care. I think the words “Like….how?” might have escaped my lips.

While the exact phrasing escapes me, he uttered “Let’s review from last time so we can focus on optimizing oneness and togetherness and relationship unity.”

I almost busted up laughing. He was being serious. Crap. I sucked at this whole therapy deal. I thought that the dude was a total idealist. We only went to two sessions.

Do I care about my relationship? Of course. No derp. Oneness and togetherness and relationship unity?? Can we please not use words like that? WOULD IT BE OKAY WITH EVERYONE IF WE STOPPED TREATING MARRIAGE LIKE A LOVE-CULT?!

I just threw up in my mouth a little. No, not because I don’t want all that…stuff. But anybody who reads my relationship posts knows that I’m not all for this glorious union of sexy, spiritual connectedness. And feelings can be nice, but more often, they ruin everything.

“Why did you eat that entire bag of Doritos in half an hour?”

“I felt like it…”

“Why did you cheat on him??!”

“I felt etc.etc.etc.etcblahblahblahavoidingchoices.”

“I feel that….”

“I felt like…”

“It makes me feel blahblah when you do blahblahblah…”

Typical dialogue that therapists like to hear. And he kept asking me what was “reeeally” bothering me. Uhhhh…what do you want me to say? I can start pulling stuff out of my butt along with some swooney feelings.

I’m a little insensitive. Because feelings don’t mean much to me. I don’t think with feelings. That sounds like a contradiction to me.

Am I a completely rational human being? Am I Spock? BAHAHAHA…Nope. I swear that part of why I’m so sensitive to hormones is to keep me from being a total robot all of the time. Happy day! I have TWO modes now; Spock or she-devil witchcake.

When Damon was in his humanities class (which he HATES), the teacher asked everyone what they thought the most important thing to have in a relationship was. “Honesty”, “love”, and “commitment” were popular answers. But what did my wonderful husband say when the question rolled around to him?

“Thick skin.”

Yes, he got some questionable looks like “WTF kinda relationship are you in, you sorry sonuva…”

Poor husband.

I have a hard time connecting with most other women for this very reason. When someone asks you “What happened”…the correct response is exactly that. Tell the events, not the emotions. There is no reason to go into in-depth detail about every emotion surrounding each event in the two minute interaction. Please summarize!

Not that dudes are any less emotional. Every watch a group of adult men witness their NFL team become victim to a bad call? Every see a fourteen-year-old boy get crushed in CS-Go? Emotions. Sooooo many emotions. SO MUCH YELLING! ALLLLL THE OUTRAGE. Men tend to project their emotions in the form of wanting to go chop down trees or attacking their seat-neighbor or other “masculine” activities. Women seem to freak the ef out in the form of crying and stuffing our faces with whatever heavily-sweetened confection we can find in the kitchen cabinet.

And then you have children..who do that sort of junk just for fun.

Aren’t humans wonderful critters?

I’m not a robot. I just don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand the huge importance of emotions. Also, I am in absolutely no way whatsoever claiming that this makes me superior. On a scale of one to dealing with my emotions, I don’t. I run from them, which usually results in crashing and crying later over the stupidest of things. Sorry. I just don’t have any clue how to flippin handle these suckers.

Well, there is one method that I try. I overload the sh*t outta myself with emotions. If I’m ABSURDLY upset about something, I take a day to obsess and cry over it. By the end of the day, I’m either so bored or so sick of whatever I’m upset about that I just quit caring about it.

Healthy, right? Totally what you ought to be striving for in your daily endeavors…NOPE!

Emotions ruin things. They’re scary. I don’t like ’em. The end.

Or marriage counseling. BOOOOOOOO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m an insensitive wife

Yes, I pole-dance now

Ever notice how men’s bodies are not constantly under attack? If a middle-aged man sports a belly…..nobody says anything. If a woman has a belly…she’s CLEARLY “let herself go”.

If a man hasn’t shaved in two weeks, he’s “stressed” or “growing out a beard”. If a woman doesn’t shave, she’s “lazy” or “a man-hating lesbian”.

If a woman is having a bad day, she’s obviously PMSing and/or being a bitch. If a man is having a bad day, he’s clearly facing a real struggle. Feeling a little rumbly in the tumbly because you drank too much last night? Go home, man. Hope you feel better. Got a headache from all the stress? That’s rough, dude.  Feeling sick because you’re pregnant? You CHOSE to get pregnant! YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WOULD HAPPEN! Bleeding from your vagina? Suck it up. You’re a woman. You’ve been dealing with this your whole life! Fine. Take some Motrin.

A guy can stumble into work with a frown and his hair messed up. Nobody says anything. If a woman does the same thing, she’s either told to “SMILE BECAUSE YOU LOOK PRETTIER WHEN YOU SMILE!!!” Oh! Well then….Never mind that I just had the worst morning, got no sleep last night, and my car broke down. At least you think I look pretty.

Never mind that I’m bleeding from my vagina heavily and just want to go sit in a hot bath. Never mind that I just threw up in the bathroom because my cramps were so fierce. Never mind that the person inside of me is beating my intestines to a pulp. Never mind that my boobs hurt because I haven’t taken a break to pump because work is so friggin busy. Never mind all that.

At least you think I’m pretty.

What happens when you’re not a pretty, approachable, potentially-f*ckable little tart anymore?

What happens when you’re older and past the age of birthing children? What happens when you’re older than your male coworkers? What happens when you dedicated your life to rearing children and want to do something for yourself now?

Well, you’re out of luck. Because you’re only as valued as your sex-appeal extends.

Not having any nonsense? You’re a frigid bitch.

Not receptive to people hitting on you? Tired of explaining for the eight millionth time that No. You are not single or available or interested. You have two children and have been married for over three years and kindly f*ck off because you’re trying to get your friggin job done and this is keeping you from going home on time.

A little boy wants to play with trucks and firemen. What a cute little boy! A girl wants to play with Barbies and play dress-up. A cute little girl!

A teenage boy wants to listen to music? Okay then. A teenage girl wants to listen to literally any music artist at all ever? “Oh wow. She’s such a cliche/trying-too-hard/wannabe-retro/fan-girl/etc.etc.”

A teenage boy wants to take care of his appearance or play sports or play an instrument? Okay then. A teenage girl takes care of her appearance? “OH HUNNY! YOU SHOULD ACCEPT YOURSELF THE WAY YOU ARE!!” or “YOU SHOULD REALLY DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR FACE!”

A teenage boy kisses girls. Good for you, man!! A teenage girl kisses more than two boys. “WHAT A SLUT! SHE’LL GET PREGNANT IN LIKE TEN MINUTES IF SHE DOENS’T CUT THAT OUT!”

A dad goes to his partner’s prenatal appointments. “WHAT A SUPPORTIVE MAN!!” A woman works out during her pregnancy? “YOU NEED TO BE MORE CAREFUL OR YOU’LL KILL YOUR BABY.”

A man gains weight when his partner is pregnant? “How cute! He’s so in-tune with this process!” A woman gains more than the “recommended weight gain” (whatever the hell that means)? “Wow. She has no self-control. She’s going to need to work off that baby-fat!” (Yes, I actually heard this one from someone while pregnant with Haven).

Magazines are covered in tips like “How to really please your man in bed!” or “What he really wants you to do in bed”. Because being naked with the woman you love just isn’t enough anymore? Really?? Never mind that men are physically able to orgasm nearly every single time that they have sex….whether it be alone in the bathroom or with a woman or while watching Gordan Ramsey cook filet mignon. Never mind that a woman’s orgasm is so complicated that there is NOT ANY ONE-WEIRD-TRICK for it! Never mind that every woman’s orgasm is completely different. And men? One weird trick: suck his dick! Or…..shake, shake, shake, shake,shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, OHHAAEEEEEAAAAOOOO!!!!

Women are under attack for anything that we do. Anything that we say. Anything that we wear. If we’re cute, it can be our saving grace. If we’re not cute, then we’re tossed aside. Past menopause? Yeahhhhh…you’re out of luck in the workplace. You’re outdated. Past your time. A trouble-maker.

My mom and I came across this ridiculous list of things that tells moms what they shouldn’t wear anymore. We went through and chuckled at the items that we still wear all the time. Leggings are pants, people!! And PINK? Hello? Anybody can wear PINK. If I’m working out, I will wear booty shorts. My mom loves wearing her Uggs and leggings.

Where do people get off on telling women what they can and can’t do? Especially moms.

Especially with clothing? Why does becoming a mom somehow stick you into this box of “You’re not allowed to be sexy or cute anymore. You’re not allowed to feel good about your body anymore either. We’re going to tell you not to feel ashamed of your body, but tell you you’re not allowed to make it look good publicly either. But you also need to make sure that you stay good-looking enough for approval. You have children now!! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!”

I’ve housed two people in this body. I will do as I friggin please with it.

Confession time! I’ve taken up pole-dancing. I went to my second class yesterday. No. It isn’t “stripper school”. You don’t spend your time learning how to give lap-dances. I’ve never been so sore in my life. Arms, back, legs, abs…all worked. It’s fun! I wore my sports bra and booty shorts. And AND AAAAAND my tummy is still a fleshy raisin! Well, okay…not as much anymore since I started working out. But, do you know how many craps I gave as I spun around that pole? Zero. None. Nada. None of the other women in the class cared either.

But somehow, I’m hesitant to tell people about my new hobby because I don’t want to deal with all of the comments that will come. No, I’m not a stripper or skanky or immoral. For heaven’s sake, the instructor put on friggin Disney music the other day while we did our combo. I’m a woman who wanted to do something fun. End of story.

Women are not here to look pretty. We’re not here to be eye-candy. We’re half of the population. Don’t dismiss us just because we’re no longer f*ckable. Don’t dismiss us because we’re older and dedicated decades to raising the next generation of adults.

Don’t dismiss us. It’s not your place.

Remember: men may have built the world, but women built everyone in it.

Yes, I pole-dance now

Babies ruined my brain

I used to be a happy person. Now I take antidepressants to be a happy person.

When I got pregnant with Haven, my brain changed. Why or how, I have no idea. I became depressed, but not to the point where I needed medication.

After she was born, my brain was seized with fear and hormones and sadness. It wasn’t until she was ten months old that I recognized that I had postpartum depression. Damon told me that I wasn’t acting like myself.

I took Zoloft for three weeks along with Vitamin D. I felt like Zoloft wasn’t doing anything, but felt better anyway. I quit taking it, but kept taking my Vitamin D.

Then I got pregnant with Ty. Feeling crappy throughout the first trimester is common. I felt better during the second. The third trimester is the one that I despise and loathe. And depression slammed into me at around 28 weeks. I hated my body and my life. I felt no connection to the little boy growing inside of my body. I wanted him to hurry up and come out. Thankfully, he came at 37+3 weeks. But he was in the NICU due to an infection in his lung. That week was hell. 

I felt no connection to him after he was born. I stayed in that hospital room watching the beeping machines because it’s where I felt obligated to be. Good moms don’t ditch their babies. I tried forcing emotions towards him even though I felt none. It didn’t work. We took him home, and I felt somewhat exhilarated to be out of that room.

A month and a half came and went. Ty pudged up. He slept wonderfully without me feeding him to sleep. He let me set him down. He did everything I hoped a happy baby would do. But I couldn’t feel anything because my brain was busy hating itself.

I fought taking antidepressants for three months. I thought about killing myself every day. I fought with Damon every day. I wanted to separate and let him have custody, because I couldn’t handle my kids. I hated my life. 

We went and saw a marriage counselor, who I found particularly hippy dippy. I thought he was ridiculous and idealistic for telling me “Don’t let the depression control you.” I thought “F*ck you.” We went to two sessions. It didn’t help.

I finally texted my midwife and told her that I wanted a prescription. She’s an advanced practice nurse, so she has the power to write them. I started taking them. And things started changing.I could go a day without crying. I talked with my coworkers. I felt happy.

At first, I didn’t know if I liked this new se lf. I was snappy more often. I couldn’t orgasm. I felt like I was annoying.

The side effects started to fade with time. But I resent taking a pill to be a functioning adult. I hate that I have to take that pill every day. I hate depending on anyone or anything else other than myself to make me happy. What if I forget my medication while on a trip? What if I have to take more?

There’s nothing glamorous about mental illness. It’s not a beautiful suffering or struggle. It’s not a sign of strength that you can get through the day. It doesn’t make you special.  It’s not a flashy conversation piece to show off to your friends.

It sucks. End of story. 

Everyone has their own degree of suffering on the spectrum. Everyone suffers. Everyone struggles. I have to take pills to cope with mine because my brain doesn’t know how to on its own. Plenty of people do. And the people who do suffer from it don’t like to talk about it because it’s embarrassing. 

Having babies broke my brain. I don’t know how long I’ll have to take my pills for. Maybe a year. Maybe forever. That scares the crap out of me. But for now, I have to. It’s the difference between providing for my family and laying in bed all day wanting to die. 

Maybe one day, my brain will wake up and remember how to be happy again. Maybe it won’t. Maybe that part of me is gone. It terrifies me to think of having another baby. Your chances of getting postpartum depression go up with each baby if you’ve had it before. I’ve had it with both. Do the math. I don’t feel like inflicting myself on another child. 

There’s nothing beautiful about this. There is nothing special about wanting to die. It’s a problem that I would love to shed forever. 

But everyone struggles. Some women can’t breastfeed despite trying everything in their power to do so. Some women can’t get pregnant, despite trying for years and getting multiple IVF treatments. Some women lose their precious babies before or after birth. 

When I compare my taking a pill to be happy to any of the struggles listed above, I’ll take my depression. Because at least I have some control over it. Do comparisons make my situation better? No. But taking my pill does.

I forgot to take it yesterday, so I haven’t gotten out of bed yet. Damon just brought it to me with a glass of water. Hopefully, it’ll kick in soon. I’ve got a test and twenty assignments due in three days. 

#thestruggleisreal#HappyWednesday

Babies ruined my brain