Monday, November 26, 2012

Hot Topic Monday: step mom dread

I experienced something yesterday ... something that I haven't experienced since the weeks before we got E permanently (when we already signed the papers and knew we were getting her) ... it was dread ... the kind that makes you hide under your sheets ... the kind that makes your body quake with fear and tears. I couldn't believe that I was feeling this again ... the anxiety before the impending arrival of the child. What brought it on? We have faithfully sent E to her moms house every other weekend since she has become a fixture in our everyday life ... I have felt the pull on the Sunday to stay on the couch instead of go get her ... but I have never felt anything this strong.

I think it was the number of days that she was with her mom ... four ... two extra days ... that was enough to cause me to crack ... well ... I believe I was already cracked ... not broken ... just fractured in places ... susceptible to dark days ... but fighting with all my might to never succumb to a dark day ... but two extra days held the ability to crack me just enough in just the right place to send me into a spiral of darkness last night (not the whole night ... but a great deal of it).

We were driving home from Rs sisters homecoming (remember ... the one who came home from a mission) ... and it hit me ... I had only one hour left ... one hour and that was the end of my life. I had felt like I had finally found myself again ... who I wanted to be ... living the life I wanted to live ... it made me think that it was attainable again ... not attainable in fifty years when the kids are out of the house and R has retired ... but attainable right now. I lost my words in the car ... the tears started ... I got the lump in my throat and then the tears started to just roll down my cheeks.

R asked what was wrong. How do you tell your loving, wonderful, amazing husband that the problem is that you are selfish ... that you don't want to be raising his precious daughter ... how do those words even cross your mind much less your lips ... you don't ... right ... well ... that would be the nice thing right ... to hold it inside knowing that it can't be changed ... save his feelings ... unfortunately I think I may lack a piece of my sensitivity chip ... I told him ... then I told him I didn't want to talk about it (my feeble attempt to preserve his feelings). When we got home we laid on the bed ... I cried ... I talked ... he rubbed my back ... played with my hair.

I just have to take a second to brag on the hubs ... how many men will let you cry on their shoulder while you tell them of this dread you have towards their daughter ... tell them that you teeter on the fine line between great and depression sometimes ... how many of you can do that and have them just hug you, rub your back, play with your hair, and tell you that it is ok to feel that way ... that you are justified ... that he is there with you ... that he will always be there with you ... no matter what ... when I crack a little too much he will take over ... I do believe that we have a love story on our hands ... better than the classics ... it's real.

What this pure and simple act of kindness ... by someone who it would be understandable to completely rebuff me ... helped me to realize is that there is a need for more words of encouragement out there for full time step mommies ... some virtual hugs that can be sent to you to help you feel more comforted ... let you know you aren't alone ... so here you go ... What to take away:

  1. You are not alone! No matter how alone you may feel ... you are not ... caring for a child is difficult ... when they are not blood relations of yours it can feel down right impossible. But there is always someone to talk to ... first try to talk to your spouse ... they may be more understanding then you think.. Second ... try going to a counselor ... I understand that there are many people out there that think that people like this are crazy ... but really ... there is something cathartic about being able to speak freely ... it is really just that that makes going to talk to someone worth it ... to hear your feelings just come out ... there is something about hearing them ... they shake you into realization and epiphanies. Lastly you can talk to me ... really ... I am in it ... I know what it feels like ... I understand ... and I love emails! 
  2. Drop the guilt! It is ok to feel what you are feeling ... especially if you are giving up a lot to keep your little family strong and together. If you don't feel the best ... if you dread the childs return ... if you feel like you can't hold it together anymore .. chances are you are constantly tormenting yourself because you know how horrible those feelings are ... you are probably wishing you never had those feelings. All of those things are ok to feel ... even the guilt ... but only for a moment ... try your hardest to just feel them ... like I have said before ... let your feelings course through you ... feel each and every one of them ... but then drop them ... drop that guilt. It is not bad to feel your feelings ... you are not expected to be perfect all the time (if you feel that pressure then you either need to have a serious talk with your spouse or you need to read my divorce posts) ... It is ok to recognize that you may have wanted something different out of life ... it is ok to feel angry or sad or depressed or happy or whatever feeling you may be feeling! so don't feel guilty about your feelings ... drop the guilt. 
  3. You are strong! So much stronger than you believe ... it takes a special kind of person to be a parent ... but i feel it takes more to be a full time step parent ... to give your everything to a child who doesn't share your DNA is an incredibly difficult feat. The bond that is forged between you has to be fought for ... blood, sweat, and tears all have to go into just forming some kind of bond ... it is not born unto you (not saying that there is an automatic bond with children born to parents ... but in most cases it is) ... the battle that you will go through to create that bond alone will cause you to be strengthened ... and the everyday journey that you will take ... well ... lets just say that you are strong ... you fight for that child when socially you don't have to ... go you!
  4. You are a good person! Unless you have decided to take the same road as Cinderellas step-mom (if you have ... please stop ... that is a child you are hurting) you can take comfort in knowing that you are a good person! You have agreed to take in a child that may not even be your responsibility in the first place ... heck ... they might not even like you ... but you have made the conscious decision to take this precious soul into your life and see that they get all they can out of life. You have put someone else ahead of you ... in fact ... by making this decision you have chosen to put many people ahead of you ... especially if what you want is in direct antithesis with it ... even if your head may fight it (like mine does) ... you are still making the decision to put them ahead of you ... because they are still in your house!
  5. You are loved! You may not feel it sometimes ... just like you may feel alone sometimes ... but I promise you  ... you are loved. Believe me ... your spouse loves you ... that is obvious ... not only do they love you because you are you and that is who they chose to marry ... but because you have allowed their child to live with you ... you have chosen to care for them ... your spouse sees that ... I promise you that ... they see it and it makes the love they have for you grow deeper and deeper. Heavenly Father loves you! Yes ... no matter how abandoned you may feel he is there ... he is seeing your struggle ... he is seeing your choices ... the choice to raise a child ... and he is just pouring his love down upon you! Remember the story of the footprints in the sand ... when times were hardest there were only one set of footprints ... not because he had left you ... but because it was here where he carried you. The child loves you! Regardless of how much they cry for their "real" parent ... regardless of how many times they say they hate you ... regardless of how many dirty looks you get a day ... that child loves you ... they may not recognize all you do now ... but in the end they will ... it will come around one day ... and you will be able to see the love that they have forged for you ... it may even come easier to them than it did to you ... children love completely ... almost perfectly ... you will feel that love too. 
Ok ... I really hope that this helped ... I hope that you can feel better about yourself and the decision you made ... I hope that you can hold your head up high and recognize how wonderful you really are ... even with the negative thoughts and feelings ... let them pass through you and replace them with good feelings ... you are worth the world my friend ... you should know it!

Have a good night ... good luck with your day tomorrow ... if you are anything like me ... you are going to need it! Goodnight!