All of me

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You’re so Brave

A while back I posted about being fat. But not only being fat, but being the third generation of fat and how that scared me. I also mentioned how I feel trapped because the last option for my mother and grandmother was and currently is, surgery. Surgery is not a bad thing. But it scares me because it means that I have a true problem, that can only be rectified by drastic measures and that’s not something I’m ready to come to terms with. And I hope that I can bread the cycle so that I don’t end up in the position.

But those positions come up, and you deal.

I want to say how much I admire these two women in my life who are tackling and have tackled that decision straight on. Have fought for other options and made the one that was best for them. I feel it is incredibly brave to admit you have a problem and find the solution. Whether it be surgery, a personal trainer or what have you (depending on your own personal situation, of course).

My biological mother is on the road to a new self in the near future and as she works hard to overcome her addictions and roadblocks I am at awe. Mostly because I am not there yet, but hope I can be some day. She amazes me, and her personal successes can clearly be seen in her radiant countenance.

She’s been through much more than this, and in my eyes, I have watched her glide through every situation with grace and end up on the winning, positive side. I believe this journey will be no different.

I hope you’re reading this, M. I love you! And I’m proud of you! And I can only hope I have half the strength you do!

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25 Things ~ 21-25

Can it be? Could I actually be finished my 25 things about me series?

21. Attention makes me uncomfortable.

Anyone who has ever paid me a compliment or brought up something involving me knows what I mean here. I shrink away. Literally. I can feel myself hunch my shoulders, move back and put my head down. I don’t like it, it makes me feel uncomfortable and I would much rather just be in the background. I wasn’t always like this, but as I’ve gotten older, I just feel like things should be done because we’re good people who do good things. Not to voice everything for recognition or praise (although, I will admit that sometimes I would appreciate someone saying good job, or that I’m a good mom and leaving it at that), but to just do it because it’s the right thing to do. Being humble is a big thing for me.

22. I’m fair to a fault.

Yep, everyone deserves the same thing. Even at my disadvantage. It’s what’s right (in my head, at least). This was how I was raised and even though I know it’s not always that black and white, it is to me. I’m honest, and fair and I hope these are qualities I can pass on to my child/ren as well. The downside to this characteristic is that I also expect it within my own circles, and am disappointed and sometimes angry when it doesn’t happen that way. Sometimes it can cause a lot of heartbreak, misunderstandings on my part and bad feelings, but I’m trying to understand the shades of grey when it comes to this. But it’s taking a while.

23. I’m hypersensitive to negative body-language. Or, I will take sometimes innocent actions of others and make them something negative towards me (usually in the attachment sense).

So if I always walk into a room to join a conversation and people leave (whether they legitimately have something else to do), I will take it as them not wanting to be around me. Rejecting an invitation makes me feel the same way. I try to be rational about it, but sometimes when you’re dealing with attachment problems, rationality means nothing. So if you’re wondering why I stopped responding positively to you, it’s probably because I’ve perceived too many negative reactions and I’m done trying. So be patient. Treat me like that lost puppy you just adopted from the pound who doesn’t come out from under the bed. Be patient, coax me and let me know you’re there no matter what I do. The trust will come, but it just takes a little longer, and it goes away faster than with most people.

24. I would much rather watch people interact that be a part of the interaction itself.

Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean there’s something wrong! I grew up being the baby around a bunch of old people. I’m used to listening and observing what’s going on. I’m not ignoring you, disinterested or upset about something. I’m just taking it in. Especially with a new environment (which, my environments can seem new for a VERY long time!). I’m getting to know the dynamic so that when I do contribute, I don’t mess up and make a mistake, hurt, or offend someone. I love to be the watcher.

25. I’m always trying to be better.

I’m on a life-long journey to perfection. I have a long way to go. But I’m always trying to figure out ways to be a better friend, wife, daughter, employee…. just a better person in general. I’ve learned ways I can do better in some aspects of life, but I always welcome thoughts and criticisms. I think people are taken aback when I ask for what I can do to be better. I try and make it as personal as possible. I wish one relationship had been more open in the past of what my friend wanted from me as I don’t think we would be where we are today, but having that knowledge now I hope has made me a better friend now. So if there’s something that bugs you…please let me know! Sometimes it’s not always just a quirk you have to love or leave and I will try to fix it, or change it. But please don’t stop loving me if I can’t.

I’m finding out new things about me every day. But I hope this small glimpse will help you understand me, or just people in general. We are all different and we should embrace that. We should get to know each other on these types of levels – have an understanding to help us in our future interactions. And love those differences in each of us.

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Our Babies and Attachment

Every mother attaches differently to their baby. Some instantly attach the minute the second line comes up on the pregnancy test. They coo and talk to their tummy from that moment on and become an instant momma bear the minute their baby comes into the world.

But this may not be the case for everyone out there. It certainly wasn’t the case for me.
When I got pregnant, I was so worried about not becoming attached to the baby I did everything I could to become as connected as I could. I ordered a Doppler so I could listen to our baby’s heartbeat at home. I ordered four extra private ultrasounds so I could make it more real for me. We found out the sex of the baby so we could have a name right away, call it by that name and so that I could have a nursery more specific to the little person about to join our family. And although I didn’t read to my baby, as we got closer to the due date, we would have a few conversations and I did sing to my tummy every night before bed (the same song I still sing every night before Connor goes to bed).

No matter what I did though, I just didn’t feel that strong connection that I had heard about. Or maybe I did, and because of all my other underlying issues, didn’t know how to recognize it.

When Connor was born I loved him, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it would be one of those moments you see on tv where you cry as you hold your baby and see them for the first time. That wasn’t the case for me.

You know when they have to take blood for testing and blood sugar readings and they prick your baby’s foot? They had to do it multiple times for Connor as they couldn’t get enough blood for a good reading. I didn’t feel anything. I was so rational and understood why they were doing it I just watched them feeling indifferent. But then my sister-in-law recounted her story about how she immediately wanted to grab her child and punch the nurse in the face (I’m paraphrasing); There was this instant guilt that I didn’t feel that way. I’m his mother! I’m supposed to have that protective instinct!

I discovered my love grew every day. It wasn’t many months later that Connor had his first ER visit because of croup and I had a VERY hard time keeping it together because I was worried. There was also a time when we were dealing with specialists because of his flat spot caused by his torticollis. As they manipulated his head this way and that, it took everything in my being to not snatch him back (and he wasn’t even crying this time!)

That reaction made me feel so much better because I knew that instinct had come. I was just one of those people where the feeling grows and builds instead of instantly coming into fruition.

There are still days where my confidence in my attachment strength waivers. Often it’s when Connor would prefer to be with anyone but me. Or how he’ll adventure everywhere without really caring if I’m there or not. Generally, I’m quite proud that he’s so independent and sure of himself and that the feels comfortable with others. But sometimes I waiver with the thought that he does it because he’s not attached to me. Or rather, that he’s attached himself to those people OVER me. It’s a challenging balance because I know that his personality and our parenting style largely factors into this as well.

I was mostly proud of this independent child-o’-mine until a few months ago when I was out getting a pedicure with my mother and sister-in-law. We were talking about our kids and what different personalities they have and it came up how my nephew liked to stay close and my son likes to wander and explore, with really no regard to where you are in relation to him.

The girl working on my sister-in-law asked “Did you breastfeed?” If I wasn’t so shocked I might have been able to come up with some witty response. Instead, I shockingly answered “NO”. She went on saying that was probably why as most babies that are breastfed are more attached and need their mom more than the babies who are fed from a bottle.

Feelings of failure wracked my brain. Maybe that WAS why I didn’t feel so attached to Connor. Maybe I should have done more to keep breastfeeding… NO! NO! NO!

Ladies – what that woman said to me was wrong! She should not have said it in the first place! Do NOT ever feel like the decisions you’ve made for your baby was a mistake. You did what was right for you at the time, and no one has the right to judge you for it or say any different. For me – choosing to pump and bottle feed and then going to formula was in both my and Connor’s best interest and there’s no point playing the ‘what if’ game. I felt no guilt making this decision at the time and I think that guilt crept up again because I was already so worried that I messed up one of the most important relationships of my life because of my own attachment problems.

I have come to accept that I’m not going to be able to see what everyone else sees in terms of a healthy attachment. My eyes are clouded and I’m never going to think it is enough. Right now, I look to my husband to reassure me that, yes, I am doing a good job and that my son and I are bonded. And sometimes, when my judgement is clear, I understand what he’s trying to tell me when my little boy shyly comes to hold my leg when a stranger say ‘hi’ and when suppertime is a challenge because I have a little helper that doesn’t want to leave my side while I’m cooking. Or the days where rushes to give me a kiss and a hug when I come home from work and he gives me a big squeeze. I’m his mother and I know that he loves me and is confident in my love for him – I just need to convince myself of that fact once in a while.

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The ‘L’ Word

I’m talking about Love. Not just feeling it, but saying it and letting those around you know how you feel. That’s something I have a very hard time with. Call it my upbringing or my stemming attachment issues, but I just don’t really say it. Out loud, I’ve said it to a handful of people. I hope those people know that for me to say it, I am breaking a very thick wall deep in myself.

Of course there are those where the words flow easily. My husband, for example, and my son (although it always feels strange to say it out loud in front of other people, and it’s also odd to hear other people say those words to my son – again, attachment issues). Just recently I found my mom has been saying it far more often to me, and I’m surprised to find how easily I can reciprocate the sentiment.

I mentioned in another post how having my child has healed in my ways I never thought was possible. One of those ways was my love for other people. He makes it so much easier to open up my heart. He reinforces that there are people out there who love unconditionally and I shouldn’t be afraid to put my trust and love in them. He helps me say I Love You more often, so that it’s easier to say it to more people without that strange awkwardness.

I still have those drawbacks, but the more I’m with my son, the easier it feels to break the chains I’ve held in my heart for so long now. I’ve always wanted love and attention, I’ve longed for people to hold me and hug me and just have that contact, but the dis-attachment inside never allowed me to trust those people. To not show how I felt because I was always so afraid they’d leave me too. Connor’s has helped me work through that. I just hope I can give him what he’s given me. Love.

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