Thursday, October 27, 2011

A bad mother...

I felt like a bad mother today.

I sat here...with a beautiful, perfect, softly snoring baby girl in my lap.  Tears rolling down my cheeks as my older boys made salmon chowder upstairs. 

My heart was aching.

There was nowhere to go.  Nothing to do about how I felt.  No place to feel differently.

So I cried in silence while living perfection slept.


desire.  Desire for the ability to turn it off--the thoughts--the memories--the regrets.

I sat here just wishing to feel like the me I once was.  Oblivious to the pain. 

My first grand-baby was born on Sunday.  He was early.  His poor mamma has only held him twice due to complications.  I've been crying for her pain as well.  Her worry is my own.

I feel like a bad mother for not just keeping my focus on my girl....for letting my heart wander from her to what is the  tears of the past...and the tears of others.

A bad mother....for even momentarily...feeling sad after her living presence.   Or maybe...I just feel like a bad sister.  Bad for having reasons to smile when my sisters in life are still crying.  Bad for being lucky.  This time. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On manipulation...

Did you know there are people out there who really believe that loving a baby "too much" can lead to a personality defect called "manipulation"?

Oh yes....according to this lore, if you respond to a baby, particularly a female baby, who exhibits a lower lip pout in her sadness over...uh...anything at all...with affection, love and are creating a manipulator.

"You'll have to watch THAT if you don't want her to become manipulative."


I'll have to watch "THAT"???


As I care for this little sweet one month old baby girl, I can only shake my head in massive disappointment in my "elders".   Suddenly, all the neglect and abusive techniques I experienced as a girl make sense.  It was all in the name of not spoiling me.  All in the name of making sure I didn't really think I was worth much...not worth listening to...not worth attending to...not worth caring for.  My tears were laughed at.  Photos even taken of my proof that I was a little "diva".  A drama queen.

Or maybe I was hungry.

Perhaps even exhausted?

Or...maybe I was just....manipulative.

or would have become manipulative had anyone shown a glimmer of tenderness.

Thank GOD they saved me from myself.

Now...excuse me while I barf a little in my hand.


This isn't what you get when you respond to a baby's distress---even if she happens to have a vagina and is prone to become "a manipulator".


This isn't an innate quality in a baby who is nurtured, attended to, even adored.


This isn't something that develops from being treasured.  Loved.  Honored.

No...I see something very clearly.  People who withhold love from a baby in the fear based non reality which sees NEED as a personality flaw are severely mistaken.  In fact, this false belief is really based on a desire to perpetrate the insult that was bestowed upon them so that they can continue the tradition of selfish neglect that allows the adult to manipulate the baby's very tender psyche.  This, in my opinion, borders on insanity.  "Don't let your baby turn into a manipulative little girl or you'll be sorry!"  Hmmmmmmmm...... what I hear is "Don't let your baby think you actually care about her or she might grow into a human being who actually knows her worth, and then, she will be harder to control with manipulation."  oops. 

In the meantime...I am going to keep responding to my daughters very appropriate need, her tender cries for assistance, her emotional honesty, and her baby-ness with prompt sincerity and total abandon!  I couldn't love her too much.  I couldn't care for her too much.  This abundance of love won't spoil her or taint her.  She can have free access to my heart.

Anyone who worries that she will become manipulative as a result can go take their outdated dogma to a much much warmer climate and roast them over a pit fire.

So, please excuse me while I go, without any worries, to snuggle with the brightest light in the nighttime sky--My Venus girl--Ali V.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


It is October.  My husband and Ali V. and I went for a long walk in the woods yesterday, with shaggy Ferdi in the lead.  The boys opted for some uninhibited "gaming" instead of enjoying the fall colors I was so eager for.  It was o.k....I wanted time to just..."be".

October is beautiful in Montana.  Truly stunning.  We have all the color of Vermont maples in's Montana, so it's all on a much bigger scale, and there are more open places to romp and admire.  We chose the woods near the river that "runs through it".  Beautiful.  Red, orange, yellow, burnt umber...and...purple?

Yes.  Purple.  Purple and yellow flowers.  Everywhere.

I guess we haven't had a frost yet.

Ever since we lost Simon and Alexander, purple and yellow have reached out to us from season to season.  This year, as I felt the crunching of leaves underfoot, I was absolutely taken with the presence of flowers.  Taken...with memories.

I've walked these woods before.  Trying to find myself.

Trying to get a grip.  On sanity...on life.

With a sleeping bundle of girlyness in my arms, and a two year old sheepdog leaping up ahead, I felt my husbands hand in mine.  He saw the flowers as well...and they mean as much to him as they do to me.

Our little rainbow baby is a loud sleeper...she coos happily in an audible mantra of life.  It's a good thing, because I'd be apt to try to wake her if she was too quiet...just to make make sure.

As she cooed noisily, I felt the tears rimming my eyes.  They felt cold in the autumn air that I was breathing.

They would have been toddlers.  They would have been chattering to each other in twin-speak.  They would have...been.

When Ali V. stirred in her sleep, groping for the ever present nipple which she assumes access to on demand, I didn't hesitate to pull out my breast as we continued to walk in the woods.  My husband laughed at my native look.  Boob being suckled in the woods near the river as I trekked on without pausing even a step.  I smiled...wiping the tears away.

I can do this.  Yes.  THIS I can do.  Being "Ma MAM!"  is easy for me.

It's the loss that was hard.

It's the loss that still stings.

Not only my own losses....but the losses that lay in the breasts of other mamas....the losses that continue.  It's the loss that stings my heart as I listen to my darling daughters coos of contentment with full belly in the magical woods of Montana.  The loss that has been...and will be.  I felt a stirring of guilt in my wondrous fortune having become the grateful mother of this precious being who needs me...who actually gropes for me in a sleepy request for sustenance and comfort. 

I felt the breeze flutter past...and I could almost hear their laughter.  The way it should have been.  It echoes in the woods...

Where purple and yellow flowers continue to bloom in the depths of October...

And...I remember.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Regarding Sleep...

"You look tired." 

"Are you getting enough sleep?"

"Is she a fussy baby?"

Questions...these are the questions people ask. 

My Ali V. is three weeks old.  I do look tired.  I am not getting "enough sleep".  And no...I wouldn't say she is fussy.  Not fussy.  Particular.  She requires consideration.  Attention to how she feels.  But fussy?  No. 

In reference to sleep...  I honestly don't care that I'm tired.  I don't care that dark circles shadow under my eyes.  I was up last night until 2:30...falling asleep while standing up swaying with a small girl in the darkness.  "It's o.k. my Ali's o.k...."  And....I meant it.  It really IS o.k..  It's o.k..  Better than o.k..

For the many of us who know the wakeful hours of tear filled loneliness due to empty arms where a small being should have nestled.  .'s better than o.k. to be walking the halls in a sing song sway of hip in an effort to soothe someone in need of comfort as they get used to having a human body.  It's better than o.k.. to feel tired due to the need a newborn insists upon than the feel tired at a soul level as you try to convince  yourself that hearing a baby that isn't there cry loud enough to wake you up, and vividly enough to remind you of all you have lost.

My husband held me close the other day as I walked those midnight hours.  His confession of finally understanding the depth of our loss as he watched me care for our tiny daughter was comforting. is true...every single moment of every single day for the past two and a half years was spent, for me, in the stark reality that presented empty arms and a broken heart.  No babies.  No twins.  No....anything. 

As I look down at this little girls "finally" sleeping face and admire the sweetness of an existence which allows for her to sleep during daylight hours in the comfort of my arms just as easily as it allows for her to protest the night in those same comfortable arms, I am overcome with the love that is profoundly healing.

I find myself feeling a profound thankfulness to my twins for bringing this little girl to us safely.  I yearn for them.  I tear up as I look at her...and the thankfulness fills my being.  I know that our twins know better than any other how deep the scar was that they left behind as I groped for healing the bleeding wound in my heart.  I know they were there witnessing the pain of losing them.  I know they were protecting this little girl as she made her way into this world, and into our arms. 

In the nighttime solitude that I share with my tiny daughter...yes, I am tired. 

And...I've been waiting to be this brand of tired for several years.  I am tired.  I am not getting "enough sleep".  And little girl is not fussy.  She's alive.  And she needs me.  And that is exactly how it should be.

There will be time to sleep later.  When that time comes, my dreams will be filled with the bliss of remembering those well worn pathways walked with my little girl.

And with the understanding that I will never forget what it feels like to walk them empty handed.  She is not "fussy."  She is Ali V. She is of stardust and rainbow light. And she is HERE.