(Don’t let the title fool you-you didn’t miss a part one. This is an archive from my old Bipolar blog.)
The medicine is working, but it’s zapping my energy. I’m going through bursts of energy and extreme tiredness. I don’t have anything to write currently, because my brain isn’t at 100%.
I have been going through my old Bipolar blog posts today, and came across one that I should share. For as long as I can remember, when I mention that I have a kid to strangers and acquaintances, I have always always gotten the reply, “you have a kid?!?!” This post sheds a little more light on why I don’t talk or write about him. It’s too hard.
This post is dated August 10, 2010.
My son will be twelve in December. My son. Okay, so that always looks weird on paper because I don’t really have a son. What I mean is, I shut down when he was a baby and never had a chance to pick up where we left off. I’ve always been more of a “birth mother” than a real mother. Some of it was my fault, some was out of my control. I found out at 2 he was autistic, and with him being him and me being me, there was never a bond. It’s a lot more detailed than that obviously, but it’s hard to write about someone I don’t really know.
I got pregnant in April of my senior year with my high school sweetheart, four months after we got back together. He immediately asked me to marry him, and moved into my parents’ house with me. That lasted a week. I kicked him out and from that day, was on my own. I cried every day. Hell, I cried when I found out I was pregnant. I cried when I found out I was having a boy, not the girl I was so sure was in my belly. I thought of suicide every day. I was unbelievably stressed out. I didn’t know what to do. I suffered from terrible migraines that made me go on disability.
I never talked to my belly. My baby daddy was in the mix, just not with me. He went through some crap too-moved out of his parents house for good, started dating a girl with a kid, wrapping his car around a pole, and getting a DUI. My labor was extremely easy, and that was that. You know what my first words to my son were? “Hi, my name’s Hed, and I’m gonna be your mom”. At four days old, my family was at my house, and my brother was holding my son. I remember him standing up and handing the baby to my mom, and they conversed almost in secret. I blew it off.
That night, my mom was in my room with me while I was feeding my son, and he started to stiffen and gasp for air. My mom says, “that’s what he did earlier today”. He was having his second seizure that we observed, and my mom didn’t even tell me about the first one. I’m convinced that, with my mental history, she didn’t think I was strong enough for a baby, something that has been confirmed through my son’s years and her actions, and her disdain when myself or my husband mentions children down the road.
He ended up in the ICU for five days. We still don’t know if his seizures caused the Autism or if the Autism caused the seizures, or if they were completely unrelated. His week in the hospital, combined with my mom’s concern for him, sealed the deal for the two of us. Eventually he moved into her room, and even when it was time to move out with my then-boyfriend, she insisted my son stay with her and my stepdad. I took the offer because I was working full-time and thought once we got situated he could move in with us. That attempt happened when he was three. My boyfriend and I moved him in with us in our one-bedroom duplex, and I became a mom. That lasted a week.
The catalyst that led to me breaking down and making him move in with his dad? He spilled a soda on the rug. That’s it. That’s all it took. He was so hyper, didn’t listen or pay attention (Duh, he had AUTISM!!!), and I couldn’t take it. I called his father and told him he needed to take him, I couldn’t handle this. My toddler was a stranger. I was a fool to think that I could take a three-year-old in and become Carol Brady. Most of the time I couldn’t even take care of myself properly.
I was devastated because it made me feel like a complete failure. I really thought I was strong enough to do it. We went to court, reversed custody. That was it. When this happened, his father eventually stopped speaking to me and used my mom as the middle man. My son started getting dropped off at my moms again, and I started visiting less and less. My first ever bout of major depression started around this time, and I couldn’t even get out of bed most days. When I started working again the visits became almost non-existent. When we did hang out, he wanted nothing to do with me. Why would he? He didn’t even KNOW me. Years passed, and my son’s father began a relationship with an amazing girl that just loved my son to pieces and did everything she could to learn about and deal with his Autism. At new jobs, I would mention my son in conversations, and I would always get, “you have a KID?!?!”
Last week was the first time I had seen my son in a year. He’s almost as tall as me. He has hair on his legs. He dresses like a young man, not a kid. Today,randomly, my son’s father called my mom to see if my son could be dropped off with her, as he was getting married today. Two months ago, he and awesome girl had a baby of their own, and in my opinion they want to officially have a family circle together. As I have been planning to leave for Australia, I thought of leaving a note with my mom that if something should happen to my son, she would have authority to make decisions on my behalf. When I heard about the marriage, I made the biggest and hardest decision of my life: to sign my parental rights away so my son could be adopted by his stepmom.
It’s not fair to my son for me to sometimes be in his life. My sister was adopted when my father gave away his rights, and she turned out beautifully. I had the opportunity to be adopted by my own stepdad, and I turned it down because I didn’t want my father to be alone. My dad ultimately popped in and out of my life when he chose, and it screwed me up something fierce. I always used to think my son’s father was an all-around dick, but sometime over the years I realized he was a fantastic father, and we just happened to not be good together. Aside from all the selfishness that I have in me-the pride of being somebody’s mother, the thoughts and assumptions others may have of me from my choice, and the ultimate failure I feel from never having an opportunity to get to know my son and all his complexities, I know in my heart that this is the right choice. As Forrest Gump would say, “and that’s all I have to say about that”.