Thursday, April 28, 2011

Letting go, part two.

(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”.


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15 comments:

  1. ultimately, the only thing that is important is his well-being. People who have never been in these shoes can judge all they like, but their opinions mean nada. If your son is doing great where he is, then guess what? you did do the right thing as a mother. I was raised by a crazy woman, i love her, I'm close to her, but she did fuck me up a wee bit. I would've loved stability. It sounds like he has that, and a family that loves and cares for him. You are strong enough to realize that sometimes he may be better off without you-that's a good thing, that's the hardest thing, that's what good moms do.

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  2. I cried at this.

    I was in a support group a few days ago, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, because mom and dad were unfit or unable to raise their own (mostly because of drugs/jail).

    One woman starts talking about how her son, the kids' daddy, was trying to get back into the picture. Sadly, he was more of a buddy to the kids, now teens, than a father.

    Grandma put it like this: "There will always be a bond between a dad and his kids, but he's not a father figure to them. They see him more as 'uncle matt' than dad."

    I broke down at this point. Being 900 miles away from my two boys is wrenching to me. I'm trying to be their dad, but still be their father figure. I'm afraid, at one point, that may slip away from me.

    Whether he sees you as mom or not, you two will always have a mysterious unbreakable bond. Be in his life, even if it's as "aunt hed." It's better than nothing. Who knows? Maybe, as an adult, if he's ever told the truth, he will be thankful you were there at times, instead of being invisible.

    Big, bug hugs from me. I'm not in the same boat as you, not by a longshot, but I feel and understand your pain fairly well.

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  3. You are totally awesome and absofucktabulous. Mwah!

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  4. All I have to say on this matter is that you are an AWESOME MOM for putting your son's well being first and foremost in your decision. only a mother who loves her child would put their child's needs before their own. so never let anyone tell you you're not a great mom because you are. hugs

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  5. I admire your selflessness when it comes to your son. It seems he's in the best situation with his father and stepmom. It's difficult to admit that you can't take care of your own child and that someone else can do it better and actually express love toward them in a genuine way. As long as he's safe, secure and loved, and he knows it, you've done the #1 most important thing as his mom.

    On a side note...my son is 3 and is a complete non-listening pain in the butt alot of the time but I'm told it's the age. I swear it's like having a little caveman in my house who can recite the alpahbet. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a loonie bin. Climbing furniture constantly, unable to sit still for longer than a few minutes (unless we're in the car). It's a difficult age for children (worse than 2 by far) and I can see where it would've been almost impossible for you to adjust to his bahavior at the age - even under the most desirable, normal circumstances.

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  6. It takes a lot of love to let go when it's the best thing to do. So many can't, or won't.
    Little Danger is adopted; someone gave him the gift of Wifefish and I.
    Thank you for sharing this, Hed, and know that you have done something extraordinary and good.

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  7. Hed, you know my thoughts on this subject but I'll say them again. You have/had more guts than anyone I know and did the best thing you could do for your son. How many mothers are out there who cannot deal with their children, abuse them or even kill them. Thankfully, your Mom was there to help with him. I'm sure post partum depression was an instrument amongst your other psychological disorders so in my book, you are an absolute amazing person. Stronger than most people I know.

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  8. is that him in the pic? he's such a goodlooking young man!
    I am glad he has ur exes new wife embraced him. dnt beat yourself up too much, atleast u know he's in good hands :)

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  9. Hed, no one gets an instruction manual on the birth of a child and it has such a huge impact on your body and your emotions that I am not surprised you became depressed. But you did think of him throughout this and he has grown up to be a happy young man.

    Autism is very hard on everyone, very few parents make it through the day without some trauma or other. You were brave and strong enough to admit you couldn't do it so you put him into the arms of someone who could. That is why he has thrived.

    (((hugs)))

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  10. I've hesitated at commenting because of how much emotion this triggered.

    Good parenting is about love and instinct. You had enough of boht ot get your son what he needed the most...help for both fo you.

    this post and you are admirable

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  11. Wow. What you did showed many admirable character traits, like selflessness, love and strength. If other people were 1/10 of you, the world would be a much better place.

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  12. you never stop amazing me with your inner strength and your open heart. I'm so glad I get to learn about you through your blog. We all are so lucky.

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  13. That explains a lot actually. There have been links in Bipolar and autism being caused by the same gene or something. And I totally agree with your Decision, as long as he's happy and comfortable. :)

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  14. I agree with Lance. You made a tough choice in the "Best Interest" of your son. If half of the people I deal with everyday had that kind of strength and compassion...then Icould possibly be out of a job. Thank you so much for sharing this...<3

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  15. I can't believe that I fell upon your blog tonight. I too suffer with Bipolar, and I have a daughter who turns 20 tomorrow...but she isn't in my life because I was unable to be a mother to her.
    I feel guilty every single day.
    Her not wanting anything to do with me is punishment enough.
    I've missed out on so much. I'll never get it back.

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