He Can Take Your Baby

My father and sister are worried about me.

Before you all go getting super scared I'm fine. I'm actually doing better now than I have at any time since the Buddy was born (YAY!).

And yet… they're worried.

What worries them is this. My writing to you all. Well… not so much my writing to you, but the level of honesty in my writing and the way in which I publish. See, most of you just know me as Mama G*, but if you already knew me in 'real' life and we were friends on Facebook you would be able to connect me with this blog. I don't try to hide it. (* I used to write under an alias)

And that, my kiddos, is what is scary to them.

My sister is a divorce lawyer. She would say she's a family lawyer - and she does do adoption work and general custody and stuff but let's be honest - this is America in 2013 - she's a divorce lawyer.  She's really good. I'm not just saying that because she's my sister. It's true, she's freaking brilliant at it.

She's scared for me. 

You see, I've been honest here. I admit that I am ill. That I have bad days. That I have yelled at a tiny helpless baby and that I have felt like a worthless mom. In less than 10 minutes she could take what I have written even on the sentence above and use it to remove my son from my care. And so she worries.

I feel the love that comes from my sister worrying about me, the love and fear that my father now shares. I appreciate the concern and it warms me.

And yet - It is so wrong.
How can I explain? How can I explain the sense of injustice that comes from knowing that if I share my truth, my struggle, my pain - if I share the darkness my words could be used for evil. Not my actions - not any factual thing that I have ever done to my son - not any actual thing that has ever happened - but my WORDS, my THOUGHTS, my FEELINGS, my ILLNESS could be used as a weapon against me and against my son. They could be used as a crowbar to rip us apart. 

Of course, this is supposing a few things:

  • That Adam and I have some kind of major split that results in a custody dispute.

  • That he would be the type of jackass who would resort to such a low tactic to win.

  • That I would not be able to fight this.

I won't write here about how and why I believe the first two will never happen. That's another post for another day. Instead let me tell you why I won't stop.

I won't stop because writing to you all - knowing that someone is listening has helped me heal.

I won't stop because my last post got twice as many private emails sent to me as it did public comments on Facebook. SO MANY WOMEN are scared to speak out.

I won't stop because I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO. That may be a naive statement, but I can't think of too many jaded people who ever changed anything that was wrong with this world.

I won't stop because this is my truth. This is my battle. NONE OF THIS MAKES ME A BAD MOTHER.

I won't stop because I haven't talked to a single woman who has battled with depression, PPD or anxiety who was not scared at some point that "they" would take her children away. That breaks my heart.

I won't stop because according to some of the latest research a full 14% of new mothers tested experienced some form of depression and 19% of those thought of harming themselves.

I won't stop because women are dying every single day. Children are growing up without mothers and it is COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY.

I won't stop because of the pregnant woman who emailed me and said she was terrified to try and breastfeed because her PPD had been so horrible the last time. She's getting a counselor pre-natal and is working with a lactation consultant already so that she has support in place for whatever happens. This is what happens when we talk to each other.

I won't stop because of all the women who were too ashamed, or scared or depressed to get in touch - but who read me anyway and KNOW THEY ARE NOT ALONE.

I could write totally anonymously. I could never give any hint or link to my 'real' life and I could keep all of this away from my family and friends so that no one ever knows what is happening with me except for my counselor. 

That might be the safest thing if it ever came down to a custody battle. 

That is not what I choose. 

I choose to believe that no matter what happens in our lives Dork Dad and I will always put the happiness of the Prince of Poop first.

I choose to share with you all my truth. ALL OF MY TRUTH.

I choose to have faith that my recovery will continue and that I may possibly be helping people.

I choose to continue reaching out.

I choose to advocate for all the other mothers out there who are suffering in silence.

I choose to model strength, perseverance and HOPE for my son.

If the worst should come to pass and we should end up in court let this be Exhibit A. Let this stand as a warning - I will fight for my son. I will GET LOUD. I will take to the airwaves, to the internet, to the newspapers. They think it's a bad idea for me to be so public? Let's see someone try and take my boy away from me and THEY. WILL. SEE. PUBLIC. I'll be trending on Twitter and crawling on CNN, there will be a war in the comments on HuffPost and Facebook just might implode from the #justtryit.

Through the depression and the anxiety, the fear and the shame and the guilt, the mind numbing fatigue and the constant physical ache of the last 20 weeks I have mothered a beautiful, healthy, happy boy. I have done so fueled by a love that I am still exploring.

I have not found its depth.

I have not found its reach. 

I have not found the load that it cannot bear. 

And yet…my father and my sister are worried about me. That, too, is love. 

Graeme SeabrookComment