Friday, October 26, 2012

heartbroken

 
Image from {here}

I thought my last two posts were hard, but they just keep getting harder. I prefer posting happy pictures of my baby and fun art projects, but I've always been dedicated to staying true on this blog and not glazing over the hard stuff as if it weren't there; the hard stuff is what makes us stronger. It's what others relate to. My story could help someone cope with their own experiences.

So here it is: my ever-changing life is changing yet again. I'm officially a single mom. To put a long and personal (to a person other than me) story short, Spencer does not want to be in a relationship with me anymore. He still wants to be a good father and be active in November's life, but he can't marry me or be with me.

I'm so broken-hearted and in a tremendous amount of emotional pain, even though it has been slowly lessening since yesterday, when we talked and made it official. I've never hurt like this before. It's a deep wound and will take a lot of healing.

I'm also dealing with a lot of negative feelings right now. I'm feeling a lot of deep sadness and grief over the loss of the love I had and the future I had dreamed of and tenderly cherished. I'm feeling betrayed by his lack of communication and the suddenness of this whole situation; I thought everything was fine and would be perfect once he was less busy. 

I'm feeling remorse for not following my intuition; deep down I knew something was up with him, but I convinced myself I was imagining things. There were so many things my gut told me that I ignored. Even from the start, I knew he wasn't ready to get into a relationship with me, as he had literally just come out of one. I knew he would regret settling down and choose freedom eventually. I knew the restaurant job would be the breaking point. I knew and know so many other things. I will never doubt myself again.

I'm feeling unworthy, unloved, and rejected. If it were up to me, we would make it work, do whatever it took to make our relationship survive for November, as I recognize the importance of a child growing up within an unbroken family. I've always been dedicated to making it work. Every time the passion dwindled on my side, or we were having some issues, I made the choice to get the passion back, to ask myself what I could change within me to make our relationship better. That was great on my part, but I didn't realize that action needed to be on both sides. I thought I could carry the relationship for the both of us through my effort alone. But that isn't how it works. You both need to work on it and be dedicated to it. He is no longer 'IN love' with me, and is choosing to leave our relationship, and boy does that hurt. Badly.

I'm feeling ashamed. I feel like a failure. I'm almost 29 (this coming Wednesday) and I'm back at my moms. I would feel more successful and powerful if I were living alone with November, but being around family might be what I need. I'm also feeling humiliated knowing that, since Spencer is friends with the circle my ex belongs to, the ex is sure to find out and probably think it's awesome that I've been dumped after having a baby. It sounds petty, but I can't pretend it's not in the back of my mind.

I'm feeling sick to my stomach about how this will affect November forever. No matter how involved Spencer turns out to be, or how amiable our relationship is, nothing compares to having her loving biological father in the home EVERY day. But, as this is no longer an option, we will have to do our best. We were friends for many more years than we were lovers, so I hope we can find that friendship again to help lessen the blow and continue to provide her with the family she needs. 

I know these negative feelings will fade. I will feel happy, beautiful and loved again. I'll feel confident and worthy. I'll quit caring what others think. I'll meet new people, new friends. I'll fall in love again, and I'll be even stronger and smarter next time, and life will only get better. I'll smile more, cry less. I'll heal. Ill love. Live. Learn. Grow. I'll be better from this.

But right now it just hurts. 

I wish Spencer luck. I truly want him to be happy. I hope he finds what he is looking for in life on this new journey of his, and I hope it's worth losing me for.

The lesson: Love is a choice. Once the lust, passion, excitement and obsession fade, you are left with sober, boring, calm, reasonable love. But most people don't understand; that's what REAL, true, honest love feels like. I know it sounds grim, but those other feelings always fade. Always. If you expect those feelings to last, you will jump from one relationship to the next without ever knowing true, hard-earned love. Once the passion fades, love becomes a choice. It's hard work to maintain, but it's up to you to keep the flame alive, to bring back the passion, remember why you fell in love and try to live every day like it's the first date. You have to grow with it, be willing to change with it. And the results are subtle; not as flashy as a new, sexy mate. What you get is a family. A partner. A life. Something to build, nurture, and be proud of. Someone who loves you unconditionally. Or you can choose being alone. Or the Russian roulette of ever-changing mates, drama, and superficial bragging rights over your hot new upgrade. No choice is wrong or right but it is all up to you.

I will say that I am so grateful that our short-lived love story resulted in the most amazing, wonderful thing; November. I am so happy she is in my life and am going to do my best to give her the life she deserves. And I know her father loves her too. That we will always have in common.

You see, I'm already healing; I wrote this entire post without shedding a single tear. Goodnight, world, tomorrow is a new day and it's going to be better than today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

But it gets worse before it gets better

  
Image from {here}

Things did not go as planned. Date night was not the magical cure I had hoped for. Because date night didn't happen. I was stood up and had my heart completely shattered. I'm not ready to go into details, but I will say that I don't know what the future holds.

And ladies, let me make some amendments to my previous post: grooming yourself to be the perfect girlfriend/wife by avoiding nagging and 'bothering' your partner will do you no good, because he will likely push against even the SLIGHTEST restraints, whether real or imagined. So, girls, tell your man what you need from him and expect him to follow through. I SHOULD have been able to rely on Spencer for help and support. He SHOULD have made himself available, regardless of what was happening in other areas of life. Once you become a parent, your life changes forever. Whether you are ready or not; whether you run and hide; once that baby is born you are a parent forevermore. The ONLY choice you have is what kind of parent you will be. Strong or weak. Loving or cruel. Attached or distant. 

And the best choice you can make as a parent, is to put family first. In every choice you make, in every new endeavor, ask yourself: will this benefit or hurt my family? If I do this, can I continue to maintain balance with my family? No ones feelings or needs should come before family; not your boss, your job, your hobbies, or your friends. You can maintain a healthy balance with all those aspects of life, but family should never leave the top of the list of priorities. And if you find that balance starting to tip, stop, and figure out what immediate changes you can make to bring things back to center.

And above all, communicate. Over-communicate. Communicate whether it's easy or hard. communicate even when you would rather shut everyone out. In fact, comminicate MORE than you want to. I don't think there is anything more damaging to a family unit than failure to communicate.

I pray that things really will get better. I KNOW they will because I'm strong and I ALWAYS make it through the toughest times. I will always put my family first. It WILL get better.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This too shall pass


Image from {here}

 Do you know how many times I've used and heard used this mantra among young mothers? It's no wonder; being a new mom is hard work. Even when your child gets easier and older, there is still so much to be done. November is at my favorite age so far. Her high-needs personality is rarely visible. She's often independent and always cuddly. She's smart, learning quickly, listens well, and responds well to gentle, loving non-physical discipline.

But this past month has been increasingly tough with Spencer at his new job. Lately, I only see him for a few hours, a few evenings a week, and sometimes for a minute before he goes to work. Often I spend the entire day with only November. All the household and baby responsibilities are solely mine. This is so much to do alone! This week, with planning november's birthday and recovering and cleaning up the aftermath, has been particularly rough. Add to that extra emotions and loneliness, and you've got one depressed mama. 

I knew when Spencer started this job that it would be rough for awhile, and that was no joke. But I find myself feeling exhausted and drained and in need of some recharging. It's natural for me to put on a happy face and do it all myself, but I just can't. I have to ask for help. I keep wanting to reach out to Spencer and getting upset that he isnt here, but it just isn't reasonable to expect him to be available right now. He is so busy with this new restaurant. BUT IT WILL PASS! He will have days off again. We will have our evenings together again. We will share baby duty again. We will get our relationship back in balance, but in the meantime I NEED to take care of myself, before I break down and emotionally shut down.

To do this, I need to ask for help. Even though I keep telling myself no one is available, I need to try. I need to ask everyone. I need someone to come over and help with Nova so I can clean, do yoga, talk, socialize, and exercise. To be a good mommy I need to take care of myself! I have to ask for help.

This is a hard post to write, because it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. But it is therapeutic and I know so many people that can relate. This will pass, the good and the bad, the happy and sad. I will cherish every beautiful thing and give as much love as I can...and take care of myself!

Step one: date night starts tonight. We planned this night to go to a bar to see some bands play for weeks in advance, and boy am I glad we did. Even though I'm not feeling social (especially not in a bar atmosphere mood) and as much as I want to stay home with November, and I'm worried she will wake a ton while we are gone, I really need a night out with her daddy. Here's hoping this is the magical cure to what ails me!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Twelve Months!

 
 
My big one year old! This last month of her first year has been all about walking, gaining independence, playing with toys, and talking. Most of her words sound like variations of 'mom' and 'dad' but she really tries mimicking words. Right now she likes saying 'light' (dight), 'dog' (dog-t), 'arf' (the sound dogs and birds supposedly make), 'off' (when she's looking at lights). She likes pointing at things she wants and things she is curious about. She loves dancing and singing. Her hugs and cuddles are even more sincere, and she loves touching soft things, laying her cheek on them, and saying 'awww.'




Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Year in the Making


I can't believe how much this baby has grown! I still remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. I still remember how tiny she was. I remember her first poop, first smiles, first little laughs. I've really enjoyed watching November grow. I miss my to y newborn, but I'm excited to see her grow even more and discover all the new things this next year brings!
  

Happy First Birthday November!


November became a big one year old yesterday and her  first birthday party was a beautiful success! We had her party at her daddy's new work, since the restaurant is currently closed on Wednesdays. I've been feeling like a chicken with its head cut off this past week, balancing stressful work life (we have so much to do to prepare for the new store opening), home life with chores (especially without Spencer home as much), my big girl baby, planning this party, and finding time to take care of myself (like eating and showering!)

I'm happy the big day is over, even though there's still a lot to recover from; our kitchen is a disaster from party food prep (I managed one load today!), there's a huge pile of empty boxes from her new toys, I need to wash and sort her new clothes, AND I am physically exhausted! I took all November's naps with her today, and still feel like I need rest (and yoga!) But we are getting there. Nova got her one year shots at the pediatrician today, so she was drowsy and went to bed early tonight, giving me a chance to write this while she sleeps with her sweet head on my chest.

Anyhow, back to the party: she loved it! She relished all the attention and acted like she really knew the special day was all about her. She was so well-behaved and full of smiles. She danced, she ate, she opened presents. She stared wide-eyed as the whole room sand happy birthday, then chowed down on her healthy first birthday cake with whipped coconut cream.
  
Yum! I'm so happy to have shared this day with our friends and family. The decor turned out lovely as well.
I'm so proud of my baby girl! She absolutely amazes me and I am so blessed to have her in my life!
My mom made a lovely video, I will see about posting that as well this weekend! 


Sunday, October 14, 2012

{Sleep Update} 10.14.12

   
Look at those adorable chubby neck rolls! Oh the things that make me swoon!

Not a whole lot new in the sleep department; she still wakes to nurse every 2 hours, 3 if we are lucky. However, if she wakes before 2 hours, I try to encourage her to go back to sleep by rubbing her back or snuggling her close, which often works. I would like to improve on stretching the time between night feelings, and encouraging her to go back to sleep without milk more often. That has been my biggest weakness; it's much easier to just roll over, pop in the booby, and both fall back to sleep, since that has become my automatic reflex. It actually takes more effort for me to rouse myself fully awake, look at the clock, and ponder how long it's been since her last feeding, and if I should nurse her, or try to snuggle her back to sleep. And honestly, it's usually pretty obvious when she's nuzzling her face into my boobs that she will only settle for milk. But that's my goal; try to snuggle back to sleep (wake my ass up enough to make the effort!) and nurse only after she gives me that persistent nuzzle.

Naps (at home) have been pretty consistent. She has been good about taking two one-hour naps a day. We've had a couple days where she refused her 2nd nap, and it took all the love and patience I had to just say 'f-it, it's not the end of the world' and let it go. There have also been days where her naps have been short or late due to car naps or our schedule getting thrown off but we usually regain balance with bedtime. At my mom's, she often takes one two-hour nap instead.

Getting her down for naps and night time has been good. We never have to rock her. Now I nurse her, wrap her in her soft blankie, lie down, and let her snuggle with me. She usually lays her head on my shoulder/chest and I wrap my arm around her. When she gets too hot, she rolls her head off onto the pillow. Once she is deep asleep, I can sneak out from under her, but I usually stay with her during naps.

The process is usually bliss; I love looking into her sweet sleepy eyes, watching her smile as I sing to her, nuzzling her soft little head. But other times it can take her over an hour (sometimes even two) of snuggling, tossing, turning, readjusting, getting distracted, and waking out of almost-sleep for her to finally go under. It takes a lot of patience not to just walk out of the room and let her cry! But at least it's better than rocking, because I can lie down too!

She has also been falling asleep a little later, often around 7 or 7:30. Sometimes she falls asleep before 7, but not as often as before. But once she is asleep, she is usually out for a full 2-3 hours, unlike before where she would wake up frequently between 6 and 8. I think this improvement is due to the darker fall evenings (no more blinding summer evening sun!) and the slightly later bedtime.

Once again, no quick fix here, just baby steps. Wanna follow our progress? Read our last sleep update, and follow the links in that post for more.

Friday, October 12, 2012

We love family

I have really learned the power and love of family since giving birth. And not just blood relatives; our family consists of close friends, too. So many people love and care about November and I am so incredibly grateful for them.

Grandma Mari: my mom is always there for me to help me, talk me through tough times, and loves her grand baby. She watches her twice a week, which is the reason I've been able to work enough to maintain my insurance!


Grandpa Chad: my stepdad was so excited to be a grandpa, and November just loves him! It made me feel really good that he considered November his grand-daughter, even though they aren't blood related, and has only been my stepdad for 2 years. Talk about family!


Grandpa Steve: my other stepdad! He married my mom when I was five, created my brother a few years later, and became a father to me. Even after they divorced, he remained a great father to my brother, and a caring father figure to me. I remember being scared that he wouldn't love me anymore once they were divorced, but its been almost two decades and he is still my dad, and loves his grand-daughter!


Daddy Spencer: it goes without saying that this man is the light of my life. He is a wonderful father, and I couldn't ask for a better partner.


Auntie Laura: Spencer's sister is a great auntie to baby Nova! She has babysat for us quite a few times, giving mommy and daddy much needed date nights!


And we can't forget her honorary aunties, like Robin and Sharon! Robin has been my friend for many years, and is the mommy of november's BFF, Mila. Sharon is my coworker, who is great with babies and adores November. I can't wait till she has her own babies!


There are so many more people who love November, and so many more family members. Hopefully she will meet them all someday, like her Great-grandma Donna, who showers her with gifts, and my aunt Berni. Cousin Brindi, and her new baby Addie, my grandpa Walt, uncle Wally and his sons. There are many family members I haven't even seen is years, more than I can name!

And for all the family members she has met, like grandma Deana, Spencer's dad, uncle Keenan, my bio-dad Eric, and auntie Alena, I will have to work on getting pictures of them together in the future. We love you, family and friends!