I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. Never though did I imagine that the first day, month, year of my child’s life would coincide with a desert crossing and a tremendous life challenge.
Before I became pregnant, I knew that my marriage had weaknesses but I was optimistic about growing, learning and being patient in order to become a better, stronger couple. Unfortunately, as I went through pregnancy, my husband began showing signs of an evolving stress, fatigue, and anxiety. After our baby was born it grew out of control. He went from mean and cruel, in a psychological way at first, to just on the edge of physical violence.
Along with mothering my newborn, I became aware that I was quickly becoming the victim of domestic violence. I could not understand how on earth this had happened when all I wanted was to give the best life and love to the innocent, fragile little soul that was put under my protection. As I began to put up resistance though, the abuse progressed and eventually I could feel all three of our lives were in danger. Something terrible could have happened on the road, as we had suffered a small car accident a few days earlier, just before I had decided to leave. It was the season for snow storms, but my husband who had turned into a crazy, manic driver by this time, was determined to take us out to make one more unnecessary shopping trip within that week. The thought of which, terrified me completely.
It was at that point that I made the promise to myself never to be the three of us again, alone, in a car driven by him. I left the house with my baby, a few items, a note on the desk. It was my house, packed with the baby and my things. I had no clue as to when I might back there again.
So started a very lonely 10-month journey for me to secure our material life. I was exhausted, devastated, surviving rather than living. But all along, deeply in love with my angel baby and all of my energy I could feel flowing through his veins. I did not give up breastfeeding, which provided a peaceful harbor and cozy place for us both. I met a unique therapist who helped pick me up off the floor. Later on it was a book that felt like it was handed to me from heaven: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés that offered some solace at the time.The author gives the most beautiful portrait of the original and inner women’s strength. Also, I turned to other women, online mother’s and their blogs to raise up my in my soul the positive image of so many alive and kicking’ family images.
Babies feel intensely the environment that surrounds them, and my boy was strongly reacting. He cried nonstop during the first three months of his life until I finally took us away from the house. On his first month I remember he was only happy while nursing. He slept 6 hours at night and never slept during the day unless he was in the baby wrap, on my body with me wandering the streets. His whole demeanor changed however, once I was able to find safety, stability and even a sense of contentment and happiness. Comfort, and a feeling of relief. Once I did, he stopped crying all day long. We had a safe roof over our head at a relative of mine’s home where he started sleeping through the night in the summer house I rented for the two of us. He even napped when I needed rest too.
Now, those desert roads are behind us. As I watch my baby play and babble and laugh, I see a healthy, happy child, so full of life. With help from a lot of therapy and extreme life changes I made since, I have never felt better about myself than I do now. There’s this moment after striving and aching for so long when you realize that you are finally not in pain anymore, and you have to tell yourself: hey, I feel good. How long it’s been? I can’t really say, but it feels good.
On bitter days, I remind myself of what I did and scarified to get through the storm. I take pride in what I went through, what I choose to let go. Sometimes, I feel strong. They say strong mother, strong son. Maybe it’s true for daughters too.