Welcoming a New Life as the World Collapses Beneath Your Feet

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.

10 Responses

  • An honest and humbling story. I’m sure this will give other woman strength and courage, like you found in reading other mothers stories online. Thank you for sharing x

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know in my heart, some mama struggling will read this and it will empower her, too, to seek a better life. So, your influence does indeed go beyond.

  • I can’t imagine what you’ve been through. I think we can all find a strength we didn’t even know we had in just reading your story. Thank you for sharing. I hope this reaches others who need to be touched with a glimmer of hope and strength or even just those that need to be reminded all they have to be grateful for.

  • Felicie, your transparency and vulnerability are deeply admirable. Your story is strikingly similar to my own, and I wanted to write a little note to you here. I often felt like I was the only woman going through this terrible thing – my marriage – and at the time, in my broad circle of friends, I was. I was told to keep pressing forward, to ‘fix’ my broken marriage. Eventually I quit listening to those who weren’t close enough to understand the depth and breadth of the issue and procured a new place to live and seek refuge…and left. It was terrifying but the relief was so great. It has been over three years now, and my sweet daughter will be turning five, and I have truly begun to heal. So from where I am to wherever you are on this great Earth, I applaud your strength, your courage, and the love you have for your son and for yourself. Your heart is a beautiful one.

  • What an amazing story, how blessed your son is to have you as a mother, how blessed even your ex to be with someone strong enough to leave a threatening situation, because he could not mend himself. Thank you for sharing and being an example to women everywhere.

  • this is amazing! Felicie, YOU are an incredible woman and mother.
    ”the house does not rest upon the ground, but upon a woman” – this quote came into my mind after reading your story. and it’s so true! we are women, we are strong, and oftentimes so much stronger than we think we are!
    all my love,
    V

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