The UnMother and The Mommy

I wish my present self could have spoken to the broken me. I wish the me I am today could tell the me of yesteryear…..it truly will be ok. You will make it. The journey will hurt but you will come out on the other side. Yet I know that, the person I was during my losses wouldn’t listen to the woman I am today. I was bitter then, soured by life, and I wore my pain securely affixed to my heart. No words could have calmed me, they would have just angered me. I was like a caged animal, so full of rage, and I seethed with anger at the world. The world was such an ugly place back during those days. It offered no comfort, no solace, no peace of mind….just endless amounts of pain that it poured upon me in suffocating doses.

I look back on the “UnMother” as I refer to the person who claimed me when I was struggling to accept my losses. She was the only thing that kept me sane, yet she was the side of me that is the very definition of insanity. She only allowed me to feel the pain that I could tolerate before snapping in two. I often felt like a branch on an old tree, right after a snowstorm, weighted from the ice….thinking just one more snowflake of disappointment would split me in half. Yet, the UnMother, she raged on. Fearless, she was! Yet scared of everything, allowing no one in. If I were to explain to you who the UnMother was, you might think her ugly. She was…..but she sprung from a source that left her no option…..she was emotionally void. You can’t grow a garden on unfertilized soil. Just as I could not grow a baby in a barren womb….so she was the result of the emptiness that consumed me.

I had almost forgotten her existence, she is now dormant in my being. A strange thing happened, I read my journal from seven years ago. I barely recognized my words upon the paper. I think I was too overwhelmed with heartache that I couldn’t see the changes in my personality. I say all these things, not to bring you sadness…..but to offer you hope. I lost 8 babies, and with them, I very nearly lost myself. The words scratched upon the now yellowed paper, were hardly legible, and were filled with hate. I read them and they sounded like the ramblings of someone who had lost her mind. I suppose, at that time, I had. No one can understand the depth of your sadness until they have felt it.

If your eyes are the window to your soul, then I would say those of the UnMother would be something you wouldn’t want to peer into. You would see the pits of hell there, so black and lifeless that even shadows fled. Nothing laid in the depth of those eyes; only unending void. If you looked into their midst, you would see no kindness…..pain cannot afford kindness. Empty were those eyes, as empty as her fruitless womb.

If you looked at her arms, you might mistaken the UnMother as a drug addict. Her arms bared scars from needles…not from drug use, but the tireless prying of testing her blood. Poked and stuck so many times that all her veins were hardened….almost as hard as her heart. Lab work was a weekly part of her life and even the poignant stick of a sharp needle seemed painless, when compared to the hurt she bore. For what she craved was something to hold in her arms, and to achieve that she was subjected to blood draws. They tested for everything, genetics, clotting disorders, thyroid issues, lupus and chromosomal defects. She was a defect, she accepted that, for if she pretended to be anything more, or to even hope for more, would have been her demise.

I compare each woman’s heart to a garden. It is supposed to be beautiful, a dwelling that grows and ripens with love. I dare myself to remember the garden that belonged to the Unmother. It was such a wretched place, it sprung from sadness, not love. It was hideous to behold. Weeds crept up from the cracked earth, thorns and briars branched from every crevice. You didn’t dare trek upon the murk and mire, some areas were dried, crumbling earth; then there were places you didn’t dare cross for fear that it would swallow you up. Those sinkholes would swallow you up, those were the parts where the UnMother went to shed her tears. Tears fell so abundantly from her eyes that the earth couldn’t absorb them all, leaving behind a sunken place, that threatened to drag those who treaded there, straight to the hell in which she was trapped.

If you are reading these words, and you are not repulsed by the ugliness….it is because you have felt the agony. Maybe some grief brought you to this sad, lost place…..or perhaps, you are an “UnMother.”  I feel sorrow when thinking about that part of me, however, I do not deny that this piece of me was at one point VERY real. This was my survival, my coping mechanism, and for that I am grateful for the “unmother.” Why? The soft, fragile person I was could not have adapted to the harsh, cold reality that I had to face. The loving part of me would have crumbled, instead the “UnMother” encased me with her strength, she blinded my eyes to keep them from witnessing the visions I would see, she stilled my shaking hands so I could endure the tedious habit of signing medical consent, and she would build a fortress around my heart so that it would one day be capable to love. She was the tiny thread that tethered me to the living, breathing population but she had replaced me with a shadow self. She wore my face, but she hid me inside her fortress until I was ready to come out and face the world! Today, I give thanks, to the unmother. Because of her, I feel the heat of my pain but am not burned by it. I carry the hurt but am not encompassed by it. She saved me from myself! Thanks to the UnMother, I will allow you to see through the veil as to who I am today!

The day that my daughter was born, the UnMother smiled before disappearing into the recesses of my treacherous past. She could not co-exist in the light, so she scampered away to the shadows of my heart….she lives there on the fringes, along with my 8 miscarriages.

My eyes are once more, my own. The first vision they saw with renewed eyes was a tiny, perfect gift from the heavens. A miracle that had been created from a million whispered prayers sent to Heaven, and had fluttered down from the clouds to me. Had the “UnMother” not shielded my eyes, how could I have viewed the innocence, the beauty, and love that was in front of me? It would have been lost from me, and for that, I am so happy I could see her with untarnished eyes, my vision was kept from being blurred by the “UnMother.” If I could just allow the reclusive, “UnMother,” to peer into my eyes, into the windows of my soul; it delights me to what she would find. In the windows of my soul, she would see, two blonde little girls, filling the rooms of my heart with laughter.

My once scarred arms, were soon forgotten, when my daughter filled them. The “UnMother” had bore the endless needle pricks! For her sacrifice, I was able to enjoy the warmth of her weight in my arms, without being tainted by the memories of the IVs and lab work. I thank her for that….

I won’t share my daughter’s birth….not today, that is for another day. But I will share with you, my gratitude to the “UnMother” that saved me the full amount of the grief, which surely would have broken me. The one who stood in the gap, while I hid in mourning. She faced the daily dealings she had to, and for that I was incapable of doing at the time. I regret that she cannot share the person I have blossomed into, a person full of light, and I owe a part of that to her. So, to the “UnMother,” who hides in the shadows of my heart; I would welcome you into my garden, “UnMother,” for a moment of rest. I know she lurks just beyond my surface, and i like to think she gets a glimpse of what she helped me create with her tenacity. I like to think that she should be granted access to the fruits of her labor.

When I became a mother, I went and tended her garden. I pulled the weeds from it. Replacing them with lilies and wildflowers of every shade. I removed the black and white that she was casted into, in it’s place I put colors of every vibrant shade. The thorns were replaced with plush moss, ferns, and an oak tree that my girls can climb. I would like to sit under it with a cup of tea, and see her heart at peace, I smile at the symbolism because she is a part of me. Each time I tend that garden, I know she is there with me…..for as much as I want to deny the ugly part of it, she is still a part of me. I embrace her, and when I look upon the faces of my children. I wish she could relish in the joys of the children she sought with her every breath. She is here, she is me, but she has served her purpose, lurking to the shadows to ensure I can bask in the joyous new title I hold…..The day my daughter was born, so was I, no longer was I the “UnMother” I was born so was my favorite part of myself….simply the “Mommy.” Perhaps, the UnMother just merged with me, once again. Yes, I prefer to think of it like that. She carried my heartache and when I became a Mommy, I pray she shed the UnMother title and joined me on this journey passed infertility, into the glorious light of motherhood!

Motherhood Wisdom

Motherhood thought for the day: Remember to listen to your children and try to remind yourself that you once were a child too! Today, started out low key; me and the girls and a few cartoons….then as each day does it seemed everything started getting discombobulated and I found myself in a rush. Scrambling for outfits for the girls, getting them in the car and ready to go! It all gets to be a bit much and at times I grow impatient with the girls as one is always lagging behind and Braelyn was lagging behind, and I said “Hurry up, Braelyn! We have to go!” She had stopped by the step…I tapped my foot on the ground as I watched her squat and wait…just as I was about to yell at her I saw Hank (our old black lab) hobbling up the drive. She leaned in and kissed him whispered “Good morn’n, Hank!” I got a lump in my throat as I watched Hank nuzzle her before finding his place on the porch.
After her quest was fulfilled she said, “I coming, Mommy! I had to give Hank dem kisses and tell him morn’n!” Hank looked on as if he was grateful for the act of kindness! Just melted my heart…while I was busy hurrying along because this world teaches us to HURRY UP!!! My beautiful, sweet daughter was taking a moment to kiss an old friend on the head and let him know that he matters! I felt my eyes mist over and I strapped her in the booster before I looked in her eyes, “Brae Brae, Mommy is sorry to rush you! You never hesitate to stop and take a moment for the things that are important to you! Never forget to let a friend know that you love them!” She looked at me, and said, “Hank needs kisses so he don’t get sad!”
I looked on the porch at the now elderly Hank and wondered how many times I pass him on the step and don’t stop to pat his head!? And still he will follow me around the yard in hopes I will stop to love him! Braelyn saw it…his need for affection, appreciation, compassion in exchange for his loyalty! Lord, let me see things through my daughters’ eyes; things are much slower, kinder and more beautiful lying in their depths!

Balancing Chores and Being Mom

Last night, my slumber was interrupted, not once, not twice but at least a dozen times. All by things that simply could not wait until the morning, things that demanded my attention, things that only Mom, aka, I could do. One needed to go potty, and needed my company to the bathroom, the other needed a drink, and I dutifully carried out these tasks. I made the trek back to my neglected bed, to close my exhausted eyes, only to hear, “Mom, I need __” and so my tired body somehow managed to get up to meet the requests of my two very needy daughters. In the back of my sleep-deprived mind I thought, “Sleep, please, I just need sleep.” I drifted off around three a.m. to be awakened at 6:30 to a very awake six year old shouting orders for breakfast. I ask myself, who was really captain of this ship? Obviously, they are, and they don’t mean to be bossy, they are just still dependent on me for their needs. The back of my mind wonders when the day will come when I can go to my bed and not be beckoned from it, when will I not be required to assist every need, and then a sadness filters through my exhaustion……..that day will come all too soon.

Oh, as much as parenting two small children wears me out, the thought of the day they no longer need me is torturous. My mind constantly reminds me, “Hold tight to this moment, they are fleeting!” There are days I want to shush that voice, and just be tired and cranky. But I pull strength from some deep place, put a smile on my face, and chipperly ask, “What would you like for breakfast!” Of course, they always want something different, and usually I compromise and they get a pop-tart (don’t judge, I am not a morning person, and it is a task to just stumble to the kitchen). So, the day begins, a list of demands, to dos, sibling rivalry will ensue, channels to change, cartoons to watch, counters to scrub, questions to answer, laundry to launder, dishes to wash, meals to cook, and somehow fit in time to simply enjoy my kids……it seems an impossible feat. The same feat that I face every single day. Do all that needs done, and still find time to be a good mom that does more than just chores. It is a daunting task, one that I face with determination, and usually end the day feeling like either I failed to get the house clean but the kids got attention or my house is tidy and my kids didn’t get the time I planned on giving to them. Either way, there simply is not enough of me to do it all!

I want to the mom who has it all together, a tidy house, happy children, and her sanity. I have resigned myself if I can at least make it through the day with two out of three of these tasks then I have accomplished enough! As mothers, we put these crazy demands on ourselves. I am here to admit it, I am here to say it outloud…..I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER! There I said it. That was hard, even to type. I am an overachiever by nature, but I am not superwoman….if you are struggling to hold it all together; IT IS OK! We will fair this day, none the less for the fret and worry and shortcomings. To the moms who have it all together, good for you, I would like to give you a high five….right in the face!

To that mom who says with all her motherly wisdom, just enjoy it, it goes so fast, you will want these days back…..SHUT UP! I already know, that is the cause for all this pressure I feel to cherish each second of every day. But, that is as impossible to do; just as impossible as matching all the socks in my sock basket, because let’s face it we all have a sock basket. It contains tons and tons of tiny socks, varying in size and color, and never, I repeat, NEVER will ALL the socks have a mate. Who knows what happened to the other sock that it originally was paired with, who has time to worry about it? Not me, there are tons more of tiny socks to wash, and tiny feet to put the socks on….and you got me, there are days my children’s socks don’t match….GASP, oh the tragedy!

To that mother who keeps her house spotless, I envy her, mine once was the definition of tidiness…and I still work to maintain order, and cleanliness but it usually involves me staying up after bed to accomplish it. So, if you are that mom who manages to keep her house spic and span, and you have two kids under the age of seven, then truly, I gravel at your feet! I have no idea how she does it, this mom with the spotless house. I scrub grime off cabinets, crayons off walls, and just when I think I can relax, there is a spill to clean up or worse. The OCD side of me wants to hold my children hostage in their room all day, so I can keep my house pristine (I am only half joking). But if they spent their childhood captive in their room, what kind of person would they grow up to be. Nah, I will let them play. I will allow them to scatter their toys across my living room, and I will even keep myself from following behind them to pick them up. They need to build their imagination, need to play, and this is all part of the messy experience. I do make them clean up before bed, but there is almost always a stray toy splayed out on one of my floors…..and I am just going to have to be okay with that. So, if you come to my house at noon, I can’t guarantee you will not see a bevy of various toys speckling my house. You have been warned. Children live here, and children, well, children are messy! I will continue the never-ending challenge of keeping it orderly, some days I am more successful than others.

I have two little girls, which is exactly what I always wanted. Along with these two little girls, I also will confess, I have an obsession with clothes. They have boutique clothes, you know the ones you have to hang dry? Yeah, those clothes….as if I don’t face an insurmountable hurdle of keeping up with clothes with regular washing requirements….If you see my children out you will undoubtedly see, two beautiful little blondes with adorable frilly outfits, perfectly styled hair….and then you will see me, frazzled, hair bobby pinned, and unpressed clothing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fashion, and dressing up, but if I have an errand, there are only so many hours to get us both dressed and usually that is them. Just like their laundry, it always gets hung to avoid wrinkles, my everyday wear usually gets shoved wherever the heck it will fit!

To those mothers who strive for perfection…….look in your childrens’ eyes….there you will find it! If you think that you have accomplished all the feats of motherhood, you might want to inspect your children….through the hustle and bustle, did you stop and play with them awhile? Did you enjoy their company? Appearances are important but my joy comes from seeing my girls smile. Now, I have a game of baby dolls to play with two important people, and then maybe, just maybe, if time allows I will get the sink emptied of dishes, the laundry switched out, and all the toys put away….but if not, there is always tomorrow for those things, today I choose my kids first!

Prayer for my Children

Motherhood Prayer…I pray for a day when no person goes hungry, no child is abused, no child is without loving parents, bullies don’t exist, violence becomes peace, anger becomes compassion, lies become the truth, hurt becomes joy, heartache turns to peace, childhood illness like cancer is cured, I pray for this everyday….but as I pray this I also pray that if that change doesn’t evolve in my lifetime that my girls will be a part of that change. I pray they never lose their softness, their sweet innocence, their want to help those in need, their willingness to accept others despite their shortcomings, the way they simply love…..even me when I am not lovable….God keep their hearts pure, soft and kind, never allow the hardships in life to harden them…instead help it to enlighten them, a way to deepen their understanding and desire to love regardless of a person qualities….I pray this and as I do that, just for a moment I hold these precious babies in my arms. Today, I am their protector; today they are untouched by hurtful words, unmarred by actions of others, no pain has scarred them…..as long as I breathe I will pray this prayer about a better world because of my girls I am a little better, the world is a better place because they are in it…..TODAY I will hold two blonde haired innocent babies, and hold tight so that I can protect them from the ugliness…..TODAY I am the determiner of their happiness and I want them to fill my love engulf and smother out all of the sadness in this world! Thankful for them everyday! Thank you, Lord….I may not have changed the world single handedly but with these babies the world is changed!

Brynlee Third Birthday

Today 3 years ago at around 5 am my gorgeous little girl was born! Brynlee Jean Mangrum weighing in at a whooping 5 lbs 9 oz! It would be 3 days before I would be able to hold her in my arms……longest 3 days of my life! I have made up for lost time with lots of cuddles every since because she is definitely Mommy’s snuggle bug! She is my bit of sass, touch of sweetness, prettiest smile, plain mischievous and the most loving little girl! This day 3 years ago was my second baby….the second child the doctors said I would never had! After 8 miscarriages and a little guardian angel, my sweet Braelyn…I carried her and she is the perfect fit for this family! Cannot imagine a day without her! She is that hug when your heart is aching, the kiss for no reason, my little nasty nice, girly girl, and baby doll wagger! She is such a proud little sister and loves her sister more than anything! She has her heart! And though she may be small she is fierce…so much personality and the biggest heart is bottled up in her tinsy little self! Thank you, God for giving me the gift of motherhood to this beautiful little girl and her big sister! God gifted me today with a second daughter and gave Braelyn a sister….which is the greatest gift that I ever got as a little girl! I waited a LONG time, shed a LOT of tears and hit my knees in prayer and God answered!!!!!!! He handcrafted these babies for me…I know this because their heartbeat matches my own, they fit perfectly in my arms and flood my heart with love each and everyday! PRAISE GOD for gifting me with the best babies ever!!!!!! Happy birthday, my lovely, my precious, my dinky do, my sweet Brynlee Jean…MOMMY ADORES YOU!

Humbled to be Their Mother

Today I sit here truly humbled…I’ve been a bit sad the passed few months thinking about how big my girls are getting but then I think back six years ago around this time and how my one wish was to be a mommy…all the odds were stacked against me, and I had broken heartedly resigned that I’d ever have a child…well now I’ve got two beautifully prefect daughters that fill my life with love, laughter, giggles, messes and noise. They are truly the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given! God still works miracles and I am reminded of that every time I look at them! My heart still holds a special place for those who struggle with infertility, and now as I’m facing the finality of my child bearing years, I will not feel broken but instead thankful that I got to be a mom to these two miracles! For any of my friends struggling, wishing, dreaming and praying to be a parent…I pray this year your wish comes true! ‪#‎proudmommy‬ ‪#‎miraclesstillhappen‬ ‪#‎grateful‬

Praise From the Lips of Your Child

So I am doing the dishes, and cleaning the counter tops. Braelyn crawls up on the back of the couch to look over the dividing counter between the kitchen and the living room and says, “Mommy, I pick up the toys!” I said “Good Job, Brae Brae!” She sits there and talks to me for a minute and I am engrossed in my chores and nodding my head as I half listen…and then she says in the sweetest voice, “Mommy wash the dishes? Mommy wash the sink? Mommy clean the stove? All to which I nod and she says enthusiastically, “Good job, cleaning the dishes! Good job cleaning the floors! I so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!” Needless to say, I stopped what I was doing and scooped her up for some smooches! During times I feel stretched thin, during the days I am doing all that I do and feeling like no one notices all the hard work….my sweet little girl reminds me just how much she appreciates me! Nothing as priceless as being a mom! Adore my kids!!!!!!!!