Friday, October 21, 2011

The Things I Carry As A Mother

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The Things I Carry As A Mother

I believe my past drug abuse and anorexia affect the way I have developed into the mother I am today. At the age of twelve, I made the decision to start using drugs without think-ing how it would affect my life. All I cared about was being accepted by my peers; no one else was important. It didn’t take long for my family to realize I was using drugs, once they found out; we began having a lot of family problems. With the family problems I was having over my drug use, I felt no one cared, like everyone was out to get me. The only thing I felt I had control over was my weight. Needless to say, I became anorexia and also developed bulimia. This ill-ness went on until the age of nineteen. By this time, I was down to sixty-seven pounds and knew I had to do something to beat this illness.

Finally, the only solution I had was to get married and have a child; someone that I could love. So I eventually found someone to marry me for who I was and I set out to fulfill the rest of my dream of having a child. Five months into my marriage, I found out that I had conceived. It was at this time that I quit using drugs and began eating like a normal person because I didn’t want to harm my child in any way. Although I quit using drugs and beat anorexia for my child’s sake, it wasn’t enough. He was born four months into the pregnancy and passed away a month later.

The only things that I now have of him to carry are his baptism record, his wristband, and the tremendous guilt. When my first-born was hospitalized weighing 1lb 6oz, I kept hoping for a miracle. It was rough going in the beginning, but after the first week, the nurses and doctors were telling me all the good progress he was making and were failing to give me the bad news. By what they were telling me, I knew he was going to make it, even though I knew we had a long road ahead of us. While everything seemed to be going well, my son’s health took a turn for the worse. It was then that I had to face reality; I was going to lose my child. When I real-ized he wasn’t going to make it, the only thing on my mind was to have him baptized. The only problem was I didn’t know how I was going to accomplish this with my husband being Catholic and my being Baptist. I had to call every priest until I found one that would do it under the un-usual circumstances. Thank god, the staff at the hospital was able to help make that dream be-come a reality. Finally, after patiently waiting, we were able to have him baptized two days be-fore he passed away. Having his baptism record means the world to me and is something I will always cherish for the rest of my life.

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Even though having my son’s baptism record means a lot to me, the wristband he wore is the most important to me. During his short life, he wasn’t able to wear anything because of all the wires, and we were not able to give him anything for in his incubator because of contamina-tion. Because of this, the only thing I would be able to have that touched him and had his scent on it would be his identification band. Even now, after seventeen years, I can pull his wristband out of my safety box and smell his scent; it’s a smell I will never forget as long as I live. Every August rd, I pull out his baptism record and wristband to spend the whole day thinking of him. This is something that I will always do out of fear of forgetting him.

Finally, the last thing I carry is tremendous guilt because of what I put my children through. First of all none of my children had a good start in life, they were all born premature. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I now believe my anorexia and drug use played a big part in their early health problems. I also feel I played a part in my first child’s death, because of my past illnesses. Being a mother makes it impossible to forgive yourself, knowing that you played a part in the death of your child.

Another reason I carry a lot of guilt, is the fact that I stayed clean for nine years, only to start using again in 15. Someone that I thought was my friend offered me to try crack. I thought I could try it that one time and leave it alone, boy was I wrong. After that first time, I just couldn’t stop, it was like I became addicted the minute I took that first hit. So after the first hit, I had to keep running back out to get more. Before I realized it, I was smoking it around the clock, for days on end. I wasn’t even thinking of my kids at the time, crack had consumed every part of my life. It only took about three months to lose a good job I had, but it still wasn’t enough to convince me to stop using. Next, after losing my job, I started selling my furniture and anything else in my house to get crack. I also would buy large quantities so that I could sell some to have cash and still have some to smoke. The only problem was I took the cash to buy more crack instead of paying bills. My utilities were getting shut off by not paying the bills, which wasn’t a good situation to be putting my kids through. While being under the influence all the time, I wasn’t taking the time to look and see if my kids were being fed, or if we even had food for that matter. Here I was starving them so I could buy crack, and yet I was to ashamed to go to someone and tell them my kids were going hungry because I was using crack.

Finally after using crack for six months, I had lost my job, sold everything in my house, and had all of my utilities shut off. After losing everything, I realized that I could no longer take care of my children, so I gave custody of them to my sister. It hurts tremendously that I cared more about crack than my children. After nine months of using crack, I realized it was time to do something because my kids were gone and I was now homeless. The only problem was, I knew I couldn’t get help in Washington and be able to stay clean. It was at this time that my mother took my kids and I to North Dakota.

During my time of using, I never took the time to realize what affect my drug use was having on my children. Now that I am clean, I know what an impact it has had on them. Even now, after seven years, they still talk about how I starved them, causing my daughter to hoard food even to this day. They also talk about how I didn’t care about them and gave them away. They also throw it in my face, that my drug problem is the reason they have to live here, in North Dakota where they don’t like it. All they wish for is living closer to their favorite aunt like we used to. It tears me up inside to think of everything I took away from my kids that they will never forget. This is now the reason why I go out of my way to do everything possible for them, to make it up to them somehow. Each and every day is a struggle not to use again, but for their sake I have to continue my mission. Although deep down in my heart, I know no matter what I do, I can never make it up to them. As a mother this is the worst pain you could possibly go through.

The only thing I can now say is that before you make a decision in your life, you must always take a look at how it may affect your life. Had I known as a teenager my drug use and anorexia would’ve contributed to my children’s health problems and their resentment toward me, I probably would’ve never let it happen. I also wouldn’t of done it, had I known at the time that it would cause a life-long addiction that will never go away. Because of this, I am limited as to what I can do in my life and where I can live. I also have to live with the fact that because of my illnesses I had as a teenager; I can never be the mother I had always dreamed of being, because I am limited to the world that I can expose my children to. While having many regrets early on, I am now able to give my children the love and nuture that they deserve. Being able to do this brings great joy to finally see my children thriving once again. I couldn’t ask for anything greater in life than that.

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