Monday, November 28, 2011

Bella and Me (and Edward and Ryan)

The audience at Breaking Dawn Part 1 could be divided into two categories. First, there were those who laughed hysterically at all of the ludicrous parts. Second, there were those who wished death on the people who laughed hysterically at all of the ludicrous parts. While I belonged to the former group (and am still finding tomato seeds and other rotten vegetables in my hair), I found myself relating to the movie in a very strange way.

Remember when Bella drank human blood to satiate her half-vampire fetus? Well…the other day Ryan and I stopped at a gas station for drinks. I strolled the aisles looking for something, anything, that sounded good. Nothing did. Not the juices, not the sodas, even the thought of bottled water made me nauseous.

Feeling the impatient jabs of the hungry baby inside of me, I crossed my fingers and settled on a jug of whole milk. As I was accustomed to skim milk, the creamy consistency tasted positively decadent. It coated my throat and my teeth. It both warmed and chilled my stomach.

“This tastes… good,” I said to Ryan, surprised that it was milk, of all beverages, that did the trick.

And then it hit me. Of course! It was so obvious now that I thought of it: the muffled mooing sounds I heard at night, the strange hoof-shaped bruises on my abdomen. I was not pregnant with a normal human fetus, as I’d originally thought. No, this baby was different. Special. This child was obviously half human, half bovine.

What this says about Ryan, I can’t say. All I know is that I polished off the entire jug of milk within 30 seconds.

But seriously now. I felt an honest tenderness toward Edward and Bella the entire movie. I connected to their conflicting and evolving feelings about the human/vampire pregnancy.

When Ryan and I were discussing having another child, Ryan expressed many concerns about my health. My last pregnancies were difficult and I had a horrendous health scare after delivering Kiana. I assured Ryan that my body could handle one more baby and that there was nothing to worry about. When I finally did get pregnant, however, I instantly went into full panic/vomit mode. Thus began what I refer to as my own personal “terrible awful.”

Going through what I went through, and go through, is hard. But I know that Ryan suffers beside me. I’ve seen that horrified expression on his face, the one Edward had as he watched Bella shrivel in pain (although I still feel like my pregnancy has been worse than hers. Sure, her baby was eating her from the inside-out, but at least Bella didn’t have an anxiety disorder).

Even though I have moved passed the whole “I wish I never got pregnant” business, sometimes I feel like I am responsible for our trials. I feel guilty about being sick. Ryan is running a marathon—caring for two children and a partially insane woman, watching that woman cry, providing, back-rubbing, worrying, praying, erranding, cleaning, traveling, doing, going, being—while sometimes it is all I can do just to get out of bed in the morning.

But marriage is like that. Sometimes one partner has to fight the werewolves while the other lies helplessly on the couch. Both roles are difficult. Ryan has carried me through this hard time, but it also takes strength for me to allow myself to be carried. I am learning how to balance my emotions and needs so that being carried is even possible. I am learning about perseverance. Most importantly, I am learning about gratitude, for I am blessed beyond belief in a spouse who loves and supports me through my ups and downs. My own personal vegetarian vampire.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Battling the Beast

Holy cow. From the intensity of my last post and the gap between then and now, you must think that I am either dead or institutionalized.

Fear not, my internet friends; I am alive and kicking—although sometimes it feels more like kicking and screaming. This anxiety and depression stuff is hard core. It is the biggest battle of my life. At times I feel completely lost and defeated, wondering if I have enough faith and stamina to make it through. I miss myself. I miss my laugh and my sense of reason. I miss being able to wear mascara, knowing it will not spend the day running down my cheeks and merging with a stream of boogers.

Other times (on my good days), however, I understand that this adversity is actually a monumental blessing. I have opportunity for growth, here. Lucky me!

The trick of it is accepting what is and finding joy and peace despite my struggles. This is harder than how it sounds. My brain can be telling me all sorts of rational, soothing things. Meanwhile, my body is telling me that I am in danger and that I am dying. On any given day I have enough adrenaline coursing through my veins to fuel a rocket ship to the moon. Trying to find joy while internalizing my imminent death is difficult.

But possible.

I am in the process of reclaiming myself. I have felt prompted, time and time again, that writing is an important tool (one of many) for my healing. Today I feel like obeying that prompting. I cannot promise consistency, I can only give what I have and some days I don’t have much, but I can promise honesty. And humor. And good stories. I’ll see you when I see you.