Archive for ‘April, 2014’

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You’re missing so much. Don’t you see it?

Being a parent is full time, whether you’re the custodial parent or not. Why don’t you see that? Because, I now know the only person you can see is yourself. It’s always been that way. Everyone else in your life is an merely an accessory.

Do you know that our son is completely in love? He goes to his girlfriend’s house and hangs out with her younger brother who has autism. That boy makes our boy smile. Do you know that her parents think our son is awesome? Her parents are nice. I met her mother and we chatted about the kids. You sent our older son to pick him up at their home one night. I bet you don’t even know where she lives. Do you talk to him about the photos they take together? Do you have any idea how his heart hurt and practically broke to pieces when he saw a friend kissing her on the cheek on Instagram, but they talked through it and it was a misunderstanding and our son could breathe again once he found out?

Our daughters told me that you are making them miss their games and tournaments this weekend because you and your wife planned a weekend away with them. You’re traveling only 45 minutes away, and yet you won’t take them to their activities because “your time” is more important. I’m sure you don’t want to spend the gas money to run them back and forth, as that was your usual gripe for not running the kids to their things. While it’s nice you’re taking them on a getaway, did you ever think that spending time with the kids on the ride to their games is more valuable to them than some activity you’ve planned? They work so hard with their teams, and you’re making it so they have to let their team down and miss their games. Their sports can be bonding time, too. That’s the stuff they’ll remember. You don’t see the disappointment in their eyes because they have to miss things because you don’t plan around their schedules. Instead, you schedule activities they really don’t care about just so you can take pictures of them and post them on Facebook letting everyone know of your “super-dad” status.

You’re missing the real things.

You don’t make them a priority, and they see it.

What I see is a man who is all alone because he was too blind to see.

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Four little faces are my world. From the moment I became a mother, I knew that I would never do anything more important than be a good mother to these kids. Of course, this photo was taken almost 4 years ago, so these faces aren’t so little anymore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need me as much now that they’re older. If anything, I find that they need me more!

I’m sure most of you moms are a lot like me, and you struggle each night as you lay your head on your pillows and ask yourself Did I do enough for my children today? Boy, have I been asking myself that question a lot. This is not an easy world we live in. Our kids face more pressure now than we ever did as kids. Pressure to be perfect. Pressure to keep up. Pressure to get good grades, have expensive clothes, have the newest iPod/Phone/Pad, you name it, they deal with it. I’m not the type of mother to shelter my kids and have them live in the ever-protective-bubble, but I want to make sure I prepare them for what’s out there.

Children of divorce have all of those typical pressures on them, but they’ve also got many, many more that were added to their plates when their parent’s chose to divorce.

For instance, my kids are shuttled back-and-forth to their dad’s house every Tuesday, every-other Thursday, and every-other weekend. They’ve learned to pack quickly, to schedule friend time on days that aren’t their dad’s days, to communicate to their dad if they’ve got something they’ve got going on so they can “negotiate” their time, and they’ve learned to live an adaptive life that can be mobile. If they left their soccer shin guards at their dad’s, forget it. He won’t run them down to my house. If their charger was left in their room at dad’s, they ask mom to borrow hers. It’s a different kind of stress in their lives, and it frustrates me they have this extra layer going on and I can’t take it away.

On top of living out of a suitcase, children of divorce deal with their parent’s breakup, their parent’s new activities, new friends, dating, then marrying a new person who comes into their lives. Their time is already limited with each parent, and now they have to share the rare time they do have with mom/dad with an adult that is in the picture, too (and, possibly, step-siblings as well).

How do we, as divorced mothers, make this back-and-forth and added stress easier on our kids? How do we give each child special time, attention, and validation so they understand how important they are to us?

I spent a lot of my childhood hanging out on my own–I had parents that were very busy. They were busy working, working out, golfing, bowling, vacationing, or spending time with friends. I’m not super-close with my parents now. We’re close, but not like I had imagined it would be. I always I wished I had a family where we had Sunday dinners, family gatherings, and cousins hanging out together. We don’t.

I often wonder if I’m doing enough. Do I make my kids lives a little easier or a little harder? Do I really listen when they come to me or am I busy with other things and nodding because I hear them talking?

Today, I’m recommitting to be present–to be aware. Today I’m not going to try to check off the items off the list, be right on time, or keep the trains running. Today, I’m remembering that mom is the best title in the world. It’s not VP, CEO or Director. It’s mom.

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Last Saturday morning, after experiencing some bleeding and assuming I was miscarrying our baby, Brandon and I went for an ultrasound to see if there was any chance the pregnancy was still intact. He and I had spent most of Friday night in a numb fog, crying on and off for most of the evening.

During the ultrasound, the doctor told me that he saw no baby, no sack, and told me my body had probably flushed all signs of the baby over the past day or two. Brandon held my hand and I tried to be tough as nails.

At work on Monday, after just having told my boss on Friday I was expecting, I tried to be tough as I talked to him about my weekend and our loss.

The past few days as friends shared their love and prayers with me, I tried to be tough.

Today, I’m not feeling very tough. I thought of the opportunities I’ll now miss because I’m not pregnant, and it’s made me sad. No holding a newborn baby in my arms and nursing in the wee hours of the morning. No baby cries echoing through the house. No sweet-smelling skin of a newborn. No piece of Brandon and me, together. No seeing my children become big brothers and big sisters. It’s all gone.

I don’t know why I’ve been putting on the tough act through all of this. My body and my heart are going through loss and healing and it’s perfectly okay for me to be sad. Lori, it’s okay to feel. It’s okay to mourn.

Brandon’s heart can’t take another loss, so we’ll likely not try again. And with my advanced age and now a miscarriage, the chances are quite high that I won’t be able to sustain a healthy pregnancy going forward.

The emotions swirling around me are reminding me to feel what I’m going through. So today, I’m not going to be tough. Today, I’m going to feel.

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B

A genuine fear I had after I divorced my husband of 17 years was being sure to NOT pick the same type of man again. You know how they always say, “Oh, she has a type!” or “He’s always picks the crazy ones.” I didn’t want those scenarios to be me! After all of the shit I dealt with during my first marriage, the last thing I wanted was someone who was ego-centered, negative or possessive and jealous.

This man, my man, is nothing like that.

I was still seeing my counselor occasionally when Brandon and I first started dating. I expressed my fears of choosing the same type of man–I was kind of afraid my “picker” was broken. I remember specifically stating to my therapist, “It’s not like there’s a book on guaranteeing second marriages.” She quickly replied, “Actually, Lori, there is proof that marriages that are real and vulnerable–the kind of vulnerable where you can show someone your darkest sides or deepest fears, work. And from what you’ve told me, you’ve already shared that side of you with Brandon.”

She was right.

Through all of the growing I had done on my own after my divorce, I had learned to be open and vulnerable with Brandon. Because he made me feel safe. He made me want to be a better person, and if I had to break down and cry and tell him how scared I was before I could be a better person, I would do it.

Brandon wouldn’t try to fix me. He still doesn’t. But he listens.

He looks at life as an experience–not a contest.

He has a relationship with his parents–this is important.

He has a relationship with his children–this is more important.

He wants to protect me and care for me. I’ve never had someone be that person for me.

He doesn’t expect anything from me.

He looks at my children as if they’re his own and he feels their pain and their happiness.

He supports my goals, my dreams, and is proud of who I am.

He is nothing like my ex.

 


If you’ve been in a relationship with a manipulator, it’s very common to choose the same type of person again. Very. So if you’ve been there, how do you help yourself and how do you recognize if you’re falling for the same routine?

  1. Stay connected to family and friends. Manipulators like to get you away from loved ones and friends. If they have you all to themselves, your self-image is tied directly to them. You begin to feel happy when you do for them and sad when they tell you you’ve missed the mark–then you over-do to try to make it up. If you have a support system, you have other people who will help you to see that everything isn’t always your fault.
  2. ALWAYS work on your self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself, you’re less-likely to fall for their tactics. You’re also less likely to blame yourself or let the manipulator “label” you or put you down. A manipulator will try to get you to give up the things you love or that make you feel good. Again, they’ve got you right where they want you if you aren’t happy.
  3. Recognize when you feel shame or anxiety. When you are in a relationship, you shouldn’t feel shamed or anxious around your partner. If you feel “not good enough” or your partner is always angry or explosive around you, your response is to try harder to do better or to keep the waters calm. This is how they get you to do what they want.

Are you in a manipulative relationship?

Take this quiz from lifeesteem.org

Answer the following questions with a True or False.

  1. I sometimes feel confused about what my partner really wants.
  2. I feel that my partner frequently takes advantage of my giving nature.
  3. Even when I do something that pleases my partner, the positive feelings never last long.
  4. With my partner I feel that it’s hard just to be myself or do what I really want.
  5. Around my partner, I feel taken for granted.
  6. I seem to work harder on this relationship than my partner does.
  7. My partner has a very strong impact on what I think and feel.
  8. I sometimes feel that I am trapped in my relationship and there is no way out.
  9. I don’t feel as good about myself in my relationship as I once did.
  10. I feel that I need my partner more than my partner needs me.
  11. No matter how much I have done, I feel that it’s not good enough for my partner.
  12. I feel that my partner does not understand who I really am.

There are twelve questions in this quiz. If you answered more than half of them with True, you might want to consider exploring whether you are in a manipulative relationship.

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Exhausted.

At 6 months pregnant, I had been working full-time as an assistant to a Marketing VP at a big technology company. You would think that anyone who is in the upper echelon of a tech company would be computer-savy and have mad-skills when it comes to computers. Not that man.

My days were filled with printing and answering his emails (yes, I said printing). He didn’t understand how to use email (it was 1997–email was main-stream by now), so he liked ALL of his emails printed and on his desk first-thing at 8:00 am. Once I brought the stack of in-box items, he would sit at his round meeting table (his desk was covered in “things to read”) and hand-write his responses to co-workers, collegues and the like.

While he read off of dead trees, I kept busy doing budgeting, meeting with other admins on processes, and training the new hires. I was well-respected and I enjoyed my job, but I was looking forward to the arrival of my first son who was due in 3 months.

I was 26. My husband was 27. We had been married for close to four years, and had planned this (and every other) pregnancy. It was a conscious decision to wait to have children, because I was insistent that I would not work full-time and have a daycare raise my child.

I had worked 2 jobs since our engagement and would typically be heading to the mall for work, but this night I was headed home. I was glad to be on my way to comfy sweats and a quiet evening.

My second job was working for a local photographer I had met when I was looking for someone to photograph our wedding. He couldn’t function on a computer, and I wanted to work off my wedding package so my parents wouldn’t have to pay for photos. It was a match made in heaven. I didn’t love working 2 jobs after the wedding day, but it was extra income, and my husband often worked late, so I figured I’d be earning more money for our home and our family.

My husband came home and was extra happy and talkative that day. He was in rare form, and seemed happy as a clam. I wasn’t sure what was putting him in such a great mood–he’d typically eat dinner and zone out in front of the television after work, but I was glad he wasn’t grumpy from work. He was practically giddy tonight. His words spilled out about his day and he somehow managed to mention that he and a few women from his office had gone to a strip club for lunch.

I’m sorry, what? A strip club.

I stood there in my hot-pink shirt, the hem just long enough to cover my expanding belly, and tears swelled in my eyes.

“You went where?” I asked him. His smile turned sour and he spouted off a few, “Oh, what’s the big deal? It was just me and Yvonne and 2 other girls…it’s not like we were watching the strippers! They thought it’d be fun!”

Yvonne and 2 other girls. Yvonne…the Yvonne who is nearly 40 with platinum-bleached, too-blonde hair, ginormous fake boobs she’s not afraid to flaunt, knee-high black boot, too-skimpy mini-skirt wearing can’t hack it in a real position so she flirts endlessly with mortgage customers to make money Yvonne.

I stared blankly at him in utter disgust and confusion. A) I didn’t even know he was the strip club type and B) His wife is 6 months pregnant and he’s standing here acting like what he did this afternoon is completely acceptable and can’t fathom why I’m upset.

“Do you know how disrespectful that is?” I shouted at him.

“Oh please!” He shouted back at me, not one bit of remorse in his tone.

The argument continued, and somehow, through the magic of the narcissist, he kept insisting this argument was now my fault. I was “overreacting” and I should be glad he went with women instead of the men in the office…because for some eff’d up reason, that makes it better.

As I argued with him I found myself lost in the swirls of deceit and smoke screens. I walked outside and sat on the steps in my back yard. It was almost March, and the grass was yellow and dead-looking still. The grass looked the way my insides now felt–dead, uncared for, cold and forgotten.

I had the phone in my hands and I slowly dialed my mother. I began explaining the story to her and tears streamed down my face. I was searching for validation, support and comfort…things I never received at home, especially that day.

That day.

The day I wanted to leave.

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It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

~ E.E. Cummings

I’ve been soul searching…a lot. After the heartbreaking news that I miscarried over the weekend, I found myself quite lost. As the news sank in, I told Brandon, “It’s like I don’t know who I am right now.” What a strange thing to feel. I had only known I was pregnant for a few weeks, and yet I sat on the couch crying with my husband trying to reach inside and examine who I was.

This loss has made me look at who I am in every way possible. As a mother. As a wife. As Lori. I see what’s important to me, now, more than ever. My journey has led me to who I am and I must acknowledge my journey as I step towards who I truly want to be.

I grew up trying to be perfect and trying to please everyone. I was not strong then. I was afraid of disappointing people. I was too shy to use my voice or to stand up for myself. I could be strong and stand up for others, but it was difficult to put myself first.

My journey has led me to strength.

I was molested briefly as a child, and back then I had no voice to tell someone or to stand up for who I was. I worked on finding my voice through the years and gained confidence in myself. Later, I married a man who was sweet at first but turned controlling and possessive because I was beautiful and confident and he didn’t like it. My confidence wained and I gave up friends, activities and interactions because I wanted to prove I wasn’t “cheating” or “finding someone else.” I survived being married to a narcissist and I survived a divorce from him, too. I continue to stand up to him when he bullies me or my children, and I grow stronger every day because of the love of my husband and our children.

My journey has led me to strength. I am strong and I am a survivor.

Who am I? I am Lori. I am smart. I am an athlete. I am a writer. I am a photographer. I am creative. I’m a friend. I am loving. I am nurturing. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am giving. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am real. I am a survivor.

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Lost the baby yesterday.

Feeling numb. Sad. Robbed.

It took a few weeks for the idea of becoming a new mom again to sink in. But once it did, excitement grew, plans started forming, and dreams were imagined.

And now?

I’m not really sure. Brandon and I are in pain. Neither of us has experienced such a loss. We are lucky his employer gave him the day off to be with me. We are numb.

Who am I? Where do I go from here? I feel the need deep within me to nest and nurture my family. Nothing else matters right now. Life is a gift. Kids are a blessing.

I am lost.

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I’ve connected with many women (and a few men) through this blog who are suffering through divorce with a narcissist. The road is long and it is hard. You find yourself staring into space and wondering what on earth you did to deserve such a curse to have to deal with such a wretched person. The narcissist isn’t mean and awful when you are doing as they wish. They are pleasant and giving and almost sweet. But once you turn away from them, or DIVORCE them, then the gloves come off and you see their scaly skin and all of the ugly warts they covered over the years.

Some of the most awful things come from their mouths. They will type the most ridiculous things and they will hurt anyone, including their own children, to get back at you. As a girl who’s lived this drama roller coaster (and who still is), this is why I tell you to only communicate in writing by email/text!!!

One of my e-friends, iamfindingaway, was appalled when I told her the story of when I kicked my ex out. You see, the minute I told him I packed bags for him and I wanted him to move out and wanted him to go think about his relationship with “the neighbor” and realize that this marriage is something worth fighting for, my ex ran to the bank and took our money–lots of money–out of our savings account. He didn’t care how it affected his kids. He didn’t care that I quit my job to work on our marriage “issues” and had no way to pay for things because he took the money. He only cared about covering his sad, pathetic ass. Typical NPD actions.

As I thought about this moment, there were many others that came to mind and I was immediately rushed back to how hard life was just after initial court date/beginnings of the divorce. My stomach turns as I think about each of them, but I want to share some of the stories for those of you out there who are dealing with the devil–literally. It’s NEVER easy. Ever. And I’m sorry for that. But you’ve gotta know that after the storm comes the sunshine. My life has been proof!

Here are a few of the highlights lowlights:

On our first Memorial Day post-marriage, I had plans to take my kids to see their grandfather’s grave. My ex’s father had died one year prior (an event that was a catapult into his mid-life crisis, if you ask me) and I told him I may take our kids to see their grandpa’s grave. He was vicious and controlling in his response:

I will ask you only one time to move forward with your life and not take the kids to my dad’s grave, or any other family things on my side. Taking the kids to MY dad’s grave and any other {last name} family thing is MY family and my business, not yours! If you would like to take the kids to your families graves that is your choice. I would never interfere and take the kids to your family’s stuff. I feel very strongly about this and am willing to get a restraining order against you so you cannot do this going forward. If I hear you have visited my dad’s grave I will be contacting my attorney.

Really? A restraining order to not visit a grave? I can laugh at this response now. But just after leaving a NPD person, you are weak and frail. When I read this, I was actually wondering if I was doing something wrong. Could he get me in trouble for going to the cemetery? Still can’t believe I let him bully me on this one.

There were numerous times he refused to take my son to his games because “my parent time is more important than his sports”

I want to be clear about Thursday. Are you “asking” me or “telling” me that {insert child’s name} won’t be at my house on Thursday at 5:30? Just to be clear with you that parent time is more important or takes priority over {child} going to baseball. This is not your decision whether or not he misses his games over my parent time. We have had this discussion too many times and I’m tiring of re-visiting the topic. In the future, I suggest that you ask me versus telling me he won’t be at my house when he is legally scheduled to be.

The man never budged. On many times I told him, “Please think about the children in these matters and don’t expect them to give up their activities. Their lives should be kept intact as much as possible. They should not have to sacrifice their activities because we are divorcing. Keep this in mind.” These pleas fell on deaf ears. He knew that if he threatened or didn’t take my kids to their sports, I would dance in circles to give him what he wanted to give the children their sports back.

He was angry that our kids had sports during his “parent time” and threatened and wanted his nights changed. I stood my ground and told him, “Our four kids are very active. On any given day of the week, the kids have activities. Their lives should not have to change because we are divorced. We agreed on Tuesday and Thursday visitation nights, and that is the schedule we will stick to moving forward. Their activities will be planned on every day of the week from now until they are 18. That is just how it goes. Your time can be spent at her practice supporting her, just as my nights with them are spent doing the same. I am at soccer, baseball, softball and football on my nights to support them. You wanting to trade because their activities mess up your time is not reasonable. Parent time can be spent supporting them. Consider {daughter’s} needs instead of only your own.”

On one occasion he actually told me he would remove my daughter from the soccer field if I EVER showed up at her practice during “his parent time!” How absurd! Really?

FYI- you are legally obligated to deliver {insert daughter’s name} (and the other kids) to me on my parent nights.  I will decide whether or not parent time is more or less important than her soccer.  The judge and attorneys already told you this on multiple occasions so don’t try to scare me with your BS. I will tell you that if you continue to show up to the kids practices etc. I will simply take the kids and leave, which is in my legal right. If you are unwilling to change days and I decide for {daughter} to miss a practice on a Tuesday and/or Thursday then so be it. I gave you the choice of making adjustments to help the kids and you said no. This has nothing to do with feeling uncomfortable with you there. It has everything to do with spending time with the kids without your interference. I know you have a hard time not interfering, but you should let go. Once again, this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the kids. I am thinking of the kids, I suggest you do to. I can see you have the kids best interest in mind. What a joke! In my opinion you seriously need some help.

It’s bullying, abusive behavior at its best. Not only do you have to deal with control issues via the kids, but also regarding money. To this day, my ex refuses to pay for any of my kids’ extra curricular activities. Our divorce decree states “parents will split 50/50 the costs of all extra curricular activities” to which my ex added in the paperwork “when agreed upon in writing” because he didn’t want me to enroll them in “frivolous” things. Fine. But when the first payment for competition baseball rolled around at $500, he spinelessly responded via email “I DON’T AGREE.” To date, this man who played baseball through his school years and in college and helped to enrolled these kids in sports right along with me does not pay ONE PENNY towards their sports. He tells me to “take it out of child support!” Even though he knew this was a huge issue we discussed in mediation and he agreed to it. His conscience feels just fine letting me pay for all of it.

At first, it infuriated me. But now, I have a husband by my side who reminds me, “We don’t need his damn money!”

So how do you deal with an individual with NPD who is abusive, rude and controlling? My advice? You don’t. You ignore the beast and the threats, you let your stomach settle down and your anger disappear and you remember that you are strong and powerful and an amazing person.

enraged

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Setyoufree

TRUTH

It can be the most painful thing you’ll ever encounter, but it can also be the most freeing.

I’ve been deceived many times in my life–by many different people. Each time it was ugly and painful. Being lied to has to be one of the most damaging things to the human psyche. Mostly because you can’t explain it (well, sometimes we try to explain it away, but we can’t explain why someone would choose to lie to us). You have no control over it. You don’t understand it. And you certainly cannot fix it.

I don’t believe in lying. I am a truth teller. If my life were lived in the movie Divergent, I would belong to the group Candor. I’m not a truth teller in the rude, don’t-care-about-your-feelings kind of way. I’m just honest. Honesty may hurt someone you love, but lying to them over and over is more painful than the truth ever would be!

Why is it that people lie to the most important people in their lives? Why do men hide that they are speaking to an ex behind their girlfriend’s back? Why do women flirt when their significant other is away and deny it if they are confronted? Why do people sneak around, steal or cheat?

The answer: they are insecure.

My ex husband cheated on me because he felt old, undesirable, bored in his life, and he didn’t want anyone to know about it. He wanted to play the big tough jock role he’d always played so he needed a bit of a supplement to his ego in the dark of night where no one could see. This came in the form of the neighbor.

He lied to me time and time again. Even after I caught them texting (over 500 texts in a week). Even after I caught him at her house at midnight after he told me he loved me and wanted our marriage to work. Even after I found photos of them on dates in my safe along with $2,000 in cash. And even after he told me, “I never stopped loving you!” when I told him I wanted a divorce. Each lie was a ding in the armor of our marriage. Those dings can’t be repaired very easily. Lies always stick with you–they are in your head and heart and they don’t just disappear because someone says “I’m sorry” or “I’ll never do it again.”

Once you discover the truth, and you’re open to pay attention to the lies and deception, your life does indeed change for the better (but not until after the anger and desire to hurt someone leaves your body). Ya know why? Because if you are with someone who lies to you, someone who takes the most vulnerable side of you and uses it to their advantage to sneak around with another woman and meet her in the dark of night, you should be done. You deserve better. You’re better off alone than with someone who is insecure and deceptive and who chooses to not put your needs first–your need to feel secure and loved.

I’ve been lied to a few times since my divorce…by people I’ve cared about. Some I gave second chances to and some I didn’t. I don’t know if I’ll truly ever get over the lies. But I also know I’m not dwelling on them. I’ve learned the truth and I live the truth and I am free. I choose to be who I am and be secure in myself. If someone in my life chooses to lie to me, they are only hurting themselves.

 

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I pondered posting the announcement of our pregnancy here on my blog and on Facebook. I debated just letting people find out naturally…either by word-of-mouth or by seeing my growing belly. But then I realized that this is a huge part of my life, and writing about my life is important to me–the main reason I began blogging is because writing helps me process, and this girl is definitely gonna need to process!

One reason I thought of delaying the announcement is that I’m typically the girl who keeps this kind of news to myself as long as possible (well, between me and my husband). What if something went wrong? It was almost as if I thought I would jinx something if I announced my pregnancies prior to 12 weeks–the “safe” zone. I’m weird like that. If something went wrong, I wouldn’t have to share the painful news with anyone and no one would know anything was going on.

But once again, Brandon showed me a different side of the coin.

The day we found out we were pregnant, he was jumping to tell my kids that night. I was so conflicted with telling them so soon. “What if something goes wrong?” I asked him. “Well, they’ll all be wondering why we’re crying so much and we’ll have to tell them anyways!” he replied, quick as can be. Good point.

There are more reasons I debated sharing the news so soon…

I’m 43.
My youngest will be 11 in July.
This will be my 5th baby…Our 9th child together. 4 his, 4 mine, and 1 of ours.

Sometimes people don’t think before they speak. Sometimes people are rude and judging and scoff at the idea of a woman having a child in her 40s. And a women who has 8 who is now having a 9th? Well, that’s just downright absurd!

I don’t want to hear the negative BS from people. I really don’t. After announcing my pregnancy, I’ve already heard things like, “Wow! Good luck!” and “Is this a good thing?” Wow. And these people are supposedly my “friends.” This baby is a complete blessing. It’s not a curse or a burden. This baby coming to Brandon and me is definitely meant to be. Do I care what people think and what they say to me? Of course not. But I don’t want negative energy coming my way either. C’mon people. THINK before you speak.

I’m in a place right now that I’m still wrapping my head around the idea of becoming a new mother again. I was stunned when I found out I was able to get pregnant at 43, and believe me, I know all of the statistics and percentages for mothers over 40. My main goal right now is to not worry and to give this baby the best start possible.

Things in our lives will shift. Changes are coming. And Brandon and I and all 8 of our kids are thankful for this blessing.

One more thing. Thanks to all of you for the well wishes and for all of the love coming our way. We’re getting ready for a fun ride!

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