It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better ….

Kennith and I argued a great deal.  Not those nice calm loud discussion we had experienced in the past – but those real screamers that usually ended up with profanity being yelled across the house.   It was truly horrible – on the upside he was seldom there so the arguments were not that frequent.

Besides the pressure of doing MBA, Kennith had committed to doing a trip up Kilimanjaro about a month after our second baby was due.  This meant that when the MBA finally finished, Kennith started going to gym after work, and on the weekends going on hikes to train for Killimanjaro.

To say I was livid, would not even hint at the anger I was feeling.  I was so annoyed and disappointed. His actions really just re-enforced my feelings of abandonment.  For me the resounding message was “those you rely on will abandon you at the time when you need them most.”  Kennith’s actions drive this message home again and again over this period.

I was desperately ill during the pregnancy.  Probably because I was just so stretched in terms of what I could cope with. I started to pick up every infection that went around.  I was always sick and lethargic. I could not cope, and at about this time Kennith in all his MBA wisdom, had decided that now was a super great time to go and climb a mountain.

One day I got home late from work, and was exhausted.  My job was very stressful and also required me to literally run around a production floor.  Kennith was working at the dining room table, and we got into a fight about the bed that he had just bought.  It was a huge screaming fight – but the fight had nothing to do with the acquisition of the bed.  The fight was about my desperation of being left alone, that he knew how I felt, and chose either not to care or not to notice.

I had made an awful decision to have a second baby, which would only tie me to this man for longer.  I really needed to get out of this relationship.  About a month before I was due I ran away from home and went to seek refuge at my mom’s home for about a week.  I really just slept and was taken care of which was great.  Of course nothing would change on returning home.

The pregnancy progressed and it was anything but peaceful.  I was ill, over worked, over stressed and exhausted.  I decided that I did not want to know the sex of the baby.  I was convinced it was a second boy.  I decided if I did not actually find out then I could have a mild fantasy about having a daughter – which I was desperate for.

Kennith attended all if not most of the OBGYN visits.  They really were not great times, and we would often get into a fight as I would arrive late.

To further aggravate my situation I decided that I wanted to go into labour and go through a trial of labour.  It became an obsession.  I had a planned c-section with Connor and it had gone along without any incident. In fact it was brilliant.  But for some reason, my rather hormone-soaked brain decided that this is what I was going to do – and  no one could reason with me.    Anyone who tried to reason with me seemed to spur me on even more in my resolve.

My OBGYN tried to talk me into a c-section and I just got my back up and even went as far as to visit a midwife, as I was considering changing care providers.  I was out of control, and desperate, and making the most bizarre decisions which only added more stress on to the situation.

In my final trimester, I had picked up bronchitis and a few bouts of pink eye, and remained ill throughout.

This baby was due at the end of June, and I was just going to wait it out, though I was so exhausted I could barely stand, but somehow I thought I would be able to get through labour!

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No rhyme or reason ….

Kennith was doing his MBA, I was going stark raving mad – it was the perfect environment to decide to have a second child. For reasons that I cannot describe I decided that I wanted a second child. I was not coping with the first. I was not even coping with being able to brush my teeth successfully, but I decided that a second child was what I wanted.

At the time I was seeing a psychiatrist and she really voiced her concern that now was not a good time. Kennith and I were barely talking – partly because of the MBA, partly because we just avoided each other. I really cannot explain it in a sane manner – possibly a good representation of the head space I was in at the time. I just felt this overwhelming feral urge to have another baby. I knew it was not going to make things better, I knew it was not going to save this crumbling relationship, but I just wanted a baby.

Kennith and I had spoken about it, but it might have been a bit like me agreeing to the MBA, he did not say “no” loud enough, so I just went ahead and did it, knowing it was not the best choice I had ever made. I could list the reasons why not to, but on the list of why to, all I got was “because I want to.”

To illustrate how badly the timing was, my psychiatrist had just upped my meds and prescribed a new drug to assist me in coping with normal life, as I was not coping and going off the deep end fast. I am quite bright, so even I could work out, that if I was not coping with normal life, I was not going to be able to cope with a pregnancy and added stress on my life and my floundering relationship.

I had gone to the chemist to fill the script and decided to get a pregnancy test before I started taking the new meds as they were not recommended during pregnancy, and I just got a strange sensation as I walked past the “pee on the stick” tests. I went back to work, went to the bathroom and wee’d on the stick, which turned positive reasonably quickly.

I was immediately elated – like I had achieved something. Then shocked at the ramifications of what I had done, then I panicked – “kill me now, what have I done!!”

I went outside and called my friend Judith and burst into tears – what the hell had I done and what the hell was I going to do now. I cried the entire way home in my car.

I told Kennith in a very unceremonial manner. He got home, and as he collected his dinner from the kitchen I flicked the stick across the table at him. We ate in silence in front of the television. Things really did not get much better from there on in. That might have been a pre-cursor for how things were going to go during this pregnancy.

There was very little euphoria around this pregnancy. Kennith went to work and MBA and I continued to work like a demon. I was quite nauseous and exhausted in the first trimester, and unfortunately Kennith was not available to assist. I recall how cherished and wonderful I felt with the first pregnancy, and how alone and terrified I felt this time around.

I decided to go off all medication immediately – I was scared that these would affect the developing baby. The withdrawal was not great, and made it all the more difficult. I decided to just put my head down and get on with it, what really were my options?

And then there were two ……

Kennith has always admitted that I did not exactly agree to him doing the MBA.  I just did not say “no” loud enough, so he took it as a yes, and went off and enrolled.  I have heard the MBA referred to as the “divorce course” by several people, and I will be one to vouch, that if your relationship can survive an MBA, then it can probably survive an affair and an appearance on the Jerry Springer show.

In no way was I opposed to Kennith going off to further his education and make himself more marketable in the work place.  What I was opposed to was being left alone – again – with a 1-year-old, when I was clearly struggling.

For two years Kennith removed himself totally from our lives.  He worked, left work and went to classes.  If he was not at a class, then he was doing group work, if he was not in a class and doing group work, he had readings to do.  He was UNAVAILABLE to the extreme.

I am not an insecure person, nor do I need company all the time.  I think if we were a childless couple, I would have no problem with this arrangement.  However we had a child, and I did not sign up to be a single parent – this was exactly what I had been afraid of, that I would be left alone to raise this child.

I had also returned to working a full day at a new job and was literally rushing from one point to another at breakneck speed every day.  I had Connor at home with a nanny which was a relief, but I still needed to get home to her as close to 5:30 so she could leave to get to her home before it got dark.  It was mad mad mad!!

To add to the joy and jubilation, we decided to buy a new house and I also changed jobs again to a job that was even more chaotic than I had before.  I loved my new job, it was back in print production, but it required long erratic hours, unbelievable pressure and chaos.

I had no support as we did not really have family close by. I was really on my own in a very stressful situation.  I always think of how much of a community you feel when you are pregnant and people seem to be cheering for you, but when you have a baby, you just seem to be alone and have to cope with so much that is often more than one can deal with at any given time.

I recall having deadlines at work that would be sprung on me at the last moment, and phoning Kennith to please get home to be with Connor.  Most of the time I could not reach him as he was in meetings, and when I could, he would say no as he had other commitments.

At this point I would be at the end of my tether.  By the time I had called him I had already exhausted any other avenues I had – so he was a last resort and I was desperate.  To be told no by him, would often leave me so angry I could scream.  I would then dash home, collect Connor and bring him back to work with me so I could work late.  It was all too dreadful for words.

Of course my stress, and my impatience at Kennith would be redirected towards Connor and I would get very stressed and impatient with the poor little guy. I became angry, resentful and very depressed and I was becoming the mother I hated being.

My childhood had taught me that I could only rely on myself as anyone else would let me down time and time again.  I had always had Kennith, and now when things were so desperate, I felt that my worst fear was becoming a reality.  I was being abandoned and left to cope on my own – again!!  I learnt that I could not rely on anyone, especially Kennith.  The learning of this lesson made me bitter and very resentful.  Our relationship was crumbling and things were looking very dire.

I also did not have the means to express this to Kennith in a constructive manner.  I do not think he could really see the repercussions of what he was doing.  He was never available and even when he was at home, he was not really present, so it was a very lonely two years.

Things really were horrible – but we kept up appearances for all and sundry, and though people knew Kennith was busy, I don’t think anyone really knew what was going on.

I started to slide down a very dark hole of despair and frustration – and struggled to cope with Connor.  There was nothing wrong with him, and he was a very good little boy, but I could barely cope with me, let alone him.  My behavior became erratic and I was in a state of crisis, with nowhere and no one to turn to!

I have never felt so lonely in all my life than I did then.  You know that feeling when you are lonely even in a room full of people.  You are trying to hide the fact that you are really breaking down and crumbling, but on the outside you are smiling and nodding and trying to look like a normal functioning human being?  I was drowning and there was no one who was listening or available to throw me a life buoy .