Almost two years after the birth of Angelique, I had another baby. A little boy that I will call Alex. Alex was an easy baby. He was always content, rarely cried, and followed a very consistent feeding and sleeping schedule. Both babies slept through the night at around 2 months even though I nursed them. I figured I had this parenting thing down pat. Life was going fairly smoothly for awhile. After those first couple of years of peace, life got a little dicey.
After Matt attacked Angelique on her 4th birthday, life got a little crazy. My mom couldn’t accept that I needed a break from my violent autistic brother for awhile. She pleaded, pressured, and begged to have Matt in our life again. She would drive over a couple of times a month just to have Matt wave at my kids through the car window. She would help out if Matt was included. I couldn’t risk my 2 and 4 year old being hurt by a grown man. I couldn’t. Matt almost exclusively attacked little girls. It wasn’t long after this that I found out I was pregnant and having a baby girl. I didn’t want to tell anyone the sex of the baby, so my mom figured out it was a girl or I would have said something.
Right around this time, I started babysitting for the neighbor girl about 50 hours a week. She started calling me mom and hanging out with us when I wasn’t babysitting. Every weekend she would stay at her grandma’s while her parents partied. I secretly resented them for having a break. I can’t say that I didn’t feel relief after they eventually divorced and moved away. Also, during this time my husband had started a business on the side. He was working for another company and went down to part-time so he could do this. He eventually used up all of his vacation days and they gave him an ultimatum. Either come back full-time or leave. He left. The stress started piling on again.
When it came time to schedule my final c-section I opted to do it on a Friday. I had images of watching my other 2 kids while I was in the hospital if it was on a Monday like they suggested. My mom came early Friday morning to watch the kids, thankfully Matt did not get up that early. Arabella was born. Paul went to work. He was a one man show and we had bills to pay. Mom dropped the kids off mid morning as Matt had a dentist appointment. Paul had the kids with him off and on at the hospital all weekend. He had someone from church watch the kids Monday morning to pick us up from the hospital. Then my mother-in-law helped Monday and Tuesday. After that I was on my own, less than a week after major surgery with a 4 year old, 2 year old, and a newborn. A newborn that cried incessantly. That didn’t sleep through the night for a year.
I felt hurt and angry at my mom for leaving me alone when I needed her the most. Matt always came first. I gave up my childhood for this? In my mom’s defense, she was working full-time and it was her busy time at work. Matt still lived at home and she no longer had my help. Six weeks after Arabella was born, my grandma had open heart surgery and for some reason I was handed the baton of throwing all of the holiday parties. I ended up getting mastitis twice and blamed myself for having a difficult baby because I was very stressed.