turtle

And then the bomb finally detonated!

(If you ware interested in the whole story, please search for "pandoras box".)


“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
George R.R. Martin,
A Game of Thrones (Tyrion)


Trigger warning: this text contains psychological and physical violence!


In the "end", it all went down very quickly.
In the two weeks after I had told my ex-husband that I meant to leave him sooner or later, we discussed this issue as adults - or so I thought. We discussed the car, finances and most importantly: Anais. He promised me to look after us at least financially, that I could keep the car etc. In my naive mind, I thought that he actually meant it, since he was kinda happy to get rid off us. Well, again, I underestimated his sick mind.

Looking back, I am sure that he plotted against me. While I was focusing on my daughter, trying to figure out where we could live afterwards, still struggling with my bad conscience (Could I really leave the father of my child?!), he planned his secure exit. You will understand later (probably in the nex article).

One night, Anais had just fallen asleep, she was 17 months old at that time, my ex-husband entered the room, switched on the light and began to yell. Anais was completely shocked, opened her eyes and screamed. He didn't care. "I checkd your phone! This guy messaged you again!" Yes, Jake wrote a nice "Good night.". How could I dare to write with someone else but him?! Remember: we were in an open relationship, that HE wanted and that HE enjoyed while I was only talking to someone who lived on another continent. "You think, you can treat me like that?! Don't forget who I am and what I am able to do!!" He screamed and yelled and pushed me closer and closer to the wall. I didn't care, I only cared for my little daughter who stood in her bed, watching us, her beautiful eyes now wide-open and full of fear and confusion. So, I pushed back and since he hadn't expected this, I was able to get free, took Anais and left the room.

Honestly, this was such a scary and stressful moment, that I don't even remember if I went to my parents that night or if I looked myself into a room with Anais until he had calmed down. I really don't know but I will ask my mom later. I just remember THAT he calmed down after a while and that I slept next to Anais that night (like I often did).

The next morning, when I changed my daughter's diaper and clothes, I was shocked: her whole body was covered in a rash. For me it was clear that this was a reaction to the stress she had to go through the evening before. The decision was made:
I had to leave him without any delay!! I had already waited too long.

I first had to bring Anais to the doctor though and since this all happened on a weekend, my ex-husband was at home. When he saw me leaving the house, he stopped me. In the heat of the moment, I said: "I go to the hospital with Anais, since she has a huge rash because of you!" Of course, he wanted to argue again - because that's what he is good at and that's what he enjoys. But I didn't. "I don't have time now. Anais needs medicine. And when I come home, I will get our things and go to my parents." "You will do what?! Why?!" Yes, I know, I shouldn't have said it. But you know how emotions can make you say things that you should better keep to yourself. And so I said: "Because I WILL divorce you!"



I hurried to the car without looking back, sat Anais in her seat and buckled her up. Then, I meant to call my parents, to prepare them and tell them about the rash, but realized that I had forgotten my phone. My ex wasn't standing in the driveway anymore, but the front door was wide open. I hurried inside to pick up my phone as all of a sudden my ex stormed towards me, yelling "Putin! (He is Belgian and his mother tongue is French.) Pute! Bitch! Schlampe!", in his hand my phone. I froze, holding my arm up in front of me, since he was so aggressive. "I read it all!", he screamed. "You and this Jake, you think you are smart, but you aren't! I will destroy you! You don't stand a chance!"
Yes, I had text messages and emails on my phone, even not hidden, since we had this agreement and I had nothing to hide. The messages didn't even reveal anything dirty, they simply showed that Jake and I cared for each-other. "I didn't do anything wrong! He is my friend. Now, give me my phone, I need it." He began to laugh crazily. I can still hear it and it still gives me nightmares. He suddenly stormed into the dining room, grabbed my notebook and stormed off towards the front door. My only thought was: All my pictures of Anais!! "Give that back! That's mine!" "No, I bought it, bitch! It's mine!" I followed him, pushing on my keys to lock my car. I was extremely scared that he would go to Anais. But of course, that wasn't even on his mind. He opened the trunk of his car and threw my notebook into it; yelling insults at me constantly. As I reached into it to grab my notebook, he pushed me back and then hit me with his arm and ellbow. It made me reel backwards but I had my notebook, held on to it and started running. He grabbed my upper arm, but couldn't hold on to me. I ran around our house and hid the notebook with all my precious pictures, underneath a bush.

When I arrived back at the driveway, my ex-husband wasn't there anymore, so I ran to my car and locked myself and Anais in it. Since I had parked behind the hedges that surround the house, she hadn't seen or heard any of it. But she saw ME in that moment; tears running down my cheaks, breathing fast.

All of a sudden, a loud knock startled me. The son of our neighboors from the other side of the street stood at the car's window. He was only 17 years old at that time, I was 26 and my ex 37. I was never really able to talk to him about it, but maybe he will read this:
You were extemely brave! I THANK YOU so so much!!
He knocked on the window again and I just shook my head. He stayed though, his face all worried and so I opened the window. "Are you okay?", he asked. "No. But it's ok..." "I saw what he did.", the boy said. All of a sudden, my ex-husband walked around the corner, his eyes furious. "Please, go!", I told the boy. But he turned to the 20 years older man and said "I saw what you did and called the police." Then, he walked away. I closed the window fast and spoke to Anais, as softly as I could in that moment. "It's ok, my love. Don't be scared, ok?" But my ex didn't wanna leave. "I only want to say goodbye to my daughter", he said, opening the car with the second key. I completely panicked but didn't wanna scare Anais more than she already was. He opened the back door. You can't imagine how frightened I was. I thought, he would take her. But instead, he leaned over her, towards me and screamed:
"I hope you'll DIE!!".
Then, he left with his car, since he knew that the police was about to come.

My little girl was crying her eyes out and so, I swallowed my tears, got out of the car and in again next to her seat, unbuckled Anais and cradled her in my arms, until she fell asleep.

All this still haunts me in my dreams - and I am sure that it also weighs heavy on Anais' soul and that is why I won't ever forgive him!



Proud part of:


BRIGITTE MOM BLOGS


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turtle

Clutching at straws...

(If you want to read the whole story, please search for "pandoras box".)

Clutching at straws, was the only thing that was left in this relationship. I kept preaching to myself: "You have to stay with him, he is the father of your child." But I knew that he has always been a bad father and not worth staying with him. Still, the fear of not being able to raise Anais on my own, not having enough money for her and simply failing, kept me from leaving him.

Here and there, he still forced himself on me... With psychological pressure, threats and lots of blackmail. But after a while, he got tired of my attitude - meaning, he wanted more, he wanted someone that showed him passion and since I wasn't even able to pretend anymore, he proposed that we should have an "open relationship". "Well, whatever...", was my reaction to this; really ending the sentence only in my head though: "Well, whatever keeps you away from me!".

He felt comfortable with this deal. He went to work, met with his escort ladies (and probably one of his co-workers), came home like others enjoy a good hotel and played the good husband and dad whenever we were in public. It actually worked for me too, since he left me alone.

But life didn't feel right. It felt like I was sitting in the so-called "golden cage" and it made me feel depressed.
Only my daughter kept me sane. Oh my gosh, I love her so much and I have always been so scared for her. And it didn't get better after everything had gone down (but more about that later).

One afternoon, while I was trying to find out the address of my American grandfather (to cut a long story short: my mother never met her physical father and the only information we have is his name and the stuff that was written on the dog tag), I met someone online. I contacted several people on Facebook that had the same name, since I thought they might be related to my grandfather. Some came back to me, none knew the person I was looking for (and still am, by the way). This one guy happened to mention the band TOOL on his profile and so, we began to chat about music. After a some days, I realized that I was actually talking to him daily and that it took my mind off my difficult marriage.

The chats became longer and more frequent and after some weeks they actually started to be quite flirty. Remember, I was in an open relationship and my ex-husband was cheating all the time - but still, I felt guilty about it. I was torn.
Spending time with my daughter and reading books when she was asleep already helped me a lot - but this guy... He was able to give me hope in a time of depression, desperation and fear.

We talked about easy things and I tried to hide that I was unhappy; I even defended my husband, saying that he was only very busy and stressed.... But this guy, let's call him "Jake", he was able to look through my mask of smiles. After a while, we also discussed serious topics and he encouraged me to leave my ex-husband. Not for him, but for my daughter's and my sake.



Just to be clear: I didn't keep it secret. I told my ex-husband about my friend and he would have always been able to see for himself since I was never hiding anything from him. He knew my passwords and always had acces to my notebook and phone. I know, how naive, right? The best part of it is that he had bought an Apple computer that only worked with HIS fingerprint.I also never had access to his phone and never knew his passwords...

At one point, I gathered all my courage and told my ex-husband that I would leave him. He didn't get angry, no. Instead, he indicated a subtle threat, since he knew that I couldn't even picture myself without Anais for more than a day: "If you leave me, I will get Anais each other week. One week, she'll be with you, the other week she will be with me." I panicked. He had never been interested in her, didn't know how to care for her and didn't have any patience for her. "Melanie, do you really think that you can raise a child on your own?!", he asked with a condescending tone and a smirk on his face. I gave up.

But already one week later, I realized that this had been a huge mistake!




Proud part of:


BRIGITTE MOM BLOGS


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turtle

Poopsy Pets? Some toys are confusing....



When I got my first child, my daughter Anais (she is 7 years old now), I was determined to only buy toys that are educationally valuable and preferably
sustainable.


But well.... I am honest: I didn't stick to it.
The kids have their own tastes, get presents etc. Also, very often, I am a child myself and understand why they NEED this or that. But there are some toys that are rasing questions.

Let me give you a taste of it:


How about a nice cooking set featuring the Disney.... No, wait.... DISHY princesses?!
(Anais won this at a funfair.)





No? You don't like this? Well, then how about one of the POOPSY PETS??




And then today, I found this in one of their rooms:

dishy.jpg

I was like: What the hell?! What is THAT?! (I am not the only one who thought at first, that it doesn't look ... well.... quite appropriate for a kids toy, right?!)

Okay, okay, it is something really innocent but honestly: who designed this?!
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Thank you to:



themumproject
turtle

Silence.

Dear Readers,

I am very sorry for my silence.

The days have been too short and my mind has been too occupied to write. One of my cats ate (rat?) poison and has been fighting for her (her name is Maya) during the past days. My 4 cats are a part of the family and Maya almost dying broke my heart every day.

This is Maya in her healthy days and this 2 days ago:


The vet left it up to me if I wanted to try a (costful) therapy or not since the chances were so slim. Of course, I chose the therapy and went to the vet every day - Maya got IVs and made through the nights. Yesterday, after 6 days of not eating, she actually began to eat again and has been walking around a bit this morning.

There is hope.

And I promise to go on writing as soon as my mind is a bit more at ease again.


themumproject
turtle

Our own Weirdwood Tree!

This is so crazy, it calls for its own blog entry ;)

Already last year, my husband noticed some kind of face on our tree. Well, by now the tree is reddish and the face even more distinct.
Yeah, yeah, I know... As a huuuuuuuge fan of the books and the show, it is clear to me that the Weirdwood trees are white with red leaves, but anyways! Let a "girl" dream....
 From now on, this will be my very own bearer of secrets:

turtle

Nothing is ever enough...

Does that sound familiar? Do you also feel like that?

I do - and actually, very often, probably too often.

No matter how much I clean, there will always be some crumbles underneath the couch or the table.
No matter how early I get up and how late I stay up, the day doesn't have enough hours.
No matter how much I play with my kids, I still have the feeling that i could be more.



People tell me that I doubt myself too much and that I should give myself a break. But isn't it good to question ourselves? Wouldn't we stop learning if we feel too comfortable? In the same time, I also agree with the others: too many doubts can be overwhelming. I think, as always, the magic is finding a good balance - a balance a way that leads through doubts AND self-confidence, without losing the ability to either trust yourself or accept criticism.

And yes, it's true: we all need to take a break here and there. But I admit that this part is difficult for me. If I sit down, I feel lazy and directly see the mountain of work that is waiting for me.

How do YOU deal with these daily struggles?




themumproject
turtle

How much shame is healthy?

When you have a baby, shame is probably not even in your mind. Yes, sure, maybe you have doubts about your "after-pregnancy-body" or about what others think about breast-feeding in public, but you don't think of your baby when it comes to the word "shame".

But the older your kid gets the more you will have to face it: shame is a part of our society and it influences all of us - even the youngest.

When I was a teenager, many kids began to mock me. They told me that I was fat and ugly and after a while, I believed them. I was ashamed of my body and honestly, I have been hating it ever since. When I was about 13 years old I slipped into Anorexia, a mean but very often under-estimated sickness, that almost cost me my life. I don't want this to happen to my kids!  But how to teach them this, while being full of self-loathing?

I think that I manage this obstacle better than i thought but I came across another "problem".
My aim is that my 4 kids love themselves - and that involves everything: soul, body, character...
Of course, they shouldn't be arrogant about it and still be open for criticism. Being a good person sometimes means to question ourselves and our decisions - but in the same time you should always be true to yourself. All this is difficult, even for us adults.



So, while I was explaining to my 7 year old daughter that she shouldn't be ashamed of her body, different scenarios crossed my mind: what if she kinda loses her sense of shame and shows herself naked in public places? Even in the public pool, I wouldn't feel comfortable with her getting dressed in front of everybody. At first, this surprised me, since I am not so picky about this myself. When I camped on medevial markets, I used the "Zuber" (that's like a huge old-fashioned hot tub in the middle of the market) with several strangers. Naked, of course - and I didn't care. I had been a naked model at the European Academy for arts for many years. (Showing myself like that, has always been my own way to fight the self-loathing. Weird, I know...)
But I wouldn't like my kids to be exposed like that. Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone, can take pictures and upload them. I don't mind pictures of my kids on the internet, but definately only with their clothes on!!

Also, we all need a certain amount of shame. That's at least my opinion. We need to know where our limits and the ones of others begin.
The difficulty is to teach our kids to be proud of their bodies, without it ending in a status of being shameless.
YES, I want my son to be proud of his body even though (or because!) his head is bigger than the "standard"!! BUT: Nope, I don't want him to take of his pants in the daycare and show his private parts to everyone (no, he doesn't do that, but I know a kid that happened to do this when he was younger).
My kids see me naked daily and I see them and all this doesn't make us feel uncomfortable. BUT they know that this only counts for our family members.

What's your opinion on this? How much shame IS healthy? And how do you deal with this part of raising your child/ren? I am curious, please share your experiences and opinions!
turtle

With a c-section you keep something important from your child!

That's what several women wrote in one of the "mother groups" on Facebook.
I was shocked! Even some mothers that had to have a c-section supported this statement.

Don't misunderstand me: of course, a natural birth is a wonder. But unfortunately, this wonder is not always possible. Luckily for us, we live in a time of advanced medicine and this is giving us so many more possibilities.

I know that there are many mothers that beat themselves up due to the fact that they couldn't have a natural birth. They think that they failed. I read this daily and it makes me sad. I never thought that I failed my kids, because they are ALIVE and healthy. I decided to have a c-section since it has been the safest choice. And even if a mother "could" have a natural birth but decides against it, I am sure that she has a reason for it and noone should even dare to tell her that she failed! It shocks and even disgusts me to read those statements.

To all the mothers that think the statement "children that were born in a c-section have been robbed of this wonderful experience" is innocent:
there are women that feel hurt by it, deep down in their soul. I had 3 c-sections (my 4 kids were born like that) and never regretted it, but there are moms out there that FEEL bad about it and a statement like that doesn't help.

We can all be proud of ourselves -  don't create even more difference, we already have enough of these unnessecary boundaries in our society!

turtle

You gave my life a sense!


(If you wanna read the whole story, please search for "pandoras box".)

When my daughter Anais was born, my whole life changed - she gave my life a sense, a meaning, an aim.
She was such a tiny little bundle, full of joy and really easy to handle. She slept a lot, only cried when she was hungry and always loved to cuddle.





Anais taught me what REAL love, unlimited love is. It sometimes overwhelmed me, because I had never felt such emotions before. It also scared me. I never feared so much for someone before. Suddenly, the precious life of this wonderful girl was in my hands - and my instincts told me to never leave her alone with her father.

Joy and fear were my daily companions. Anais brought me happiness and my ex-husband took it all away as soon as he arrived at home.
Luckily for me, he came home late most of the times. Due to work? I don't think so and never did but I honestly didn't care anymore. Each time he came home really late, I jumped in bed as soon as I heared his car and acted like I was asleep.
This didn't work all the time and then, I had to hope that he wasn't pushing sex.

But something else was worse: the realization that he didn't care for his own daughter. Of course, I had already seen that he wasn't really close to his first child, but I always tried to convince myself that it was only a phase. I know, stupid, right?! But sometimes we try to hold on to the last straw to not loose all hope that is left. It turned out that he simply didn't care and that our daughter was more a bother to him than anything else.

I wasn't allowed to take her into our bed, so when she couldn't sleep I brought her to the couch and cuddle there with her. Very often, I sneaked out during the nights and laid down on the floor next to her baby bed.
I felt lost in this big house, with this choleric man and often simply wanted to take my daughter and run away.





Since Anais gave me strength, I started to tell him that I wasn't happy and each time it ended in a bad argument that lasted for hours.
He kept telling me that I won't be able to raise our child on my own and constantly threatened me that he would do anything to "keep" me, even if he had to take Anais away from me in order to "convince" me. It was a horrible time and even the violence was nothing in comparison to the psychological damage he did.

I still doubt myself on a daily basis, although, deep inside of me, I know that I am a good mom - because I LOVE my kids and would do anything for them.


Dear parents,
I BEG you not to stay with your partner "only because of the kids"! They always feel what's going on and they suffer. I waited too long, don't do the same mistake!


(I will tell you more about what happened and how I jumped off the wagon, but I have to take a little break from this, since many of these memories will come back too quickly and will then haunt me in the nights. Thanks for your understanding!)