I can remember being a child and my biggest fear about the idea of Christ's second coming was that it would happen before I had children. I wanted more than anything to be a mother from a very young age. It is difficult for me now to understand how I managed to let my addiction get so out of control that it robbed me of the one thing I have always wanted.
I think honestly a lot of it has to do with my selfish reasons for wanting children. I spent so much of my life desiring love, all I ever wanted was to have people love me and approve of me. I can't say what made me feel so desperate for love and attentions but I did. I sought relationships and love through sex, and often participated in sex acts that I did not want to be in out of fear of being raped if I said no. Physical affection was one of the few ways I knew how to feel good about me so I became promiscuous and was devastated each time they walked away after having sex with me.
I began to think that if I perfected my bedroom skills and just did it good enough that they would stay, and began to allow my sexual persona dictate who I was. I liked being the favorite, I didn't mind having a reputation as long as they were bragging about my skill.
When one of my one night stands stuck around I was "in love" and ready to move forward and became clingy and needy and rushed everything. I was trying to force anything to stick, I just desperately wanted to be worth loving and keeping. I think this is honestly what fueled my desire for children, I knew how much I loved my parents in spite of the (unintentional) pain they inflicted on me and I wanted something to love me no matter what too. I didn't realize how horribly NOT READY for children I was, and at 18 I became pregnant and was secretly ecstatic...I miscarried and I dumped the father for being, "too nice." Yeah you read that right, he was supportive and treated me well and came rushing to my aide when i miscarried and what did I do? Left him standing at a pay phone in the middle of the night because I was scared...scared of what? A good guy who loved me and treated me like it?
Within three months I would meet the father of my first two children, and within two more I was knocked up again. I was 19 and broken beyond words when I gave birth to my first child, her father and I were a classic case of what you would call a toxic combo...abuse, drugs alcohol...neither of us had a really good example of love in our lives and it showed, I believe we loved each other but did not know how to live lovingly at the time. Our second child was born 2.5 years nearly to the day after our first. I had my picture perfect family, sort of...except that it was far from perfect. It was a story of addiction and abuse from both sides and emotional turmoil that finally ended in his prison sentence and me running again.
I never spent long single, I jumped on the next guy who stuck around more than one night and ended up engaged to him also, we lasted until I got pregnant and he convinced me to abort the baby and then left me two weeks later.
By then baby daddy number one was out of jail and we tried again, only to have it yet again end in disaster and it wasn't long before I met husband number one and baby daddy number two. This was the healthiest relationship I had had at this point and he was a 6 time convicted felon who was still on parole (my type back then lol) we married within 6 months of meeting and were pregnant the following month...FINALLY I DID IT RIGHT!!! I had my fairytale, or so I thought. Paradise shattered around me when yet again, my life failed to live up to what I so desperately wanted life to be and he had an affair...
No one could satisfy my insatiable appetite for 'love,' not my husband not my children, and I was very unhappy because what I was seeking I did not know yet could not be found in other humans.
I felt then that I was a good mom, especially after my third child, I stayed home, I breastfed, I prided myself on the fact that my baby did not eat jarred food because I made my own purees for her. I did the things that I felt made me a good mom but on the inside I was still feeling unfulfilled. I have always loved my children even though I didn't really know HOW to show love them, or walk in love...after all how can you give love if you don't have it? I didn't love myself and was incapable of fully loving my children because of that lack. I had dabbled on and off with drugs and alcohol, I discovered stimulants and loved the false sense of confidence and carefree ways that they gave me and the numbness. Unfortunately I would become so numb that I wouldn't feel the pain of losing my children when they were taken from me....I learned early on to dissociate in life and take myself away from the pain, I could fake almost anything till I made it happen.
Finally though something changed, when I sat in that hospital after trying to end the pain that was my life, I remembered my friend's response when I told her of my decision to sign over custody of my youngest child to her father when my addiction was getting out of hand. I had convinced myself that it was best for all involved because I was no good to her and I was 32 and had never lived, I became a mother at a young age and never got to 'live' and 'find myself.' She lovingly told me, "you are a MOTHER, that is who you are."
I didn't see myself as a mother, mothers don't mess up like I did, mothers don't give up like I did. Mothers are not weak and insecure as I was. So I set about my journey to 'find me' and really my journey was more along the lines of stay as high as humanly possible because the moment I started to sober up I would be crying uncontrollably. What began as a "one week of forgetting" became months of hard core drug use to try to cope and keep myself 'alive' I wanted to die when I came down, when I was high I didn't think about anything and time went so quickly...it helped me get closer to 'the end' in my mind.
Having the breakdown that led to my hospitalization was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was able to understand what was going on with my brain and get help to work through my deepest issues. Just having someone tell me WHY things happened in my brain the way they did was so incredibly freeing.
During my hospital stay I started reaching out again to my family and church family, people were praying for me and it was working...I got stronger each day in my spirit. I reconnected with my parents after avoiding them like the plague and found love and acceptance in Christ that I never though possible before. For the first time ever I finally understood the promises in the Bible were written for me too. Through my faith in God alone I have managed to stay clean, I have reconciled with my father after barely speaking for over 11 years. I now spend weekends with he and his wife and help him in is mission work.
I have learned that forgiveness is key to unlocking so many doors in life. I have had to forgive my parents for not being perfect, myself for my faults as a mother...all as God forgave me (He forgives and never again remembers our sin)
The reconciliation I have had with my father as an adult gives me hope that I one day too might be fully reconciled with my children. The one thing I have going for me that my father did not is a willingness to admit to my children and others the things I have done that were wrong. Since quitting meth, there has been a little progress with the rebuilding of my relationships with my children. My youngest I still speak to daily, in her eyes I am still perfect. My oldest two however, understand more of what went on and are rightfully angry, they wanted nothing to do with me, but Christmas morning, I got the gift that made everything else seem trivial...my son and daughter calling to tell me they loved me. Since then I have been able to talk to them a handful of times and I am believing for FULL Restoration of my relationships with my children and I am so thankful for their love and the opportunity to show them the mother they have always deserved but I didn't always provide.
The bottom line is this, my friend was right, in the end...I am a mother, it is who I am and who I have always wanted to be. I have made mistakes in this life that I can't change but I can make a stand and say that from this point on I will be the mother I am called to be and I will walk in accordance to God's will in my life where my children are concerned.
<3 Amber Lea
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