Friday, November 27, 2009

1979

The year began with me ordered to bed so that I would not miscarry. Ha ha. Me, with a 2 and a half year old baby boy and an unhelpful husband. By this time he was not only not talking to me, but he wouldn't even look at me! I was massively pregnant with twins. Massive. It was unbelievable. I know that multiple births are now commonplace, but they weren't back then, and I would posit that they are never commonplace for the mother of the multiples. I was beginning my annoying consistency even then. I was pregnant by gum! And I wasn't due until March 1. My tailbone was about to break from the pressure the babies were exerting, and I could barely walk from the pain this was causing, but I was still pregnant. By the end of February, my doctor was marveling that I had not yet given birth and said that he would induce labor if I hadn't yet gone into labor within a week.

But on March 1 (exactly the due date) I went into labor and misguidedly refused anesthetic of any sort when offered. So, 100% naturally, I gave birth to two little girls, seven minutes apart. And the second one (my alcoholic child) was not an easy birth. After they were born, the doctor informed me that there was another baby. He was probably as shocked as I was, but not quite as worried about going through this process again. This baby was stillborn. This still makes me sad. I don't care how many children you have, you still don't want to lose one. (And when my daughter was pregnant, I advised her to take as many drugs as her doctor was willing to give her when she was in labor. I think that was one of the most insane things I have ever done - and it has lots of competition.)

When I got home from the hospital with the babies, I weighed less than I did when I got pregnant. I fit into my skinny jeans that day. That night, my husband and his friends went out for dinner and I stayed at home with the babies, sat on the sofa in my skinny jeans and drank an entire pitcher of margaritas. I was so very happy to be able to drink again. And so began a bout of daily drinking that would not end until I got sober in 1984....

My husband started traveling extensively again. With three small children, I wasn't even able to go to the grocery store without another adult to help me. I would either get a neighbor to help me, or I would get a babysitter. In order to get a babysitter, I would have to get a neighbor to watch the kids so that I could drive to pick up a babysitter... I couldn't physically handle all of my kids in the car. When the twins were three months old, I broke my right wrist while roller-skating. That didn't help matters.

I don't know exactly when it was, I know it was a summer night in 1979.... we were invited to some fancy schmancy party my brother had at a ski resort - which was so lovely in the summer - I was drinking a lot and having fun in my disco dress and my husband got mad at me and left me there! Well, I got a ride home all right! I showed him. I got a ride home with the biggest "player" in town, and we "played" plenty.

My drinking went into turbo drive with the addition of cheating. I turned into a country song. Come to think of it, I started listening to country music. I was trying to be a good mother by day, which isn't that easy when you are sick as a dog, and then as much as I would swear I wasn't going to drink that night, I would. Some nights, I would get a babysitter and hit the bars. There weren't too many young women in this small town in New Mexico who drank in bars, so I was a bit of a novelty. Or I would get a babysitter so that I could go paint watercolors in nearby towns - and do nothing but drink in bars. I came to "befriend" several young men in one nearby town. Oh, it was all so sordid. And I could not wrap my mind around the way I was behaving. Oh good Lord, I needed a drink so bad.

At around this time, I was also attending a prayer group. In that group I met a wonderful group of women. I am certain I tried their patience. Maybe it is because of their prayers that I am alive to write this today. One night when my husband was out of town, I hired one of the prayer group ladies' daughters to babysit my kids for a few hours so that I could go out for a drink with my neighbors. They were going to a nice bar for a cocktail and I was sure I wasn't going to get into trouble. But I didn't get home until 5 o'clock in the morning and when I got home there was a furious 15 year old girl sitting there waiting for me! The daughter of a lady from my prayer group! I wrote her a huge check, drove her home, and called her mother later to apologize.

She said she was plenty mad at me. She said her daughter was plenty mad at me. She said she had prayed for me and that she would continue to pray for me. She said that when she prayed for me God had told her that I was "lonely." I thought at the time that was convenient - and I hoped she believed it, but I knew I was just a horrible person. But as I have written this for these days, I can see how alone I was. But this was not going to change until I changed. And I wasn't going to change until I admitted defeat and gave up on every single one of my ideas. And that wasn't going to happen for a while...

9 comments:

Lou said...

You have reminded me that I felt very lonely for a time in my marriage. But I cleaned house furiously, joined lots of committees.
So many different coping mechanisms:(

Annette said...

An amazing life story....thanks for sharing. I am really enjoying reading about your journey....how you got to where you are today.

Patty said...

We never think we are going to get into "trouble", just having a good time. Why couldn't anyone ever understand that?

Pam said...

I'm getting some "self forgivness" out of your writing your story. I feel compassion for that young mother...it is somehow translating into some forgivness for my "young mother self." Thank you Mary.

Scott W said...

Something about this post gave me visions of the TV show "Cops".

Mary Christine said...

Oh, but Scott, we had all our teeth, and we had nice clothes and we didn't scream and swear. The cops weren't much interested in us.

Ed G. said...

I can remember loneliness that few do...

Blessings and aloha...

Syd said...

Wow,I can't imagine having thee children and a husband who did't care. I beieve I would be lonely too.

Jude said...

my husband, (we're now separated) e-mailed this to me and I can relate to ur story so much. The twin girls, painful traumatic birth;a slightly older child! Feeling lonely in my marriage, isolated, and unattractive! I drank to cope or i thought it helped me to cope when in fact it sent my life out of control.
Ur story is amazing and its great to read about your journey - maybe one day I'll post mine!