Four And Counting
It happened last night, four years ago at 11:13pm PST. My little turkey girl, Aubrey Frances, made her grand entrance into the world (in Santa Monica nonetheless – no wonder she loves the beach so much) after 26 hours of labor. Many moms, and dads, will tell you it was the happiest moment of their lives. Sadly for me… not so much.
- I wanted to kill my boyfriend (now my ex and co-parent) for SO many reasons I simply don’t have the time or desire to go into
- I had a horrible delivery and recovery
- Bottom line – I wasn’t excited about motherhood
Yes, I said it. I admit it. I’ll say it again. I wasn’t excited about becoming a mother. My pregnancy was not planned and my relationship was already on the rocks. But there I was, pregnant for the first time in my life at 34. I considered my age and my relationship status and decided to give it – the baby and the relationship – the good old college try out of fear that this may be my only opportunity to have a child. Even if I had chosen not to have the baby and broke up with my boyfriend, who knows if I would ever meet someone within my childbearing years that I wanted to reproduce with. I felt it could be now or never.
Also, I was really into my career. A career in an industry that does not favor women and really does not favor women with children. A career that I had been building for over 10 years at that point and I was finally starting to get some recognition in Hollywood. I was just chosen for the CBS Diversity Comedy Showcase and was headlining colleges across the country. The timing felt all wrong on so many levels and the stress of it all really took its toll on me.
When Aubrey was born, I did not cry. I did not feel joy or happiness. I was numb. I was angry. So depressed from my dysfunctional relationship, that I couldn’t savor that sweet moment. This is probably the most painful truth of my life as a mother and I hate that I will never get that moment back. There’s no do-over or rewind. But I’ve spent the last four years learning to forgive and let go and for me, motherhood has been a process, a journey.
After two months of post partum depression and escalating fights with my boyfriend, the dark clouds gradually lifted and I went into survival mode. I gave the relationship one last shot – talking him into couples therapy. When he stopped going with me after about three sessions, I decided to continue on my own and by the time Aubrey was around seven months, I decided to leave the relationship and become a single mom.
It was the hardest time of my life – moving out, finding a new home, legal proceedings for the custody agreement, re-establishing my career, all with an infant in tow – but it was during this period that I found myself again and began to truly love my daughter. Of course I loved her from the beginning, but it wasn’t until I started to shed the toxic elements of my life that I was able to really fall IN love with her and I can honestly say I have loved her more and more each day.
Having a baby was not in my plans and whether or not the decision to move forward with motherhood was for the right reasons, I guess is completely subjective. Even now, four years later, I can’t say that I made the “right” decision or the “best” decision, but I do know this for sure: I love my daughter more than anything in the world and I never want to live a day on this earth without her in it.
So this week is a celebration of her fourth year of life! For her, it’s a non-stop party week. Since she has two homes, she gets double the gifts and double the parties spread out over several days with the back and forth. (There are some good things about having separated/divorced parents.) She is having a blast and I hope I am creating some wonderful memories for her. For me, this week is a celebration of the gifts she has given me and the lessons she has taught me. A reflection on how far we’ve come and excitement for what our futures hold. Thank you, my little Aubrey, for showing me what it truly means to love and be loved. Happy birthday to you!
Oh Boy, You're Having A Girl
Over the next several months, I will be posting some of the blogs entries I contributed to LAMomsBlog. Sadly, SVMomsBlog (the umbrella mama blog for the LAMomsBlog) has decided to hang up their blogger hat. While I’m not nearly as prolific a blogger as many of the women from SVMomsBlog, they introduced me to the world of blogging in a kind and gentle way and fostered a sense of community for a unique group of intelligent, savvy, talented women here in the Los Angeles metro area that I was honored to be a part of. The upside is that through our posts and gatherings, I have made friends with several of these women and my life is definitely better knowing them.
Blogging also has allowed me to record thoughts and memories that I may have lost in the fog of early motherhood. For this, I am eternally grateful.
So please, allow me to take you back to July 2008. My little Aubrey was only 13 months old and I was thinking about different things back then. In particular, what it meant to me to have a little GIRL…
When I found out I was having a girl, I admit I was disappointed for a split second because I had a gut feeling it was a boy for weeks. However, once that passed, I was excited at the thought of having a mini-me and was eager to share the news. Responses of, “Girls are so fun to shop for!” and “I hope you like pink,” were heard a million times. But amongst the cutesy, positive responses were a shocking number of anti-girl, Debbie-downers that really threw me for a loop. These continued even after I had my daughter, and still today at 14 months. AND people will sometimes say them right to my face while I’m holding my daughter! Things like:
“I’m so glad I had boys. Girls are so emotional.”
“Little girls get the ‘I Wants’. They learn it from their mommies.”
“Wait ‘til she hits puberty – they’re terrible.”
“Enjoy her now while she’s still sweet.”
And the ever popular:
“Girls are easier in the beginning, but wait until she’s a teenager!”
Hearing these comments make my blood boil and the most amazing part of is that about 99% of the time, these comments are made by… women. I actually had a colleague tell me that her 5 year old daughter was, “a bitch”. WHAT?! I am a professional comedian, but she wasn’t joking. Being on the receiving end of these comments made me examine my own feelings about being female and my feelings towards my own mother.
I was well aware of my mother’s own lack of self-respect from day one. She has had a weight problem since childhood and spent years living vicariously through me as a somewhat overbearing stage mother. I really cried and begged her to not make me wear a muumuu and sing songs from South Pacific in front of all of my friends in the school talent show. And I begged her to not make me sing in church or play the piano for relatives. And when I was in 4th grade and asked her why women couldn’t be pastors in our church, her response was, “I wouldn’t want to listen to a woman’s sermon anyway. Their voices are so shrill.” When I told her I got my period, she said, “Well, now you’ve got THAT to deal with for the next 40 years.” Instead of buying me a training bra, one day she told me how embarrassing it was that she could see my nipples through my shirt. I could fill a novel with examples of how my mother taught me to hate being a girl.
Why is it that we, as women, are so quick to project our own self-loathing on to our girls and that all to often, women are their own worst enemy? I’ve been told that many women are afraid of dealing with daughters because they remember how terrible they were as girls. This may be true, but I’d be willing to wager that a mother or some female role model laid the same blanket of self-hatred and less-than onto them. It’s a vicious cycle and I’m determined to break it with my own little emotional, bitchy, selfish, promiscuous, difficult, defiant, fat, ugly, catty, gossipy, bad at math and science, bimbo, air-headed girl.
And just for the record, I really love my mother dearly and I know the only reason she did it was because her mother did it to her. There are far worse things she could have done to me and I give her all the credit in the world for raising four bratty kids without any help. I file it all away under the “Live and Learn” tab and I’ve learned to let it go by joking about it on national tv with a microphone in my hand. And I still get a little surly whenever I put on a muumuu.
Oh, and one more thing. Writing this post made me think of a plaque that hung in our dining room my entire childhood. When I was first learning to read bigger sentences, I used to practice reading it over and over. The words from Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte stick with me still, today.
After a very stressful and sleepless Christmas time with a super sick toddler, I’m VERY glad to be enjoying a two night getaway with my guy at an undisclosed location. I don’t want people bugging me, so don’t worry about where I am. Let’s just say there’s a hotel here with a bed and it’s getting REALLY slept on! YEAH!
I knew I was tired going into New Year’s Eve, but I was exhausted. I needed this catch up sleep so badly. Especially since I was finally feeling 100% healthy for the first time in over a month after a couple, back to back, long lasting colds.
I rang in the New Year in bed, slept late today, ate a breakfast big enough to feed a family of four, went back to bed, got up and wend to an afternoon movie where I ate candy and popcorn and then, I actually went to the hotel fitness room and worked out! For real, like ran two miles and lifted weights, did dips, abs, all that good stuff. Why? Because I then went to dinner and ate a dinner big enough to feed a pack of wild boars. I had a beer too.
I can’t believe that sleeping in a hotel and eating like a pig has become my dream get away, but for now, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do. I can’t think of anything else I’d have the energy to do either. Later this winter, I’d like to go snowboarding, maybe take my little Aubrey sledding, but for now, I’m all about sleep.
Oh and I did make a New Year’s resolution and, like my current location, I’m not sharing that either. It’s personal and needs to stay that way. 2009 was both wonderful and horrible for me and I hope I learned from the horrible and enjoyed the wonderful as best I could. My best friend made a list of her 2009 accomplishments and I thought that was such a cool thing to do. We often get caught up in the negative in life, focus on the “should haves” and forget to stop and appreciate how far we’ve come. I was a little upset that some things I really wanted in 2009 didn’t happen, but it’s a new year and there’s no use dwelling on the past. Onward to 2010! Attack attack attack… right after I’m done sleeping for one more day.