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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Giroux

The Burdens We Carry

From one of my previous beginnings of writing, I had shared about my journey into addiction and what drove me to it. I spoke about the deepest pain of my life, my darkest wound, and I would like to share it again here, as I feel not only is it relevant to the story but may be helpful to another woman who has shared this struggle and pain herself. I am reposting it from my previous blog, as I did not feel like rewriting it.


The entry is as follows...


This is the hardest thing for me to write about. I sat here for about 15 minutes before I could even start typing. I have so many moms in my life; most of my friends are mothers, and I deeply fear their judgement. I have so much pain and shame around this topic, and I have never truly spoken completely openly about it. Some of you may be triggered by this blog post, and all I can say is that this story, albeit short, needs to be shared. I hope that by sharing this, a woman somewhere who has been through a similar experience doesn't feel alone, and it may bring about some healing.







At 14, I got pregnant. I was at a friend's house with my "boyfriend" at the time, and we were going to have sex but needed a condom. We asked for one from the friend's brother and his friend, who gave it to us, but not before poking a hole in it. I didn't realize this happened; we had sex, and I got pregnant.





If I Don't See It, It Isn't There



I was in denial for a long time. At first, I missed one period, and I didn't think about it as I was only getting them for two years; I thought maybe it was normal to miss one here and there. Then I can recall my grandmother making eggs one morning, and the smell of it made me sick, and I ran upstairs to vomit. I knew then I was pregnant, but I continued to remain in denial. It was after my second missed period and confiding in a friend that I finally took a pregnancy test. Positive, of course. What the fuck. I remember actually falling to my knees and sobbing because I couldn't imagine telling my grandparents; I just couldn't. My mom getting pregnant at 16 was such a catastrophic event for them, which they built so much anger and shame around. There was no way I could follow in her footsteps and no way I could share that information. So I waited even longer.



I finally couldn't take it anymore, and I decided to tell an adult. I was getting to know my father then; we hadn't even met yet, and I had had some nice conversations with my stepmom, whom I just felt comfortable with, so I called her from a pay phone at school and told her. Of course, her advice was to tell my grandparents; there was no other option.



Here is the thing, parents: ALWAYS give your children space to speak up about their feelings. My house, my rules, my way or the highway shit doesn't work. YES, there needs to be rules and respect, etc. Obviously, that's not what I am saying. But while you are the hierarchy and the authority of the house, you KNOW you're not perfect, only human, and like I spoke about before, working your own trauma blueprint like every other parent. Giving your child the ability to be honest without freaking out and being consistent with that is the KEY to keeping open communication with your child. They need to know what they share with you will be safe with you, and while there will be consequences for bad behaviour etc., they NEED to know they are always safe, loved and NOT JUDGED. This fear of disappointment and judgement will lead them to seek out trust in others who are NOT you. It will most likely be their friends who don't know any better than them or other adults who may not give the same advice you would.






So I finally got the courage to tell my grandmother, and to this day, I can't remember her exact reaction; it's like I blocked it out. By this point, I was showing a little, and everyone at school knew because my now ex-boyfriend told everyone. When I told him I was pregnant, he was so understanding, until the next day at school and all of a sudden, I am a liar and a slut. I was stared at, yelled at, and bullied, girls wanting to fight me because I was supposedly some whore. And while I was so fearful of what would come next, after I told my grandmother, I got some sense of relief. We talked about it and had a doctor's appointment, at which point I decided to have an abortion.



The fear and shame I feel around even saying the word still sits in my body, tensing my muscles and filling me with dread. It's important to understand that there is never a woman, no matter her age, who walks into an abortion clinic with their head held high, super proud of their decision. It's the heaviest feeling I have ever felt, similar to the grief I felt when my grandfather died, but heavier.

As a child, I was just scared. The building had security and locked doors for safety, which, at the time, I didn't realize was for MY safety...


I was too far along for a single-day procedure, so I had to make two trips. I can't recall exactly, but I was somewhere around 16 weeks pregnant, bordering on a late-term abortion, they said, and they had to insert something inside me that would expand so they could pull the baby out. I remember the ultrasound that they had to do prior to the procedure. To this day, I don't know why the nurse couldn't turn the screen away from me, but to this day I remember seeing that screen, my child on that monitor, right before I had her ripped from me ( I don't actually know if it was a boy or girl, she just felt like a 'she' to me).




A Constant Pain




When I look back through the eyes of the child, all I feel is fear and sadness. But when I look through my eyes today, It becomes, at times, overwhelming, and it's not a place I visit often in my mind. The physical pain was excruciating and sharp, like ripping or tearing something open. I can remember a blood-soaked towel, feeling like I was in some nightmare, just wanting it to end, NEEDING it to be over. I have no idea how long it took: 10 minutes, 20, an hour; I honestly have no recollection of time because in that room, bathing in pain, while life was being taken out of me, a part of me ending...time stood completely still.



No one prepared me for the emptiness that followed. It was pure and complete grief, loss, hollowness. I felt like all of my insides were bare. I was numb, empty, like a vast desert with zero life, darkness, just endless darkness. This is how my journey into drug abuse and addiction began. No one explained what was going to happen to me EMOTIONALLY after having a late-term abortion. Life inside of you one moment and gone the next. The irony was one of the classes I was taking at the time was home economics, and we had to take those fake babies home for three days. While I was going through the trauma of ending my pregnancy, I had to live as if I were a mother, caring for this doll for three days. I can remember lactating in class. Suddenly, my shirt was soaked, and it was funny; even though I had no idea what was going on, I did at the same time. It was so incredibly painful, walking around in this haze of grief I didn't understand. Eventually, everyone got word I had had an abortion, and I just couldn't live with it anymore. I begged my grandmother to let me change schools so I could be with the friends I knew from elementary school. I think she felt for me because she finally said yes, and I got to get away from all the noise on the outside but not on the inside.



It really wasn't long after that that I started using. I really tried to stay on the straight and narrow, to focus on school and get good grades; I even got my first part-time job at Wendy's. I was living the normal high school life on the outside, but on the inside, I had suffered tremendous trauma, and I had no idea what to do about it. I was told we weren't to speak about it because my grandfather didn't know about it. So I never brought it up again, not wanting to upset my grandmother and risk my grandfather finding out. I just needed to FEEL again, ANYTHING, or truly, I felt like I might die from the emptiness.




Filling A Deep Void



So when I was offered Ecstasy for the first time and was told how it would make me feel, I almost jumped on them right then and there for a lifetime supply. YES. Please make me feel anything that isn't THIS. Drugs filled the void and met the need to FEEL something because I wasn't healing, so I medicated, masked, and avoided, which is what so many people do today with their trauma. They medicate, mask, and avoid their pain, bleeding on others who never cut them and destroy themselves in the process.




My Daughter would have been 17 years old this year. I often wonder what she would look like if she would have my eyes, my attitude, my smile. If she would be musical like me, artistic and creative if she would like reading, what kind of boys she would be into. I often wonder about her, what my life would be like as a mother, having someone to give all my love to, someone to look after. Hearing her call out "Mom" and knowing that no matter what she needed, I would take care of her, that I would protect her with my life at all costs, to keep her safe and loved beyond measure. I can't explain this feeling, it's like there aren't enough words to describe it truly. I do not really regret anything in life, I can't. I know I did the best I could with what I had, and who knows what kind of mother I truly would have been at that age. I know I can't go back, and I AM proud of the person I am today, happy with my life. But I do wonder, I do wish I could have known my daughter; I wish I could have been the person who could take care of her. This is just one of those things you live with. Just because it was a choice I made doesn't mean I don't suffer grief. It doesn't mean I don't ache, that I don't miss a person whose face I have never truly seen.




I share this, as I said above, so that a young woman who may be struggling knows there is someone out there who has been there; you're not alone! I also share this in hopes that parents will see just how important it is to be aware of your behaviour towards your children. My grandmother's fear of me turning out like my mother forced her to control me, which forced me to rebel. I had the freedom to express myself and discover my own identity, so I had to have those needs met elsewhere to breathe. Now again, none of my behaviour was my grandparents' FAULT. It was simply a RESULT of them leading with their trauma blueprint. This is why it is so important to address your own trauma, face it, heal it, and not let it bleed on your children.



Gone But Not Forgotten



I walk alongside this pain every day. I don't always feel it as deeply as I am now, in this moment. But I do experience it when I hold a child or when I see a pregnant woman. Still, to this day, if I sit and close my eyes and go back to that time, I can feel the life I once had inside of me and the contrasting feeling afterward. It's a grief, a scar, a passenger on my soul. I live with it. I bear it, and I have been bearing it all these years. But now I don't have to bear it alone, nor do I have to hide from it.



When will we see we are all connected? When will we see we all walk this earth bearing weight and pain, all suffering in some way? When will we see that there is a way to utilize that pain for good? I hope you know that whatever you suffer from, whatever your trauma blueprint is, there is always a way to make it your strength. There is always a way not just to exit the darkness but to harness, befriend it, and use it for the greatest good of your life.

I see you, I love you, you are not alone. And to my daughter, wherever you may be, please forgive me and know I love you beyond words, space and time, and you will forever live in my heart.


Amanda xo


.......


That was my entry from 3 years ago. I copied and pasted it because, quite honestly, writing about it again would be too painful for me. I want to add that later, I spoke with friend who has some, we will call them gifts, and she believes I was having a son, not a daughter, and the healing I do around the topic, the more I speak to God/The universe on it, the more it feels like my Son. Either way, it is. loss carry with me. Some losses, some choices, you can't shake the pain fully away. Maybe a part of me wants to hold onto it. Maybe I feel I don't deserve to let it go.


I'm still figuring that out.



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