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The Sacrifice of a Mom (Cat)

September 20, 2010

~Number of pregnancies and births: Four Pregnancies, Two Births
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: My oldest turned 3 on Aug 27 and my youngest turned 10 months on Aug 29. So, 10 months.

When I was 18 years old, I found myself pregnant with my first child. My pregnancy was easy, until the heartburn and food sensitivity started in my second trimester. When I was about 30 weeks pregnant, the stretch marks came. Belly, butt, thighs, behind my knees, and I got cellulite on my butt and thighs for the first time in my life. After I had my son, in my opinion, my body was abused and looked disgusting. I ended up with postpartum depression, I wasn’t ready to be a mother. I gave my son up for adoption to a very loving family. I always looked like I was 4 to 5 months pregnant. Although I didn’t know it then, my son had caused my thyroid to crap out. I couldn’t lose weight, and on top of that, I got a severe hormone imbalance. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I felt fat and I had stretch marks everywhere, and I had no baby in my arms. I felt like…people are just going to think I am fat, they wont know that I had a baby. When my son was a year and a half, I got pregnant with my second baby boy. At this time I was more ready for motherhood, and I embraced the body that was growing my little bean. I was so happy to have him in my life. I do feel sad to this day that I did not connect with my oldest son, and hopefully I can make up for it later in life. My youngest was born, and I still looked like I was 4 months pregnant, and still do 10 months later. At 2 months, my baby got a vaccine with egg in it, which he is allergic to. Things went downhill…. Four months of breastfeeding, and my body gave out. My son had severe allergies to nearly everything, and I couldn’t eat enough to feed him. At four months of age, I had to stop breastfeeding and give him special formula. By this time, I was still very heavy, 5’7″ and almost 200 pounds. I didn’t care though, because I had my precious baby. I had a lot of problems with my health and mental health during this time to. There were a few instances where I couldn’t take the crying and screaming, because he was in so much pain, I had to walk out. I felt like a horrible mom. At 6 months of age, he was still miserable, he had eczema all over his body, and cried most of the time. We couldn’t get doctors to do anything for him, so we gave him up for adoption to a family who had all the same allergies that he has, and the money to take him to doctors. It’s been 4 months since the adoption, and my skin is saggy and marked with scars, I’m 60 pounds overweight, but that’s okay. I’m okay with it now, because I grew two beautiful boys in this body, and I love them more than life. I have a tattoo on my chest with my youngest sons foot prints, so although I have imperfections, I have my sweet boy close to my heart at all times and people can see that I do have kids and I am not just fat for no reason.

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15 Responses to “The Sacrifice of a Mom (Cat)”

  1. Kerry Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    The idea of being a mom is great, but having children is a huge responsibility not to be taken lightly. I know sometimes we get the urge to create life, but it is a lifelong dedication and should not be something that is decided on by how we “feel” at the time. I guess it is good that you made the decision to give your boys a better loving home, but its also something you can prevent from either you or another child going through in the future. Please think long and hard.

  2. Emily Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I keep writing and rewriting this comment trying not to say anything judgemental, but it is really difficult. Bringing children into the world is not a game. And what other people think about the way your body looks should be the least of your worries right now. Please work on yourself and your own healing and in the meantime use reliable birth control which can be obtained for free at planned parenthood.

  3. mrs. petunia Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    You did a very brave and selfless thing by giving your children to loving homes that could give them the care they need. I know you will always love those boys in your heart. It also sounds like you have a pretty healthy view of your new body as well. Good job mama.

  4. taiyo Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Kerry: I don’t think this forum is for moralizing or chastising others. Cat shared her story, and it took a lot of courage. Thanks for your story, Cat. You’re beautiful.

  5. Tiphanie Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    It did take a lot of courage,, although I can see where Kerry is coming from. Its fifty/fifty in my heart, but not my life to judge. I guess I personally couldn’t imagine the pain and hell you must’ve been going through to give up your children,, and I know this next statement may cause a lot of commotion, but its just MY opinion,, at least you didnt abort them,, you gave your children the chance to be loved and do something in this world,, and gave those who maybe couldn’t concieve little ones to love and care for. Best wishes to you

  6. sara Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I wasnt too sure of what I would say at first, but after reading the first two comments I became a bit offended by the undertones. From what I can read, Cat clearly eplained that she has had mental health problems, and unless you have walked down that road, please do not be quick to judge. Cat I am happy you shared your story, and I am sorry for all that you have been through these past few years. I am sure that every decision you made was a difficult one and I am proud that you chose what you felt was best for your boys. You could have easily aborted them or you could have abandoned/neglected/abused them (as unfortunately too many mothers do who become overwhelmed) but instead you chose the most loving route. A route that would give your children the best chance at life. That to me, is a mother. Try not to worry about your body, you have been through a lot and as your mind and spirit heal, your body will follow. Take care of yourself and just for the record, I think you have beautiful breasts!

  7. Susie Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    It took a lot of courage to give up your boys to loving homes. That is very difficult to do, to admit one’s limitations and to do what is best for them. The boys are lucky that you cared enough to give them life and then to do what is best for them once they were here. You are a wonderful mom.

  8. Jessica Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 2:58 am

    I agree that moralizing directed toward Cat is totally uncalled for.

    Something that I’ve noticed on this site is that teenage moms and those in their very early twenties are disproportionately represented (that is, relative to the ages of all women having children) – perhaps simply because younger moms are more comfortable putting personal details of their lives on the internet.

    But I never see anyone on this site telling, for example, a 21-year old whose just had her fourth baby to “think long and hard” or get herself to a Planned Parenthood as if she has no idea how pregnancy occurs – commenters give her the benefit of the doubt that she is doing what she needs to do for herself and her children, even if we have no idea whether or not she is mentally or financially equipped to care for herself and for them.

    So here is Cat, admitting that she did not find herself prepared to care for her children – she didn’t even have to tell us why, but she mentioned physical and mental health problems. And so she gave them up for adoption. No further explanation is needed.

    This site is a place for women to come and share their stories of their bodies in a way that they may not be able to do anywhere else – it should be a safe place. As hard as it can be occasionally to read other women’s stories and not judge some aspect of their lives that you don’t agree with, you have to refrain from letting your comments stray there or this won’t be a safe place any more. (“what other people think about the way your body looks should be the least of your worries right now” – seriously?!) No suggestions of a tummy tuck when she didn’t ask, no recommendations of birth control when she didn’t ask. Save it.

    Cat, we hear your struggles, we support you, and you are not alone.

  9. sarah Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you

    Kerry and Emily….You are dishing out backhanded compliments. If you have nothing nice to say (even something disguised as nice) please-don’t say anything at all.

    Congratulations. That was selfless of you. I am adopted and have a wonderful family that I would never have had the option of knowing if my mother explored adoption. I just met my birth(first)mother/father this year and we are developing a great relationship.

  10. Shannon Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:58 am

    The last thing I posted was not put up,so I will try again. As a mother of a VERY sick child (who actually passed away at 19 months), I cannot fathom giving him up. You develop a bond with your child the moment you find out you are growing life. People always say “I don’t care what I have as long as it’s healthy…”. What I learned from having Connor is that we should say “I don’t care what I have as long as it’s happy…”. Of course a child that is sick will cry a lot. They do not understand what is happening to them…it is our jobs to just make them feel loved…

  11. Kit Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:48 am

    No judgement from me – we all make the best decisions we can for the moment. All I will say is that I actually found your story really heartwarming. Your love for your sons shines through and I think you’ve done an amazing and selfless thing (and probably hearbreaking thing) in giving your babies to loving homes. I salute you for that and for your bravery in sharing your story.

    As for your body, I think you look beautiful. Yes, you’ve got a few stretchmarks but honestly your skin tone and colour is just amazing and your breasts are fantastic.

    Stay strong and be happy, lovely mama.

  12. Alexis Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Many, many cultures in the world and in our country prioritize the child’s needs over the mother’s experience of motherhood. In my culture, a child with special needs or one who cannot be financially supported by the family might be sent to live with friends or relatives more equipped to support that child. It is not a criticism of the mother, but a value of the child.

    Shannon, clearly your experience with your son gives you a different perspective but I feel your comment is almost cruel. Are you saying because you were able to support your child, that Cat should have been able to as well? I would hope you would read Cat’s story and be thankful for the enormous blessing bestowed on you that you were able to care for your son throughout his life and not as an opportunity to match wits with another. Many women, whether they are able to keep their sick children or not, simply do not have the resources emotionally, financially or otherwise, to have the same experience you did. Please keep that in mind when you share your story with others.

  13. Shannon Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I do not think Kerry or Emily were harsh, they were honest. This site is where people come to not feel alone in their pp bodies…the thing about posting your story is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. While it was a great thing that Cat gave her sons to loving families…she gave them up because of PPD, and the fact that her son had allergies and cried a lot. If every mom that has PPD or a sick child gave him/her up for adoption, none of us would have children…and the foster care system would be way more out of control then they already are. As difficult as it is to take care of a child when we are depressed, or when our child is suffering, it is still our job as mothers. We love our children no matter what, and we are there for them.

  14. Colleen Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I feel like this got really nasty really fast. Many of the commenters have been as judgemental of other commenters as those who they are chastising. I went back and forth about commenting because I’m not quite sure what to say. If you’re going to say “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”…don’t say it in such a snarky manner, you know?

    I’m with Shannon. My child has been the picture of health but I still can’t fathom giving her to somebody else to raise after 6 months. Emily and Kerry both made very good points as well. Bringing children into this world is not something to be done lightly. And Jessica, I actually have read comments advising young mothers not to try birth control–it’s not unheard of. Maybe this wasn’t the place to say it, maybe it was. But Bonnie posted the comments so SHE obviously didn’t think they were that bad.

    Cat, I am glad that you found loving families for your babies. I’m glad that you have found acceptance of your body. I hope that the doctors are working on getting your thyroid evened out because that can help your mood and your health immeasurably. But please consider your previous experiences before you decide to have another child. There is no guarantee you’ll be able to have a relationship with your sons throughout their life, and it would be terrible to be deprived of something you want so much.

  15. Bonnie (SOAM) Says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Well, just because I approve a comment doesn’t mean I agree with it or like it. This has been a tough entry and I have actually deleted more than one comment on it. The ones I approved seemed to be trying to be gentle and supportive. Of course, how it is received will depend upon the person on the other end. I don’t know what kind of support Cat is looking for or needing so I hope she found positivity here rather than negativity. I am willing to bet, though, that her entire life and decision is more complex than these few paragraphs here.

    My personal opinion is that we are here to support. Period. Negativity in this site – even among commenters (particularly so?) – makes me feel uncomfortable.

    I am closing comments on this post now. Cat, if you would like to reply just shoot me an e-mail and I will post your comment for you. Blessings.


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