After Vader and the hell he put me through, in some ways I became really guarded. In others, however, I became reckless. I dated again but never loved. The moment a boyfriend said “I love you,” sheer panic filled me and I felt a very real urge to run.
I didn’t, though. I wish I had. I said those words back without meaning them too many times. I stayed in bad or untrustworthy relationships out of fear of so many things. I was so desperate to be with a guy who TRULY loved me and would never hurt me that I sacrificed my happiness in my search for him. I ignored the good guys who showed an interest, sometimes out of those same fears and sometimes out of loyalty to whichever non-Prince Charming I was dating at the moment.
I had known Diesel for years before he finally asked me out. By this point, I’d been single for a while. I had suffered through (what I didn’t have a name for at the time) post-traumatic stress disorder panic attacks, usually brought on by any kind of intimacy with guys. Even being alone with a guy, any guy, filled me with terror, most especially at night. I had finally started trusting males again as opposed to the hyper-vigilant state I’d been in after Vader waiting or looking for any number of bad things to happen. I even read a book you might have heard of: “He’s Just Not That Into You.” I really loved the book and the message it taught that we are all worth being with someone who not only cares about us but respects us. (Not a paid endorsement, but I do highly recommend it!)
In the beginning, I was scared of being in a relationship with Diesel. He was so patient, though. He talked me through panic attacks. He held me when I cried. He told me he’d never hurt me and kept his word. He loved me and meant it. He was everything I needed and wanted him to be.
Fast Forward in time, around our second wedding anniversary. We’d been together over eight years by this point. After years of just us two, we decided to have a baby. We wanted to share our love with a child of our own.
Apart from the nausea, pregnancy was great at first. Then came a lot of soreness. A LOT. I gained almost 60 pounds. Every movement made me hurt. I was up there in the ranks of major hormonal snarky pregnant women.
Then, towards the end of my pregnancy, around the eighth month or so, something changed in me. Closeness with Diesel caused panic attacks and crying. Crying I had to hide from him because I didn’t want to upset him. I was miserable from more than just the pregnancy.
When I finally went into labor, I experienced I believe at least an hour of pushing with no epidural before they decided they needed to remove Choo-choo surgically. I had never felt so much physical pain in my life. I was immensely happy when they finally injected me with the spinal anesthesia. Choo-choo was finally out, and we were a family.
Then came the moments in the hospital I wish I could forget. Choo-choo wasn’t eating or sleeping. He wouldn’t stop crying. I wasn’t sleeping. I couldn’t hardly move. Diesel had some pretty rough moments I promised not to mention, but let me just say we were all falling apart.
In the weeks that followed, I struggled nursing him and had to bottle feed him. He still cluster fed and cried if he wasn’t eating. I cried daily, usually on the side of the tub or even on the bathroom floor. I still wasn’t sleeping. Choo-choo only slept if held. I felt so completely alone. It was a new version of hell.
I again started thinking those thoughts that the world, and specifically Diesel and Choo-choo, would be better off without me. “Oh, God, please make this end!” I would cry. I didn’t want to kill myself, but I wasn’t opposed to God doing it for me.
Everyone kept telling me what I was going through was normal. “You’re a first-time mom,” they’d say. “It’s always hard with the first one.” No one suggested depression. Not my loved ones. Not my doctors. I was so angry and so empty with no answers, only questions of “What is wrong with you?” and “Why are you acting like that?”
Diesel and I fought more times than I can count during this time. For the next two years, really. Our marriage was falling apart. I was falling apart. I didn’t have anyone to really help me through theses feelings. It felt like I’d fallen down a hole and had only a short amount of time until I’d suffocate. No one was going to find me. No one was going to pull me out. I was on my own.