In 2000, I stared at what appeared to be two lines on a pregnancy test. Certainly, that couldn’t be two lines. There’s no fucking way that’s a line. There’s just no way.
Turns out that against all odds, I was, indeed carrying a second line.
With that second line, my life changed.
When that second line emerged from my girl bits as a boy child, life as I knew it was over. I was a mother.
Since I could walk, I’d dreamed of becoming a doctor. I’d been aiming for that in my overachieving scholastic career as long as I could recall. And now, a second line changed it all.
Certainly I could’ve pushed through, become a single mother in medical school – assuming, of course, that I’d even make it INTO medical school in the first place – and seen my kid about a weekend a month. I know what it takes to become – and be – a doctor. I also knew that motherhood had to come first.
I ditched the whole thing. Everything I’d worked for, everything I’d ever thought I’d do, that second line changed it all.
Enrolled in nursing school, we all know I was miserable. It’s like going out for a really delicious steak dinner and getting a plate of chicken. Both good in their own right, but you wanted that steak, motherfucker. You can’t substitute chicken for steak and pretend it’s the same thing.
For years after I had Ben, I searched for that one thing. That one elusive thing that would give me a sense of worth, a sense of value, a sense of pride. For years, I wanted something to validate my life.
When I started Mushroom Printing on a whim back in 2003, I discovered a tiny hint of that. I’d never call myself a writer, and certainly the things I wrote there were about as safe as things COULD be, but I began to see the world through a different lens. Stories were everywhere, just waiting to be told. All I had to do was tell them.
I simply had to use my words.
And when I started Mommy Wants Vodka, I did. It was like Mushroom Printing Light. Here is where I learned to open a blank box, see that blinking cursor for a fraction of a second before I let it all out. And I have. Words poured out of me – feelings I didn’t know I had simply materialized on the page without a second thought.
I’d found it. My calling. That elusive thing I’d spent so many years chasing had finally materialized in front of me, justlikethat.
I’d never known something so easy before. Everything else I’d ever tried to work for was that: work. But my words, they were simply there.
I sit here, seven (eight?) years later, and I wonder what I am to do with these words. Certainly, I’ve managed to found both Band Back Together (which is waiting on the non-profit paperwork!) and Mushroom Printing (in a group blog format). I’ve managed to write five to six days a week for Mommy Wants Vodka. I’ve picked up freelancing gigs here and there. I’ve toyed with the idear of writing a book.
And I wonder what else I can do. The only way I know to go is to 11, so I know I must do more. Harder. Faster. Better.
The answer is now elusive.
What more am I to do with my words?
Pranksters, what am I to do?
A little more than a month ago I found out my best friend, who is only 16 like me, was cutting. After my initial shock, with a lot of arguing and tears, I managed to convince her to tell her parents and get help. Since then she has been diagnosed with depression and has begun seeing a therapist.
Just recently she was talking about how she is sort of relieved that it’s out, but that she feels like any therapist can’t really help her, and she is anxious about getting medication.
I know that this process is really rough in the beginning and that over time she might find a combination of therapy and/or medication that works for her, but for now I want to help her in anyway that I can. I’m always try to listen to her, but she says that talking about it doesn’t really make her feel better.
How else can I help and support her?
Prankster, can I just tell you how proud I am to know you? What an amazing friend you are to your friend? Because you are. I hope that one day you, too, will be MY friend. You’re a good soul.
As for what you can do for your friend, just be patient. Listen when she needs you to. Acknowledge that her pain is really real. Suggest alternatives to cutting. Offer gentle, quiet support every day, and remind her that she is loved. Being stuck underwater with depression, well, that means it’s often hard to see the surface; remind yourself that there ARE people above holding out there hands.
So stand by her, encourage her as best you can, and remind her that she is so, so loved.
All of us should be so lucky to have a friend like you.
Dear Aunt Becky,
I need some advice. First let me just say that you are hilarious and when I grow up I want to be just like you
Now, some background information. I’m 25, married to a wonderful man and mother to a wonderful 3 year old. We both have steady jobs and work full time. Currently we are living paycheck to paycheck, just scraping by. My husband wants another baby. I don’t.
At least I don’t think I do.
I do a majority of the housework, dishes, laundry all that jazz on top of working 40 hours a week. Due to my husband’s hours I also do the majority of the child-rearing. Add three dogs and a cat to the mix and by bedtime I am completely exhausted. Not to mention the fact that we have very little family support. My biological mother is incarcerated and the woman who raised me passed away two years ago. So that leaves me an orphan. My in-laws are fantastic but they are in their late 60’s and 70’s.
I am terrified that if we have another child we are going to drown. I was raised poor, so as long as we have a roof overhead (we do) and food for our bellies (we do), I’m happy. At this point, the only thing that is keeping me on the birth control is money. We just don’t have enough of it.
Is it ridiculous to want to wait until we are more financially stable? Please help Aunt Becky!
Less Money, Mo’ Problems
Ah, the old quandary: when to have another baby.
I’m afraid I can’t answer that question easily, but I can say this: waiting until the time is easier financially is much less stressful on your life. I’ve had a baby when I was so butt-broke I couldn’t even buy him a single thing myself. I relied on the kindness of strangers, who were unbelievably kind to me. That didn’t make it less hard. Then, I’ve had babies who I can – without thinking too much – buy formula, diapers, and clothes for. While I’ve managed both sets of circumstances, it’s much harder the first way.
However, that does not mean it is impossible.
But you should wait until YOU are ready to have a second child. Spending nine months waddling around is hardest on you, not anyone else.
I wish you the best of luck, Prankster.
Dearest Rockin’ Aunt Becky,
I’m due soon with my very first crotch parasite. So I’m doing all my first time parental duties and reading the books, checking out the websites and generally preparing.
Why is it that in every book or website the people post how “magical” and “wonderful” this whole pregnancy thing is? I’m sorry, not one bit of this has been “magical” for me. I gained 10 lbs of bloat during the first trimester, have zits the size of jupiter, was sick for 15 weeks, and am generally unhappy. I have a child growing inside me who has been kicking me so hard since 16 weeks I jump out of my chair at work. Typical posts online are “oh i loved it when my baby kicked it was such a wonderful feeling”.
What? Really? How is it wonderful? I feel like my insides are being pummeled into tenderized meat.
I’m wondering when I’m going to feel the “magic”. Is it a drug women take? I feel really alone in feeling like this and everytime I post something about it on Facebook or The Twitter people think I’M the crazy one. I’ve learned to just shut up and take it b/c my lonely “miserable while pregnant” island has a pretty small population, of One, me.
So in conclusion, Aunt Becky, Please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t WAIT for this stage to be over and to hold my little girl.
If I am the only one who feels this way, please mail me some of those “I Love Pregnancy” drugs everyone seems to be taking (along with a Shut Your Whore Mouth t-shirt).
Knockered up in RI
Bwahahahahahahahahahaha! Are you kidding? ARE YOU KIDDING? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I love my children dearly, but I will be the FIRST to admit that I was the most miserable, unhappy, fat, and unpleasant pregnant woman on the plant. Maybe you’d have sat on MY misery island with me.
Feel better? You should.
P.S. Better name the baby “Aunt Becky.” Just, you know, because.