Judge Me Not

“There really is no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus, judge not” ~ Thomas S. Monson
I came across this quote at a very important time this past week. Lately, I have been struggling with my life not panning out the way that I believed at this point it should be. I have been struggling with coming to terms that I may not finish my education at the time I was originally supposed to. I have been struggling with coming to terms with a new life plan I may need to inact upon my family. I have been struggling with how to cope with all the change around me, both physically and mentally. 

I feel that in this world it is so much easier to pass judgment on people before we even do our research to understand why they make the decisions that they do. We so quickly judge a person on the decisions they might have needed to make for their lives before knowing their circumstances, their struggles, and their own ideals that led them to their decision. It is quicker to label someone’s choices as wrong when they don’t coincide with what we would have done for ourselves. But do we not remember that someone else’s life is not our own? 
When my fiancé and I announced the pregnancy of our son we of course heard a menagerie of things. You’re too young. This is foolish. Your lives will no longer go the way you want it to be. You’ve ruined your future. This is a mistake. The negative far outweighed the positive. 

What we would have loved to hear was: This is a blessing. Congratulations. You will find a way to make this work. You can do this as long as you go through it knowing it may not be easy, but it will be worth it. All things worth it deserve the struggle. 

Most importantly I would have loved to have heard: You will be okay. This baby will be loved. You will find your way. 

The positives, though their, were shadowed by the negative. No one ever questioned why we chose to keep our baby for our reasons, but instead why we would have dared to keep him. No one ever questioned our intentions, our plans, why now. No one thought to inquire why we thought, at our age now, that this was the time to endure this life journey. No one thought to ask our circumstances that could have played a part. It was much easier to judge. 

Truth: The moment that test gave me two lines I felt relief.

Why? Because I was in a state of panic from receiving a diagnosis that I thought would end my life. I was in a state of panic because my life had just been turned around and it felt like my world was crashing. I was in a state of panic because not only did I feel like my life was being ripped away from me, but also that I’d never get to live through the moments I was about to enter. 

But it’s much quicker to judge and give an unwanted opinion rather than try to understand the situation. 

Lately, I’ve truly been struggling. I have chosen to leave the majority of it to myself in fear that I’ll get the same negative views on my families life choices. I’m fearful of the comments that could be made when I speak up of my troubles. I’m fearful of the judgement that will inevitably be passed when we speak of our choices, our plans, our hopes for our future when no one knows the backstory, the thought, the research we’ve done before making these decisions. I fear my own decisions because the negativity has swallowed me whole in a way I did not think possible. It has brought on a sense of doubt that I have never felt before. A sense of doubt that I am now struggling to break. 

I never thought that planning MY life, and the life that MY family would live would come with so much unwanted opinion. Yes, we had a baby young. But did he struggle? No. Do you know the real reason as to why he is such a blessing to me? Maybe, maybe not. The real question is do you ever stop to think and ask why we are living the way we are living? Do you? 

I might not finish my education on time. I feel guilty and ashamed because those who viewed my son as a mistake will simply use that as the excuse to why I am not fulfilling my potential in a timely manner. That could not be far from the truth. This makes me fearful. Fearful that I will get backlash and shamed judgement because people who we look to for reassurance and acceptance will simply place their own views and opinions on a matter they truly know nothing about. 

Why do we think it is okay to judge someone without even knowing their situation? 

And we ask ourselves, why should we care what people think? And yes, why should we? But a basic human need is acceptance. A basic human need is compassion. 

When we judge people on an issue we know nothing about we take those needs away. When we tell people their decisions have made them failures we strip them of their free-will without even discerning their need to fulfill their wants and goals. We take away their confidence without understanding their reasoning. 

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. 

We have been told this saying since kindergarten and yet have fallen short on understanding basic human compassion. 

So, in closing. Someone else’s life decisions are not an area meant for judgement with lack of understanding. Of course, guidance and counseling are essential, but thinking you understand someone else’s life before actually understanding are not okay. Just because someone is not following the same path as someone else does not make it wrong. Stop comparing people. Stop comparing situations. Nothing is identical in this life. Everything holds a slight amount of uniqueness. It’s what keeps life such an adventure. 

“You have Multiple Sclerosis.”

It scares me to think that one day I won’t be able to walk without assistance. 

It scares me to think that one day I won’t be able to be the mother I envisioned myself to be for my children. 

It scares me to think I might one day have no control over my body. 

But right now I’m just more angry than afraid. 

I’m angry because my body has betrayed me. 

I’m angry because my body isn’t working the way that it should. 

I’m angry that I feel like a part of my life was taken away. 

And I’m angry that I have to be fearful. 

I look at my baby and I’m afraid that one day I will be someone he will have to take care of. I look at my fiancé and think the same thing. I don’t want to be something someone has to take care of. I want to be completely independent. I want to be self sufficient. I want to go back to normal. 

But what is normal? 

Do I even know the answer? 

Maybe not. But I’d like to go back to a time where I wasn’t so afraid of my future. Where I didn’t feel like I was under a time crunch to experience everything and anything before my body begins to expire. Have a baby. Have more babies. Go to vet school. Finish vet school. Become an amazing vet. Set up life for your family. Buy your first home. Travel the world. Just be happy. 

How can I just be happy when I’m so afraid? 

At 20 years old I found out I was having a baby. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t angry. I felt blessed.  Blessed because I was still young, still in very early stages, and still felt fine 98% of the time. I knew that somehow I had been given this baby because it was the right time for me to become a mother. It was the right time for me to experience something I’d been dreaming about since I myself was a child. I knew that I could be the mother he needed now, if god forbid it would be taken away from me later in life. For that I am a little less angry and afraid. 

I am also less afraid to venture out and do what I want in life. I’m doing this no longer for myself, but for him. My body might have betrayed me. My body might be “sick”. But my body grew and delivered a baby that has taught me more about love in the last three months than I have learned in my 21 years on this earth. I will fight to the ends of this earth to be the mother this baby deserves, just as I will for any future children we may have. 

I’m choosing not to live in fear. 

I’m choosing not to live in anger. 

I’m choosing to live in peace and hope for the future I know I deserve. 

I’m choosing to live in the love my son basks me in every day. 

I’m choosing to live. 

Hard Decisions. 

Why can we so clearly remember the negatives people have told us in our lives, but find it so hard to remember when people tell us positives? 

Is it because we when seonw doubts our abilities, or the way in which we see ourselves, we find it that much more important to prove them wrong? Or could it be that we fear their negative view may be be the truth? 

For me, I can remember many of the negative things I’ve been told compared to the positive. I recall before I got my license being told I’d never be a defensive driver and so I strived to be a driver that held confidence in an activity I once held so much fear for. I recall being told I was ugly and fat even when I thought myself pretty, and I strived to destroy the body they had told me was unworthy. Lastly, I recall with such clarity when someone told me my son would ruin my life, or that I’d never accomplish the goals I had set forth for myself before he was conceived.  I’ve spent every waking moment since trying to prove them wrong. 

I thought that my son would be just like any other baby. I believed he’d want to either sleep or eat for the majority of his first few weeks. He did not. He wanted to scream in agony for hours, feed until his mommy cried in pain, and sleep when his small body became so exhausted from the entire ordeal. My son was not like the babies I had been exposed to, the ones who had been praised for their sleeping skills, and well temperament. 

Weeks passed by, and though doctors tried to find the underlying cause of my little boys grief, they could not find a long lasting solution. During this time I was also going through trials within my mind of needing to return to school to get to vet school on time, to graduate college on time, to prove that having my miracle did not deter me from reaching my end goal. I worked myself to the bone to be able to be there for my sleep deprived infant while still maintaining my status as a student who had goals to achieve in a timely fashion. I would prove everyone who ever doubted me wrong, and I would come out victorious with my degree and a one year old at my hip on graduation letting the world knew I did it. 

But it wasn’t until I was rocking my little sleep fighter for the fourth time that evening, crying with him in frustration because he wouldn’t sleep from his painful gas, that I realized I was not thinking of him entirely. I was so focused on the negative perspective someone had placed upon me that I was not giving someone I had fought so hard for what he needed. It dawned on me that me stretching myself so thin was not good for neither myself or for my son. So I decided to change. 

I was currently taking my second class since my theee month old baby had been born- the first starting when he was only a mere six weeks old. I had gotten an exam back from a day after a night where I slept for maybe three hours. But wait- I am forgetting a very crucial part of this story. Bear with me. 

When Luca came home from the hospital he had gas that brought him to screams of agony. This of course made it very difficult for him and I to get any sleep. I also was new to breastfeeding, and because of the lack of educating I had done on the actual process (I had done PLENTY of research on milk supply though) it was a very rough start. I had been told he was starving, then he gained rapidly because he wanted to eat: All. The. Time. However we finally fell into a groove. We were then diagnosed with reflux and given Zantac. This worked for roughly a week or two. During this introduction of this medication Luca was also hospitalized for a cold with a fever of 101.7….but that’s a story for another day. When the Zantac became ineffective his dose was raised due to how weight sensitive the medication was. We thought we were on the mend once again, and soon we’d have a happy baby once again. 

We were wrong 

When he turned two months his body took a nose dive into giving my sweet boy constant pain. Either through the gas that threw him around all night long or through his favorite hobby: eating. He’d latch on to the breast, whimper to and scream, latch off while screaming, and finally scream& frantically search for the breast on repeat. We learned finally if we rocked while he ate it aided in the feedings, but did not aid in the spit up. 

We went through two straight weeks of screaming. Two straight weeks of agony, continuous calls to the doctor, and finally plenty and plenty of tears. I was growing increasingly anxious of bed time. Increasingly frustrated with my infant and those around me. I felt so lost. I began to question whether I was making this up in my mind or if he was truly as miserable as he seemed.  On top of it all we found out he had a severe lip & tongue tie. I just wanted my son to feel better. He was such a happy baby, but when it was bad….it was BAD. 

Finally we were referred to a GI specialist and we began trailing allergies. I had stppped dairy in thought that that was what was causing my child’s pain, but this was not the case. On our first try we switched to Nexium, a new probiotic, and kept the same diet. Two weeks later and my child was a miserable, much more pained baby. We went back to Zantac, eliminated beef, soy and dairy, and also were scheduled for an ultrasound. This momma hadn’t slept in a month and her baby was in agony. So when the ultrasound tech said to not feed for four hours she wanted to cry. He also had been running a low grade fever for over a week that the doctors kept saying was viral. But at some point a mother has to trust her intuition, right? 

So on to this afternoon, the day after the last GI appointment. I kissed my sweet boy goodbye after checking him to have a low grade fever AGAIN. The entire ride to school I cried. I cried for leaving my sweet angel again, I cried knowing the road his father and grandmother had this evening in putting him to sleep, I cried because I was trying so hard to prove I was strong enough to handle being a mother and continuing my education on time that I was not with my child. I was not there through this period because I was trying to be someone I needed to kiss goodbye. 

I was no longer just Bianca the college student. I was now Bianca the mother who was still attending college. I decided in that moment that I needed to put my son first. I needed to be there 100% and I needed to be the mother this baby needed. I needed to stop putting such unnecessary stress on myself for needing to finish something in a timely manner when I still had so much time left. I needed to stop adhering to the negative perspective someone had placed upon me. I needed to stop giving this negative notion that having this baby ruined my chances of being a vet power. 

So vet school is now planned for the fall of 2019. I walked out of my second summer class because I could not mentally handle not being there for my baby through this troubling time. I chose to be his mommy before an identity I had been for so long. I chose to embrace my new identity instead of hide behind my old in fear I’d fail the new. He needs me and nonnegative perspective will change this. I went back once and I will be the girl I dream to be. 

I will be going back in August to finish my degree, but as for grad school? That will wait one more year. One more year to better prepare for myself for the exam I must take for entry. One more year to get myself back on track mentally. One more year to enjoy my little human and make sure he isn’t suffering as he is now. I know I’ll never be okay with leaving him, but I know that when he isn’t having such a hard time it won’t absolutely kill me everyday to say goodbye. 

I’ve realized life doesn’t always pan out the way you think it will. Maybe that should have clicked long before with everything I went through, but at least it finally settled into my mind. For now I will make sure to do the best work at this job as his mother. He will always come first, no matter who I think I need to prove wrong. In the end, being called a mother is the best positive perspective I will ever want to remember being called. 

I always wanted to be called Mommy. 

I cannot remember a period in my life where I didn’t want to be a mom. I remember being a child and always wanting to play house. I remember wanting to babysit constantly. I always wanted to be around children, and I swore for a very long time I’d end up in a career that would allow me to work with them. When I realized that my true passion was working with animals I began to timeline how long becoming a vet would be. I began thinking about how I could start a family and have enough energy and time to be the mother they would need me to be while still attaining the goals I set forth for myself. I wanted to be a young mother, much like my own mother was, so that I’d have a long life to be the mother I had had in my life.

My relationship with my mother was so unlike those of my friends in childhood. I could talk to my mother, confide in my mother, and feel a sense of kinship that made me feel like she would keep me safe forever. Many of my friends lacked a relationship with their mother, or if one was present it was strictly just a regular structured parent type. My mother and I grew together, and though we had many rough patches, I glowed in the envy of my friends for our relationship. She was understanding, kind, and made me the strong mother I know I will be. I vow to be much like my mother in raising my son and his future siblings. 

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in June of 2016 I felt that my envision of being the mother I wanted to be had burned. One day I was feeling tingles in my legs and arms, weakness taking over my fingertips, and the next day I was being told I had a progressive disease that I knew so little about. I sat on the couch of a friends and listened to the message over and over. “Hi this is Dr., I just wanted to review the results of _⁠_⁠_ CSS studies um if you’ll be kind enough to come to the office uh at some point during this week will make room for you um just call my office & inform whoever picks up that I have asked them to make room for you OK so _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ see you _⁠_⁠_ follow up whatever my schedule _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ certainly when you’re able to come in thank you bye-bye…” An hour later I walked into his office to be told my diagnosis. I cried. I cried because I was being told that my immune system was attacking my nerves, that my own body in all sense was attaching itself. I thought of what MS had be portrayed as: wheelchair bound. I cried even more. The picture of being the a parent, being a vet were all crumbling before me. I didn’t know how I would go on living with the pain I’d already been feeling, knowing that eventually it would get worse. 

About a month later after I’d began my shots I didn’t feel right. I was nauseous all the time, I was exceptionally tired, and I felt very off. I had already decided at this point that I would fight as hard as I could to continue to become not only a vet, but eventually the parent i set forth to be. I had arranged to finish college a year ahead of schedule, and my fiancé and I were set to marry in July of 2017. But when you mix alcohol, a bit of self-pity, and some other fixings you get my little miracle baby. My life changed the moment I got two lines on the at home pregnancy test, and even more when I found out my little peanut would be a little boy. 

My dream of becoming a mommy had come true, and when I held my little boy in my arms for the first time I felt nothing but shock and amazement that something of his size had been living inside me only moments before. I was elated by my little miracle, and I thought that feeling would last forever. But you know what they don’t tell you when you have a baby? Yes, when you’re pregnant you get pamphlet after pamphlet about postpartum depression. They say if the blues lasts for longer than two weeks call. But does anyone talk about how hard it is to be a new parent to a baby that screams for six hours straight, to a baby whose gas makes them screech like they’re being ripped from the inside out at times, to a baby who fights when eating, can’t be consoled, and who looks at you like you’re their entire world but you can’t fix what’s going on. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. 
I love my son. I cry because I love my son. Because it breaks my heart when he cries in such obvious pain from his reflux, and whatever other issue he seems to have going on currently. I cry because I don’t know how to fix it. I cry because I never thought I’d question why I wanted this, why I wanted to be responsible for someone when I’m such a mess myself. But I cry most of all because I know I’m strong and I’m angry with myself for not believing so. I made it through bullying, self-harming, medical conditions, hospitalizations, extreme weight loss, confidence loss, and giving birth to my gorgeous child. Why can’t I believe in myself? I made it through people doubting my ability to be a parent, staying in school while pregnant and mainting a 4.0 GPA, and yet still I feel like such a failure at times. 

No one talks about this. No one talks about the self-doubt you’ll have as a mother. No one will tell you to believe in yourself. Everyone has an opinion on parenting, and when you’re young you get attacked even more. The baby is cold. The baby is hungry. The baby only cries when he’s hungry. Burp him. Rock him. You’re not producing enough milk. Maybe he’s starving. 

Give a mom a break. 

We are all doing the best we can and we need to acknowledge this. We also need to acknowledge that this isn’t always easy. This isn’t always an easy adventure. It’s beautiful and magical, but it is also painful and heartbreaking at times. I look at my son and cry from how lucky I am to be his mother, but when he’s in pain and I can’t fix it I look at him and cry because i don’t know what to do and I am shamed to be his mother. 

We need to give ourselves a break. 

We need to start talking about how hard this can be. 

We need to be reminded that we are only human. 

And we need to be reminded we are doing the best that we can. 

My son will get better and will hopefully grow out of this painful phase, but I need to grow out of this self doubt phase and remember that I’m doing the best I can. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. I just wanted someone to call me mommy.