My third pregnancy didn't save my life, but it certainly changed it. I would never put the type of pressure on my son that comes with saying, "you are my reason to live, you saved my life." I will, however, say that whatever had been lacking when my daughter was born was not lacking when my son came into the world. I bonded with him right away. I remember the first moment I looked at him, I knew that his eyes were going to stay blue forever. The thing is, bonding with my son didn't stop me from going right back to drinking. He was only a couple of weeks old the first time I went out after he was born. I woke up and my milk was cascading down my body and my breasts were the size of cantaloupes because I had gone out and passed out without pumping.
My son was breastfed until he was over two years old. He was cloth diapered. I lovingly researched vaccines and circumcision for him. He slept with me for six months. I made all of his baby food and he only used wooden toys for a long time. I made a considerable effort to conceal the fact that I was a drunk. There are stories of friends of mine having to hold him to my nipple to nurse because I had passed out. I woke up once and he was on the floor next to the bed. After I stopped co-sleeping, I would wake up on his bedroom floor, partially clothed. I remember once I invited someone over for a play date and when she got there I was passed out still and my husband had to come up with something to explain to her. I should probably find her and make amends.
I remember this feeling of isolation after my son was born. I had moved to a new state when he was six weeks old and my husband went straight to work and we had only one car. I was alone a lot with a brand new baby and I really didn't know how to parent seeing as I was only 22. I never lost the baby weight because I was so depressed and I slept a lot. The only thing I really had to look forward to was the weekend because I could drink and kind of let it all go. The issue was that I was still a blackout drunk and I was an actual danger to myself and my child.
When my son was around 18 months old, I got pregnant again and I really wanted that baby. I thought, again, that maybe a baby would save me from depression and loneliness. I also knew that a baby would mean nine or more months of sobriety and I knew that my body needed a break from all the beer. Things, unfortunately, didn't go according to plan and I had a miscarriage around twelve weeks along. I remember a few things from my miscarriage. First, I remember that the doctor pointed out that I was overweight (as if I didn't know). Second, I remember him telling me that my pregnancy "wasn't good," which I thought was a shitty way of telling me that I had lost my baby. Finally, I remember bleeding all over my bathroom, dropping huge clots and chunks of tissue while my husband helped me get on and off of the toilet.
Having a miscarriage didn't help my situation. I was more miserable and ashamed of myself than ever and I used it as a wonderful excuse to drink. It was about a year after that until I got pregnant again and that next year is a complete and total haze. I remember a lot of wine, a lot of craft beer, and a lot of really bad hangovers. I became more and more reclusive. I was unreliable as a friend and as a parent. My husband worked full time and did most of the parenting because I was increasingly less capable. When I got pregnant again, I woke up.
I spent the next 40 weeks planning a home birth. I took the same amount of care in preparing for my new baby as I had for my oldest son. However, I drank a couple of times when I was pregnant with my youngest. Fortunately, he has no symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, unless you count a shitty attitude. When he was born, I bonded with him somewhere between the lack of bond I had with my daughter and the bond that I have with my older son. I think that, partially, I could not bond with him as deeply because my alcoholism had progressed so far.
After my baby boy was born, I started drinking again almost immediately, and I picked up exactly where I left off when I got pregnant. I was a blackout drunk. I could drink more than most men I knew, but I always woke up on the bathroom floor. I would sleep all day while my husband took care of the kids. I made the same efforts with my youngest as I had the last time. I did all of this hardcore mom shit because I didn't want anyone to know how much I drank and because I felt guilty that my children had to live with my drunk ass.
Right before the baby had his first birthday, my husband went overseas on deployment, and that is when the shit really started to hit the fan. I was utterly and completely ill-equipped to care for my children without adult supervision. I went out to buy booze and I drank three to four nights per week. We lived off of food that could be delivered and I called my oldest son out of school at least once a week because I was still too drunk to drive him or because I was afraid the other moms would smell alcohol on me. It was all about not looking like the trainwreck that I really was. I thought that I had everyone fooled.
Some highlights of my husband's six month deployment include: me getting kicked out of a bar, throwing all of my shit and my kids' shit into trash bags after one particularly bad drunk and driving from Washington to Colorado to run away from my problems, drinking three bottles of wine and lighting my bed on fire, waking up to my children having fed and dressed themselves (at ages four and one) on multiple occasions, not leaving my home for weeks on end, compulsive online shopping, drinking the entire way from Washington to Colorado with my kids in the car, and so on and so forth.
The real fun started when my husband got home from deployment and I gave up completely and sank to my alcoholic bottom.
The end is near.