What the New York Abortion Bill Means to Me

When I found out I was pregnant with Emma, my husband walked away from me, went upstairs and blared slipknot. I trembled downstairs in fear.

When I was pregnant with Emma, my husband and I fought every single day. These were not little, meaningless spats. They were screaming arguments, “How are we going to pay for that? How are we going to take care of her? What are we going to do?” We would scream at each other for hours and break down into the kind of sobs that take over your whole body, and your guts come out through your eyes.

It never stopped. Every single day we erupted in terror at the only person we could talk to about it.

We were Catholic. There were no options. We were stuck, and we were screwed. We had no insurance because we couldn’t afford it, but because we were paying rent we couldn’t get Medicaid. We didn’t have our own house. We were living in a tiny bedroom, sleeping together in a twin bed as I grew enormous in a matter of weeks. My mom has always said that using NFP meant that you didn’t really trust God, and I had had virtually no sex education so it didn’t occur to me how quickly you could get pregnant, if you were married(obviously you get pregnant if you even think about having sex if you aren’t married.)

Our marriage was ruined, we had no idea how we would survive, or how she would. I was terrified of hospitals, and we couldn’t afford one anyway.

I had fleeting thoughts of wishing I would miscarry, but I could feel her. She was present in me and I knew her, but I couldn’t stand the pain of knowing that she would always be afraid because we couldn’t provide for her.

It got so bad that I considered abortion. Not fully, not seriously, but for a second, I thought about it. It is almost impossible for me to admit that as a Catholic.

Later, I don’t even know how it happened, but one day I realized I was reading a how-to on committing a natural abortion. I think I may have been searching for vitamin safety during pregnancy, and then saw this article and was so shocked it even existed. I had been taking a ton of vitamins that weren’t safe to stay healthy while I was so run down, and again, for a split second, I thought, “What if I just kept doing it?”

It couldn’t be a sin right? It’s just taking a vitamin, for my health. It’d be an accident. I’d like to think I didn’t mean it, but I was so scared.

We lost her a week later.

In the most horrifying, tragic moment of my life, I miscarried our honeymoon baby.

I don’t know if it was the vitamins I was taking unknowingly, the lack of sleep, the exhausting work I was doing, the stress, or just my body’s inability to form the baby correctly, but whatever it was she was gone. She IS gone.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel some repercussion of losing her. She is my butterfly effect proof. She is everywhere. She was all over my periods every time I questioned whether they were miscarriages or not. She was there every step of my pregnancy with my rainbow, and my double rainbow. She is there when I check my babies breathing at night. She is there when I hear stories of women losing their children. She is in me still, even though she’s not for anyone else.

I cannot believe now that there were moments I did not want her. Now, I would give anything to take those moments back, to have her back. I was so scared, and I try not to blame myself, but losing a child, whether it is your fault or not, is the worst thing that can happen to a woman. It is the greatest pain that you can imagine, and it isn’t healed by time. The thought fades, thankfully, but the grief never does.

In the face of the New York bill, what I want to say to you, is that you do not know what these women are feeling. A woman who is losing her child, has lost her child, or could lose her child, is in a kind of pain that you cannot imagine if you have not been there. There are women who are pro-life who have held their own children lifeless in their arms, and they cannot stand the idea of another child being lost. There are women who are pro-choice who have faced the worst nightmares and had to ask “what do I do?” No matter who you are, you do not know what is in the hearts of who you are against. You do not know what drives them.

So? You ask. What do I do with that information? Find out. Learn from the pain of others how to address problems in a way that helps everyone. Ask the mom who is contemplating abortion what she needs, and help her find it. Start a fund for women who are struggling. Be compassionate. If you are pro-choice, ask the pro-life women what are they worried about, what is wrong with the bill? What do they want?

More than anything, tell your story, tell it as loud as you possibly can, until you are heard. Stop telling everyone else what’s wrong with them, and speak your truth.

Ecstasy

Have you ever felt so much pleasure that you thought your entire body might explode?

Have you ever stopped being intimate because you were afraid you might not be able to handle what was coming?

Have you ever submitted completely only to be racked by a painful pleasure that just won’t stop?

If you haven’t, you haven’t experienced all that the orgasm has to offer.

If you haven’t, you can’t understand Teresa’s expression in the statue called Ecstasy.

If you haven’t, then you haven’t yet had the best sex of your life.

I know, because I told an older married woman that I didn’t like sex, and I didn’t believe her when she told me:

“It gets better.”

Losing My Virginity

Losing my Virginity

“About an hour after the first time I had sex, I woke up in a cold sweat. I was so nauseous I thought I was going to be sick, and I couldn’t breathe. I laid in a dark hotel room thinking I was going to die.

I remember first walking into the hotel room and consciously keeping my smile on because the hotel was not what I had imagined. It was the kind of hotel teenagers sneak to to have sex on prom night, dirt in the corners, everything a little bit rundown. He kept talking about how amazing it was, and I kept smiling. Now, he wasn’t awake, and I was, and all I could do was exist in my fear and this crappy hotel room.

I woke Patrick up, and told him I didn’t know what was going on. He was such a sweetheart and turned over to hold me, but it got worse. I left and went to the bathroom. I took labored deep breaths in one of the tiniest wooden bathrooms I have ever been in, second only to my childhood friends’ RV that didn’t even leave room to turn around. When I looked up out the door there was the glass shower door where we had tried to have shower sex, and my stomach clenched. I felt faint.

I think I need to eat something.” I said when I came out of the bathroom.

My husband got out of bed, in the middle of the night, on his honeymoon, to go to McDonalds. I needed comfort food, and he would go with me. By the time we got to the drive thru, I was shaking, and my stomach had butterflies in it the size of Mars. They were beating their wings against the side of my stomach and I was starving but felt like vomiting at the same time. I kept trying to breathe, trying to calm down, but I just ended up telling my new husband, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

He said I needed protein and water, so he got me a burger and a couple of waters. He listened to me panic and ask him to turn different ways ten times on the way home until I asked him to stop the car at a park. I stared at the grass from inside the car, curling into myself. I shook so bad I could barely open my water. Most of the conversation is a blur, but the first thing I do remember is the moment when he told me, “A lot of women have a hard time the first time they have sex. They have been told no for so long, that they feel guilty when the answer is finally yes, even though it is technically ok.”

The amount of relief I felt when he said this, changed me as a person forever. For the first time, I realized that the way we, as a society, as a religion, as a planet, as families, address chastity is not only wrong, but dangerous. I had read theology of the body, and learned the beauty of Christian Marriage, I thought, but it didn’t prepare me for the insignificance of sex, the banal nothingness of it, and the soul shifting guilt and confusion of enjoying the “wrong” parts of it. Sex was everything and nothing I had expected, and I couldn’t handle the mind shift that was happening. I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, or even the drive home, but I do remember the moment we got back to the hotel. I sat on the hard 70s pull out sofa and breathed. I realized I had leftovers in the fridge that I could’ve eaten, and was paralyzed by guilt about it for a few minutes. We talked about guilt some more, and about how all that was wrong with me was the terror that I was going to Hell now, and I needed to just breathe and be patient with myself. Shortly afterward, my husband pulled me into the bed with him, and with him spooning me and breathing deeply, I was finally able to fall asleep.”

A Blog About Sex

So the other day,

A friend asked on a Facebook group,

Some questions about sex.

I was SO excited.

I love sex.

I am good at sex.

It’s cool.

I had answers for questions,

I had all kinds of things to say,

And then I said,

Haha maybe I should start a blog about sex for Catholics.

And then I meant it.

But like really?

Little miss goody two shoes?

Talking on the web about sex?

Teaching women how to commit to their orgasm?

Me?

That does not make any sense.

But you know what?

It makes me crazy excited.

Like bouncing up and down,

Laugh,

Feel joy,

Excited.

About writing about sex.

Yep.

Yep, that’s a thing.

Focus

I lost my focus a little bit with this blog.

Do you remember when I made it 5 years ago?

I was full of promises that I was writing my story of going to LA to make movies. I had a donation sticker even. Because I was going.

Well, I started working on a movie in Colorado, and I married my director, who was also one of my best friends from high school.

Miscarriages, babies, and weddings pass, and I wrote when I had a chance, but I lost focus.

I let you down a little bit, friends, but I’m working on coming back. I’m fighting stuff, but I am here.

PS One reason I have been writing less is that I have been trying to get published, and I can’t publish what I write on here, but what I think I’m going to do is send out a monthly newsletter with the stuff I am working on for publication in it!

When Morning Sickness is not just Morning Sickness

Dear Reader,

I am so tired. I am here to talk to you about something that not many know about, and those who do know about it know it all too well. Morning sickness is an often joked about part of pregnancy. Women on television daintily vomit into a trash can and go on about their day. Then, second trimester they are fine. There are women for whom this is a reality, and I am so happy for them, but there are others who laugh at the term ‘morning sickness’ for its inept description of their 9 month personal hell. These women suffer from something called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which means severe morning sickness, and I am one of these women.

I am lucky as far as HG sufferers go. Many spend multiple days in the ER getting fluids to keep hydrated enough to survive, let alone nourish their growing baby. I have only one HG related scare that I may have to go into the ER, but I experience enough of the symptoms to tell you that HG is no joke.

Imagine the first day of the flu, you are weak and nothing seems to sit well. You gag at every smell and food is the worst thing you have ever heard of. What if told you that was your life 24/7 for 9 months? I am on medicine for my HG and I still have at least one day a week when every inch of my body is in pain and I can’t even imagine eating. Part of the curse of HG, though, is that this is not just a couple days. You can’t let yourself not eat because you and your baby will starve. So I force down whatever seems like it might not make me nauseous, and not just nauseous like a tummy-ache, but I literally have to sit in a certain position all day and chew ice chips to keep myself from vomiting.(Though I recognize I am lucky that I don’t experience uncontrollable all day vomiting like so many women do.)

What’s worse is stress makes my HG worse. This means that the struggle of trying to figure out what food won’t make me nauseous, just makes me sicker, and feeling the nausea makes me sicker, and having an uncomfortable conversation makes me sicker. I hate myself sometimes for the loss of patience this causes in me with the daughter I already have. She is precious and so well-behaved, but her cry releases cortisol in me which makes me feel like vomiting. So instead of selflessly worrying about what she needs, sometimes I just want to scream at her to stop because it just hurts so much when she cries, and it won’t stop hurting for hours after. I have less patience with other members of my family too, people who normally mildly irritate me, make me furious because my short stressful conversations with them result in a whole day of mindful breathing and panic attack management from how exhausted I am, and again trying not to vomit.

People often say to HG sufferers, “Oh just get someone to help you.” Well, unfortunately our culture has created the do-it-all woman, so now we are expected to do it all. While this may be great for women’s advances in business and careers, family members and friends no longer crowd around any pregnant woman to help her with anything she needs. There are lucky women, and I am lucky in many ways, but there are moments when I hide in the bathroom sobbing that I can’t go on, only to do it again the next day.

I feel so much guilt because I should feel grateful for the help that I have, for not working during this pregnancy(HG at a new job is a nightmare) for family who helps when they can. I am grateful for all of these things. Incredibly grateful. It is impossible to have enough help though, when one spends every day in so much stress and discomfort. This isn’t meant to be a pity party, but just, be there for your pregnant friends and family. Be kind to them, you don’t know what they might be going through silently.

Vacation Home

I’m on vacation right now. One week in my true home- the college I attended far too long ago. The stresses, anxiety, depression are crumbling away and starting to leave me an actual human being again. I can breathe. I believe in joy. I believe in life, in God again, in beauty. In everything that makes me me.

Part of the reason for this trip was to see if we would like to live here, well with all of these awesome developments, obviously I have determined that absolutely we should. Now, that made me so excited and hopeful and so many other positive things. I was feeling so excited for life and like there was hope.

Then I talked to my husband. He says he won’t leave colorado at least until he is done with his associates. Just a couple of weeks ago he decided to add another semester on to his associates because he won’t do summer classes. If he were going to be done next May, maybe I could handle this. But it’s NEXT December. I have to stay in Hell for another year and a half. He is never going to let me out. 

I love him so much but I’m trying so hard not to hate him for this. I’m afraid that once he finally finished he is going to pull something like this with his bachelors too. “Well I’m just in the habit here I don’t want to change anything.” Well fuck that! I’m dying there!

How can he see the difference it’s making in me and ignore that?! How can he see that there is a place where I am not depressed and suicidal, where suddenly I care about life and I want to go on, and am not constantly telling him I wish I were dead and he can still not care? He doesn’t think a year and a half is a long time, but I’ve already been there for year and a half. Three years of hell is too much.

My God isn’t there, I can’t feel him there at all. Beauty- the only thing that makes my life worth living-isn’t there. Drive,life,existence,hope isn’t there. And yet I am never going to fucking escape it. He is always going to find a fucking excuse to make me stay there. He only let us move out of my parents house because I had a total breakdown. I cried racking sobs he had never seen the likes of for hours and finally he said ok you can look. 

Why if he loves me doesn’t he care that it’s killing me? This is my fault. When we were dating, when colorado was actually kind of ok, I said sure we can live in your parents house for three years after we get married so you can finish your bachelors. His fucking associates is going to take him that long! I can’t take it!!!!! I can’t do this! The. We have to do his fucking bachelors afterwards too? I can’t! 

I live in Hell.

Please God get me out!

Partially for the sake of our marriage, I don’t want to hate my husband. 

Dear my love,

I am sitting up tonight writing a letter to you because you have to sleep sometime! I can’t expect you to stay awake all the time, even if I wish we could because I cannot possibly get enough time with you. I still can’t believe by the way how strongly I feel that way-I really and honestly wish I could spend every second with you, not every free second. Sometimes I wish I could quit my job completely because every once in a while it takes me away from you, and I really really really really need you.

I’m sorry we don’t always get the chance to really talk. You’re right-we haven’t done that much lately. We have done so much movie watching and resting, that we haven’t invested in each other. Not really. And I am sorry for that. I feel that I have let you down a bit in that way because I have been so stressed that I haven’t been really communicating with people. I am really having a hard time with all the changes and how stressful everything outside of us is. I am struggling with thinking everyone hates me, I can visualize their their intensely vicious thoughts about me. I fear being around them because I don’t know how to speak anymore. And worst of all sometimes I don’t even know how to deal with everything because my body hurts from how much stress I don’t know what to do with. But I need you, and I need to always give you the time of day.

I really love you, not just because you are around, or because you are my friend. I love you because we really relate on a very deep level. I love you because we hear each other when we talk. I love you because you are my best friend and my lover. How could I forget that? How can I get so caught up in our fights and in our craziness that I can’t hear that we really just need to be with each other sometimes? How can I not remember that we promised to always rekindle our love? Please forgive me for letting myself drop the ball when I entered the three point line. I am going to try to be more attentive to you, and to let you do the same for me. Please hear me that I am struggling and help me to be there for you in yours.

I love you with a power and substance beyond anything I can even understand, and I refuse to ever lose you. I cannot wait to find out just how close we can be.

With love,

~Julia

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