Secrets, Part Three- Anyone Want a Couple of Kids?

by Lori Dwyer on July 15, 2011 · 33 comments

The secrets of early widowhood, Part Three.

It would be so easy to run away from my children.

I know, as mothers, that’s absolutely the last thing we should confess with any seriousness. It’s OK to joke about it, but it’s always with an undertone of exasperated indulgence.

I’ve known mothers, a handful of them in my past, who chose to leave their children, either with partners, parents or state; who choose to run away and live a life relatively unencumbered.

I also judged them so harshly. Women without a womb or a heart.

I don’t judge anyone that harshly anymore.

I get it, now.

The human mind is a terrifyingly amazing thing.

I know, I’ve experienced the way your mind can conveniently disconnect from things when they get too much. The way your brain can cut off the emotional connections to your nearest and dearest, in order to protect yourself.

I think my mind would do that for me again, if I needed it to.

If I chose to run away.

It would be painful, at first, and the guilt of leaving my babies would eat and scald at me. But… I could be as self destructive as I liked. I could start again, and forget everything I’ve been, everything I’ve done, everything I’ve seen.

I know where I’d go.


With no hesitation, no complications, nothing to encumber me. (Us..?)

And I’d make occasional phone calls home, and send money and presents to my children. And I’d find a way to justify it, over and over to myself until it was solid- I could find a good reason why it was better for me not to be with my kids, better for them not to be.

We can lie and cheat ourselves, if we want. Eventually the brain puts up partitions to the guilt and those neural pathways I’ve talked about before, they reform so you don’t think so much about the things that hurt.

And in the short term scheme of things, wouldn’t that be easier? Stunted, muted pain that I can ignore, rather than swimming through it every day.

But I just.. can’t. It wouldn’t be fair. As much as I love the thought of being able to sleep for twenty hours a day, to read books and take heavy prescription drugs and eats lots of food and cry and hibernate and not have to worry about nappies and sticky figures and a little boy who is trying to make sense of a world that doesn’t exist properly anymore, that he just can’t bring into focus.

I can’t swap, one for the other. My desire for obliteration, as much as I can find, with my children’ desperate need for the only parent they have left.

The temptation, some days it’s so intense it takes my breath away….

And I remind myself, that chubby fingers, and lispy words, the scent of milk and innocence.. they keep my heart beating.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Morton July 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Mothers are human too. Thanks for being the voice for so many of us.


Tamsyn July 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

Lori, you're so brave to share how you're feeling. You are amazing and strong and so much more inspiring than I think you will ever realise. Hugs.


Emma Clark July 18, 2011 at 2:09 am

I'm not a mom, not even close. But I did go through a similar situation earlier in the year when my best friend's brother (aka, MY brother) took his own life. And I was overseas when this happened. I just went and saw the family for the first time without him the other day. And it's hard. And God knows I wish I could have escaped it all and left my exchange 9 months early. But ignoring problems and avoiding them doesn't solve anything. You never truly heal until you face your issues head on and muscle through them. Only then can you completely close the wound. It will leave a scar, but you will feel better for it. Keep fighting. It has to get worse before it gets better.


Jillian July 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I used to judge people more harshly, too, then life dished up something that reminded me that one that can never understand a situation unless its happening TO you; happening NEAR you doesn't count.

My husband had cancer and has survived, thankfully. But the long years of relapse and treatment and baggage that come with cancer made me understand how cancer can break up a marriage – I often felt it would be easier to leave. I didn't know if I could live with the daily stress and worry. It's hard. But we made it through. And then life dished up another blow: I got cancer. We're both still here and still together and still a family. And thats what matters. xx


Pip July 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm

your strength continues to amaze me xo


Sophie July 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Yeah i get this too… but I thought to myself that my kid had already lost his sister, he didn't need to lose me too. It wasn't fair.

However… its important to give yourself space. My kid was in daycare regularly after my Jordan died. More than anything I needed the time and space to do whatever I needed to, just a few times a week. Me? I would clean my house and listen to sad songs on my mp3 player. I shut everyone out and just let it flow. I cried an awful lot… and eventually I managed to save the tears for these times. This was how I coped… when I am stressed I clean… my house was pretty spotless there for a while.

Anyway, point I am trying to make is that space is good. I hope you are getting some time off.


Wendy B. July 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I really get it…..but they do keep you going, those sweet little ones who need you so much!

Lots of love to you and your kids.



Victoria July 16, 2011 at 1:12 am

For what it's worth, my husband and I adopted two boys (brothers) from a young woman who had lost her husband (for legal reasons) and was left on her own to care for them. She realized she could not give them everything they needed (and everything she wanted them to have) and she chose to make a plan for them to have a new family. It has been 6 years now and everybody is doing well. She knows the boys are happy and healthy. She can see them if/when she wants. She can call or write if/when she wants. The boys know what happened and they know that their birthmom made the biggest sacrifice that anyone could ever make and she did it because she loved them so much. The boys know that they have extra people who love them. And the birthmother has been able to move on with her life and is now so much happier. The birth-father and -grandparents are all part of our lives now and we all feel this was a blessing for everyone, including the two boys.

Now that I am the mother of these two boys, I can only imagine the sacrifice that the birthmother made for her children. I have the highest respect for her in having chosen to make her children's well-being the highest priority. Interesting, my sons understand this and know that she undertook such a selfless endeavor because she loved them so much.

So there's the flipside. I am so grateful to the birthmother (and extended family) for trusting my husband and me to give those boys everything that she wanted for them.


Maxabella July 16, 2011 at 12:44 am

They're probably the only thing keeping you afloat some days, so don't leave the raft, Lori. I know you don't really mean it, though. All mums think the 'wouldn't it be nice' thing and some days one foot is half out the door for many of us… but it's not real, my love. It's really not. x


K July 16, 2011 at 12:29 am

Thank you for your honesty. I agree with you so much, I don't judge anyone anymore. I don't assume I know how I'd act and react if something might happen to me. It is hard to stay, to keep going when escape offers such a tempting release. I just keep hearing "small steps" in my head. I love what keeps your heart beating. It will only get stronger I hope!


Dorothy July 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm

It's scary, isn't it, when you feel that way? When you really don't care one way or the other about what might happen to them? I have moments like that. Sometimes days.

And other times when my heart aches at the thought of them. At the thought of them being alone, bereft, abandoned. And I know, that no matter how badly I may be parenting them, how unhappy I am most days, it is still the best possible situation for them.

I never thought I would say this – but I do live for them. To save them from any more unhappiness…


Mrs Woog July 16, 2011 at 8:30 am

It is a fantasy I have entertained often when things have gotten overwhelming. x


Hear Mum Roar July 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm

It does make sense. But I think once again it just shows how brave and strong you truly are to keep making the tough choices.


deardarl July 15, 2011 at 8:02 pm

You know, the one thing that stopped me from turning to alcohol in a Big(ger) Way was the kids.
It's a fine line, so tempting to cross, but I'm so glad (now) that I didn't.
My kids have saved my life here in the After. Literally.


A Daft Scots Lass July 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm

So honest. So real. I love reading your posts.


Suzi July 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm

We can never run away from ourselves, we can only learn to live with the grief, perhaps children are an important part of the healing process, reminding us we are needed in their own special way, non judging and pure. One day at a time xx


Jess Newman July 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

When I was pregnant with my last bub (a year ago) I read a book called A Song In The Daylight by Paullina Simmons, about a woman who left her husband and family, and ran off with a younger guy. I couldn't put the book down, and yet I was so angry at the same time. I couldn't understand why anyone would do that?
Then i had my little girl, and fell victim to PND. Though I would never do what that woman in the book did, I understood her a little more. You're right the brain does play funny tricks on you. It's horrible feeling like that, and knowing that you shouldn't feel Ike that,and rationally being able to understand you're being irrational.
No one is judging you. Thanks for being brave enough to be honest.


mamabred July 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Oh Lori, I so get this. Wanting to start over and forget what you know. No judgements here just appreciation for your tenacity, willingness to choose over and over again to be present in your pain.

May it ease for you. And may you reach sooner rather than later, a place of peace and solidity.



MaidInAustralia July 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm

You're still grieving. And those kids will get you through. Hang in there. xo


Tish July 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm

" I could be as self destructive as I liked. "

I have thanked the universe many times in the past months that I have my child safety net, to stop me from doing things I know in my heart I shouldn't do.

Maybe it is a bit the same for you too.


Shellye July 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I don't have children, but I understand. Many of my friends are parents, and I've seen some of the stress they endure just on a day to day basis.

I have one friend who basically ran away from her children, literally, so she could check back into the party scene. She never raised her children in the first place. She made her nine year old son bathe, feed, and change his 1 y/o & 2 y/o sister's diapers, and he is a teenager today who does not want children because at nine years old, he was raising his two younger sisters. My friend's excuse…"I changed all the diapers I needed to." I looked at her and said, "Your son didn't have sex to create these children, you did." Obviously, she didn't like my comment. I was the only constant in the three of their lives, and they looked to me for their needs to be met. If I could, I would adopt all three of them today. They've all three came to me in confidence and asked if I would be their mother, which led to lots and lots of crying on my part.

I have several other friends who are strictly devoted moms who don't need as much time away from their children as some of my other friends do. I have one friend who has a school aged son and a set of twins, and she darn near prayed for the day the preschool came so she could have several hours to herself. Her husband is in the military, so she's often stuck being the only parent. She definitely needs more time away from her three than my sister-in-law needs away from her almost four month old son.

My husband I want children, but I'm afraid I won't be a good mother because I have serious problems with OCD with germaphobia and having a serious need for everything to be clean and in order, and I know that's impossible with children. And my Dad's OCD had serious repercussions on me. I have a feeling I would need LOTS of time away from my children.

What I'm trying to say, if I could just get to the point, is that you shouldn't feel guilty for needing some Lori time. You've been through so much, and you're still able to be a good mom, and that is a miracle in itself. You have no idea how amazing that looks from this side of the blog. I know it's not easy, and I know it's not fair, but you're doing it. If anyone deserves a few hours alone, it's you. And your children are still growing, and it doesn't look like it now, but Chop's world will become more in focus, and there will be a time when the pain starts to give way to good memories of his dad. If I knew when that would happen, I promise, I would tell you, but right now is what it is, right now. And I will be here for you as long as you need me to be. If I lived closer to you, I would come and hug you every single day, and to help you and encourage you when you needed it. Until that day comes, if it ever does, you know where to find me.


Sharon July 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I am right there too, stuck in the dichotomy of "they keep me breathing" and "I cant live with them anymore". Both hurt like hell, both are enormously attractive. What a mindfuck eh?

Thank god you keep choosing the former.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos July 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Listening, understanding, and sending healing energy to your heart and your soul and your son.


kayren July 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm

is it possible that your loss made you feel that way..?
have you read the lovely bones, by alice sebold? or maybe, watched it? its a great story. sigh..
its normal to feel that way. you want to leave everything behind, start to live a new life, a new you. i dont judge you. because i think that is simply ideation on your part. surely you wouldnt leave your kids. as much as you want to leave them, you know deep down that you love them and that ought to be enough for you to not leave them. ever.


kayren July 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.


Watercolor July 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm



Glowless @ Where’s My Glow July 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm



Marilyn Rodrigues July 15, 2011 at 11:39 am

I get it Lori, although I haven't gone through anything like you have.

By the sounds of this post you're doing beautifully. So amazing!


Claire Marie July 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

It was so brave of you to share this. I hope it's your ability to share that keeps you going and helps you to make the decisions that you know are right for your life. You are truly amazing.


Janet NZ July 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

I haven't had children. And,I have never been through anything as awful as you. But, there have still been times I have wanted to disappear.
I think this must be a normal response when things get too hard (if there is any such thing as normal!)
My sister had three kids under the age of four – she said there were times when she understood how easy it would be to hurt your children. When you are just so tired you can't do it anymore.
But, somehow – you do.
Somehow… XXX


Camila Belle July 15, 2011 at 2:31 pm

You say this you know why? Because you are human. You are mourning. And maybe you do need time to yourself. To do all those things you need to do. You sound like a fantastic mother but you are mourning and as a mother myself who is dealing with a separation I would admit any day that sometimes I don't want to deal with kids, I just want to be selfish and be on FB, or indulging in a drink or even being scandalous. Sometimes we don't have that luxury but you should take time to yourself any chance you get, don't feel guilty about wanting to sleep, or just feel crabby or for needing to get away. Inside you know you love those kids.


Crystal Cheverie July 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

Wow… It must be so odd to want to run away from them and hold them close to you at the same time. I can imagine lots of (if not all) single parents feeling the exact same way. HUG!


Mary July 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

I really get this.

I was told it is part of our flight or fight response.

Oh god I wanted to fly and my pain was not one tenth of yours.



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