That We Might Have Joy: Chelsea's Story

A never ending broken heart.

I’ve never had what other kids had growing up-- security, loving parents, or even a stable home. My father was an abusive drug addict mixed with serious mental health issues, and our family suffered greatly from this. I remember leaving to my friend’s house on the weekends just to get away from the screams, the drugs, and the occasional new hole in the wall. The abuse got heavier, and soon the neighbors knew, our family knew, and even the cops knew our home was unstable. I was 11 years old in the middle of May 2004 as I watched as my father drag my mother by her hair into the room. This was an ongoing occurrence that happened about three to five times a week, but as she kicked and screamed, I knew this time it would be different. I knew if I let him close the door I wouldn’t have a mother anymore. That day, I banged on the door until he opened it. He looked at me with eyes I will never forget. That was the first night I ever experienced sleeping outside, waiting for him to find my mother and me under the tree where we were sleeping. We didn’t know what our next step was in life, but it wasn’t back to that house. We never returned.

As I tell this story to my therapist whom I see once a week, she reassures me of certain things and tries to help me cope with some of my past trials. Some days, we decide not to talk about the present trials, which can sometimes be a great relief. Sometimes, we even just get into discussions about my four-year-old son, which is by no means a horrible experience. Despite the physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse I have encountered in my 24 years of life, nothing ever prepared me for what happened over the course of the past year. I don’t even know how I got through the past year without my anti-depressants and my anxiety medication, because now that the damage is said and done, I can’t go a day without them.

Pregnancy, a simple word that is so joyous, so precious, and so nerve-wracking all at the same time. My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for a few months with no luck, so we basically stopped trying and just continued with our regular activities. In June 2016, I noticed I was extremely bloated and a bit tired. I didn’t know why I was bloated, but I summed up tiredness to my new work schedule at the veterinary clinic. Almost everyone said it was pregnancy, but I chuckled, I knew how I felt my first pregnancy, and it wasn’t like this. A few days later, I noticed my period had not come, so I decided to go to Walmart one morning and grab some Gas-X and a pregnancy test. As I got home and took the pregnancy test, I walked into the other room where my husband was and waited the two minutes with him. I walked into the bathroom, looked on the window seal, and noticed a blue plus sign staring back at me. I called my husband, and our excitement on this new journey began. Too bad the excitement lasted only six days.

After eight agonizing months of a pregnancy that was extremely high risk, too many ultrasounds to even count, moving across the country to deliver at Texas Children’s, and 8 different doctors telling me my baby was dead and to terminate once we found out the condition was painful. My pain still grows every single day. As I see children playing in the drive way as I come home from work, I get a lump in my throat and my eyes fill with tears. The constant stares of people as we walk through Wal-Mart, the mall, or even into a restaurant breaks my heart. After five and a half months of dealing with this, my heart still breaks every time someone looks at my kids. Hearing the whispers, watching people stare at my children-- it’s the worst feeling I’ve ever had, and I wish I knew how to make it stop. I try daily to normalize my children, but no matter what, they will never be “normal." They will face challenges daily that you would never think would even be a challenge. Some days, it’s too much, and I fall into depression funks that my therapist has a hard time getting me out of. I hate these weeks, when my husband must work extra hard for the house, the kids, and to make sure I am eating, drinking, and taking care of myself. My children need me to be at my best, but how can I be my best when I don’t have the energy to even get myself a bite to eat? For the most part I can push everything deep down into my soul and only have it come up during my funks. Would I ever take it back? Never. Am I glad I didn’t listen to the endless doctors telling me to terminate? Of course I am! Even though my depression and anxiety pull at my being harder some weeks than others, I would never want it any different. I am these kids' mother, their teacher, their leader, and their voice. I am a mother to Callie and Carter, my conjoined twins.

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