Monday, October 22, 2007

A Break

I was sitting in class this morning trying very hard to focus on The Law and I could feel myself getting depressed- I was sinking. I couldn't concentrate. I felt sad. Sad and tired. I got an email from a blogger friend I've long read and she was filled with outrage and indignation at what is happening to us. I suddenly realized that I've been so beaten down by this investigation that I've forgotten to be angry. I've lost sight of the fact that we're innocent and wrongfully accused. Whenever this investigation ends I will effusively thank the person who tells me so. I will feel relieved and grateful. That's absurd. We're innocent and we’re out thousands of dollars, under enormous emotional strain, had our son taken from us for five days, and have had to deal with constant accusations, questioning, and the stigma of being under DCFS investigation. Because Landon was discharged from the hospital into the state's care and not mine, I didn't know if he had any follow-up appointments. I spent yesterday morning calling around to his various doctors to see if appointments had been scheduled, and to figure that out, I had to explain that Landon was discharged to DCFS. I resisted the urge to spill the whole story to a busy receptionist and then hated the change in her voice when she understood why I was calling.

It's amazing how just being associated with an investigation can make you feel guilty. I barely want to talk about it anymore because I feel ashamed. I have to remind myself how shocked I was when the nurse at the ER told me a hospital social worker would like to speak with me. We kept thinking it would go away when they realized there was no possible way we hurt our son- we believed our innocence would matter. We volunteered to take polygraphs and after we passed things somehow got much worse. The past 19 days have been a nightmare in every sense of the word. I can't stop thinking about how I felt when I handed Landon to the case manager and she walked out of the hospital with him- how it felt to know that a group of people decided he was not safe in your care. Everything was so out of our control. The morning they took Landon we asked our DCFS investigator's supervisor how this could end if we didn't find a medical diagnosis. She responded, "a confession." I now understand why people confess to things they didn't do.

During the investigation I was asked over and over how I dealt with stress, how I felt I was balancing school and motherhood, how I felt towards Landon after he was born. Ironically, I was doing okay then. Sure it was hard and I was tired, but most of the time things were wonderful- the blog heard the worst of it. Now, I am depressed and I do need help. I'm having a really hard time dealing with what's happened. Most of me doesn't believe Landon was in a shelter a week ago- that I'm a mother whose son was taken from her home for his own protection. I need to process being sad, being angry, and being resentful of what this process did to our family. It's not even over- that's what scares me the most. I don't know what's happening beyond our apartment or when or how this will end. I don't know how to interact with my classmates or how to respond to a normal, "What's up?" This should be such a great time in our lives- Landon has grown exponentially more adorable and more fun. He's smiling and squirming and a bundle of love. My school schedule is easy and actually enjoyable. But outside of our family time, I'm a mess.

So I’m taking a break from blogging. After constantly defending myself in real life, I hate that I now feel the need to do so here. I also don't want to keep writing the same sentences about how much I hurt, but I can't yet move on to lighter things. I have received immense support through this site- far, far more support than negativity- and I'm very grateful for it. I’ve read every comment and email countless times, and you all helped me when I was scared and confused. I'll let you know when big things happen in the investigation, but the rest of the thoughts in my head- the ones that make me feel like I'm drowning- I'll be dealing with them privately.

47 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for everything you have been through. I am glad you are seeking the help of someone far more qualified than us internet people. I look forward to reading your blog in the future when you are ready to pick it back up. Being a Texas girl and a new mommy myself I would have read your blog with or without the drama. If you decide not to pick it back up thats fine too though. You do what is best for you and your family right now.

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  2. LL-- do whatever you have to do to make things better...

    I want to thank you for sharing your experiences so far but I totally understand your decision and it is absolutely critical that you focus on you and your family so take ALL the time you need and just focus on healing and dealing with everything that has happened...

    Whenever (if ever) you're ready to return to blog life we'll all be waiting but just focus on you!

    I hope things get better...may you find peace!! *hugs*

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  3. Peace to you. Get stronger, get better. We'll be here, when and if you decide to come back.

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  4. (((HUGS))) It might be worth considering some anti-depressants. Stress can really bring you down and the drugs can often help you get through the darkest patch while you talk to someone. Hopefully you will get the help and support you need. You know that those of us who have been there all along remain here for you if you need shoulders to lean on.

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  5. Best of luck in your journey toward peace. I will check back to see when you feel up to writing again, and in the meantime you'll be in my thoughts (odd as that is since we've never met!).

    I hope everything goes well for you personally, legally, academically and emotionally. Take care of yourself!

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  6. Don't worry, I'll be back. I've enjoyed having a blog and gained much from it. I just don't want to post again until I can write about something besides how sad, hurt, or angry I am.

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  7. I just found your blog today, and started from the very beginning. Not once in all my reading did I ever question that you were being truthful in every word. I can't even imagine what you are going through. Focus on those of us who support you and wish you and your family the best. You never should have had to endure what you are enduring. I'm so glad you are seeking help and will keep your family in my prayers. I really can't stop shaking my head. It's just unbelievable that this can happen to anyone. I will wait patiently to hear what happens next and look forward to hearing more about your beautiful baby boy and his adventures in growing up. For now, think only of yourself and your family and get all the help you need. Best Wishes.

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  8. I cannot believe how strong you have been through all of this. You stayed focused for the sake of Landon and your innocence. And even though there's no closure to this mess quite yet, it seems that the worst is over. So go ahead, give yourself a good cry in the bath...go see someone qualified to help you through all these crazy feelings...vent to us...we'll be here when you need us.

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  9. You have to do what is best for you and for your family. That is part of being a good Mommy to that wonderful little boy.

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  10. Family first; take care of yourself I will continue to pray that this nightmare ends soon.

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  11. don't worry about us readers. we all completely understand the hell you are going through, and we totally understand that you need to worry about you right now. if that means you reach a decision never to blog again, i think that every one of us will understand. we know you are innocent and that this will eventually be resolved in your favor. take care!

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  12. Good luck and remember that it might be worthwhile to find a professional counselor to help you work through your emotions at this difficult time.

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  13. I used to joke that I was afraid of child protective services coming if they ever saw all the bumps and bruises on my (now nearly four-year-old) son, who is so rambunctious he literally sometimes runs into walls. After reading your story, I'll never joke about it again. I can't imagine your struggles. Please do consider talking to a therapist. Think of it like car maintenance: when you take a bumpy ride the car alignment gets out of whack and needs and expert to help it. Well, your psyche has been on a bumpy ride. Get an expert's help.

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  14. I don't blame you for taking a break---you have handled this horrendous situation in a remarkable way. I wish you great peace and may this be resolved quickly for you. Enjoy your sweet baby boy and know that many good thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  15. Hugs. I'm so sorry for these awful circumstances and hope you can work thru it.

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  16. You have been blessed with such a great support group of family and friends. When the chips are down it is the true friends that come out. Some people that step up to the plate that you never imagined. Anger, depression are a very normal response for what your family has gone through. Even if you would not have been questioned by the authorities and are having to go through all of that. Just simply first having a baby 4 weeks premature, then his digestional problems, then his broken ribs, that would take a toll on any parent. Becca, it is really okay to have an "easy" schedule at school. It is okay not to "DO IT ALL" right now. Everything will be okay. As a Mom I would still keep my ears and eyes open of any event that may have happened in the NICU unit. Babies get dropped in hospitals and these incidences do not always get reported.

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  17. butterflyfish10/23/07, 6:16 PM

    ((HUGS))
    and ditto the above

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  18. I support you and believe you 100%. Do what you need to do, and please seek some professional help if you have not done so already. Depression is anger turned inward, so get angry and get it out.
    I found it absolutely chilling when that woman told you it would end in a "confession." It sounds to me like they just wait for the system to grind you down to a pulp and get "justice" when someone finally yields just to get their life back. That isn't justice, that is just a modern version of using the rack to extort a confession. Hang in there! We're all behind you!

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  19. Whether you're blogging or not, I'll be thinking of you and your family.

    ::hugs::

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  20. Thank you for sharing your story so candidly - take care of yourself and that precious little boy. And keep praying.

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  21. ((BIG HUGS)) I can't wait to log on and find that the investigation has been dropped and your lives are back to normal. It's so obvious what a great mom you are, and my heart breaks for the 3 of you.

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  22. Your story is tragic, but soon you'll heal and will be in an extraordinary position to help other people who are victimized in this way. Consider that you, your husband, and your baby have endured this experience so that our society can begin to open its eyes to ignorance and apathy masked as "child protection."

    You might want to read this article that was on Salon.com a while ago. The author, Jody Jenkins, was accused of child pornography because he took a photo of his little girl bathing naked in a stream while they were camping. They almost took ALL of his children away.

    The URL is http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2006/07/18/photos/index.html

    All the best,

    AMY

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  23. LL, do what you need to do. Think about talking with someone to help you deal with this. I hope you know how much we are all rooting for you. I am thinking about you.

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  24. Please take care of yourself. It is completely understandable that you need a break. You have been under one of the most extreme stressors, one can endure. You need to be healthy. I hope this is something you can put behind you very soon, so you can get on with your lives. Take care...

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  25. I'm not sure if you remember me (or can figure out who I am by my screen name) but I've known your family at CTK since 1991. Your mom taught my twin girls in SS back then. Please know that you and your family are in the hearts, thoughts and prayers of many, many people here.
    This verse has come to me many times while reading your blog, I hope it helps:
    "Don't you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people." (Gen 20:50 MSG)
    You are touching so many people through all of this -- more than you know.
    I pray that God gives you His peace, knowing that He plans only good for you.

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  26. Good luck. I started following your story a few weeks ago and I check your blog daily to see how you are doing. I totally see why you need your time and I can't wait to hear you post good news that this is all behind you. Sending prayers in your direction...

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  27. I hope that the investigation is dropped soon and that you can put this behind you and return to your "normal" (though it will be a new normal) life.

    And it's a cliche, and I'm sure you've heard it before--but this will make you stronger. And it will make you an incredible attorney. How many people who graduate from law school know what it's like to be wrongfully accused of something?

    It's an unimaginable nightmare you've been living, and my heart goes out to you as a fellow mother. Best wishes, warm thoughts, and prayers to you.

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  28. The "confession" comment makes me twitch uncontrollably. Two words come to mind: witch hunt.

    So much for innocent until proven guilty. Sounds like it's guilty either way, so give us a confession so we can go home satisfied we've done our job and the system works.

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  29. Having to personally confront the reality that "things don't happen for a reason" and that bad things happen to good people is depressing. There's no reason why you or your family should have been put through this ordeal and it can be hard to just move right past that-it really takes time. But I believe that time and your loving family and friends really will allow you to move past feeling depressed. One day you will wake up and realize that you just don't feel as sad anymore, and will be a wonderful feeling.

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  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  31. I am so sad to hear how sad you are. As I have read your blog, I have read it like a news report, you have been reporting the facts as they have been happenning to you and it was clear to me, that you were not yet processing the facts into emotions.

    Don't forget you are still in the post partum period, baby blues are real and now you have a huge thing going on, I am not saying you have it or need something for it, just be aware of it. If you need to talk to your doctor or someone, they will help.

    Hugs to you!

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  32. formerlawstudentcurrentmother10/24/07, 10:12 AM

    I've just learned about your story and am outraged for you. I cannot imagine the pain and anguish and hopelessness -- and your only goal here is to return to "normal" life with a newborn. I so hope you get to something close very soon. Good for you for taking a break from something. I hope it helps. I'll be thinking of your family.

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  33. Iknow I'm a perfect stranger, but I'm a mom and I am not sure I could be as strong as you in similar circumstances. The most important thing you can do is keep on going for your son and take care of yourself. It will all work out!

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  34. BiologistMomofThree10/24/07, 11:09 AM

    You are so right, take the time you need without feeling like you have to update anyone. If you need to vent your frustrations, your supporters will be lurking around for you when you need them.

    Please consider checking into whether or not your husband has benefits available through his work for some counseling. Through my job I have access to a few free counseling sessions; they're there to help people through exactly these kinds of difficult life circumstances. Talking to a professional could do a world of good to relieve stress on you, allowing you to deal better with the situation for your son and husband too. This site has probably done some of that for you, but it couldn't hurt to head off the depression you may be looking at before it goes anywhere dark and ugly. [Who wouldn't battle major depression after this?]

    I'll be hoping for a fast closure of this issue for you with DCFS, and a definitive answer as to what actually happened to your sweet little guy.

    [By the way, I BELIEVE YOU]

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  35. For the past week and a half I've been following every twist and turn in the sordid story. I feel so sorry for the lot that's befallen you. You have every right to be angry, indignant, and depressed, and I hope you know how much I and other reasonable, sane adults support and believe you. I found your blog while searching for advice on the feasibility of pregnancy and being a mother in law school, and I have stayed because of the human resonance of your story. If there is any way for us to formally voice our discontent with the DCFS system or the hospital, etc., please let us know.

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  36. Holy moley, that Salon article has a lot of good insight. What a nightmare!!! The author also mentions slipping into a long depression after the impact of the situation hit him.

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  37. I'm so sorry for everything you've been through. This is just ridiculous.


    I highly recommend checking out any counseling services available at U. Chicago. You need someone who is trained and unequivocally on your side.

    Know that you're being prayed for. I pray that you get the rest and the time to heal that you need. I also pray that the people in the process - who unfortunately see the real thing so often they forget that not everyone abuses their children - see that you're a good mother who loves your son and didn't hurt him.

    God bless.

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  38. i'm very, very sorry to hear that. and i'm very sad that after being persecuted at home, you are now being persecuted by a vicious few right here. but i'm glad you are taking the time you need and not wasting energy defending yourself to the anonymous internet. i will look forward to your return, whenever that may be.

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  39. I am so sorry for everything you have been through! The government is truly a frightening thing sometimes!!! I cannot believe they took your son. I found your story through a link someone left on A Little Pregnant.

    Take all the time you need to focus on your family right now. Wishing you healing and better days ahead.

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  40. I'm glad you're taking the time to get the help you need. Far too many people shun the thought of talking to a professional. If your body is hurting, you go to the doctor to fix it. If your mind is hurting, you do the same. While I came upon your blog during your horrible experience, I plan on sticking around whenever you're ready to come back. Take care of you and your family first! The rest of us will be waiting when you get back :)

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  41. LL,

    I feel so guilty...I am one of your anonymousers and I feel like, although my intention was to support you and share the prayer, I've contributed to your decision of backing off your blog. I, too, have a blog that is just for family and friends. I can't imagine the attention and how to cope with it.

    You will remain in my thought's and prayers. My heart is with you, as you are with so many others. I shed tears for you, but not of pity, but for a fantastic mom who has just enough fight in her to survive.

    Again, I know how I can't imagine how I would feel if my blog became PUBLIC. Sorry for that violation. But I am not sorry for the prayers.

    http://www.unityonline.org/ - I have family and friends who have been praying with them since the '30's. I e-mailed them for you, but that seems hallow. If you call, you get a warm, comforting voice.

    We've shed tears, we anonymous people, as well as the regulars of your site. We all have that same hope and desire that this ends well for you and your family.

    All of my love and prayers,
    Cindy

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  42. You owe us nothing. You owe yourself time and space just to BE. Too many words can sometimes just clutter up things. I applaud you for this decision. Thanks for sharing your story so far. I will still be praying that all goes well for you guys.

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  43. Please be kind to yourself and those around you. You have every right to be angry and sad at the way your life has been going. Please know there are tons of us out in the webosphere thinking of you and hoping you get justice. No judgement here. It's obvious to anyone who reads your blog that you're a very caring parent as is your husband. Sending hugs your way. You need to do what is best for you.

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  44. You don't know me, I don't know you, but I have been following your story after a link I came across in another blog I read from a "law school mom." I had a terrible nightmare last night that "they" thought my husband and I were abusing our two children and they took them away. I have NEVER been so terrified and hurt in my life. After waking, I had never been so relieved in my life. Then, I thought about you and realized that this nightmare is real for you and I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this would be. I know you've heard it all before, from numerous people on here, but I just wanted to give a shout out to you-hell, I want to hug you and not let go, even though I've never met you. On behalf of the stupid system, I would like to apologize to you and try to tell you that this HAS to work out in the end. Although, I am livid that you have had to go through this in the first place. There are so many reasons why this doesn't make sense, and I know I don't need to go over them with you, as you already know. I just wish those idiots weren't idiots and they saw things for what they really are.
    Honestly, I just don't know what to say, I just felt compelled to write after the nightmare I had and I feel even more terrible for you now. I know sympathy doesn't help your situation at all, but maybe it will help you to feel a little bit better.

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  45. I'm so sorry for all of this. Here's hoping Landon feels all better as soon as possible and this entire nightmare ends for everyone. HUGS to your entire family. UGH. I wish I had something more helpful to say.

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  46. I have only been reading since Amalah posted the link to your blog on Mom's Daily Dose, but I wanted to tell you that I am horrified at everything that you've been through. You have faced all of it with incredible grace and you are an inspiration to me.
    I'm sorry that you feel that you have to stop blogging about this. I know that I would be lost if I didn't have my blog to help me think through things that were tormenting me.
    My thoughts stay with you and your family and I hope that soon all of this will be long behind you.
    Maybe you'll decide to put that Law School education to use helping families fight unfair accusations. That stupid doctor should be sued.

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