Updated: Jan 4
This photo is from a time when my then-husband was out fishing and I was, simply put, not okay. My body was broken in many ways after a difficult birth and I was absolutely drowning in the overwhelm of new motherhood. I was still bleeding and couldn’t just “stop doing so much” as my medical providers suggested. My younger sister was moving away, as did my sister-in-law at the time, my mother-in-law tragically passed away just before, my own mom was thousands of miles away, and I felt devastatingly alone in my responsibility to be the matriarch providing for my commercial fishing family in all the ways women are culturally expected to in Kodiak.
This photo, of my former father in law, with my daughter, was taken right after a chiropractor appointment. He had met me there and watched Eliza for me, just sitting in the truck, so they could be nearby just in case they needed me. He was the reason why I could finally get a little space, just one hour-long appointment, to focus caring for myself. I was desperate. I can’t adequately describe how helpless I felt in needing him to do that for me, which he did so easily and eagerly. I realize now there were many more people I could have asked for help from, but couldn’t and didn’t, but that doesn’t take away my immense gratitude for Bill on this day and every other.
I dreamt of having children. And then having gone through it once, immediately resolved not to have any more. Not because it was the right thing for my family, but because it was the right thing for me and I had the right to say no-no more. I was shamed for it. My decision is partially responsible for the end of that marriage, but I’m still grateful that I had the right and the opportunity to say no.
And I am mourning for so many women who won’t be able to.