To the lady ashamed of being pregnant with her fourth

Tales from the Mommy Trenches

I met you in the elevator on my way back from the pediatrician’s office. It was just me and Wren, and you looked at her fondly in her stroller. When the elevator doors opened, you very kindly held the doors open for me. As I clumsily maneuvered the stroller past you, I accidentally ran over your foot. “Don’t worry about it,” you assured me over my profuse apologies. “I have three children myself,” you revealed to me. My eyes traveled to your big belly. There was an awkward pause as I wondered if I could assume she was pregnant. “And I’m expecting my fourth,” you admitted. “Congratulations!,” I tell her. “That is wonderful!” I see the relief spread across her face. “Thank you!” she says, and I could tell she meant it. “You have no idea how many people offer their condolences when they find out this is my fourth…

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Trauma (part 6) ~ Jungle Journey


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We switched all of our banking to a different bank. And, I kid you not, there were recently two separate robbery attempts. One included a bomb threat. To top it off, each were exactly a month apart. Like mine. Unlike mine, both would-be robbers were caught.

Heightened over-awareness and anxiety run rampant through my veins. I guess there will always be “triggers”.

I received a letter last week from my psychologist, Dr. T. She had received a note I’d left with the receptionist the last time I visited her clinic. (I still go there to get meds from the psychiatrist Nancy.) I’d told her how I’d been doing so much better and that I was doing things we’d discussed. Like writing a blog. She loves the name and that made me smile. She was the one who inspired it by teaching me how to breathe specifically for anxiety. “Breathe” has become a part of my daily moments of focused mindfulness, which she also taught me. More on that later. But now, back to my story.

So, I was told I had to get another counselor, and over the next two weeks I spoke with several more people who had no idea what they were doing. I have literally 6 full pages of gripes in my journal. I’ve decided to spare you all the diatribes, but to anyone who has PTSD, I know the struggles you may have had or will have. First, with acknowledging your need and reaching out for help. Second, dealing with all the red tape as patiently as you can, while dealing with very real and troubling emotions, thoughts and nightmares. The reward for your patience can mean the difference between living with and overcoming, or stuffing everything deep inside where it can’t hurt. Trust me. Get help, because the ‘stuffing’ will eventually erupt.

Frustration and anger, with the incompetence and lack of caring on the parts of the individuals I had to deal with, plus the debilitating depression and helplessness I suffered, led me to wanting to write about my experiences. I want to help and encourage others to persevere! Many people with PTSD never seek help. Many that seek help will give up because they feel that no one cares.

You are not alone. You are not a number. You are a human being. Helplessness breeds apathy. Stay strong. Persist.  Breathe.

I eventually had to get a regular doctor, who referred me to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, (referred by the psychologist), a nurse hired by Worker’s Comp, and a slew of others who became true tethers that I clung to while I journeyed through my personal jungle.

(to be continued)


Trauma (part 5) ~ Red Tape and PTSD


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Finally! I had to talk to several people to get another name of a counselor I could see, but at last, I met with Susan.  I told her all I seemed to do was cry! That I was fearful, anxious; on edge. She was sympathetic and told me I had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I didn’t really know that much about PTSD. Associated it more with people fighting wars, or at least really bad traumas. I hadn’t thought much about the fact that what happened to me was traumatic. It was, I just hadn’t “got it” yet.

The third time we met, I told her all about the debacles I’d been having with Human Resources, Workman’s Comp, Corporate Insurance…(while wiping tears, and snot. I had NO control over my emotions.) How Human Resources told me, just that morning, that I was never supposed to meet with Susan, that I was supposed to meet with someone in a network of providers through Workman’s Comp (WC), not the corporate insurance company. I was so upset!  Also, the branch manager hadn’t known to file a claim. When she did find out, she didn’t know how to do it! So, the HR lady did it. No one seemed to know what to do. What an incompetent corporation!

I also told her I’d had one nice talk, with corporate insurance –  the first to say ‘sorry this happened to you, can’t imagine what you’re going through’. Thought I’d found someone who would really help me. Nope. He said I’d get a call from a WC adjuster and a nurse, and get a list of providers for further counseling. I was still waiting to hear from someone. Oh, and I’d spoken with a woman from Hartford who filed a Short Term Disability claim even though I was already told I don’t qualify??? AND she said I’d get a packet of info from Family Med Leave people. I was still waiting on that, too.

Susan said she’d look into all this and see what she could do. Guess what? She couldn’t do anything but wish me well. I had to find another counselor.

{Excerpt from journal ~ September 3, 2011, Saturday, 5:28 pm ~ Dear Jesus, I feel angry, sad, frustrated, hurt, tense, irritated, emotional, headachy, anxious, fretful, depressed, stressed…I need to get another job, but don’t want to take public transit, it takes longer, costs too much, then I’m stranded AWAY from my car! Also, people get beat up and robbed on buses and trains! I KNOW You’ll provide! You ALWAYS do! Everything ALWAYS works out! Nothing good lasts forever; nothing bad lasts forever! HELP ME! I can’t quit thinking about EVERYTHING! …My mind races from one topic to the next and the next and the next!!!}

(to be continued)


Trauma (part 4) ~ Not Normal

My husband answered his cell phone and I hysterically told him what happened. “Again,” he asked? I couldn’t believe it myself. He wanted to come get me, though he was at least 45 minutes away. Did I mention my AC wasn’t working? I was hot. Sweat, snot and tears mingled on my face but I had no intention of leaving the sanctity of my vehicle. I told him I had to wait to give a statement to the police, and would be home after.

Then I called the counselor I’d left a message for the day before. Again, no answer. I left another message; a more frantic one, that there had been an attempted robbery and to please call me as soon as possible.

A woman walked by my car, saw that I was upset; saw the cop cars. She asked me what happened and, though shaking and sobbing, I told her. Another customer pulled up next to my car and started talking to the first lady. I was babbling. I was still in shock, I think. I was filled with fear and anxiety.

They ended up staying with me for a while until my manager showed up. Being a Saturday (and her birthday) she wasn’t due in, so she’d been called. She joked, “what a way to get me to come to work on my birthday” and made light of the situation. It did help to calm me a bit. I told her I wasn’t going back into the bank and she said she’d see if an officer would come out to me to get my statement.

A few minutes later an officer came out and asked if I’d like to sit in his air-conditioned SUV while he asked me questions about the incident. I was still shaking, and intermittently crying. Kept getting details mixed up from both robberies. I was crumbling inside. What was happening to me? I just couldn’t seem to be normal. I gave my statement the best I could and left that bank parking lot for what would end up being quite a long time.

 (to be continued)


Recently, I posted a comment on Facebook that read, “If procrastination were an Olympic event I’d win the gold!”

So, here I am, trying to compose part 4 of my PTSD saga (beginning with ‘Fractured’). It’s been more emotional than I thought it would. Anxiety level so high, I took time away from my blog. I WILL resume the story, but not today. My husband jokes, “Why do today what you can put off til tomorrow?”

Today, I want to pay homage to a very good friend. I don’t see her or talk to her as much as I’d like to, but, as with most of us, time marches on and I’m grateful for our brief visits by text!

I subscribe to Victoria magazine (see post on Tuscany) and recently there was an article that brought this friend to mind. She has a true passion for vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, etc. Once, many years ago, she and I were talking on the phone and she told me of her recent trip to a market. She was telling me about the variegated colors of the produce section. In particular, she described an eggplant. And I laughed at her. 

The article in the Victoria magazine was resplendent with photos of trees, flowers, shrubs, vines. Greens, purples, oranges, blues, reds, yellows…pages of a created tapestry. Not my thing, I thought, then immediately thought of my friend. Nature is God’s visual presence. I could visualize her knee deep in her garden, inhaling the pungent aroma of the soil as she dug, planted, watered, and harvested.

Until that moment, I never knew how she felt. I still don’t, not the way she does. But I thought about it quite a bit and realized that MY thing is words. She may never understand that about me. We have many differences. But our love and admiration for each other, our prayers for each other and our families, the good, bad and ugly that we’ve shared over the years has lent us an unconditional acceptance and trust for one another.

How many people can say they truly know someone? Only by sharing our uniqueness, to be free to be real, authentic and not who others think we are or should be, to see the inner beauty, can we be true friends. Joy and gratitude for simple pleasures like an eggplant can strengthen the bonds of friendship. Thus we are woven together in moments of time.


A Tuscan Treasure


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“Nestled in the hills of Tuscany’s scenic Valle Serena, the historic Borgo Santo Pietro has been offering welcome respite to weary travelers for more than eight centuries.”

Scroll through these beautiful photos of an enchanting Italian villa, courtesy of Victoria Magazine (my favorite)

Looks like a fun read. Interested in reading more from Ms Parker!

ph.d. in creative writing

I’m giving away TWO signed copies of my book, For Sale By Owner. Starting…now! Contest runs from 12 noon today to 12 noon tomorrow (eastern time, June 15-16). You’ve got 24 hours to enter by posting a comment. Please post a comment. It’ll be embarrassing if no one wants a free copy of my book. Especially if all you have to do is post a comment.

Why am I giving away my book? No, it’s not because no one will buy it. Anne Germanacos and I were so excited to have our interview, “How Anne Germanacos Became a Writer,” featured on Freshly Pressed that we decided to celebrate by giving away signed copies of our books. Anne gave away FIVE signed copies of her gorgeous story collection, In the Time of the Girls. The contest was here, and the winners were announced here.


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Making Your Writing Dreams Come True

Live to Write - Write to Live

What’s your dream as a writer? Is it to see your name on a book in the bookstore? Is it to see your byline in the New York Times or the New Yorker?  Is it to see a child reading your book and laughing?

When you think about that dream—the one you really, really want—how does it feel?

When you think about becoming a best-selling author, do you feel good? Happy, excited? Or do you feel defeated or diminished?

When you find out a friend just had something published and you think: That’ll be me someday–How does that feel?

I could be wrong, but I believe that if you feel lousy when you think about your big dream, it’s much less likely to come true.

How can you feel good when you think that big dream is so far out of your reach?

Start by making a list.

Make a…

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