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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
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Coughing Up Blood

Sometimes I'll be going about my day - heading to work, returning to an empty house, driving through Pennsylvania countryside at seven in the morning to jam in a few hours with my kids at Serge's place before putting in eight hours at my job when an invisible fist punches through my sternum, muddles around in my stomach before reaching up and gripping my heart, squeezing until I figure I'll be coughing up blood - and it all just hits me at once: what the fuck happened?

Look, man. I don't know. I don't have all the answers and I was the other person in this thing with this guy for ten years. All I can say is that, like a bad apple, it starting rotting from the inside out. Black mush. Worms everywhere. Oh, there were/are good parts. That's how it is when you pluck up a shiny, red apple, take a big, juicy bite and then - there it is. The bruised, mushy side you hadn't noticed.

But now it's all you can see. And what do you instinctively do with the apple? You put a lot of distance between you and that apple.

He can write his stuff for the websites we write for and I can do the same and you all can speculate but in the end none of that matters much. I mean, it matters but none of that shit is indicative of the years, hours, days, minutes and seconds spent in this marriage. And I'm not interested in chronicling that, anyway.

In the end, as with all imploding marriages, it comes down to two people: me and Serge. And we both know what happened/didn't happen. It isn't scandalous stuff either. Nobody cheated on anybody, nothing like that. Sorry to disappoint. It was just a slow, sorrowful spiral and by the time I realized how I felt, how I really felt about Serge, myself and my marriage, I was nearly dead. Almost drowned from the riptide of our relationship; taking in water at the bottom of the ocean, seeing stars, hands scrabbling sand, hair tangled in seaweed, blackness taking over. Separating from Serge was me using my last burst of energy to make for the surface and breathe. That's all. I can honestly tell you I'll always be in some kind of love with Serge and I can't tell you that there isn't maybe a shot for us somewhere down the road if we both get our shit together and the timing works out.

But for now, what's happening feels right. Necessary. We were not well.

No Sex Before Marriage

I recently re-read this post I wrote several years ago about my abortion at seventeen called No Sex Before Marriage. It took me right back to that place. The isolation, the blackness, the terror I felt going through that whole thing. It feels important to maybe post it again, in case anyone out there has had or is going through a similar experience.



Dad Double-Standard: Father of the Year or Just Doing His Job?

A couple weeks ago I took a photo of Serge as he pulled our kids in a wagon. Everyday event. He looked cool, yes. But folks, the props he was given were a little over the top. He promptly posted it to his various social media thingamajigs and, as expected, the comments started rolling in.





Don’t get me wrong, Serge is an amazing dad and his kids are lucky to have him. But he’s just pulling a freakin’ wagon. What’s with him doing next to nothing and getting praised to the high heavens like he just lifted a truck off a toddler? And it happens all the time. It happened all the time even before now. But this single dad thing? Every Band-Aid administered, every incident of baby-wearing, every act of parenting becomes EPIC.

Click here to read Dad Double-Standard over on Babble.

4 Months

Is it terrible to say you have a best baby? I don't mean I love him any more than the other two, obviously, it's just that compared to Violet and Henry at his age this kid is a whole different breed of baby. He sleeps through the night, he rarely cries during the day, dude is as good-natured as they come. You need only look at him out of the corner of your eye and he's grinning his little ass off and, joy of all joys, he's starting to hold his own bottle which, any parent can tell you a baby learning to hold his own bottle is a very special freedom.

Four months old and it's like he was never not with us. He slipped into our family so gracefully there was hardly a hiccup involved with incorporating him into the mix.

Now, I don't want to get all soap boxy on you but, I have to say, maybe there is something to all this chilled out home birth stuff because I was induced with Violet and Henry and I had Charlie quietly, well - mostly quiet if you don't count mooing like a sick cow/yelling at Serge to rub my back STOP TOUCHING ME - in our living room. Violet and Henry both screamed and cried when they were born and Charlie started nursing within five minutes with nary a sniffle. I was also really spazzy about routines and naps and sleep schedules that were all the rage in the parenting books I read when Violet and Henry were born and with Charlie I just kind of go with the flow and he returns the favor in spades. If he wants to nap I let him nap, if he wants a bottle I give him one and he just goes along for the ride, handing out grins all along the way.

Both Serge and I refer to him as Magic Baby because his presence in our family has been magical. I keep meaning to finish his birth story before he's having children of his own, and I will. I've just been busy with this whole separating, moving, starting a full-time job, beginning a new writing column on in addition to Babble, mom of three thing I've got going on over here. Bear with me and I'll be back to regular posting hopefully sometime in the coming week when I get a handle on all the new stuff going on.

I just wanted to share that Serge is all settled in his new place and the kids and I are all moved into our new house and we're really digging it and our new neighborhood. Here are a few shots from the past week as we get settled in the new place. I've been posting a lot more over on Instagram so come on over if you're into the whole photo thing. I'll try to keep shots of my dinner to a minimum but I can't make any promises about excessive Charlie/Henry/Violet photos.
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