Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020

In light of my posts during “Maternal Mental Health Week”, I couldn’t let Mother’s Day end without writing something.
Today has been a difficult day for me. It is my first Mother’s Day. And yet, I don’t feel there is anything to celebrate. I don’t feel like a Mother still. And this journey has certainly not been wrought with joy. So today felt a lot like grief. But I endured. I felt it. Every piece of it. I cried. I slept. I read. I prayed. Repeat. I am trying to let these emotions happen as they come, rather than shove them down and commence with pretending all is well, only to be dying within. So although I did not have a celebratory day, I am touched that many of you felt I should be celebrating and reached out. Thank you.
So, before Mother’s Day comes to a close, I want to recognize some people that have upheld me during the darkest, most difficult moments of my life. People who have walked alongside me and held my hand. People that have “mothered” me in various ways over the last several months. People who have saved my life.
First and foremost, Mom (Laynie Martinez). I love you. I am grateful for you. And I am proud to be your daughter. I can’t imagine how difficult this time has been for you to watch me travel this path. Especially from afar. You have stood strong and steadfast in support and prayer. You have pushed aside that fear and worry to ensure I was persevering. I know that has been incredibly difficult. Thank you, Mom. I love you.
My sister, Jessica Layne. “Chief Stew”. You dropped everything to be here for me. You stood vigil watching me, while simultaneously caring for the baby, to ensure I would survive and be another day closer to treatment. You talked with Gabe to help him understand what was going on and talked him through implementing a safety plan until you could be here. You helped me get to treatment and were so important in helping Gabe and Olivia get settled in and establishing a feasible routine at the SECU house. You helped me ease back into my life after treatment. You continue to check in and be my sounding board. Thank you. I love you.
My sister, Frau Magister Kraus.  You were tantamount to my getting into treatment. God had given you the appropriate connections to streamline that process. You made sure to mention Zulresso so I could start that process. You advocated for me every step of the way. Some might call it stalking, in this family we call it “getting things done”. Lol. I am sure the anxiety was insurmountable trying to manage all this while far away. You have so much going on in your own life every day and yet, you still did everything for me. We jokingly referred to you as my “Chief Information Officer”, but you really were. If that meant communicating with the family, or my treatment team, etc, you were on it. Thank you. I love you.
My brother, Arion Jaiden Ullah.  Olivia’s “manny”. You also dropped everything and booked a flight out to North Carolina to take over the last half of my inpatient care. You helped with Olivia, and you obviously helped with me. I know spending a couple nights in the hospital at my bedside at the hospital while I was infusing was not comfortable, or ideal. I am grateful you were there. You made sure my medications were changed when they were supposed to be and that I had everything I needed. You also helped me just by being there. I thought I wanted to be alone. I had no idea my mood was going to change the way it did and that I was going to actually want to laugh and interact. And now you are here again. Olivia just loves you and I am so glad you get to spend so much time with her. You have foregone so much for us. Thank you. I love you.
My sister, Rachel Carrillo. I know taking Olivia overnight was exhausting. I also know you offered so much in an effort to help me. I know you also took her so much when I got home from the hospital to help me ease back into life. I know your life is already very full and adding in a baby had to be overwhelming. I am so appreciative of you and your willingness to be there for us. Olivia just adores you all. Thank you. I love you.
Kim Torok Pearcy. If it weren’t for you, I would not have agreed to go to the OB’s office and admit to all that was going on. But I knew I was safe in talking with you. I knew that you knew how I normally was and that you would see something was wrong. I knew that you cared about me. I trusted you so much. And I am so, so grateful for you. Thank you. I love you.
Erica Evans. You were the first kind person to talk with me and I appreciated you so much. I am still so grateful to, and for, you. You have such a beautiful spirit and such a big heart. Your willingness to let me in never went unnoticed. Thank you. I love you.
Jay Tyszka. Where do I begin with you? Lol. But seriously, you mean the world to me. I am so grateful our paths crossed. I was fortunate to find a kindred soul that sought sarcasm and levity to cope with our circumstances. I am grateful for our growing friendship and how supportive you are of me. Thank you. I love you.
Danajai Janea-Armoni Long. I am so blessed to have met you. You have such kindness in you, despite what you have endured and any struggles you continue to face. You are an inspiration to me as a woman and mother. I am grateful for your friendship and appreciate you. Thank you. I love you.
Andrea Carli Bunar. You walk into a room and the atmosphere changes. I looked forward to when you would show up. Nevermind that you weren’t there for me! Lol. Even so, you still took the time to talk with me and my family. Olivia sure enjoyed you and just loved Brina so much! I can’t wait until we can visit you all. Your family has been so amazing to us. Thank you. I love you.
Jennifer Cantrell. When I got home, you were one of the first people I opened up to. I was still feeling so ashamed and embarrassed, and you helped me to learn I didn’t need to feel that way. You were a safe harbor for me to weather the difficulty of acclimating to life. You listened to me and validated my feelings, and you continue to do so. Thank you. I love you.
Jenni Nicassio. You and
Mike Nicassio have been so great to us since we met you in your Lake Elsinore Life Group. I know that God has been putting pieces in place for a long time for me to have the right supports in place to endure this. I am so grateful to you for checking in and openly talking with me about everything. You have been praying for me and our family for a long time. Thank you. I love you.
Kelly Rhodes. When I returned home and texted you all I had gone through, you immediately called me. You listened to me cry, you received my pain and understood me. You prayed with and for me. You have been such a good friend. When I told you I needed to find some groups to go to so I could connect and keep busy, you immediately invited me to Moms Connect. Those women have been such a lifeline, and that is because of you. Thank you. I love you.
Courtney Haag. Thank you for your friendship. You were one of the first people I met when we moved up here and you welcomed me with open arms. As Olivia and I have been out walking more and more, you have been meeting us outside for quick “hellos”. That connection during my day is so important to me. Thank you. I love you.
Rebekah Hummer. You have become such a dear friend to me. And yes, I tried very hard to not let it happen. I’m not good at friendships. I’m not good at maintaining connections. But you knew that I needed a connection. You knew that I needed friendship. You gave me so much grace. You continually reached out. You knew something was wrong and did everything you could to find out if I was okay. You immediately wanted to know how you could help. And when I replied that I didn’t need anything, you kept on me to set a day and time every week to meet up. You have seen me through some real ugliness, and I hope you will see me through some really bright times too. You have your hands full at home, and your heart still had space for me. I am forever indebted. Thank you. I love you.
And lastly, Gabriel Santos. There just aren’t words. God’s grace has poured over me in waterfalls through you. You are my rock, always strong and steady for me. You do so much more than any spouse should have to, and yet, you are happy to do it. You were both Mom and Dad for a period of time, and still are on occasion, so today is really about you. You have given me so much and I strive every day to reciprocate the love and compassion you show me. Thank you handsome, I love you. ❤️