15 Apr Single Mom Takes Back Her Feminine Powers
Always Money In The Banana Stand
The recovery story that most people want to hear is the one that sounds harrowing, how I fled Guatemala under cover of night, seven months pregnant, and into the mountains of Mexico to birth a baby on my own. Sounds exciting right? Well, if I had known I was heading into financial ruin at my company, and a year of isolation without much human contact with a baby by myself, I doubt I would have left. The story is so much cooler in hindsight.
I had traveled to about 30 countries by that point on my own, I thought with two months left on my pregnancy, I would have time to meet people and make new friends and start a new life before baby, just land square on my feet like I had so many times before. I also thought the company that I had built and had carried me for 7 years would get me through. Besides, the peso in Mexico had a better conversion with the Canadian dollar, so I would be fine.
Turns out when you’re THAT pregnant, you are not going out much. You are not going to gyms or yoga classes or out dancing. There were no parks in San Cristobal de las casas to meet moms. There were no expat groups on Facebook to help me with the first steps. My midwife was great, I took the prenatal yoga classes with married moms who were celebrating their planned bundles of joy, I went to therapy. I looked at my unborn baby as a hindrance to my recovery. She shackled me to my abuser, his family and that dark chapter in my story.
And my business died. It just completely died. I did some technical housekeeping and hired a bad contractor who messed up the move of my website and I lost all my SEO – i.e. traffic. I wasn’t paying attention because I was suicidal and pregnant and new in town.
I made the best of it and stayed busy until my daughter was born. Then I went into full lockdown. We spent the first two months in bed almost quite literally. I left the house 5 days after a c-section to get food from the market and women came up to me in groups to ask why I was out of the house (indigenous women in Chiapas stay at home for 40 days after birthing), they thought I was crazy, I thought I was hungry and on my own.
And this is where the real story starts. This is where the actual battle was fought.
Before I had my daughter, I was in an unstable place in a toxic system surrounded by people who did not really care for me. It was not one guy who abused me, but all the people who helped him, who turned the other way, who cast stones along with him. It was the town I was living in, it was his family who were supposed to help but really just helped me to adjust to the abuse, it was even in my midwife who played it down when it was clearly taking a toll on my health. But back then, I was living in fight or flight.
Similarly, leaving keep me distracted. I had to make a home and get my taxes done. Sew up the loose ends quickly. I was very busy working on that. I also knew I had serious mental and emotional issues and was in all kinds of therapy from twelve step to pre-natal therapy to deal with it.
But after my daughter was born, about 2 months in, reality hit. That’s when I was deeply questioning having a child – which I had not really thought through if I’m being honest, I was so caught up in that toxic system, it never occurred to me I had a choice. I had not worked in months and was not able to go out and drum up, side business in teaching yoga or English like I had in the past.
After a phone call to my daughter’s bio dad on Feb 14, 2017 (I will never forget the date), essentially begging him to help me pay my rent at least – it was a low point, but I was desperate. He had not phoned (and has never phoned) to see her or drove out to meet her when we traveled to Guatemala a month before. He makes lots of money, and was financially supporting me while I was pregnant and until the day I left, had be vehement about how much he wanted to be a dad – well on that day he laughed at me. He told me point blank that I was too old (37) and no one was going to want me with a baby on my hip. When I hung up, I was deflated. He had said to me exactly what I was worried about – that I was old and broken and no one would ever want me. 30 seconds later I remembered who I was.
It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Most abusers tear you down because they think you’ll come running back. Maybe when I was pregnant, vulnerable and scared. But on a good day I’m a boss bitch who will get her by any means on to get that job done. And in that moment I remembered that woman I had lost, buried deep inside.
The very NEXT day (I swear this happened) my friend called me to see how I was doing and I told him I was dead broke for the first time in my life with no way out. He suggested to me that I start a YouTube channel for the boredom, to give me purpose, and he also told me to make videos about breastfeeding and sell them online.
I was SO hesitant, but when I saw that I could make our rent in one video explaining how to use a breast pump to men with breast feeding fetishes, I gave it a go. I also did topless yoga, arty nude shoots, and hand expression tutorials. Never have I worn makeup or waxed or even put on some sex kitten voice. It’s literally me, stretchmarks and mismatched breasts and all, talking straight to camera about my day while cleaning my kitchen in jogging pants and nothing else.
My boobs fed me and my daughter for a year. And those “perverts” brought me back from the brink. I felt sexy and desirable and powerful. I also think it’s important to note that it was those men who got me on my feet after one of their own knocked me on my ass. I LOVED that my body was feeding us both, it gave me a sense of power that no other job has ever given me. It also armed me against my daughter’s bio dad who did come back and try to control me with money later down the road, and he couldn’t.
To know that as long as I am a woman, we will never fall on hard times; that I am completely recession and pandemic proof, it’s a freedom I cannot begin to explain.
The story about how I crawled out of abuse with a baby on my hip is longer than most people want to hear, and not as exciting as they paint in the movies, and has left me with PTSD, night terrors and trust issues. But the part about how I got paid to take back my feminine power, subverting the role men play in pinning us down, and using their pursuit of the feminine divine I hold between my legs – that part is pretty damn sweet.
The rest they say, is history – My YouTube channel, TravelMama Anna Von, has brought me so many gifts – it’s brought me back to travel, helped me show my daughter the world and introduced me to a bunch of other amazing moms and adventurers around the globe. I also have a podcast now and I speak publicly about abuse recovery and being a bossy single mama. I also got my company PinkMafia back on its feet, only to lose it in this recent Covid-19 pandemic. And it looks like it’ll be another year before it’s back, if at all. But this time I didn’t need to make any desperate phone calls to abusers, or worry about being evicted, I wrote to my former online storefront manager and asked if they could make my storefront live again and they gladly obliged. I kept the emails for the core group of men who supported me in that hard year and told them I was back, and they graciously welcomed me in.
And I am grateful to be back.
You are stronger than you think and NEVER forget who you are!
- Anything by Pia Mellody – Facing Codependence, and Love addiction are her two best books
- SLAA.org – the UK fellowship has the most online groups
- Codependence therapy
- Ross Rosenberg and Sam Vankin Youtube channels for Codependence recovery and Narcissistic abuse recovery
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