(Because there’s always people who go, “OMG WHAT?!”: yes, that is Marika’s belly. She’s pregnant. She’s due in the fall. That is a bathing suit, and she is 18 as of these bathing suit pictures being taken/posted.)

Marika is living with us again. This is probably more temporary, until she finds an arrangement that works for her… though we’d really like her to stay as long as she is willing to.

As much as we sort of knew this would happen eventually, given the situation, it did honestly come as a surprise because everything was going pretty great for her up until like two weeks ago. Mr. Narcissist had been convinced to go to addiction counselling for his alcoholism and had been sober for over four months. As a direct result of that, their communication seemed a lot better and they hadn’t had any of their drop kick style fights, no 3am tearful phone calls, no nothing. It was actually kind of good for them, other than the fact that this arrangement seemed so tenuous that Marika wasn’t willing to even leave for a day to visit family.
And then it all went to hell when Marika went to visit a friend (female) for a few days. Mr. Douchnozzle dropped her off with a kiss, said he’d see her later and left with a smile. Everything was great and seemingly fine. Then he called that night to say his enabling friend was back in town and he was going to “help” him. Right. So, naturally a few hours later he called again to say he was absolutely smashed drunk and wouldn’t come home because it was better that way. Marika told me later that on one hand she was glad he at least told her, but on the other hand… what the fuck?
That was the last she heard from him. He disappeared completely. He stopped answering his phone, wouldn’t reply to texts, didn’t answer his emails, hadn’t logged into Facebook, didn’t go home, no one had seen or heard from him in days.
At some point in there he called his mom and told her he had no money to pay rent and convinced her to send along some cash. Immediately after that he disappeared again. When Marika got back from her friend’s place she saw that he’d at least visited the house in the last day or two, taken some things (shirts, boxer shorts, etc), but he left no note or information on where he was or what he was doing. He’d also only paid about $300 of their $850 rent, without leaving any explanation as to why or how this was going to be solved. His next cheque should have already been picked up, and the amount he was expecting to be paid was more than enough to pay the rest of the rent… but it had seemingly disappeared without a trace. As did the money his mother sent. Any remaining money they had in the bank was gone and Marika, now in her third trimester, was left with about $5 in change and an empty house.

Over a week went by with nothing. Finally he called one night while Marika was on the phone with me. She hung up to take that call, which lasted about five minutes, then called me back in tears. He drunkenly slurred that he didn’t want to deal with her, couldn’t support her, and she “needed to find another place to live” and then hung up. After her initial shock wore off, she seemed more disappointed than devastated… and has handled everything since then with surprising grace. I’m not sure if I’m relieved or horrified: she knew this was coming and didn’t honestly expect him to stay and care about his (second) child, and that makes me really sad.
Marika’s name is not on the rental agreement as she’s under 18, and for the first time that’s actually a good thing. It means she can leave and try to pick up the pieces without having to handle his major fuckups and have them follow her everywhere.

I had her come over as fast as she possibly could, and she was here by the next morning. After a few days to cool down, Dad drove her back onto the mainland to pack up the rest of her stuff, and they dropped it all off at our place the same day. As of this last weekend, she’s officially moved out and left, and I think (I hope) it’s forever this time. We suspected it wouldn’t stick until he left her, and he’s done it in a pretty permanent way. She blocked him on Facebook, deleted his contact from her email, and started setting up to transfer her midwifery care, find youth support centres, all that stuff.
I warned Marika that when he sobers up he’ll try and get her back, and if/when that doesn’t work he’ll go on the offensive. He’s also not going to like that she didn’t pick up his garbage while he was out getting plastered – literally and figuratively. That’s how abusers do things. Unfortunately I couldn’t have been more right. After a gentle plead about how he’s doing this because he loves her and he’s just “scared” or “worried for her well being” didn’t work, he went nuts. He texted me – me! – at midnight one evening to tell me that I simply didn’t understand his plight and how horrible it is for him.
“Fuck off,” I texted back.
“I’m so sorry that it bothers you to know the truth…” blah blah blah. This shit is pathetic and predictable.
“Fuck off,” I said again. “I don’t care. Don’t text me again.”
“Well I just thought you should know Marika’s a prostitute.”
“One more time and I’ll call the cops”. He stopped after that. I didn’t want to tell Marika right away that this is what he was trying, but unfortunately he forced my hand by the following afternoon. It seems when appealing to me didn’t work he went to her mother.

Krazy called Curtis’ phone to harass Marika. We didn’t even know she HAD his number. Seriously, how did she find or even get his number? What the fuck? Unfortunately dad was over when she called, and pushed for Marika to talk to her. His naive neutrality gets really old sometimes, and I wish he’d stop being so… nice. Krazy doesn’t deserve it when all she’s doing is tormenting Marika. I know he’s trying to not take a side, to not get involved, to support Marika and show that he’s not damning anyone… but really: this is not necessary.
Albeit gently, he pushed for Marika to at the very least talk to her and let her know what’s up. We all decided that was fair, and Marika took the call in the other room. Turns out Krazy decided to spring a surprise visit on Marika without telling anyone, and dropped by her empty apartment to find no one there, which was immediately followed by a barely sober Mr. Asswipe emailing her his prostitution sob story. He claimed to have “proof she made $100” but no one asked for it, or saw it, or figured out what this proof was. He just kept saying he had it and everyone believed him for some reason.
And Krazy was made extremely furious… that Marika had not been at home to greet and thank her for her surprise visit.


Priorities. Krazy has them.

Marika did her best to hold it together while apologizing to her mother for not being present due to a massive crisis of life and housing and finances, and somehow not writing her mother a ten page letter somewhere in the midst of it all… The conversation fell apart around the time that Krazy started ranting about how Marika can’t possibly look at herself in the mirror every day. She knew that her mother must be referencing the prostitution story, but she pressed her to try and get her to actually say it.
“Why would I have trouble seeing myself in the mirror?”
“Well, I just don’t want you to do anything tonight.”
“What do you think I’m going to do? I’m going out to dinner with my dad.”
“Well just don’t go anywhere without supervision. How will you ever raise a child with the way you… are?”
Shortly after that she hung up. I gave her a hug and told her how sorry I was that Mr. Hosebeast was doing this to her, that her mom was doing this to her… but she waved it off. “It’s pretty normal for mom.”
It just makes me sad that she fucking expects this. I just… can’t. I can’t with this woman. Does she ever think about anyone but herself? Anyone? What the fuck is wrong with her? This may be her only grandchild.

Also, can we talk for a minute about this woman’s bizarre ideas of what prostitution is? Does she think a very pregnant teenager woke up one morning and thought, “Imma gonna go ho’ing this evening!”, puts on her prostitute boots and mini-skirt and goes down to a street corner, high fives the pimps and just climbs in the first car she sees? 15 men an hour or so? Like… what?
I know people who are sex workers: happy, healthy, good sex workers. They love their jobs, they do great jobs and are loving their lives! That is not how that shit works.
This is like when Krazy was convinced that Marika was buying heroin on a road trip, because she slept in on weekends and was grumpy in the morning.

We’ve stressed over and over how welcome she (and the baby) are welcome here for as long as she needs. To be honest, Curtis and I would love to see her stay here for the first 6-12 months of the new baby’s life… but I think she’s far too stubborn for that. I just don’t want her to be alone, especially considering everything that’s happened. I just cannot let her be alone. I kind of hate myself a little for how readily I want to throw my whole life into chaos to help make hers a little easier. Patience and moderation is not my strong point when it comes to my family in crisis.
She’s less ‘moved in’ to our spare room as much as she’s sort of ‘landed’, but so far it’s been good. She’s 30 weeks now, and doing incredibly well in spite of it all.

A good thing that came out of this was her being able to connect with Mr. Asshole’s previous girlfriend (another vulnerable young woman that he also left while pregnant with his child), since their kids will be half-siblings and barely 15 months apart. They’ve been able to have a lot of positive conversation, although once they exchanged dates they figured out he was sleeping with both of them at the same time, something neither of them were aware of. Every time the other girlfriend called him, he’d tell Marika his “crazy ex was being crazy”, calling non-stop and being “a bitch”. Turns out she was actually trying to figure out where he was going all the time, as she suspected he was cheating on her.
He’s a real winner, this one.

She hasn’t heard from him in a while now, so maybe that means he’s finally lost interest in smearing her… though I suspect he’ll keep going until he finds another young, vulnerable woman to abuse.
In other news: two nights ago a relative of Marika sent her a three page letter about how she’s a horrible person, her baby is a plaything, and no one loves her. This relative got pregnant out of wedlock, at 17, and the father was physically abusive. But, she says, don’t you DARE compare yourself to me! I was way better than you, because I loved my mom. It’s like her whole goddamn family is part of The Kult now.

At the very least, I really hope that when she’s 30 she is able to talk to her 13 year old daughter about this shit and say, “My mother did everything she could to turn my family against me unless I took her abuse, it really screwed me up. I will never ever do that to you, because really loving your children isn’t just about standing next to them while they’re at their best… it’s also about supporting them through their worst.”




  • Anonymous says:

    Marika, I don’t know you but I just wanted to say I’m so sorry you are going through this. I am glad you have your sister to help you out though! Just remember, your mother is crazy. Please stay far far away from her and the father of your child. I don’t know if this applies to your situation, but you could try reading “co-dependent no more” and “stop walking on eggshells” for some enlightenment about how it might have been growing up with your mother and how you can escape the manipulation!!


    • admin says:

      I will pass that book title onto her, thank you. 🙂 I’ve also recommended to her a title called “Toxic parents”, which she read some of, and a few titles about communicating in marriage (while not really about her life, she felt it helped a lot in learning to express herself in healthy ways). She’s really proactive about learning to better herself and being honest with her limitations, so I know she’ll check it out. Thanks. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Totally off topic here but wasn’t sure how to contact you without spamming your photography inbox…but I saw this exhibition & thought you might be interested: Heartfelt provide free, professional photographic services to Australian families who have experienced stillbirth, prem births, seriously ill or terminal children, etc. Given you sometimes offer similar services, I thought you might be interested to see some of the exhibition they put together. So beautiful & sad…but awesome that parents have this service avail to them.

    -Amy in Australia

  • Beautiful photos though such a hard time.

    If you don’t mind my asking, how old were you when you had Tempest? I know you had to start trying to conceive pretty young because of your condition so I wondered what age you were when she was born.

    • admin says:

      I haven’t actually shared my age publicly. Not for any particular reason other than a lot of people seem REALLY OBSESSED with finding out how old I am, which makes it all the more fun not to tell. 😛
      Suffice to say, I was not a teen mother when I had Tempest. I was young by some standards, but not a teen. I was thinking about having kids young though. By the time I was with Curtis I was aware of the fact that if we didn’t have kids soon we probably wouldn’t have them at all, and discussed it with several doctors… but we didn’t have her *that* young. We had been married just over a year and together for 5-6 by the time she was born.

  • sparkle_lite says:

    It’s so beautiful how much they look alike!

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s so beautiful how much they look alike!

  • noelove says:

    Congratulation Marika. Through all this bullshit, you’ll come out stronger in the end.

    editL and omg heather! how dare you make her climb a tree for that picture!?!? she’s pregnant and a delicate flower! you jerk! 😛

  • altarflame says:

    Just catching up on all this. It’s pretty wild for me, to look back on my own life and think about Bobby and being 17 and pregnant and so on…let’s just say, I really think there is a whole lot of hope for her to not just be “ok” or “make it somehow,” but to do great and thrive. Her and her child.

    And I’m also really glad she’s with you.

  • yolen says:

    I hope she’s done with him for good. The coward.

  • She is such a beautiful young woman. I seriously would like to join the baseball bat brigade and go beat that man down. I hope that Marika gets a chance to heal throughout all this. *hugs*

  • Anonymous says:

    Loving the names!

    I’m well impressed with the endless variations on insulting names this guy has earned! Hopefully you won’t need to come up with any more. Hopefully it’s a end to an old chapter, and the start of an exciting new adventure! Best wishes to your family and Marika’s (soon-to-be).

  • madamemonday says:

    You gave your sister such a beautiful gift with these photographs.

  • gen_here says:

    I really, really hope she at least sticks it out through 6-8 weeks pp at your place. Where better to be than at the home of people who support homebirth and nurture a mama after birthing a child.

  • Anonymous says:

    That last photo actually gave me goosebumps. AMAZING. She is so lucky to have your love & support.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m so sorry Marika is going through this, but equally grateful that she has someone like you that is there for her through everything. Thick and thin. It is comforting to know that some people still treasure the meaning of family.

  • conchispa says:


    I really hope that this time she is really done with the asshole and is not coming back to him anymore, no matter what. I’m so glad to hear she is back with you. She is very lucky to have your love and support.

  • just_shoe_me says:

    Those pictures are so beautiful.
    I’m glad she is staying with you now and I hope that continues. She has such amazing support through you and Curtis and the kids. The baby would be so lucky to be born in that wonderful environment.

  • itsyspy70 says:

    Beautiful photos as always… I’ve been reading your LJ forever so it was kind of a trip to go back looking at older photos of Marika (prom, when she shaved her head for her mom, when she first moved in with you guys) and realize some of those go back to 2009.

    She looks like a woman now, straight up.

    Hope everything works out, I bet the kids are happy to have her around again.

  • robynz says:

    Marika looks so wonderful in black and white with those thick eyelashes and fair skin! <3

    Glad she’s safe with you right now.

  • It’s a girl? AWESOME.

    She looks fabulous, and the pictures you took were exquisite.

    I’m so sorry she’s going through this but she is so, so lucky to have you. I remember being about as messed up as her, and in very similar ways, when I was that age, and though I probably wouldn’t have recognized it at the time I would have been so lucky to have someone like you around.

    • admin says:

      It is a girl. 🙂

      And, it brings me an unbelievable amount of relief to know that someone I respect and admire managed to get through a similar amount of shit and come out so awesome. <3

  • What a lot of life lessons for such a young girl… But it sounds like she will be okay. You gave her the soft place to land that she needed!

  • She looks very pretty! I hope she can find some relief. It’s not going to be easy to be a single mom but I think she has good support. Keep on chugging along, Marika!

  • bicrim says:

    I’m glad she is well, I hope that you have a good long visit with her and get to be there for her when the baby comes. I would tell you to guard your heart a little bit, but that is impossible with little sisters, I know. Your family is strong, you all will be fine no matter what. xoxox

    • admin says:

      It is really hard to guard my heart. She has hurt me before in very deep ways, but generally she only does so when she’s very lost. I hold her accountable for her actions but I also try to understand the root of them. Understanding doesn’t equal excusing, but it helps me.
      It’s extremely hard not to want to wrap her up in all my love and try to protect her from everything as if she’s my own child. The vast age difference between us definitely accounts for that. :-/ I’ve always, always felt more like a maternal figure than a sibling. It’s so much harder when your siblings are so much younger.

  • Anonymous says:

    I LOVE that first picture of Tempest with Marika’s belly! 🙂 I wish that I lived closer and/or could afford to hire you, because I love your photography. I’m 31 weeks and 4 days and it’s looking like we’re not going to get around to doing maternity pictures with this pregnancy either 🙁

    I’m glad that things are working out for now. I hope she does stay for a while, because I can’t think of a better place for a single teenage mother to bring a baby into the world than living with you. And I do not think that you’re lacking “patience and moderation” in this instance, I think you did exactly what she needed right now. She’s lucky to have you as a big sister.

  • emilie1024 says:

    I’m glad Marika has a safe place to go. I hope she decides to stay for awhile. I’ve seen people go through similar situations…it’s unfortunate that they sometimes go back with the guy…hopefully Marika won’t. She’s really beautiful.

  • comitto says:

    She looks so much like you!

  • tastyanagram says:

    Such beautiful pictures! Aaahhhh, I feel so deeply for Marika and everyone else involved in this hellish situation, but I’m glad that she seems to be in a safe place and is with you guys for now. Thinking of you all.

  • chem_nerd says:

    I’m glad Marika is somewhere safe with people who care about her.

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