Wednesday 19 September 2012

The unraveling

You may have noticed that this blog has been much less personal in the last few weeks. I haven't had a lot to say. Or rather, I haven't been brave enough to say what I had to say. I've been unraveling. In that way that you can feel happen but apathy stops you from preventing it. It began with my son's first birthday. Postpartum hormones (and lack of sleep) have heightened all of my emotions. Good and bad. And I struggled to process the reality that the whole first year of his life was over.

And as his birthday came and went I let myself get busy. The busy kind of busy. The kind of busy that means a car full of take out wrappers and jeans that don't fit because you haven't found the time to make a decent meal in weeks. The kind of busy that lets friendships slide and commitments struggle to be met.  I started something that I felt really passionate and excited about. And I poured my whole self into it. I was up every night until 2 AM. Trying to build something up from nothing and weaving my sense of self-worth into the foundation.

And then that project failed. And my already fragile ego crumbled with it. In what I am sure was an attempt to make me feel better my loving wife said "well at least now you will have more time for Mac. You won't get this time back and you've been missing it." But what my postpartum mind heard was "you're a neglectful mother and our son deserves better." Which put the final nail in the coffin of my sanity.

After some tears (by which I mean the hyperventilating kind of sobs that my wife had no idea how to deal with) I found myself in the waiting room of a clinic. About eight months ago I found myself in the same clinic for the same reason. That time the doctor had been kind and reassuring. It happens to a lot of moms. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But I felt the shame nonetheless. I didn't find mothering difficult. In fact I found it to be the most enjoyable role I had ever been privileged enough to experience. But I was plagued with anxiety about my own abilities and my own self worth. He gave me a low dose of anti-depressants and I was on my way. Although I felt ashamed of my need for help I also had a weird sense of pride over the dosage. I wasn't one of those completely unraveled moms. I just needed a little help to balance out my hormones. Just a little.

But this time was different. That small dose had stopped working. Or my needs had increased. I sat in the waiting room wondering what my family would do with my life insurance money. Would they be better off in the long run? Would they move into a bigger house? The minutes spent waiting felt like an eternity.

When I finally entered the private room I was relieved to see the same doctor as last time. He had kind eyes and I needed kind. He said all the things he was trained to say. He validated my feelings, he suggested counselling, he asked about my support system, and ultimately he increased my dosage. The first time I sat in his office I cried with relief and looked to him as the great hope. This time his comments felt patronizing. I longed to hear him say buck-up buttercup, nobody said life was fair, stop being so damn self-indulgent with sadness. His softness irritated me but I took his prescription anyway.

I'd like to say I'm writing this from the other side. That I'm no longer feeling sad or anxious. And that all is well in my world. I'm not there yet. But I'm on that bridge crossing-over. My mom is visiting and she brought potato leak soup. So things are bound to pick up.

My continued thanks to this month's Mondays with Mac sponsor!  College Registry is a free online savings tool that helps parents rethink how they save for their children’s college education by unlocking the power of friends and family. From estimating the cost of specific colleges to establishing a plan to incorporating friends and family in your savings goals, College Registry will help make your child’s college dreams a reality.
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