Everybody has things they don’t care to blog about, things that should be kept under a rock and never given the chance to see the light of day again — and all for good reasons. The preface for the faceless secret may be because they are ashamed, guilt-ridden, or it’s intensely personal. And why risk outing yourself to have your feelings, emotions and heart trodden over like 2×4 shielding careful feet from a mud-laden walkway?
In a nutshell, there are things I swore I’d never blog about. My two-year long battle with infertility was one of those high on the list. I also promised I’d never allow myself to open up and allow others to see me raw, for who I truly am. That didn’t last long, and after I got bored with adding Acronames and “What kind of blogger are you?” chincy, emotionless placards to my posts, I got real. But there has always been something I have never blogged about, something I have kept tightly to myself, inside Blogdom and out. I feel that by sharing this, I will finally leave it behind, get it out in the open and rid myself of any guilt or shame I have felt.
Life has a way of dealing you cards you never thought you’d experience or live through, things that are so intensely difficult to cope with that ‘lemons’ doesn’t even begin to describe it or do it any kind of justice.
After Ian was born in June of 2004, my life was my ideal perfect. I had a baby and he was all mine. My little miracle boy that graced my life with purity, innocence and sweet love. I read parenting books and online updates, I became the mother I didn’t know was in me, and more surprisingly, I loved it more than words could describe. It came easy.
I saved up as much sick time and vacation from work that I could, and used it all in one fail swoop to care for and cherish my little one before the dreaded day of having to return three months later. The day I handed him over to my mother-in-law to care for in my absence was one of the most frustrating and painful days of my life. It was also the day I dropped my Mum and step-dad off at the airport to return to Scotland after a 13-day stay. What an emotional roller coaster, mostly swooping down and inverted!
My days at work were week-long and I ached to be home again, in our perfect little routine. As a new Mum, I loved that I was still me, that I could have that alone time we all crave, but I also enjoyed the responsibility of caring for him, the rewards of seeing him grow and develop and how motherhood was quietly changing me into a better person than my selfish twenty-somethinger already thought I was.
But being at work didn’t feel like it used to; the passion was gone, it became routine and mundane. It was hard to concentrate on anything: Worrying if he was OK – knowing he was with a registered nurse and someone who loved him passionately – but torn and guilt-ridden, wondering if my quest to provide as much as I could for my little one was at both of our expenses. I’d occasionally have him brought into work and have him hang out with me, but it just wasn’t the same. It was strange to me that in such a short time, I could grow to love and cherish this tiny little stranger; one that I had only gotten to know through bumps and kicks. He depended on me and I loved him implicitly.
Throughout my work day, I would pause to take a break in the Mothers’ Room and wander off with my beloved Medela: now the only physical link between my son and me. I wanted to do what was best for him, and if that meant putting him ahead of starting some assignments, I was going to do it.
As the weeks passed, it became increasingly difficult to find and make the time to pull myself away from my desk. My workloads increased and my responsibilities seemed more than ever. As I endeavoured to fulfill my responsibilities in both worlds, I’d hit snags: people would need things urgently and to add to it, the Mothers’ Room was getting a major overhaul, preventing me from entering.
A few weeks later, the company went through some extensive training to switch to Microsoft Office from Corel and it required many hours away from my desk. As I thought about how the change in software would impact the company — and more especially my department and the amount of man-hours it would involve bringing everything we used into line — the dread and fear started. But there was something else: My appetite was slowly fading and eating suddenly felt like a huge burden. I didn’t feel hungry and often threw away food I had hoped I’d feel differently about once it was sitting in front of me.
I remember one night specifically. We were doing some early evening shopping in Target, and as I rounded a corner to join Bryan (one of us invariably wanders off), I felt an overwhelming amount of dread and panic come over me, that feeling of anxiousness we all experience, and it was for no apparent reason. No amount of deep breathing or fake excited-ness was dispelling it. It puzzled me and I mentioned it in passing to Bryan, but never really thought too much of it.
I don’t recall how much time passed, but I do remember not feeling quite myself and not being able to put a finger on it. My appetite was still changing, I felt stressed and anxious over the small stuff, and now, I was skipping the occasional shower and wanting to avoid any kind of contact with people other than at work. It didn’t make any sense, but still, I brushed it off.
It was the end of October of 2004, beginning of November that I really noticed more differences. I wasn’t sleeping as soundly even though now Ian was 4 months old, he’d been sleeping through the night at 5 weeks. My night wakings increased, and as a result, my energy levels throughout the day suffered for it.
It was a Friday, I got up out of bed and went to go shower, I stopped dead at the sink and didn’t go any further. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was too much. The dread and fear of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on was still there – it was there all along – but it had intensified. My legs and arms tingled, but it was a cold, eerie tingle, like every nerve ending was in shock. It was hard to concentrate on anything but the tingles and it was now increasing my anxiety. I thought about going to work, and my stomach plummeted. I didn’t want to be around anyone, I didn’t want to make lists and organise, thinking about the things I had to accomplish felt like a huge rock had now been placed on my shoulders and it was now too much to bear.
…to be continued.