As I leave the hospital, I know the system failed me. Not only did my obstetrician not catch my mood shift during the final month of my pregnancy, but the hospital, full of doctors, nurses and volunteers, with years of accumulated knowledge, and directives to look for signs and symptoms in patients, never sent a counselor to my room. The whole issue was a nonissue. It was never even discussed. You are not functioning properly; I can’t believe others cannot see that.
Not that I am too proud to ask for help; the pressures of life and the expectations that others have for me, plus the one’s I have for myself make the situation tough to gain perspective. Unfortunately, going home does not make me a happy, healthy and strong person on the inside. It makes me a dreadful, fearful and anxious mother. The battle to regain my mind starts the moment I open the car door and slide into the passenger seat. It’s over now, sweetheart. You are back in charge. Enjoy your last few minutes of someone else doing the driving.
Besides, the idea of seeking ‘help’ is a romantic getaway. Not only does seeking help stir up questions for my medical clearance and my husband’s job, but the reality of my situation does not afford me time off to recuperate. That’s not how life dishes out it’s sentence to me. As soon as one challenge is over, there is another one right around the corner. Seeking help is selfish, Carla. You live the life of a trailing spouse; there is no time for you.
For the first several days, I dutifully wake in the middle of the night to feed my daughter. My body, still in pain from the rough c-section, takes all my mental and physical strength to lift her from the bassinet. My husband happily snores his way through dreamland, oblivious to the torment inside my head.
Eat, sleep, play. Change a diaper. Eat, sleep, play. Change a diaper. Eat, sleep, play…
This time around, I am not the overwhelmed first-time mother, wanting and trying to do everything right. Instead, I am very much the underwhelmed mother, not caring whether or not I do anything right, because, honestly, I don’t want to do any of it – at all. The habitual and mundane tasks are completed with lifeless ambition and an attitude of robotic measure. Anyone can do this, it doesn’t have to be you, Carla. Walk away, and don’t look back. Free yourself. Freedom…it’s calling for you.
When we visit the pediatrician for the first time, he notices a slight pop in my daughter’s hip, and a little murmur in her heart. This sets us on the path to another long series of tests, ultrasounds and regular doctor appointments. My daughter is diagnosed with hip dysplasia and must wear a brace several hours a day over the next several months. Once again, I am left alone to care for the situation as my husband takes his flight back to the embassy in Ghana. Hey! You aren’t The Three Musketeers, you are more like The Three Stooges. It doesn’t seem fair, you have to face every challenge alone. This is going to break you, you know.
Until tomorrow –
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