Two years of magical thinking?

I was talking with my co-worker and probably closest Topeka confidant today about my progress and realized something pretty profound: I am reacting to recovery from my separated pelvis much the same way I have dealt the death of my father.

As we talked, I was reminded of Joan Didion’s book, The Year of Magical Thinking. In the book, a memoir of her husband’s passing, she explains a principle of “magical thinking” that I immediately related to in the year after my father walked on. Every day for that first year it is impossible not to think about what you were doing at that exact moment the year before. I had noticed myself doing that many times and reading her book made me feel more comfortable with my own responses. The random tears and falling to pieces were OK. Didion showed — and I experienced — that the feeling was strongest at certain times of year and on days that mean something to your relationship with that person. But somewhere in you, that feeling is there every single day.

In talking with Tracy today, I said something about how it might take me until August 25, 2014 to feel free of all of this. Tracy has been a tremendous supporter for me. And more than once she has called my recovery a “modern miracle.” I briefly explained Joan Didion’s book and she talked about how that reaction is probably common for any major trauma. I know she’s right about that and it gives me an incredible sense of peace to think about my reaction as completely normal, expected and healthy.

I have been very careful in how I process everything that has happened. To maintain a positive attitude has been difficult but absolutely necessary. I would not allow myself to connect the “accident” of my separated pelvis with my son’s birth. That was easy at first because I didn’t realize what happened to me until the work, joy, peace and love of the birth experience were over.

But as I get better and closer to being a completely healthy woman, wife and mother, it is hard not to wonder what I’ve missed. In the course of this 10 months I’ve been angry. I’ve been tired, sore and exhausted. I’ve felt unloveable and shattered. I’ve been scared. And often I’ve felt cheated out of precious time and moments with my son, with my husband and as a family. Recently, it has become increasingly difficult not to think about what was happening this time last year.

On Nov. 21 last year I was 30 weeks and one day pregnant, based on the six-week ultrasound’s projected due date. By the same measure, the Little Guy was born at 38 weeks and six days gustation. This week last year I had just attended my second La Leche League meeting, I was going to Zumba twice a week after work and I was plowing through pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding and baby care books. I was a relatively new aunt, after my sister’s successful and incredibly fast delivery of her daughter. I had yet to experience back pain at my right SI joint and we were about a week from starting our weekly our pre-labor class at the birth center.

I know this time next year I will be thinking about how this was about the time Blue Sunshine went back to the rental company. On Aug. 24, 2013 I will think about surgery day. Some day in 2014, I will think: “This time last year I knew I was 100 percent again.” And then, on August 25, 2014 my separated pelvis and recovery will no longer be a part of my “magical thinking.”

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