Happy Birthday

It’s just after midnight on my son’s first birthday. I should be overwhelmed with joy right now.
Instead, part of me wishes I could throw a plate through a window. I’m angry. I’m sad. And I’m weak right now.

  • I’m angry because I feel like I got cheated out of the first nearly 10 months of my son’s life. His first year, that I was looking forward to so much and everyone says you’re supposed to cherish because it goes so quickly. There are huge chunks of it that I cannot remember and it makes my blood boil. I want that time back and I can’t have it. I’m angry about being hurt and still struggling with pain that can keep me from being the mom (wife, sister, daughter and friend) that I want to be.
  • I’m sad because I looked in the mirror tonight and didn’t recognize myself. Where did the woman so full of joy and vigor for life go? Where is the woman who had big ideas, took risks and was quick to laugh? I feel like I lost her when my pelvis separated. Although I work everyday to find her, it is a long, slow process that is wearing on me and my husband as individuals and on our marriage. He misses that woman, too. And it devastates me to think my son has never met her.
  • I’m weak because I feel like I can’t set my burdens down. I was taught that it takes strength to ask for help, that the strong are those who can trust someone enough to lean on them. I’m not doing much of that lately. I’ve lived in this community for almost 15 months and I don’t have anyone except my husband I could go out with on a Friday night. I haven’t let my guard down for a second here. I was too focused on surviving through it all. I’m not even leaning on my husband as I should be. He’s struggling with his stress fracture, boot and crutches and it makes me feel like I can’t be as open about my feelings as I should be. He’s “the laid up one” now and talking about my stuff seems to not give him the recognition he deserves.

And I’m filled with guilt.

It’s hard not to think all of the struggle, tension and emotional and financial strain is my fault. If my body had stayed together we would just be a family of three. My husband wouldn’t have hurt his foot because we wouldn’t have had to move. We wouldn’t have spent all that on medical bills, etc. and we wouldn’t have had to get used to life with a wheelchair, for example. I know some of this is because I’m imagining a perfect life had I not sustained diastasis symphysis pubis during childbirth. And I know that’s not reality.

Guilt.

My husband and I had big plans for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. We were going to take the Little Guy to the Kansas Discovery Center for a program and the chance to explore. Instead we didn’t even get out of our pajamas until 6:30 when we sulked to the grocery store. We watched some of the inauguration coverage on CNN and I went through all of the papers I’ve saved so we can be ready to do our taxes. And all day I felt like I had done it again – let down my son who is too small to understand that we’d made a plan and nixed it.

I told myself when I had surgery that I would be “normal” by my son’s birthday. Right now, I don’t feel like I’ve reached that goal.

Yes, I am physically much more like my pre-pregnancy self. I can do most things with ease now and usually feel strong and able. But there are days that I feel broken and the ache keeps me from getting after the day as I used to. I’m coming to terms with the likelihood that I will face some degree of chronic pain into the future.

Yes, my son loves to play with me and thinks I can do everything. But will he think that the next time there is an inauguration? He’ll be about to turn 5 then, capable of so much more. Will I be able to keep up? Will he notice or care?

Yet, I am not emotionally the woman I was. Not by a long shot. I’m working on this with a counselor. But it will take a long time and I’m feeling inpatient. I want my old self back, in a modified form to accommodate this new and exciting adventure of motherhood. My guys, and even our cats, are sleeping right now. I should be, too. But my mind is racing with these big feelings. I should be overwhelmed with joy at my son’s first day as a toddler. I’m not. I’m stuck on the idea that this time last year I had no idea what was about to happen to me.

When I wake up to get ready for work it will be the time of day that we arrived at the birth center a year ago. When my husband and I go to the daycare for the celebration of his birthday during snack time, it will be the time of day that my pelvis separated. And by the end of the work day, it will be the time of day he was born. This is the last time I will think about a year ago and think of the Michaela with an intact pelvis. That scares me.

This whole thing has changed who I am in so many ways. But for my son I will keep fighting to reclaim the best parts of the former me and bring them to light in this new me. I’ll keep trying to let go of the angry, sad, hurt and weak parts. And I will most of all try to feel peace in the idea that today is just today. Tomorrow isn’t written and yesterday doesn’t have to set my course.

I will focus on the unwavering truth that I would do it all again to have my son in my life. I will love him and his Daddy. And I will trust them enough to let go of my burdens and be at peace with where we are today. Happy birthday, Son. I hope today is the beginning of a year full of joy, growth and fun for you.

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2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday

  1. The feelings that you are experiencing are not unique. I have experienced those desires to be my “normal” self many times since P’s birth, and I did not experience the trauma that you did. And I sought out help from a counselor too, and she really helped. I don’t have any words of advice other than to keep trudging on, going forward, and keep practicing yoga. Do something that enriches your soul. Be selfish — in a way that makes YOU happy. That, in turn, will make your home life a little bit happier.

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