I paid a visit to my doctor last week for my yearly physical and to discuss whether or not it was time to stop taking my antidepressants. I began the medication to combat postpartum depression. I had taken them for a year. Most patients see dramatic improvement within that time and usually stop taking the pills. My doctor asked me questions to determine my current state of mind.
“Do you engage in activities you find fulfilling?”
“Do you find time to exercise regularly?”
“Do you engage in social situations and activities with friends?”
“Do you feel depressed?”
“Do you feel stressed?”
Yes- I am generally a stressed person. Goes with the territory of staying home with two young children.
“Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning? Wait, let me rephrase that because you don’t have any other option but to get out of bed. If you could stay in bed, and not deal with anything, would you?”
Last week, I answered no to this question. This morning, I would have buried myself under a pile of down comforters if I had the option. I don’t know why, but from the second I woke up, it was one of those days.
I should have woken feeling elated this morning. Liam is home from the hospital and doing fantastic. He’s running around as if nothing happened, except he still wears his hospital bracelet because he likes that his name is typed on it.
I am happy, but also just drained. Exhausted. I don’t think I realized how taxing yesterday was, until today.
My husband, Ben, and Liam have very similar personalities. It is kind of strange the way I can see that, even though Liam is only three years old. After we checked in yesterday, Liam happily sat in his bed watching movies. Ben lounged in a chair playing games on his phone. I sort of stood there not knowing what to do. I asked Liam if he wanted me to sit in the bed with him, but he said no. He had Curious George; he had his new friend Derby. No room for Mommy.
Liam has never been a super snuggly kid. He’s affectionate and throws his arms around my neck multiple times a day. But if he feels safe and content, he’s usually happy to sit on his own. He’s very independent. Ben is like that as well. He’s not one of those guys who needs a lady to take care of him. He cooks, cleans, does his own laundry.
I always tease Ben about his engineer brain. He is very logical. He is not going to worry unless there is something to worry about. So if the doctor advises that it is a minor surgery, with very little chance of complications, Ben is going to accept that at face value and return to his Sudoku puzzle.
There I was surrounded by calm, self-reliant men, feeling neither calm nor self-reliant. Maybe Liam didn’t need a cuddle, but I kind of did. I know, boo fucking hoo.
I think I just put a lot of pressure on myself as a mother to stay strong, to not get overcome with emotion over a scheduled outpatient surgery. The truth is, maybe I needed two minutes in a bathroom stall to just give in to my overdramatic nature and cry. Liam is and will always be my baby. His surgery may have been routine to every other person present, but it is still hard for a mama to see her baby in a hospital gown.
My glum mood was not just about his surgery. I have a break in the chaos, and that is not good for me. My friends think I am a crazy person because I always have ten projects going on at once. Even if I’m watching TV, I’m usually crocheting or embroidering or something of the like. I just need to be doing something all the time. Liam’s surgery is over. I recently finished up a couple of projects, and am waiting for the right timing to finish up a few more. I’m in a holding pattern. I don’t know what to do with myself.
It is probably bordering on unhealthy, but I kind of need so much going on at once that it keeps me motivated. I can’t stay in bed because I have people depending on me. Projects are piling up. I don’t want to miss a workout. Even this silly blog. In my mind, there is someone out there waiting to read it, and if I don’t deliver on time, she’ll move on to another woman’s meaningless rants. I know, ridiculous and self important . I guess I just have this overzealous desire to be needed, productive, and appreciated.
Right now, this is a big fat stream of self-pity. BORING! I’m sure you just want to slap me and yell “get it together, bitch!” But stay with me. It gets good.
So I’m having one of those mornings where I could easily fall right back to sleep if I just had ten seconds to close my eyes. I’m struggling to not nosedive into my coffee. Then Liam gets an idea for new game in his mind.
He guides me to the couch and has me lie down. He covers me with his blanket and tucks me in. He places George and Derby in my arms. He gets my coffee cup and holds it to my mouth so I can sip. He says he is the Daddy and I am Mommy Baby, and he’s going to take care of me. He touches his hand to my forehead to see if I’m hot and pretends to cook me soup. Before long, Kellen runs to get his toy teacup and they take turns giving me drinks and kisses.
They are both so gentle and considerate as they pretend to nurture me back to health. I recently read a Vonnegut quote along the lines of “We are what we pretend to be, so be careful what you pretend.” These precious little boys had no idea that playing doctor to their “sick” mother was exactly the real-life medicine I needed today.
I got up off the couch, grabbed another cup of coffee (even Super Woman probably needs a caffeine boost) and started considering what tasks I needed to complete first. Back to the routine. There are Halloween buckets to decorate, brownies to bake, and adventures to be had. This blog doesn’t write itself, you know.