Yesterday my boys and some friends went apple picking. I was going to go with them, but at the last minute I backed out. My excuse was a headache, banal, but also true.
Back when it was just me and Z it didn’t bother me much that I missed out on so many things by staying at home. My favorite time with him is when it is just us at home. Groups make me so anxious that even if Z is there I don’t always enjoy myself. Of course, when I did rally and make it out to an event I would often have a terrific time. But I’d forget that the minute anxiety paralyzed me the next time we were supposed to do something fun. When I did get it together to attend an event I’d be shocked anew that I’d enjoyed it. And Z would be bemused and frustrated the same revelation happened again and again.
Now that T is no longer a lump who hangs out in a baby carrier on my chest in public (seriously, that is exactly what babies are for the first few months) I am starting to feel frustrated by my excuses that lead me to miss out on life outside our house. Last year I went apple picking and enjoyed myself immensely, in large part because of the lump strapped to my chest. But I missed out on apple picking with T as a one year old. My next chance will be with T as a two year old, a completely different child. And hopefully there will be another child in the picture in a year, or at least one on the way. I might have missed my last chance to apple pick with T as an only child. Why does my body rebel with anxiety attacks, upset stomachs, headaches or migraines?
I got out of swimming lessons this week. Mystery bleeding/ maybe period was the perfect excuse. I was secretly pleased to have a real reason not to go, even though I do enjoy watching him in the water. I know my anxiety creates many of the physical symptoms that get me out of leaving the house, so whenever I have a real live one not created my by craziness I feel relieved and justified. Oh, the layers of neurotic.
But the bleeding is now becoming a source of anxiety itself. It’s not like bleeding is new. I’ve had my period for 22 years at this point. It has been a fact of life and never a source of fear. But now it is tied up in the worst events of the last year. When we got home from the hospital after T was born it rapidly became clear something wasn’t quite right. I had never bleed like I was bleeding then, but I was told that was to be expected. When the clots started I knew something was very wrong even though I was being reassured by the nurse hotline that there wasn’t a problem. Now that I have a year’s distance from those events I realize that scary as the clots were, it was even more damaging that I knew something was wrong and I couldn’t get the nurse or doctor to believe me. The condescending way I was told I could come in even though they were sure there wasn’t a problem made me feel like complete garbage.
Now that I am in post D&C limbo with a side of confusing non straightforward bleeding I feel out of control. I am scared clots will start, or I will hemorrhage, or I will misread the signs and head back to the ER only to be told I am fine, or I will misread the signs and not head to the ER though I need to. I’m so confused and scared that I feel like complete garbage again, even though this time the medical professionals are treating me with care. The doctor told me I might bleed every day until my next period, I might have breakthrough bleeding, I might need another D&C. It’s the who the hell knows, let’s wait and see approach to getting my body back to working order. It would suck under any circumstance, but my anxiety problem is making it unbearable.
The big event in my glamorous day is supposed to be a trip to Target this afternoon to buy things like wart remover, diapers, and file folders. I want to get T out of the house. The wart on my toe isn’t going anywhere unless I get proactive. But I’ve been feeling the anxiety since last night. I had trouble falling and staying asleep followed by horrible nightmares and numerous trips to the bathroom to check exactly how much I’d bled. I feel defeated already. I know I’m not going to get through today without a chill pill, at this point I am just putting off the inevitable. All over a trip to Target and what is probably my period. How could I not hate myself for being such a pain in the ass?
And what about T? When does he start realizing his mom isn’t around as much when he’s out of the house doing fun things? When does he start to notice my anxiety problem? When does he start feeling it himself? Can I possibly avoid damaging him because of my issues? The solution to my problem is obvious. I should just go. Leave the house. Get off my ass. The trouble is when anyone suggests that to me, including when I suggest it to myself I dig my heals in deeper. Pressure makes the anxiety worse. But the sadness that I am missing out on watching my son experience the world might be even more unbearable than the anxiety. I am hoping it is. I’m hoping I make it to Target today, to swimming next Saturday, to the next fun family event.
This is my absolute favorite face he makes.
Also I'm pretty broken up that his current favorite toy is the stupid orange sunglasses. I have an orange phobia, can't bear to touch anything orange. But Z says I'm not allowed to teach T orange is evil. So I just shudder as I watch him play with them.