Lost My Health and Part of Myself
by Meg L.
I was a gardener, I was a social worker, I was a runner. When we decided to start a family, I was estatic to become a mother. I couldn't wait to add a jog stroller to my runs and dreamed of guiding our child in cultivating his own flower patch. Then all hell broke loose. Months in the hospital culminated in a dangerous, emergency birth of our, miraculously healthy, daughter. I had so much blood loss and a whopping postpartum infection that I required two blood transfusions and intravenous antibiotics. And I never recovered. Two years later I am still sick, with what- the doctors cannot tell me. They offer "diagnoses of exclusion" like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, but offer basically no real treatment options. All I kinow is that after four specialists, physical rehab, a long list of drugs, and I still cannot pick up my daughter, change her diaper, take her to the park. I spend days stuck in bed, exhausted and with flu-like symptoms, and hear her call for me from downstairs while her father or grandparents watch her. I lost my career. I lost my health. I lost my faith. I feel like I lost the chance to mother my own child.
Well-meaning people like to point out that my daughter is healthy and that all that really matters to her is that she has a mommy who loves her. They say that being angry and sad about the things I cannot do simply makes my symptoms worse and draws my attention away from what I still can do. My mother went so far as to tell me that I'm my own worst enemy in this way. I know my emotional turmoil makes things harder on myself and everybody around me. But I can't help it. I feel absolutely unable to accept what my life has come. And I feel, perhaps irrationally, angry at those who kindly point out that my life is good as it is. I wonder, would it be good enough for you?
I know logically that acceptance of my life, as is, will bring greater peace and happiness. I don't need people reminding me of this with a kind smile. I try hard every day to accept things. I try to listen to people's encouragement. But all I feel is loss, grief, and anger. Sometimes rage and despair. And then guilt, for not being able to "buck up" and look on the bright side. Guilt for how my pain and causes pain for my family. How my grieving makes more work for them. What can I do when my best efforts just aren't enough? How can I possibly calm the storm inside of me and be a whole person again, even if I am still sick?