The past year has been one of so much loss and so much pain. I am starting to realize that through all of this, the thing I have lost the most is myself. I have spent so much time focusing on the needs of everyone around me… friends, family, Sam… that I have lost me in all of this. I have blocked out the fact that I have been through hell. That I have suffered. That I have had loss. That I have had trauma. Instead, I wrapped myself up in the needs and problems of everyone around me.
Now, I am faced with the stark realization that I am the one that has needed the help and support I have given freely to anyone who has needed it. I am the one who is in need of a friend to prop them up. Yes, I have had support and there have been a few friends that have given so much support to me. The sad thing is, the people I think should be there for me- the way I am for them- are not. Instead, I am being pushed away by them, either because they are too wrapped up in their own drama or because they were just never really who I thought they were in the first place.
Its just hard to realize in a year of so much loss- there is more I stand to loose.
Elizabeth Roberts says
Melissa, I have a story a little similar to yours– went into labor at 24 months when my son Johnny was 1lb,10oz. I was put in the hospital on bedrest until he was born via c-section at 36 weeks. Then he was in the NICU for another month. Now he is a happy, healthy, normal 3 year old & my life is back on track.
When I watched your Alta Bates video, browsed through your blog, and read your “feeling sad” post, I recognized my story in it and wanted to share something I learned– For most of a year I went through horrible stress flashbacks, crying at the drop of the hat, not being able to cope with “normal” life until I was ready to break down. Finally got counseling for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder– like what war vets get)– it was literally a night and day change for me.
It’s true that you don’t realize what that kind of stress does to you, because your whole focus is on this helpless baby who could die at any minute. And because you get all f***d up inside, after the baby is recovered, you can’t move on or be a good wife/mother because you are stuck in that period of time.
Maybe this will be helpful to you. Best of luck, Elizabeth
Thanks so much for sharing your story and your thoughts. There is no question that living through the NICU is like going to war. The PTSD combined with PPD (postpartum depression) makes for an amazing one-two punch. I am lucky that my good days outweigh my bad days- of course this came from lots of counseling! I think many preemie mom’s suffer in silence after their babies are released from the NICU. Most people think that with the “worst of it” over, you should just be happy for having your baby home. I think what many people forget is, as the mom, you spent so much time hyper-focused on your fragile little baby that you (and your healing) got lost along the way. It usually isn’t until weeks, months or even years later that you are able to breathe again and start to deal with the trauma.
Hopefully post like mine and thoughtful responses like yours will help people know that we preemie moms are fragile- even after our babies are not. And, hopefully, it will also help another preemie mom to remember that it is OK to cry and have a sad day.