Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 87: Reassurance Needed!

I love being a mom.

Saturday night I was able to attend an amazing meeting for women, and for the first time ever, my Sweet P (on the left) got to come with me.  Every few minutes I would look over at her sitting by my side and tear up a bit at how fabulous it is to have her growing up and being a part of things with me.

Motherhood has been one of the most amazing experiences of my journey here on earth.

But, sometimes, I feel like I'm doing a really terrible job of it.

Some of you know, Baby B was a crazy easy baby.  Then right around 16-17 months he became just plain crazy.  A flip was switched and our sweet baby was transformed into a bit of a monster.  Sometimes we still see that sweet little guy, but the monstrous part seems to be getting worse.  He's getting violent and aggressive.

And he has become one of the most significant triggers for me in my struggles.

Not the best combination.

So, I took him to the pediatrician, thinking maybe a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome was in order.  However, he *can* have pretty good social skills and he's verbally advanced, so we've mostly ruled that out.  Although, a sensory processing disorder does seem quite likely.  Which is something I've suspected for a while, so it came as no surprise.

Because she witnessed his aggression in the form of him  knocking poor little Darling A around during our appointment, our doctor referred us to a sort of "daycare/preschool" facility that focuses on behavior modification.  Mainly through positive reinforcement.  But, the program is facilitated by specialists and therapists and the like, so it's actually covered by insurance as a mental health treatment.

I felt really strongly that this was the right decision for us at this time.  So, I began the process a couple of weeks ago.  Initially, excited at the prospect of helping him not only change his behavior, but also learn to take in the world in a way that allows him to be happy, rather than overwhelmed and stressed.  Plus, there's a weekly family therapy session that will help all of us know how to help him (and, I'm guessing/hoping) improve our overall family dynamics.

But, as his start date drew nearer, that optimism has been completely overshadowed by feelings of doubt and guilt.  Mostly guilt.

I keep thinking about all of the activities and moments he will miss out on.  He will still attend his regular preschool twice a week, but he will spend the majority each day at this behavior facility.

And it makes me sick with guilt.

I feel like a terrible mom.  Shipping him off because I can't handle him.  I keep thinking that it's ridiculous.  Aren't I supposed to be the one best suited to teach him and mold him and to help him grow and develop?  If only I were more patient/strong/happy/stable/etc., then he wouldn't have to do this.  

He'd be free to have play dates with his friends.  For me to tell stories to at nap time.  To have a silly April Fool's Day snack when the other kids get home from school tomorrow.

Because his start date is tomorrow (it was supposed to be today, but I pushed it back so he could have one final lunch play date with a bunch of his friends, and thankfully, he had so much fun).

And I've been fighting of tears and feelings of self-loathing all day.

I ran 6 miles this morning.

Twice as far as I should have.

As if I could run away from how much I hate that I am doing this to him.

All the while feeling like it really is the best thing right now.  And that it could be a life changing opportunity for him.   And maybe for our whole family.

And maybe an opportunity for me to be able to heal and recover a bit myself.  But, that brings with it its own bag of guilt, so we'll save that for another day...

I'm just so sad for him.  Not just about all of the things that he'll miss.  But because I keep picturing him there, wondering why he's there all day.  Every day.  Abandoned.  By the mom who is supposed to nurture him at every turn.

And I'm sad for me.  Because in between the fits and the anger and the frustration, he can be the sweetest sweetest child.  He'll give me huge bear hugs and non-stop kisses and tell me I look beautiful. And he says the funniest things.

And I'm going to miss him.

So, tell me that I'm not a terrible person.  That this is not a sign that I've given up on him.  That this really is a good thing.  The right thing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 86: Safety First

I'm going to have to keep this short because I sorely need a nap.

I've been feeling better from the mono.  Finally.

But now comes the challenge of learning to let life back in without over doing it.  If I get a nap every day, I think I can do that.

But, that's not really what this post is about.

What is it about?

Well, when I sat down to write it, I discovered a partially written post from a few weeks ago.  If just having a title counts as a partially written post, that is.

Okay, so I'm stalling.  Because I'm not sure how to articulate, or where exactly I want to go.

The unwritten post was about an epiphany I had a few weeks ago while reading the account of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, in the bible.  Not that I'm at all equating my experience with his, it got me thinking about sacrifice in my life.

I've been really angry these past few months as my health just continued to deteriorate.  I felt like I was giving up more and more of the things (hobbies, activities, responsibilities) that make me me.  Like I was completely losing (or sacrificing) my very self.

But, on the morning of the epiphany I realized that I wasn't losing myself at all.  In reality, those were the things keeping me from knowing myself.  Those were the things I did to try and gain approval and admiration of everyone.  Including my Father in Heaven.  Instead, I was so busy with them I allow myself the opportunity to feel my Father's love and approval for the me that I really am.

Does that make sense?

I don't know.  But, I'm moving on.

Now that I've let go of so many things, I'm finally seeing progress.  Well, I'm pretty sure my new medication is helping a ton, too.  But, whatever the source, progress is happening.

  • I don't care nearly as much (sometimes not at all) about what other people think.
  • I'm not so hard on myself.
  • I accept that I can't do it all
  • I accept that I can't do it all by myself
  • I accept that I can't do it all perfectly
  • I not only know that I need others, but I'm loving it
  • I have a couple friends that I trust fully and don't feel insecure with--meaning I can call on them for help and/or a listening ear, without feeling guilty that they'd rather be doing just about anything else and are only helping me because they are good people.
  • I nap almost every day, even though it means that sometimes my kids come home to a messy house and dinner is not amazing and sometimes even late.
  • I don't hate myself for all of my mistakes and shortcomings.
  • I know that my actions don't change my worth, for better or for worse
Those are probably the main points of progress.

And I'm proud of them.

The problem is, somewhere along the way, I developed some not so good habits when it comes to dealing with stress.  And stress is kind of a natural part of life.  And I'm kind of hypersensitive to it.

So, yesterday's therapy appointment was about creating a "First Aid Kit" to intervene when things start to get stressful, but before I get completely overwhelmed.  It's basically a container full of things to help me break the stress train of thought.  Like good quotes, an essential oil scent that always makes me feel better, songs I like, sudoku puzzles, or whatever else might get me back to a better state of mind.

I totally see the reason for this.  And it makes sense.  And I can see that it can help.

But, I'm still really angry about the fact that it's something I need.  I just feel really stupid about it.  There are a lot of reasons about this.  But, when I tried to explain it to HH last night, I don't think he really understood.

So, it's probably just because I'm still struggling with denial.

I've been known to spend excessive time with denial a few times over the years.

So, there you have it.

Super short post, right?

Nap time.