Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Truth

The truth is, I am weak.

Apparently, this is only a surprise to me. God knows it, and God knows my husband knows it. I guess even my friends have come to realize that I’m not perfect (gasp!). So yesterday I felt pretty out of it. I was angry at everyone, for no particular reason. I had no patience. I wanted to spend time with my kids and enjoy being with them, but only if they were behaving perfectly. And they weren’t. Ava was whining and Drew wasn’t listening to me and Dan wasn’t reading my mind so I was mad! I wanted to escape, to go and hide in my room and felt extremely guilty about it. So I spent a lot of time feeling angry and even more time feeling guilty and even worse, I felt too prideful to ask for help. I didn’t want to admit even to myself that I was having these feelings, let alone ask someone else for help with my inadequacies as a mother.

I thought I should be happy to be home. I should be happy this part is over and that it went well. I should be happy to be with Drew, because I am lucky he is even alive. Plus, in the world I live in, the world of heart defects and surgeries, a cath is not that big of a deal. I thought, what is wrong with me, that I am feeling this way? I thought no one understands me.

Luckily, I have awesome friends. I talked with a friend who told me that these thoughts are not from God. That He wants us to function in community and that no one thinks that I am perfect anyway, so there is no need to pretend. She said to ask for and accept help. And she was right. Another friend forced me to go to lunch, even though I told her I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. And I’m glad I went. I probably wasn’t a cheery addition to the group, but it was good to get out of the house and slowly but surely I started feeling better. I talked to another heart mom, who does understand my feelings. And still another friend came over to watch mindless TV with me.

So what did I learn from this experience? I learned that apparently, this is my way of dealing with stress. I can get through the hospitalizations relatively unscathed, but the day after is going to be bad. So next time I will allow for a decompression day. I will ask ahead of time for help with my family so I can have a melt-down, knowing that they are being taken care of. And I will lean on my friends.


Mother in Chief said...

This makes total and complete sense. You are not crazy for feeling this way. You have to wear a shield in the hospital and try and hold it all together for your kid, to get through it. I am not advocating that you need to be stoic or unfeeling or happy all the time because that just isn't true. But sadly we do have to hold back just a bit so that we can survive what we are going through as we watch our kids be drugged and poked and hurt without really being able to help all that much. So when it is all done, that is when we can process what we just experienced. So yes, you are happy to be home, but that is when you get to start dealing with all that you weren't allowing yourself to deal with during that hospital stay--whether that stay if for an hour or six months. Hang in there, you are doing great. As for being frustrated with your kids when they are whiny or not listening, well, that sounds like regular parenthood. xxoo Suzanne

Dina said...

You are not weak, just normal. I often think, after sometimes surfing the web and reading these stories of stoic parents who write with hearts and flowers and smiley faces while their children or family members or themselves are facing life and death issues...what drugs are they on and what is wrong with me that I don't feel like that:)!! Because the reality is that you do have to put on a brave front, but at the end of the day what you are left with is yourself and your feelings. And to deal with those feelings, even when you feel guilty about them, honestly and openly and to be able to ask for and receive help is very brave.
It sounds like you have a great network of supportive friends. Lean on them and try not to be so hard on yourself.


Izabell said...

the day after we get home from the hospital is when it all hits me too, I share the same emotions and feelings in the aftermath too. it is hard and we do deserve help. You are doing a wonderful job expressing some of the harder points of having a special and outstanding child:)

beloved kate said...

aah, i'm so glad that you wrote this all out and that the other wonderful heart moms had so much to add from that perspective that i can never really understand. what i *do* know from my own experience with illness is that it takes a lot of strength to take off the armor and see how things go. it's way easier to just leave that tough shell up there and crumple up inside it to cry or fall apart or just not do anything at all. you're a lovely complete person with strengths AND weaknesses, just like all of us. that's why we're drawn to our friends (and spouses!); we help fill in each other's gaps. i love you and i don't even mind if you fall asleep sometimes while we're watching mindless tv so there.

erika said...

Thank you SO MUCH for writing this. I've had the "I'm so angry" post going on in my head for days. As much as it sucks, I think it's a normal part of being a heart parent - at least of a young heart kid. I just hope this eases with time and as they get older.

Hang in there - you're not alone!

Mom said...

I hope I helped a little, too! You can always lean on me, Andrea, I love you very much. I still do think you're perfect just the way you are, though.


Jessica said...

I think EVERY mom goes through this feeling every once in a while. It would be crazy if you NEVER felt this way.
I am just so happy that you have such great support around you.
And I wish I could be there to help.
Love you.