Gone Coastal

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Well, it's not actually my birthday, yet, but I did give myself an early present. Yesterday I went into the hospital to get my tubes tied. Or fried, to be slightly more accurate. And so here I am, taking a couple of days off at home, with time to actually post to my much neglected blog.
We made this decision a long time ago, shortly after we found out we were pregnant with Eli, in fact. I talked to my GP almost as soon as the three month minimum post partum wait was up, only to find I'd be waiting quite a bit longer. Sometime in early March I got a call, for an initial consultation late April, and an average of six weeks or so after that for surgery.
Which all amounts to another ten months to consider the choice. I've thought about it a lot, and it makes each of those milestones that are passing all to quickly with Eli a bit more precious, but I don't think I've ever really come close to changing my mind. It would have been a harder choice if I were maybe ten or fifteen years younger, with that many more potential childbearing years to cut off. But I'll be thirty-seven in a couple of weeks, and unless I had another in very short order, I'd likely be done anyway.
Probably the biggest factor for me, though, has been the struggle with mental health issues. Eli's a year old now, and at some point things cease to fit into a neat postpartum package. They simple become a part of ongoing life. As with any other health issue, you seek out ways to manage the disease, and work to maintain a balance in your life, always juggling a bit as things shift. I can no longer do my job the way I used to, and have to keep that in mind as assignments change. The children grow and develop and different issues come up that require different strategies, and take different tolls. And you reevaluate and adapt.
I do look back on the last few years, though, especially as I have a few longer stretches of clarity, and am a bit saddened to see signs of the impact this has had on my kids. The times I've not been able to be fully present with Trin, when I've simply been doing what I know I ought to, working up a smile and a kiss, but not fully there. I can't help but think this has been a factor in her developmental delays, and in the insecurity that shows itself now and then. It's far from the only factor, her sickness last year was a big part of it I'm sure, and it's not a guilt I feel, just a regret that this was how it had to be, and that in some cases I didn't have the energy to advocate and intervene sooner on some fronts. Eli's doing great developmentally - in fact I wouldn't mind at all if he slowed down a bit. But I'm disappointed, to put it a bit mildly, that I've missed out so much on really enjoying that first year - being fully in love with my babies. I've had a few of those really good days lately, and they're wonderful, but it kinda hits home about how much I've lost.
So, to think there won't be any more first smiles, first giggles, first hugs, first words or first steps makes me feel a little nostalgic. But I love the two blessed, beautiful babes I've got, and I want to take care of myself so that I can be more to them. And for me, that means taking no further chances with aggravating mood and anxiety disorders with another child. As time goes by, I hope and pray and expect things will continue to get better, the good stretches brighter and maybe longer, the dark spaces more manageable. We can't go back but in the days ahead I'll be able to make up for some of what we've missed. I pray, too, that my children will learn from my struggle, to become resilient to depression and anxiety themselves, and to grow up to be empathetic to those in their lives who struggle like this.

Of course, no post on this topic would be complete without some reference to the joyous return of spontaneity, freedom and stress reduction to our sex life. No more hormones messing me up, no more double backup to be extra sure (we don't trust much to be fully safe after the IUD :). Which could all make for a great birthday party! And one less thing to stress over in life, and a little more access to a great outlet for the other tensions, is good for all of us!