I've been hiding something from all of you. Not hiding it very well, but trying. I have been really struggling.
This afternoon, saying goodbye to Miss Sara, I told her this:
"Whatever I write tonight in my journal - it is not about you. It's not about a therapist or a teacher. It is not personal in any way. It is 100% about me."
I kind of feel like I'm going to lose it. Between the decision to stop trying for a baby...clearing out all of our baby equipment, toys and clothes...and sending Gavin to school...it's all making me feel entirely powerless and out of control.
From the second Gavin was whisked from the delivery room and into the hands of nurses and doctors in the NICU, I have had to share him. The nurses told me when I could hold him and feed him and even visit him. Then, once home and continuous until a couple weeks ago, I had therapists in and out on a near daily basis. For almost four years straight. So, in a way, I'm used to sharing my child. And I'm used to multiple opinions and suggestions.
But for some reason - at this moment - I'm about to explode. Because now - the sharing is different. In the old sharing model, I was there. And now - I'm not.
I think some of it is jealousy. I sit at home and watch the clock until the moment that Brian and I can leave to pick up Gavin and Miss Sara from school. Then Sara gets in the car and tells me every detail she can recall about their day. All the wonderful things Gavin did. I sit there and have to remind myself of two things: to breathe and to remember that this is all wonderful and happy and incredible. But the reality is - I sit there with anxiety and jealousy. I am green with envy.
I think some of it is powerlessness. Sara is in charge of Gavin. (Which I'm THRILLED ABOUT!) She is with him during his therapy, when that used to be me. She conveys all the information about Gavin to the therapists, when that used to be me. (p.s. - she knows Gavin very well and is great at this) I am home wondering and waiting and looking for any child in my house to take a photo of - but there's no one. Just me and my overwhelming thoughts. I have been accused of thinking too much.
I think some of it is frustration. I need to meet with his therapists - do you know I don't even know what his Occupational Therapist looks like? I hear that this is somewhat normal. That some parents never meet their kids school therapists until the IEP. That some parents are happy to just read the notes sent home spelling out (in a short synopsis) what they did. I'm just not one of those parents - at least not now. I feel like I should be more involved...but then it seems like it's not the appropriate thing...but I feel like I should know more...but then I... see? I think WAY too much. I just want to do the right things by Gavin. And Brian. I just want to be the best Mom I can be. But suddenly, I feel like I don't know my place. I've lost my Mommy footing.
And then I have the normal frustrations about a thousand opinions. As a Mom who does her research and is on top of things medically - it still gets very confusing to have a bunch of different opinions. A therapist will express a concern that will have you running to a specialist...only for the specialist to tell you that it's not a concern...only to have the therapist bring it up again about their concern...and round and round we go. When there are multiple opinions it can shake the confidence of the main decision maker. Me.
And the cherry on top is clearing out all the baby things. The timing just sucks. Sure - I could have waited and done it months from now, but why? It would have prolonged the agony. I have been giving all of our special things to very special people - which makes me very happy. The thought of certain things going to strangers was too much to bear. In a way, I really feel like I'm grieving. I have always grieved for all of the babies I've lost (too many). But I'm grieving for the one that I tried so hard to meet as well. It's still so hard to say "we're done."
I suppose, in a way, all of this is a glimpse into what it will feel like to have an "empty nest." I don't like it.
Before you get preachy and try to "fix my feelings" - I know that school is great for Gavin. And I know everyone has his best interests at heart. And Sara, well we all know she was dropped from Heaven just for us. And she's an amazing advocate for Gavin in and out of school. And I know that Brian and Gavin will grow up just fine without another sibling to bond with. And I know that the chances of me even getting pregnant at this point are about the same as - oh, I don't know. I was never good at analogies. But I know all of this intellectually. I do.
But hear me out. For the last six years (yes, six) my identity has been wrapped up in either trying to have a baby, trying to save a baby, trying to raise a baby while having a baby, trying to learn all the ins and outs of the special needs world while raising two babies, trying everything out there to help my baby's brain heal while trying to be there for my other baby - which included (still following this?) trying desperately to have a sibling for both of them...and now...
No more ovulation kits. No more pregnancy tests. No more bouncy seats or baby rattles or night time nursing. No more therapists in the house or watching Gavin master something in therapy. No more weekday photos of events we thought we'd never see.
I just feel left out.
Like someone ripped the power out of my hands.
There HAS to be other Moms or Dads out there that have felt like I do. I was told today that it's unlikely - that I'm overly sensitive. I just don't believe that. There's a different kind of "letting go" when it comes to a special needs child vs. a typically developing child. I was nervous and anxious to watch Brian walk away from me. But he can walk and talk (and talk and talk) for himself. With Gavin..."letting go" was more like "handing him over." This is going to take some getting used to. And letting go of my dream of that third child has not for one bit been easy.
If you have felt this way, please tell me. This has had me in tears every day while they're in school...and every night when I'm going to bed. I know like everything else - it's a phase. I'll get my groove back.