“Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pigshit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry?“
That quote really has nothing to do with this post, but it reminds me of when I was in little league and one of us would get hurt or screw up, our coach would just state, in the most incredibly unsympathetic way, “toughin’ up!” (And I screwed up a lot.)
I’ve never really been one for “toughening up,” per se. I’ve always been an emotional pain in the ass… Just ask anyone that knows me from when I was a child. And, if you read into that psychology crap, it’s probably due to the fact that I was “the baby” of my family. But I’ve also always been a stressed out person…worrying about ev-ra-thang. I think I inherited that gem of a gene from my Grammy.
Anyway, most people know (if from nowhere other than the good ole Facebook) that I had a relatively easy pregnancy. I only gained about 25ish pounds, all of which I had lost by the time I left the hospital. This is usually the main concern of a pregnant woman, second to the concern for the health of their unborn baby. (And, I know that most pregnant women or moms who gained more that just read that last sentence probably hate my face. Sorry.) Also, I never threw up… not one time. No bed rest, no intense swelling. My only physical issue cropped up at the end of my pregnancy, when my blood platelets dropped below the “safe” zone…and I was put on pins and needles (literally, with the needles) from week 35-40 as to whether or not I was going to be induced. But the worst to come of that in the end were the weekly blood tests, and peeing into a gallon jug – twice.
What most people don’t know is that my mental state took a little dip into the cray-cray. And I say that jokingly, because I really didn’t go crazy. And I haven’t – luckily – had any signs or symptoms of PPD since Charlie’s arrival. But, I find it funny how the mental state of a pregnant woman is often kept on the down low. I mean, after all, you’re going through so many hormonal and emotional ups and downs – you’d think it’d be more socially acceptable to have some “moments” every once in a while. But, because it’s not a basketball you’re carrying around in your mid-section, it tends to stay neatly tucked away in the drawer…that is, until one day, your boss sends you off the deep end and it gets puked out onto your computer screen. (Figuratively of course.)
I had a little condition I liked to call BPA. No, it’s nothing to do with the Business Professionals of America, or an organic compound with the chemical formula (CH3)2C(C6H4OH)2 (…Huh?) No – it’s a little term I made up called “Before Partum Anxiety.”
In reality, about 25% of PPD cases begin during the pregnancy, and can often present as anxiety. So sayeth my doctor.
For me, I had a lot of anxiety about becoming a working mother. I guess it was more the fear that everyone puts in your head about the first drop off at day care being the worst day of your life – you know, the fact that someone else is spending 45 waking hours a work-week with your child, to your 35. Or maybe the millions of the “he’s only a baby for so long”s that people send your way – as if their saying it makes you more easily able to slow down the rotation of the Earth so that you have more time to “relish” in the moments. Thanks for rubbing it in, jackass.
But, hands down, the greatest cause of my anxiety was the fact that I only got 6 weeks of maternity leave. Yes, the federal law is 12. No, that law did not apply to me.
I had a lot of anxiety about putting a 6-week-old into day care. I mean, a 6-week-old may not even have a feeding schedule down. A 6-week-old isn’t even capable of sleeping through the night. Hell, a 6-week-old mother can’t even do the sex yet!! But somehow I am required to return to work, as if I’m not still leaking nasties from my no-no parts?? These questions led to a certain little anxiety attack, and because of high amounts of stress during my pregnancy, my doctor thought it best I “talk to someone.” And so I did.
These therapy sessions plus hypnobirthing and prenatal yoga really changed my life. I’m learning to be much more calm. I call it – finding my inner Tristan. I ended up working it out so that I had 8 weeks instead of 6. We found a really reputable day care center that takes awesome care of Charlie. All-in-all, I’ve been managing that anxiety so well that I daresay, I’m not very anxious about being a working mom anymore.
That was, until today.
As you know, we’ve had a few bouts of illness this flu season, which logically I know is because a.) It’s flu season, and 2.) We often find ourselves interacting other humans. Yes, I know he’ll build up his immune system. Yes, I know it’s not really my fault. But in my little mom heart, that big mom guilt creeps in, and makes me certain that it’s because Charlie is in day care.
This morning, we spent an hour at the pediatrician’s office because Charlie had some wheezing/phlegmy/coughiness happening last night and this morning. Because WebMD told me to beware the RSV, Pneumonia, Whooping Cough, Cancer, Stroke, Death and so on…it clearly called for a visit to Dr. F. But really, I’m glad we went because he decided that Charlie should be put on Nebulizer treatments of Albuterol to help him kick the final leg of this virus we’ve got going on.
As if he weren’t miserable enough, Charlie got his first treatment in the office…which in the eyes of a baby looked like a really strange man sticking a weird tube in his face that puffed out funny smelling stuff. He may actually enjoy a similar scenario when he gets to, oh, about college. But what’s a wee-one to do in the situation? Cry of course.
And that he did.
He cried as I checked out… all the way down the elevator…to the car….to the pharmacy…and wee, wee, wee – all the way home. As the crying commenced, I thought to myself – this wouldn’t be happening if I had fallen under FMLA and gotten 12 weeks – because Charlie is only 11 weeks old. And this certainly wouldn’t be happening if I were a stay at home mother, because his exposure would be decreased tenfold. My baby is miserable, and through 1 degree of separation, it is my fault. Therefore, as Charlie cried it out in the back seat, this Working Mama cried it out in the front.
There may not be any crying in baseball, but there sure as hell is crying in motherhood.