Hello! Finally! Well, October happened. We had some great fun, but good grief have I missed this. I know I have been muttering to myself about finding a free moment to write, and my husband must have sensed my irritation because today he volunteered to take the boys on what he calls a “forced march.” Pretty much meaning that he will take them on a super long bike ride/hike combo that results in the expenditure of all of their energy so that when they return home they are vegetative lumps, and subsequently go to bed without a peep. I am so appreciative, and a bit in shock.
But I digress…back to the task at hand: What to write.
After much deliberation, I have decided to pull a Robert Frost and choose the road less traveled for my blog topic this time around. Just last month, I spoke at our MOPS meeting and thought, “Oh, I could totally use this for a blog post!” So I started editing my speaking notes, making them more reader-friendly and while I loved the topic and what I had to say (in my most humble opinion), it just didn’t feel right. And since I was in the throes of my grad class and really should have been focusing on those papers and projects (Shhhh!!), I thought that I’d just let it marinate and see how I felt when I had some more free time.
You see, all along my short little journey of blog-dom, I have had very strong feelings about what to say, what to post on social media, and the intentionality with which to do all those things has really been beyond my control.
Hence, The Back Story.
The very first time someone told me I should start a blog was back in 2012 when I joined Facebook. Yes, you read that right. I did not drink the Kool-Aid until a mere 4 years ago, and I took the suggestion as a compliment, but did not think much else of it. Then came the Great Plague when over a 2 year period, Max, Quint, and myself all had our tonsils removed after months of illness and snot and antibiotics and phlegm (it was really bad, people). And since I had learned a thing or twenty about the process, I wrote up a small blurb about what to expect for a friend whose child was about to have a tonsillectomy. Then I shared it with another friend whose daughter was getting her tonsils out, who then proceeded to taunt me (all in love) about my calling it a “small blurb” when it was probably as long as the New Testament of the Bible. But, whatever. I might have mentioned to her that I can’t just ever write a little bit; I have a thing for words…blah, blah…and she and another friend who was witnessing this interaction said, “Oh, you should start a blog!”
Little seed planted years ago begins to sprout.
Life goes on as you well know, and I find myself away in the mountains of West Virginia with some old friends. Our second annual AWA (Adult Weekend Away), and we were just hours into our time together when one of my friends opens up about the hard time she was having being home with her children. Most of us stay home with our kids and we commiserated with her: it IS hard, and yes you want to choke a kid every once in a while (want to, folks. Simmer down), and what is wrong with us – this is the very thing we have wanted since forever?! Maybe she should talk with her doctor – the one she likes the best – and ask her opinion. Some of us take medication and there’s no shame in that…and on and on the discussion went.
I could literally feel myself looking around this group of women and feeling so much gratitude. This is what a supportive village looks like and feels like. I ached for their company and wished selfishly that we all lived in the same town so we could do this all the time, not just once a year. “Wait a minute, Megan” – a little voice said – “you could totally recreate this. Open up the dialogue and make a safe place.”
Oh man, was my little sprout growing! I followed more blogs on Facebook. I looked at the webpages that supported those blogs. My mind was swirling, but it just wasn’t time. May was coming and my kids would soon be out of school, and you all know what that is like: Non. Stop. Fun (I’m taking the high road here).
Now comes the hard part. I am currently sitting here getting knots in my stomach about what to share next. I’m just going to write it and while it might not be pretty, here goes…
In June of this year we went on our first family vacation. Our very first trip since our honeymoon, actually. The boys, my husband, and I stayed in a beach house with my in-laws and brothers-in-law, and it was glorious. The beach is my PLACE. It is my HAPPY. We filled each day with the most we could.
Except, one morning I got a message from a friend that I hadn’t seen in years, stating that her sister had taken her life as a result of her hidden battle with PMAD*, and she wanted to know if my mom could be in contact with her parents.
Why, you ask? Because my little brother had taken his life unexpectedly just six years prior. We are part of a club to which no one wants a membership. I tell you what: In getting her message, I was transported back to two places simultaneously. The first, to the time that my husband burst through the door of our apartment because he thought the police had already informed me of Connor’s passing; and, the second, to the time in my life when I no longer wanted to be here because of my struggle with postpartum depression.
I came undone.
I was grumpy. I was irritable. And I could NOT shake this ridiculous notion that I could have prevented this! Like somehow, if I had gotten my act together, I would have already shared my story about postpartum depression, and that Allison would have read it and then maybe she would have sought help. I mean, the survivor guilt was eating up my soul.
Like a crazy person, I drove hours and hours to go to her viewing and see her family. I drove hours and hours back home that same night, and woke up at the crack of dawn (it was 9AM, but it felt really early, OK?) to get my boys to swim lessons the next day. The unrest within me was all-consuming. I cried and I prayed. I wanted to know what my next step was because I just could not find my center. Then in moments of clarity, I would chastise myself – This is not about ME. Her poor family – I cannot imagine…but I could…very clearly. I had lived a very similar hell myself.
Fast forward about two weeks and I was at the public library with my guys. We were researching our next science experiments and needed to get some new reading material. I was pulling out a book for Max on helicopters (I think?) when another book fell out of the shelf and landed smartly on my right foot.
That book? How to Write a Blog.
Well, I am no expert on spiritual interventions or otherworldly signs, but…you guys, this was a S-I-G-N! This was God’s answer to my prayers about what to do. I checked out that little book meant for 4th graders and I read it, cover to cover. I was going to do this. It was like this portion of my brain had been locked up, and suddenly the door was thrown open and I had a MILLION things to write about. I had a purpose and a vision (see my first blog post: “Words? Yeah, I dig ’em”).
I cannot have endured and survived all these battles for naught. You see, losing my brother and overcoming PPD are not the only obstacles my family have encountered. There is a prequel to The Back Story.
Do I bullet items? My list is that long. But I bet if you sat down and started your own list, you’d surprise yourself. We all are survivors. And this is how I knew that sharing my past was the right message. A few days ago, a friend shared her post about their heartbreak over miscarriage number two just last year, and she stated a simple truth that I think pertains to all of our struggles: That in the end there is still Hope.
I have had 4 laparoscopic procedures, an appendectomy, colonoscopy, endoscopy, a pelvic vein embolization, nerves severed, veins flushed, 2 C-sections, and a partial hysterectomy. I have received over 6 booster shots of Lupron, consumed bottles of pills of estrogen, oxycontin, diazepam, Percocet, Motrin, and more. I developed an allergic reaction to surgical glue, which is completely unheard of – but possible – because it is me, and I am like the pamphlet you receive from the pharmacy when you get a new medicine. Everything that could go wrong? Check and check.
I have attended years of women’s physical therapy and acupuncture. I have missed work, weddings, showers, birthdays, social engagements, and life because of two horrible conditions: Pelvic congestion and Stage IV endometriosis.
There was about an 85% chance that my pain would end with a hysterectomy. I endured these things because I wanted the chance to be a mom. I endured these things for even longer because I wanted a sibling for Max. I even entertained enduring them longer, but my last surgery pre-hysterectomy did not go well and I lost too much blood; so, instead of going home to my 8-month-old son, I woke up in a hospital bed. Wiser heads prevailed despite the heartbreak.
Before I was even engaged, my now husband and I sat with my pelvic pain doctor and asked if we should try to have children before it was too late. He said that fear was not a reason to have a child. He also said my insides were completely screwed up. I loved that man for his honesty, and for giving me my children.
I am not sharing this because I want you to feel sorry for me. I am sharing this because you might be going through the same thing. I am sharing, because in the end, there is still hope. This is just the beginning for us, but it has been a long time coming.
*PMAD: Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
If you have more questions about PMAD, please visit www.postpartum.net
Perinatal Support International (PSI) Helpline: (800) 944-4PPD (4773)