The last three weeks of our families life have been nothing short of hard. September 9 I underwent my 3rd back surgery and no matter how prepared I thought I was, I WASN’T. Unfortunately life doesn’t care what you have going on. It doesn’t stop. It will continue even when you cant continue with it. (To catch up on my previous surgeries they are linked here)
After one night in the hospital I went home. Everything continued on as normal, except it continued without my usual contributions. The first week was a blur. I was sent home on heavy duty pain meds. Rightfully so. I was in tremendous amounts of pain. This by far was the hardest and most painful out of all three of my surgeries. So I welcomed the pain meds to give me relief. Except, I only remember bits and pieces of my first week at home. I am embarrassed by that, even though I know I was doing exactly what I was prescribed.
Starting my Spiral
That first week I really struggled. Physically, mentally, emotionally. You name it. I was a hot mess, I still kind of am. I don’t remember exactly what day it was, but at some point I got the mail and opened a letter from my employer. The letter stated that they were no longer obligated to hold my position and that they would actively start looking to fill it. I fell apart. The reason I got the third surgery in the first place was to give me a shot at going back to my job, which I love and worked so hard for. That letter started my downward spiral.
I remember laying in bed one night that first week, just feeling incredibly angry. In the bathroom, I could hear my boys cracking up during their bath, while my husband was on his hands and knees dancing to the newest KPop sensation song. Bitterness flowed through me. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for my husband and how he is with our boys. But I was angry that I was confined to my bed and couldn’t even complete a simple task like bathing our children.
Cue the Mom Guilt
There is nothing that hurts me more at my core than feeling like I can’t do my job as a mother. When I say job, I mean the greatest gift I have ever been given. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be in the bathroom with my family, watching the smiles on my boys faces. Instead, I sat there in bed feeling helpless and angry. Angry about my job, angry that I was in this place again for the third time.
I still struggle with the thought of what my children will remember from this whole experience. Will Michael remember how angry and bitter I was? What will he remember from the first week that I cant even remember myself? Will Owen remember that mommy wouldn’t pick him up?
Every time Owen looks at me and raises his hands to lift him, I feel a piece of my heart break. That sounds dramatic I know, but it’s the truth. The confusion in his eyes is what makes it so hard. I cant explain to him that I want nothing more than to hold him, but I can’t. He’s well over my 10 pound weight limit. When our home health aids lay him in the crib instead of me and he throws a fit, I have to choke back tears and just walk away. There’s nothing else I can do.
As a mother, you want to give your children everything. You want to be the one that is there to pick them up when they fall. To hold them when they need comfort. I honestly don’t know if I will ever be able to swiftly do that with Owen. My husband sometimes even struggles carrying and lifting him because he is so big. It’s a crushing feeling knowing that you can’t simply lift and hold your child to comfort them.
Suck it up, adjust to what’s hard
I know what you’re all thinking. Hold him sitting on the couch. Make adjustments. Yes, adjustments can be made. However, that is not the point. I am a young mother with very active boys. Boys who are used to me running, chasing, tackling, and throwing them around. Of course, my hope is all these adjustments are temporary, but I really don’t know for sure. I have no idea what life is going to look like for them with me as their mother and that scares me. I know what I want to be for them and it’s not someone who is confined to a couch.
Finally some optimism
I remember driving to my first doctors appointment after surgery and my outlook on life was not great. Anger, frustration, and pity for myself consumed my thoughts. I looked up and saw a billboard. It read, “What if the hard days have purpose to?” Well if that wasn’t God slapping me in the face I don’t know what was. I really reflected on that message. It made me think back to all the other times in life I struggled. I thought about what the outcomes were. I realized that every struggle had a purpose. Don’t get me wrong, they sucked. They weren’t fun. They made me question my path. That’s exactly what struggles are supposed to do. They shape you for what is next in your life.
I’m still unsure what the future holds for me. Will I be able to go back to the job I love? Will I be able to lift Owen and run and play like the mom I was 6 months ago? There are so many questions that I don’t yet have the answers too. However, after 3 weeks of frustration I am finally realizing I am not supposed to know the answers. If I did, the decisions I make along the way would change, thus changing what is in store my future.
So, for all of you who are hit with a sudden change in your life, who have no idea what is in store for you, it is going to be okay! If you find yourself up against a wall, facing a struggle you feel is bigger than what you can amount to, do everything you can to hold on. Chances are what is coming next for you is greater and bigger than the struggle you are facing…