I’ve fallen into a slump.
We have just been racing around all week, getting to all our groups, visiting, doing favours, attending family functions and staying on top of housework and I just tripped and fell into it, stupid slump.
Now it’s Sunday, a day of rest, much much needed rest.
Instead it was an early start, cranky, overtired kids, a great idea to go out for lunch with cranky kids, a leaking sink, an absent husband (didn’t I tell you I have to be gone by 3?) and people due for birthday tea.
Who on earth is in charge here? Surely not me again? Not when I want to go to bed and cover my head and not get up till the morning?
Feck off slump, I’m too busy for you.
Ok so I know I’m very lucky. I only had keyhole surgery. My husband is home for the next two weeks. We have lots of family help. I know it could be worse. But still here’s why recovering from surgery sucks when you are a mammy.
- I’m not supposed to do any heavy lifting for six weeks, I’m sure the girls probably qualify as heavy but much I hardly think I will make six weeks without lifting them into car seats, high chairs, buggies, cots, for cuddles,
- I have been in bed pretty much since I got home which is confusing my little ones and upsetting them because they don’t know why I won’t come and play with them.
- I got my husband to pop them in beside me for bedtime stories only for my eldest to jump on my tummy. I explained to her that the doctor put plasters on mammy’s tummy so she had to be careful, to which she replied excitedly “show me!” I did and she burst into tears! Big proper inconsolable tears. So there’s traumatising the kids ticked off the list.
- The kids are completely out of routine, being minded by different people all day, so they are out of sorts and cranky, cue mammy guilt.
- Although the biggest mammy guilt of all is from my little one who just keeps crying for me, at naptime, bedtime etc.
- Switching off is pretty impossible, I am finding myself shouting questions and instructions at my poor husband from my sickbed. “Did they have their breakfast?” “You would want to start putting their coats on now if you want to be out of here in ten minutes!”
- No housework for six weeks, oh what bliss… or it would be if someone else would do it, most likely it would end in no clean clothes, a house that is a germ-infested and trip hazardous, no proper meals and a lack of clean dishes.
- My nurse is pretty busy with my toddlers, which yesterday meant me getting stuck, in pain, at an awkward angle trying to get back into bed on my own because I didn’t want to ask for help while he was putting the girls down for naps.
But on the plus side of it all, my surgeon said that I would be crazy to get pregnant with my gallbladder problems but now it’s gone we can jump right back in.. umm.. well as soon as I can move again… and I’m not in pain..
Tomorrow will be my first time in hospital, in a non-maternity hospital. I am going in to get my gallbladder removed, it will be keyhole surgery, it only involves a one night stay, the recovery should be about a week or two. It’s a very common surgery, it has relatively few risks.
But I am a Mammy, which is why I am so worried about it. What if there are complications? What if I end up with a longer hospital stay? What about the girls?
I am going under anesthetic which worries me. I’m sure I’m not alone as a mother to never really fall into a deep sleep. The baby monitor is on the nightstand beside me and I am alert instantly if either baby cries or calls for me. The thought of being completely unconscious doesn’t sit well with me.
As a stay at home Mammy, the girls are with me almost all the time. Despite a wonderful support system, I usually visit our family with my kids but rarely leave them there and go off without them. They are my little shadows. I find handing them over to a timetable of different family members difficult, I worry they will be upset by a change of routine, not get enough naps, be overtired and cranky.
And of course my little ones will be fine. They adore spending time with their grandparents, aunts and uncles. I will be fine, home and resting and back to myself in no time. It seems having children serves to magnify every life event for better or for worse. Things I would have done without blinking now involve a more measured approach.
Because I’m not just myself anymore, I am them.
One thing I hate is not knowing things. Perhaps a childhood of being one of seven has sparked it in me, but I have little patience with waiting or with being in the dark. Trying to get pregnant is immensely frustrating for me… well not the actual trying, that bit I do enjoy.. It’s the waiting for my period to make an appearance that drives me loopy and makes me spend a fortune on pregnancy tests that I inevitably take too early basically flushing about 10euro down the loo. The not knowing drives me crazy.
This month is harder than most. Last week I had two gallstones attacks. For any of you blessed with a healthy gallbladder, a gallstone attack is often mistaken for a heart attack and in my case lasted about 6 hours each time. It is very painful. Trying to get pregnant this month meant that when I had the attacks there was a possibility that I was pregnant but too early to test. And so instead of downing all the pain meds possibly without od’ing, I was left with the choice of paracetamol or paracetamol, which did nothing to even dent my pain.
Now I am in a state of limbo, I have seen the doctor who is sending me to the consultant for surgery. In the meantime I don’t know if or when I could get another attack and even though armed with a dose of prescription drugs if I will be able to take any.
As much as I really want to be pregnant, its a bad idea to be pregnant at the moment with a surgery looming.
My body is doing all sorts of things at the moment unbeknownst to me and it is driving me crazy! Whatever happens I don’t mind dealing with it, as long as I know what I am dealing with!
I’m not the type of person that people would think of as being anxious. I work as a teacher and so deal with people on a daily basis. I can take an assembly, chair a staff meeting or give a talk to groups of parents without blinking an eye. I’m confident and chatty. Now on career break I go to two mother and toddler group and a library toddler reading hour. I strike up conversations with mums and dads in the playground and the park. I am sociable.
I am also sitting here dreading the doorbell ringing because I hate answering it. Today I know there is a parcel arriving and someone is coming to fix the timer on the heating and I’ve been stressed about it since yesterday. I have no reason to be. But I am. I don’t think I’m alone in this.
I don’t suffer from any anxiety disorder but here is a list of daily little things that make me anxious.
- Answering the phone. I often let it go to voicemail. If it is a private number I just don’t answer it.
- Making a phonecall. I have to build myself up to do this. Again I am perfectly capable of making phonecalls, I just hate it. When we moved house I cursed every business that didn’t allow me to change address online.
- Answering the door. Again I’ll ignore it if I can, signing for parcels, charity collectors, a neighbour or the delivery guy. If my husband is here I will get him to answer.
- Buses: in particular knowing what the right fare is. Also ticket inspectors, even though I always have a valid ticket.
- Driving somewhere if I don’t know the route, or if I haven’t worked out beforehand where to park when I get there.
- Going to restaurants or pubs when I don’t know where the toilets are.
- Being late. I had a massive row with my husband the last time we went out because going to the bank machine would make us five minutes late for our restaurant reservation. (we live in a pretty chilled out town and I doubt the restaurant even noticed)
- Spiders, I know scan every room I go into for spiders and if there is one i need to watch it constantly so that I know if it moves.
There is a lot of talk in the media at the moment about mental health, about how it is something we should discuss openly and support people. I am lucky enough to be in good mental health at the moment but we all need to be aware that difficulties can hit any of us at any time. There is no-one who could confidently say that they will never experience mental health problems. No one is immune. As my mother-in-law (a former psychiatric nurse) says “We are all hanging by a thread”