Before children came along I lived a great life. I had a moment of depression (make that a year) but on the whole my life was fantastic (the power of hind sight). 5am morning runs to the Brisbane river with my soul mate, a job I loved waking up to in the morning with colleagues I could laugh for hours with, weekend drives to NSW and a sister close by to hangout with on weekends.
I don’t regret my children, not for a minute. I want them, I love them. I don’t want my life to go back to those times either (it didn’t always feel that awesome at the time I’m sure). What do I want? And how do I as a mother even broach this topic without sounding selfish – I mean, I chose this.
Motherhood brought about an interstate move to one of the most isolated parts of the world (Western Australia), separating me from my sister and friendships I’d built. Positively, it reunited me with my parents, and enabled a relationship to form with my in-laws, not to mention grandparents for my children.
But what I remember, when I think of pre-children days, is how satisfaction came sooner and time was easily spent on renewing my mind when it needed de-stressing. I was young, and my responsibilities were few. It didn’t take much to fill my emotional reservoir – an evening with my sister – a trip to Kyogle, NSW – a good laugh with colleagues.
Now, it takes work. I have to schedule myself so I don’t burn out. And burn out I do – weekly. I know what will get me back to that sense of satisfaction and joy in life – but achieving this requires smashing through emotional and mental barriers on a daily basis, sometimes I don’t feel I have the strength or time to do that.
I wake up, go to work, come home, feed the family, put the children to bed and sing “hallelujah”. Then I stay up to 11pm because going to bed would mean bringing on the next day sooner and I want to bask in my glorious responsibility free evening when children sleep. But the next morning, I wake – tired. You can see the cycle already. Throw in a demanding teaching career and it’s going to take a lot of guts and will power to jump off that moving train.
Part of my world I took for granted shattered down around me. I was diagnosed with a Stage 2 Pelvic Organ Prolapse. My bladder decided it didn’t really like hanging out where it was supposed to, it wanted to hang out somewhere else – mainly my vagina. Thanks for that bladder. There I was, 32 years old, sharing something in common with my 101 year old grandmother.
How will I ever do anything ever again?
If I stand, will it fall out? If I lift my toddler, will it fall out? If I bend, sit, walk, sleep the wrong way, will it fall out?
Any joy I could have got out of life has been snatched from me.
No one else must have this – they all look fine!
I want another child…I’ll never be able to carry a pregnancy again.
I’ve since managed to allay all those crazy thoughts – those concerns are not congruent with reality, but believing in a positive future takes mental effort. I found a brilliant physio therapist specialising in pelvic floor rehab and we’re working on it. I tell myself be patient, there is a hopeful, wonderful life ahead of me. And I do believe that, I have to.
But there must be others out there like me. Wondering why their bodies can’t just get a grip and function properly. How do you talk about bladder’s and vagina’s freely with friends – and what if I find out I am the only one?
I’m 9 weeks into this healing journey, and I hope that down the track I can provide a testimony of encouragement. For now, here I am, in the thick of it – trying to stay honest and open. Searching for a new balance in this busier season of life.