Monday, 1 November 2010

Every cloud....

I think ive said before, somewhere, that i believe in the Silver Lining. No matter how thin, or hard to see, that lining is there in that big dark cloud and that is what you must try to focus on. It is what will get you through to the next day, it will stop you from becoming a bitter, angry, resentful person. It will save you.
 People have asked me 'How do you cope?' 'How do you manage to stay cheerful?'. The answer is simple. Its that little sparkle of silver, that tiny piece of reflected light. You keep looking til you find it and you grab it, hard, with both hands and you dont let that sucker go until the cloud has passed.

Since 'getting' SPD, being stuck here on bedrest, and being in varying degrees of constant pain, ive learned a lot. About myself, my priorities, my family and my friends. About how i see the world and who i am as a person and a parent. Thats some deep shit. But its true. 
Ive made a sort of list, (i like lists - they help make some sense of the tangle of threads that passes for my brain) and I'll go with the cloud first, just to depress you, then i'll show you my silver - all the positives that have, so far, come from this experience. It doesnt matter to me which list is longer, because its the second list that counts, thats the one i will carry forward with me as i recover from this, and on as life becomes a new kind of normal.

  • Isolation.
Bed rest is lonely. Your bedroom is the inner sanctum of your home and not a place your guests usually see. Up here i feel almost forgotten during the day - three of the children are at school, Husband is downstairs seeing to the house and trying to keep Chickin entertained, its really just me and Astroboy. I have a tv, and the computer and even my phone but its startling how alone i can feel. I'll be lucky if Husband can manage to grab 15 minutes with me from the time we all get up to when the children go to bed.

  • Hygiene
Oh yes, this is delightful, really. Since the first time my pelvis went i have had two baths and two showers, that is in about 8 weeks. Of course, i wash, but i dont feel clean. A flannel and soapy water hasn't a patch on a nice long soak with bubbles, and the ipod and maybe even a candle. Ive always been paranoid of having body odour, just ask Husband how much anti-perspirant i use! But you would be amazed at how sweaty you can get sat here doing nothing. At this rate i'll need a tub to stand in and a pressure washer to hose me off in order to feel clean!

  • Boredom
Without much human interaction to keep my brain ticking im finding myself increasingly bored. I can visit forums and text people but it isnt the same. The monotony of caring for, and feeding a 7 week old baby becomes a weight, without distraction or interruption. There isnt enough time to start reading a book (and i find breast feeding to be two handed job most of the time anyway) or to take up a hobby (Astroboy is a 'little and often' feeder). Napping can pass a little time but it isnt very productive.

  • Pain
Besides the pain i already feel (over what relief the pain killers bring) it is now added to by new aches and ouches caused by staying in more or less the same position for a long time. My back, ribs and neck are sore from sleeping semi-upright and from not being able to move about and get a proper good stretch. Not to mention my coccyx, where my pelvis has opened so much i am now sat squarely on this poor little bone and boy is my backside sore.

  • Relationship
 Wow, I never would have thought something so (relatively) simple as a pregnancy could affect relationships so deeply. Husband now has to help me dress (when i do), bring me food and drink - i am basically dependant on him - something that is incredibly hard for me, given that i would describe myself as 'fiercely independent'. And, on a more personal note, this has had a devastating effect on our intimacy.

Imagine the weight of being everything to four children. Not only that but having a quite suddenly disabled wife to care for. Then all the responsibility for the house falls to you too. Its a pretty hard wake up call, and a lot for one person to take on. Husband has had to do a lot of growing up in a very short space of time, and he is all worn out, the poor bloke.

 Not only has the relationship with Husband been affected. My children have suffered too, all of them in different ways have had to give up, go without and make do because i just cant do those Mummy things any more. I think though, that this has been hardest on Chickin. She was only 18 months old when the SPD started affecting me, i was her whole world then. She followed me everywhere and we were together every waking moment. I was the only person she would settle for at bedtime and i loved how close we were. Then, out of nowhere, Mummy couldnt pick her up. Not long after that Mummy's tummy got big and she couldnt snuggle on my lap any more. Soon it was too painful to have her on me at all. To her it must have felt like rejection, and so cruel. It matters not how much you try to explain, to a child that young, all she knows is what she can see.

  • Friendships 
Ive always been a 'quality over quantity' person when it comes to friends. Still though, i would have counted maybe ten people as close friends before this all happened. Of those ten, there are maybe three i would still be able to look in the eye and call friend. The others have vanished. In the eight months since i stopped being able to leave the house under my own steam, only those three have kept/returned contact. 

  • Feelings 
This is where i close up. I hate moaning, feeling sorry for myself and drawing attention to myself. When asked 'How are you' my answer will almost always be 'Fine'. I dont do myself any favours by being this way though - make out you are ok for long enough and people will forget that you aren't. 
 Being a mother and watching yourself become redundant is awful. From being the go-to person to really not much more than a burden, a lump in the corner, is pretty hard. Ive felt useless as ive been able to do less and less. Powerless and vulnerable at times too. Now, being dependant and incapable its hard to get through the day without becoming frustrated and angry.
 You can almost get used to a base level of constant pain, its a hum that never goes away and it becomes part of the soundtrack of your day. This is dangerous because you almost forget how much has changed, ive done it - woken up and forgotten im like this - and tried to turn over or sit up, causing myself more pain or embarrassment. I guess somewhere in my head im still the normal, capable me. Actually, i think thats a good thing.

  • Guilt
Ive often joked that being a parent comes with more guilt than being a catholic. The weight of guilt can be hard to bear. Friends tell me i shouldn't blame myself, i had no way of knowing the SPD would be like this, and it isnt my fault that it happened. I guess they are right, to an extent - but i think as a Mum, you take a piece of your family's pain and wear it yourself anyway. It becomes part of you after a while and it builds your sense of protectiveness - you want to prevent that pain from ever hurting them again.
 I feel plenty of guilt. My family have suffered because of me. I was the selfish one who had to have another child, to fill some perceived hole, satisfy some need. I wasn't grateful enough for the four amazing, wonderful children i had been blessed with. I needed more. 
 At times ive felt i deserved the physical pain, payment for my greed, for changing everything, for being selfish. Astroboys pregnancy was the only one i didn't enjoy, and i thought i deserved that loss as well. Adamant that he wouldn't suffer too, i refused pain relief throughout the whole pregnancy, right up until that first crack. A 'small' risk of him coming to harm just wasn't good enough, i wanted him and i should protect him, even if i had already failed everyone else.

Depressing, huh? That folks is my cloud. Or, as much of it as i can bear to show here. Now to the good bit,  the bit we hold on to....

Ive learned that Husband loves me, beyond all doubt, really loves me and that my family are far and away the most important thing in my life - Ive known those things all along of course, but to have them reinforced so strongly and deeply has been an education. 

Being away from the busy part of the house has afforded me a kind of retreat status. One of the children will come up to see me and we will have some really good quality, one-on-one time together. 

Without the concerns of housework and day to day running of the house i can afford the children my total concentration and because of it they are becoming more relaxed and more confident.

I wont to make sure i never treat my children as burdens (something i think we all accidentally do from time to time when we are stressed), - i want them to know, always, that they are loved and valued.

Ive found a depth of patience i never knew i had. 

I am able to concentrate on my breastfeeding relationship with Astroboy, and together we have mastered the tricky boob!

Being on a crapload of painkillers has had the side effect of drastically reducing my appetite. Im no longer constantly hungry and have gotten used to smaller portion sizes. Im also making healthier choices in what i eat. 

As a family, i feel we are closer now. Not just those inside our house but extended family too. Everyone has pitched in and helped where they can and its made Husband and me feel so loved.

I have a new appreciation of Husband. I no longer panic that should the worst happen they will all perish under the washing pile/look like street urchins/die of scurvy. He has grown up a lot and, though still evil for the first half hour after waking, he has shown what an amazing husband and father he can be.

We have a new life among us, new love in our home, a fresh new person to mould and cherish. Amazingly, there has been no jealousy or resentment toward Astroboy, and i am so proud of my children for that. They all simply love him.

This, is my piece of silver x

Please feel free to comment, ask any questions or even suggest topics for future posts.


  1. Love you girlie, you is a very special person. Wish I was nearer to help with the loneliness more, if its any consolation, you are always in my heart and in my thoughts xxx

  2. I'd say your positive outlook is definitely outweighing the negative. Your silver cloud is a wonderful array of sunshine, poking through an otherwise dark sky. It must be incredibly hard having to depend on someone for every thing, even though the love you have for each other is so incredibly deep. But the love will carry you through and eventually leave you looking back on this period of your life, with a cherished smile.

    Take care, CJ xx

  3. Pelvis, Interrupted24 November 2010 at 15:03

    Nic, i know you are always at the other end of the phone so please dont feel bad - this is just my place to offload x

  4. Pelvis, Interrupted24 November 2010 at 15:04

    Crystal Jigsaw (that sounds so pretty!) thankyou so much. Like any relationship it isnt all smiles but we keep trying and we do love each other very much. Thankyou so much for taking the time to comment x