Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Part VIII: Celebrating Me

On October 25, 2011, I went to my first therapy session. On June 3, 2013, barring the unforeseen future, I went to my last therapy session.

This is a monumental occasion for me. We're talking HUGE. Both for my own record and for the chance to celebrate what has really transpired, I want to chronicle some of the differences between the Laura that started therapy and the Laura that called it done last night.

...then...
I spent the vast majority of every day sitting on the couch. Didn't move, didn't eat, didn't take care of my kids.

...now...
My kids and I have all kinds of fun during the day. We regularly go to the park, to the zoo, on playdates, shopping, we go for walks, we color, we watch movies together, we play games. Good times.

...then...
A friend's Facebook announcement of being pregnant or having a baby would send my entire world, such as it was, into a tailspin. I could think of nothing else and my hours would be entirely consumed with something akin to hatred for myself, my birth experiences, and sometimes even my children.

...now...
I am happy for my friends! I am still fully aware of my past, but the life choices of others do not affect what I do in my own life. And, what happened in my past no longer dictates my future.

...then...
My van was the only refuge I had from the chaos I felt surrounded by. I drove for hours upon hours, hundreds of miles, just to avoid life. Avoid thinking. Avoid taking care of my kids. Avoid everything.

...now...
My van is a tool for getting from one place to another. Like from home to the grocery store. Albuquerque to Salt Lake. To Idaho. To Tucson.

...then...
I went to church so I had an excuse to pretend that everything was fine. When I was around other people, I could act normal.

...now...
I go to church because I want to be there. I go to church because I feel the spirit and I am given hope for the coming week. I don't have to pretend or act like things are normal, at church or anywhere. Things are genuinely fine!
  
...then...
I wore plain white socks and my hair was kept straight down every day. I owned two pairs of church shoes, both black.

 ...now...
I wear quite the variety of socks with colors, stripes, polka dots, plaid... I learned many, many variations of doing my hair when it was long and I let go of the opinions of others and chopped it off because that's what I wanted. I no longer run my life based on what I think I'm supposed to do or what I think other people want me to do.

The sneakers I wear every day are hot pink, and I now own 11 pairs of church shoes--heels in orange, black, and pink, and flats in green, yellow, silver, brown, black, red, and pink sparkles. Not to mention my striped slippers to compliment my ladybug slippers.

...then...
I wore my wedding ring because that's what you do. I was happy to be married, and I love my husband, but my ring reminded me more of the less-than-stellar experience of buying the ring that it did of a happy marriage.

...now...
I spoke out, voiced my opinions, and we bought the ring that I absolutely love. I created $1000 in six months to pay for my portion. My ring now is a symbol of authenticity, courage, voice, and--most significantly and most strongly--my love and my eternal bond with Christopher.

 
 ...then...
The idea of ever having another baby was completely unfathomable. There was absolutely no way that I could possibly subject myself and my body to such a level of vulnerability again. No way that I could face the possibility of repeating the trauma that had catapulted me into PTSD. No way that I would ever do that again.

...now...
I still don't know when we'll have another baby, but I do know that we will. I know what I still want to do before that time comes, and when that time does come, I have a plan. I know what I am going to do to create the best birth scenario as far as I can control. I know how to advocate for myself and I know who I want on my side to advocate for me as well.

I am willing to move forward into a pregnancy fully acknowledging the possibility of facing yet another miscarriage. I am willing to move forward into another birth experience fully acknowledging that something out of my control and potentially traumatic could happen.

And that's okay.

When I can say that something horrible might happen and know that I will be okay coming out the other side, that is the sign to me of absolute truth--because I am the one who decides how I feel. That is not to say that everything will be easy. That's not to say that I won't struggle with life events, big or small. I am saying that I know that I have the tools and the skills and the will to succeed that mean that, no matter what happens, we will come out the other side and we will be fine.

What a difference two years can make.

Go me.

How shall we celebrate?

5 comments:

Tannie Datwyler said...

I love this...

Congratulations on ending therapy!! That is HUGE Laura. I would love to hear more about it.

As for a baby, I keep praying for you that the timing will work out. And as we both know from experience, the Lord knows what he is up to... even if we don't agree.

I'm proud of you. I'm proud to be your friend.

You know I read every single one of your posts, but I'm glad you tagged me. :)

Liz, Karl, Madison, Brooklyn and Aubrey said...

Oh Laura! I am so glad you are feeling so much better about life now! It was hard knowing you were struggling and I couldn't do much to help... I'm so glad the therapy was able to do for you what you needed it to. And as far as the ring thing goes! YAY! It is beautiful. And it will mean so much more to you now then ever before.

And just as Tannie said, I too am proud of you and proud to be your friend. Way to go girl.

PS I too read all of your posts. :)

Annie Stakland said...

Laura, one of the most beautiful experiences I had when I studied for four months in the town of Wengen, Switzerland, up in the mountains, away from cars and enjoying the sunsets on a glacier on the Jungfrau above (I'm describing this, too, as a passion for me) was hearing the churches ring their bells together on Sunday morning. It was quite a symphony! I'm hearing them ring for you now. Congratulations!

Britta Beach said...

I can see all those huge changes and I'm so proud of all the huge effort you put forth. A lesser woman would have given up. You really are an inspiration. :) I can't wait for your visit!!

Ruby in the Rough said...

I'm so happy for you, Laura! These are great milestones!

I'm looking forward to having you guys close to us for a while!