Sunday, June 16, 2013

Plans and babies

As I mentioned some time back, there has been an explosion of babies being born around us. Most of our friend circle and extended circle around got married between 5 to 8 years ago. There were only a few babies in the years till last year and few and far between. And then pretty much everyone that was left got pregnant one by one and the deliveries are still going strong. 5 done and a few more to be this year.

With the first few kids, no one really asked us about our plans, because I was still trying to figure out the health issues, the diagnosis, the solutions and waiting for unknown things to heal and get better.

Now after a bunch of years, we know that some of the issues are here to stay and that I have to live with them. Both me and hubbs have realized and accepted that. Life goes on. 
Hubbs has lately been getting more comfortable thinking about an addition to the family.

I dont know what I feel about reproducing or caring for a baby though. Whenever I do spend time with any baby or toddler, I have done so in not familiar and high stimulus environment(different home, levels of noise and activity which keeps me far from getting  comfortable) and hence constantly struggle to associate any comfort and joy with the baby. I think for a few months last year, I would go into a mixed set of emotions. I would try to be happy because it is a joyful occasion and at the same time feel depressed because I dont know when, if ever, I would be able to experience it. 

Then I accepted the fact that I am getting depressed for no reason, because there are other options(adoption). Most likely I did not even want a baby right now. I was getting depressed about something I cannot have, but dont even necessarily want at the time.

Most days I am worse than a kid. You can leave a kid at a day care, but you can't leave me anywhere. I dont let hubbs get too far away from me. He is my safe person because of my PTSD. If he is around, I feel less anxious. I dont know how he handles my clingyness. 

It probably stems from the experiences during and post surgery. The helplessness a day after the surgery where your body doesnt listen to what you tell it to do and there is no way you can get up by yourself, walk or do anything, is the scariest thing ever for a control freak. 
Whenever people tell me I am brave and strong, I think to myself, that I am not. If i really was that brave and strong, why would I get post traumatic stress disorder. Why would I be so shit scared of something similar happening again or even another vertigo episode. 

And to think that I can be responsible for another life during a vertigo attack is incomprehensible. I remember I got an attack once while in the car. Hubbs had to pull over and then he got down to take a pillow out of the trunk so I could stabilize myself, and chewie got out with him without him knowing. The only thing I could do was yell to alert him, which he heard only after 4-5 yells. I couldnt move to catch chewie. He is my 4 legged baby and if something happened to him I would be devastated. But when I cant even crawl during an attack to stop him, how in the world will I cater to the needs of a baby. Forget the trips to the hospital. every trip is a panic +vertigo attack in the making. And all the responsibility will again fall on hubbs.

Sure, all the mommy oxytocin might just make me do things. But who knows. 

If I get to the point when I can either go through a pregnancy or adopt and care for a child, I think I would rather use the ability to get a bit more independent, to accompany hubbs on travels(its been 8 years since i stepped foot on a plane and he hasnt either because I get panicky if he is more than a few hours away from me), to fly and meet parents, parents-in-law, brothers and sisters and everyone I havent met in 8 years., and so on. but maybe my priorities will change. 

This year is about finding, moving into and setting up a new home. That postpones this difficult discussion by another year..


  1. I just linked to this via your vegan blog so I'm new here. Without knowing your full history, I wanted to throw out a few thoughts that may hopefully help you.

    First & foremost, it's unfortunately a normal reaction to have PTSD as a result of your brain tumor. I am a former PTSD sufferer following a close call with death due to a medical malpractice situation. Drs did not know how to help me with the PTSD attacks other than offering Rxs that I refused. Someone thankfully told me that their attacks were triggered if any of the following 3 elements were out of balance: Rest, Exercise, Diet. It turned out to be the case for me too, especially the adequate rest component. From reading your vegan blog, proper nutrition is obviously not an issue for you. : )

    I've shared this with other PTSD friends & it also helped them reduce the attacks. I hope it helps you too. I know it sounds like an overly simplistic solution to a problem that feels like death is at your door in the midst of an attack, but working really hard to keep these 3 elements in balance reduced the incidents and they finally stopped.

    In regard to the prospect of having a child, I was also in those shoes a few yrs ago. I tried to get pregnant for 2 years and eventually gave-up after being categorized as infertile for an unknown reason, perhaps age. I was devastated at the time bc like you, I was surrounded by all of my friends telling me that having a baby was the best thing that had ever happened to them. I felt like I was missing out & honestly, I felt sorry for myself. It was very difficult at the time, but 3 yrs of hindsight later, it's the best thing that could have happened to me. I know my friends love & treasure their children, but they are also consumed by them to the point that it has caused a lot of financial and marital stress on many of them due to time and excess responsibility. I don't have to worry about any of those issues and have complete freedom in my every day life.

    More importantly, not having a child is actually more in line with my core values in terms of issues associated with over population & the environment. I have framed my infertility as a gift so that I may feel good about not creating another human being that may be an additional burden to our planet. Of course I don't expect you to share these values, just throwing it out there that if you don't have a baby, it's not such a terrible thing. It can be a blessing.

    Hope this helps in some shape or form bc I know how easy it is to feel alone in these struggles. All the best to you.

    1. Thank you for writing this. I am sorry about your medical malpractice stuff. I think those 3 are definitely triggers for me as well. If I dont get the usual amount of for more than a day, my capability to be calm goes down considerably. My panic disorder has settled down to generalized anxiety now. Its mostly fluctuating anxiety, but it would be nice to be able to have days without any.
      I am not sure either way about starting a family. It feels like there is still more time before we hit some random deadline that we are too old now to think about kids or something. Lets see how things progress.

  2. Richa, please consider the question I pose to my friends. Can you imagine a life without a child? If yes, then do that. If no, then do that. It's a huge life-changer and not necessary AT ALL. I have 3 grown children, well, almost. Each one was a decision that I made and have never regretted..never. Without that resolve, I respect people who chose a different path. Its too important.

    1. Its not a of matter of my choice anymore. Its the quality of life that I can give to the kids really. As of now I can barely stand to watch a moving cradle, or swings or anything that goes round or fast.

  3. Richa have you thought about your blog?!!!!!

    1. and as usual Sumati, I have no clue what you are trying to say.

  4. Hi Richa, chanced upon your blog through your vegan blog after I just bought your lovely ebook.

    I don't know you at all and I'm sorry if this sounds too forward coming from a complete stranger, but I have to say this.. Your clarity of heart shines through everything you do. On both your blogs - your words, your ideas, hell even your cooking and your photos are heartfelt. It's a rare gift to be able to live your life with such authenticity and it's a very powerful strength.

    A dear friend once told me that the greatest strength of all is the quiet kind. I think that might apply to you :) I've had my own battles with panic disorder, anxiety and depression so I understand at least some of the fears you face. Our bodies are blessed with an inbuilt ability to heal, it's the heart that sometimes interferes because it fears the unknown.

    Enjoy your healing process. The worst is over.. congratulations on pulling through :)