Today we took my son to hospital for his pre-op appointment. In just over two weeks he’ll be having grommets put in both ears. It is by any standards a very simple, straightforward operation. He’s a day case, he’ll be home before we know it. Practically my main worry is the nil by mouth thing, have you ever tried refusing a toddler food? So what’s my problem? PTSD, that’s the tricky little fella currently pecking at my head.
When my son was born we had a rough ride, you can read about it here if you’re keen, but the overview is, tricky pregnancy, very tricky birth, poorly baby requiring some horrific tests. His screams still haunt me.
Afterwards I thought I had PND. I mentioned it to a nurse about 10 months after he was born, I reached out for help and she dismissed me. I struggled on and when he was 18 months old I flipped and finally found a GP who would listen to me. He assessed me and quickly concluded I had PTSD.
It was a fairly textbook case. I have nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance and panic attacks. If I go near a hospital I flip out. If I had to take him to the GP or to see anyone medical I’d panic. I worry for days, have nightmares and then the flashbacks start.
I’ve sought help. I found a lovely therapist who helped me work through a lot of the hurt and it did get me to the point where I could take him to the GP. But this, this is different. He’ll be in the place where he was born. The place where he had the horrible tests where his screams echoed down the corridors; bringing all the new mums in the post-natal ward to their doors wondering who was harming a baby.
Just thinking about that now while I type it I can hardly breathe. Today went well. His appointment was fine, the nurses were lovely. It couldn’t have gone better. But now we are home, night has fallen, he is asleep in his bed and I don’t have to be outwardly calm and strong for him, the doubts and demons have crept in.
I am full of panic and concern for him. My inability to protect him; guilt that my shoddy DNA means he has to go through this; worry about what is to come and how he will react and how I will respond. I am full to the brim of panic and I hate myself.
I can see it now, it’s like a chain reaction. The PTSD is linked to my anxiety which is linked to my depression. I can see myself spiralling and circling in a mess of self-loathing, anxiety and bitterness unless I pull myself out sharply.
Right now I’m staring out of the window into the black of the night, the cold rain hitting the window, a perfect picture to match my dark mood. But I must snap out of this, if not for my sake then for his. I can’t help but feel that the next three weeks are going to test me and my resilience. Being calm and strong for my son is something I really need to focus on. I can and will be calm and strong for my son.