Thursday, March 08, 2012


In the Bad Bad Dark Dark Winter of Sickness and Depression, which is my name for December 2001 - March 2002, my toddler got kicked out of the daycare at the gym for hitting. It was my only respite from mothering a difficult toddler and a perpetually sick infant (he had ear issues) and I thought I might die. We went to a child psychiatrist. He watched us interact. I did a lot of crying. One outburst I particularly remember bawling out was, "I can't even read a book for half an hour!" I was 27. Having a hard time accepting that my life was sort of not mine anymore.

After a few sessions he told me he thought my toddler was basically normal (HA! Shows what he knew) and that I was depressed (well, he got that right; I think it was SAD because March rolled around and I suddenly, magically felt better). Then he said something to me that I've never forgotten:

"Does anyone at your church know you're in this kind of pain?"

The answer was, of course, no. For church we put on our perfect clothes and our perfect hair and makeup and our perfect smiles. When we have problems, and we all do, we do not tell. This is the code.

I still do not take all my issues to church. For one thing, I am more aware than ever before that everybody has their own issues. Many people have a lot more than I do to deal with. I am not really well equipped to offer a lot to others right now, and I am not expecting a lot of help. After all, everything I've got, I signed up for. Literally. That's something fun only adoptive parents can say.

But I do not pretend to be perfect anymore.

I have a special needs kid whose issues are almost invisible and really, really hard to define and treat. I am doing everything I feel like I can do to help, and it's never enough. It's never going to be fixed. It affects everything. Absolutely everything. I feel the loss of the normal family life I looked forward to in my younger years. I mourn for that a lot. I struggle with the fact, and it is a fact, that if I had been able to gestate and give birth to this child, the issues would probably not be there. Or maybe his issues would just be different. They would almost certainly be less. I try really hard to accept it, and some days I do all right. Other days I am frustrated and embarrassed and angry and I feel like giving up. Some days I think if I could exchange this child I might do it. It is hard, really hard. I am hurting from it today.

And today I am telling. At least this one little thing. So if someone wants to know what kind of pain I am in, they can know. It's a rough one, today.


Marta said...

Wishing you lived closer so I could come over and give you a big hug, and let you read a book for 30 minutes.

Love you, Sis.

Lucy said...

I think you’re right that everyone has their own challenges and pain. I have always admired you and your work and your love. It makes a difference in the world. I’m sorry for your current heartache and pray that the comforting you’re entitled to surrounds you.

liz said...

I remember a Thanksgiving at your parents' house where your baby was the only "3rd generation" in attendance. My very new husband and I were at your table and everyone else was at the big table. You were under quite a bit of duress due to the crying and general uncooperative-ness of your toddler. Your husband made the comment that he looked forward to the year when our kids would ruin Thanksgiving. I was really surprised. You two were stressed that you were the cause of some commotion and yes, there was definitely more food on the floor than previous years, but in no way did I consider anything ruined or awful.

I don't pretend to understand all the challenges you face, but I admire you for it. And I know that there are four very blessed children that have the experience of growing up in your home with you as a mother. I hope you can see what a great thing you are in their lives. And remember, you haven't ruined Thanksgiving.

Vero said...

I admire you greatly, Ana, partly because I know the road you chose can be difficult for you. But you have given some folks an AWESOME chance at life they wouldn't have had without you. You are intelligent, resourceful, and compassionate. I send you HUGS!!!

Miriam said...

Oh Ana,my heart goes out to you. I was in the same place about a week ago. A dead and rotting rat was dripping down from a heater vent and I really didn't think I had it in me to climb into the attic and clean it up. I was also mad because there was no one in the church I felt I could call for help. In my parent's ward, I could have called several people and they would have come in a heartbeat. Ultimately, I found a friend (not Mormon) who let me spend the night and she knew a guy who I could call and he was happy to take the job.
I hope you find some good friends who you are comfortable going to for help. You are wonderful even in the bumpy times. There will be people who will help you. If we were closer, I would spend an evening with your kids in a heartbeat because I care about you and because I like your kids. They are fun. So are you.

wendy said...

THANK YOU for sharing this. As a fellow trans-racial adoptive Mormon mom I understand. Thank you!