Developing a Tough Skin

Any mother who has brought home a new baby to brothers and sisters knows that there will be a transition period for all involved.  The mom learns how to juggle the responsibilities involved with caring for one more child while the older children learn how to share Mommy.  In my case, I also have had to learn how to deal with my plummeting popularity. During the first week after we brought home our daughter Chloe, I dealt with more than my fair share of insults and beatings, and by beatings, I am not being figurative.  I had tiny shoes thrown at me by both children and slaps from both of their little hands, which still hurt despite their sizes.  My self-esteem was bruised pretty badly, too, as my sweet 21-month old daughter Hannah Grace informed me that she didn’t love me, but she loved Chloe.  My all-time favorite attack of the week occurred after we all watched E.T. together when Caleb exclaimed, “If a spaceship comes, I’m gonna go!”

By the end of the week, I felt worn down and probably had a slight case of the baby blues, but I knew the kids I had that once loved me would return, and we would begin to fall into a routine again.  While their little rebellions hurt, I knew the pain was temporary and that I was dealing with a 3-year old and not quite 2-year old.  What I haven’t been as easily able to deal with is the physical problems I am having again.

After Hannah Grace was born, I had two postpartum hemorrhages, a D&C, and weeks of ultrasounds to confirm whether or not I was healed.  The period after my second child was born was marked by fear and depression.  I had hoped that this postpartum period would be different, and I left the hospital with high hopes after an uneventful (not including the actual birth of Chloe) stay.  One week later, however, the all too familiar pain appeared, and by the time Chloe was two weeks old, I was having a D&C.  My doctor felt positive that all was resolved–he successfully removed remains of placenta that had stayed in my body, but once again, I began cramping.  Another ultrasound confirmed my fears–I was not better.  I needed another D&C.

After talking to a new doctor (my doctor was on vacation), I learned that having this D&C so close to my previous D&C could produce scar tissue prohibiting me from getting pregnant or successfully carrying a baby in the future.  However, if I did not have this procedure and tried to let my body get rid of this foreign material on its own, I risked a possible hemorrhage, my worst fear.  I had already experienced bleeding at home with a new baby in my arms and a 17-month old running around while my husband was at work, and I did not want to risk that same scenario plus one more child this go-round.  Matt and I decided that I should have my second D&C in two weeks.  The risks, while there, are small, and we wanted no doubt that the problem was fixed.  The doctor felt confident that he could use a scope this time to see inside of me and ensure that he successfully removed anything that shouldn’t be there.

While I sat in the doctor’s office today, many questions ran around in my mind:  Did the first doctor miss something, or is there something wrong with my body?  Why have I had these problems with two pregnancies?  If I were to get pregnant again, would I have these same problems?  Do I want to get pregnant again if I could end up in the same place as I am today, even though Matt and I have discussed having four children?  Am I making the right decision? Not knowing these answers is the hardest part of this experience for me.

I guess it’s human nature to want to blame, and that is where I stand today.  I want to be able to say, “The doctor messed up,” or “I have a problem with my uterus,” but the fact of the matter is that I really don’t know for sure, and I hate it.  I hate living every day wondering if this medicine or this procedure fixed me once and for all.  I hate getting in a routine with my kids only to have to get someone to watch them as I head off to the doctor’s office for the fourth time. I hate seeing Caleb express his concern by making an angry face at me and refusing to talk.  I hate being afraid.

But I’m learning.  I’m learning that part of motherhood and part of life in general is learning how to take a deep breath and toughen up.  I am trying to not fall into the devil’s snare that captured me after Hannah Grace’s birth.  I was weighed down with fear, but this time I am trying to cling to 1 Corinthians 10:13: “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”  The temptation to wallow in depression is definitely there, and I feel like I have a right to be upset.  I have a greater responsibility, though.  I have to put on my tough skin for my children.  If I’m hurting, I have to cover up my wince.  When I want to cry, I need to swallow the lump in my throat.  They are already dealing with the transition of having a new sister, and their little minds can’t understand everything that is happening to Mommy.

Yes, being told “When you go to the hospital, you can stay there!” hurts, and being told “You need another D&C” hurts, but I’ll get through this time.  God made women strong, and that strength is in me, too.  Some days it’s a little harder to find, but it’s in my skin, nonetheless.

58 thoughts on “Developing a Tough Skin

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