Monday, March 21, 2005

Motherhood and PTSD

A few days ago, someone told me that they think that my diabilities may be holding Mikro back... Essentially, that I am an antisocial anxiety ridden freak, and may be turning him into one. No, it wasn't that tactless, but that is the gist of it.

My kid is not in daycare. I just don't see why I need to pay for someone else to deal with him when I am a stay at home (disabled, nonworking, somewhat useless by some people's standards) mom. Yet I constantly catch hell from well meaning friends who think I'm being a martyr or stunting his socialization by choosing to have my child at home full time. Do I sometimes wish I had a break? Yeah. Of course I do. Enough to warrant the expense? No. Enough to resent my kid or wish it was otherwise? No. Do I sometimes have a bad day physically or emotionally and feel a bit overwhelmed? Yeah. But for the most part, I enjoy my son's company and since he's likely to be my only child, I do not want to miss any of his milestones. I like watching him learn and grow, and seeing his sense of wonder and delight at the world around him. I want to be with him.

But there's another reason for keeping him close. The anxiety disorders.

I have never left my kid alone with anyone other than his father for more time than it takes to pee.

Because of my fears.

Because I am utterly terrified of my tiny nonverbal child getting lost somewhere and being unable to tell anyone who he is or where he belongs. In my adrenaline and cortisol soaked head, it makes sense never to be separated from my son until he is old enough to know his name and address and be able to tell someone who his mama and daddy are. Leaving him off somewhere before that point would just send me into a panic.

There are other things the PTSD impacts. Like, I am not comfortable letting him run around in the street with the neighborhood kids unless my husband is also watching him. The PTSD makes me easily distracted. Sometimes I am pretty spacey. I am terrified that I would noodle off and not get to him in time to pull him out of the way of an oncoming car. It is a risk I do not wish to take, because I know my own limitations. This is why I spent two thousand dollars on fencing materials- so I could let him run in the back or front yard in safety. The fence still isn't up, but hopefully will be in early April after the ground thaws...

I have agoraphobia. I don't really leave the house alone (even with the boy). I'll go out with a friend (rare now that I have the boy) or with my husband, but I don't really go out alone. I am afraid I will flash or have a panic attack and be unable to keep track of Mikro while I'm out of it. So the farthest I'll go is walking distance of my house. I'll take him out in the stroller to the local stores, maybe stop at the park, but I'm not gallivanting to malls or museums or taking the train to the city or anything like that. Often as far as we go is around the block a few times. Even that makes me nervous, and I always have my cell phone, just in case.

I am not really comfortable socializing either. I've always been shy. But now I have the additional anxiety about whether or not I am coming off as a freak because of the PTSD. So I tend to avoid people. If Kevin is there, or one of my few remaining offline close friends, who know the whole story, then I'll deal, because I figure they can alert me if I'm getting too weird. But I am always one step away from a panic attack when I'm around other people without a support person.

Despite my oddity, Mikro is friendly and outgoing. He will let anyone hold him. He goes to other people willingly. He runs up to other babies and kids and tries to hug and kiss them. He is a little social butterfly.

The only concern I have about him developmentally is that he is a little slow to start talking. He babbles constantly, and he has some words, and he certainly understands more than he can articulate, but he's not one of these kids who adds words at lightning speed and constantly mimics. I am really worried? No. Would I be relieved if he talked more, yeah. But I sincerely doubt that his verbal ability has anything to do with my disabilities, mental or physical. It's just the way he is. He's learning at his own pace.

Friends and family push me to drill him with flashcards and cram the alphabet down his throat, but I'm not pushing him because I think he's entitled to be a baby, not a little parrot who feeds parental egos by doing tricks like a trained seal. He's not even two yet! But those are conscious parenting decisions, not some icky unintended side effect of having a mother who had PTSD and a ruined back.

My screwed up spine is a whole nother issue. I can't carry him for long. Just lifting him may be enough to cause me a serious problem. But I can sit down and hold him in my lap, or cuddle with him lying down. I can bounce him on my knee, and let him climb on me (which hurts, but I let him do it anyway). I can't lug a heavy diaper bag, or walk huge distances. But I can take a walk with him in the stroller. I can even make it once around the block stooped over and holding his hand, but I'll have to lie down on the floor for an hour or so afterwards, waiting for the spasms to stop.

I'm far from a perfect mother. But I'm always striving to be the best that I can be. And there is nothing in this world that means more to me than the safety, health and happiness of my Mikro.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Alternatives to Chocolate Bunnies

Kevin sent me a link to Chocolate Deities. They offer chocolate goddesses, buddhas, totem animals, a celtic cross, and a very cool nursing mama with babe! I want the nursing mama, but I probably would like it too much to eat it!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

How to Make Mikro Dance

Commercials he cannot resist:

The HP photo printer Picturebook song
The Happiness Runs in a Circular Motion song
The car commercial with the Kill Bill theme
The car commercial with Should I Stay or Should I Go.

His technique is improving. He now moves his arms instead of merely rocking back and forth from one leg to the other like a demented gingerbread man.

Long time no blog. We were all down with the flu, Mikro worst of all, and I can honestly say my personal vision of hell has now been amended to include attempting to force liquids into a dehydrated toddler.

Survived another anniversary of The Accident. Zoned out doing the compulsive online shopping thing, even though I know that Numb Does Not Equal At Peace. But sometimes it's the best you can do...

There's new art up on the LJ, if anyone is interested...