I saw the doctor for my 6 week postnatal check today. (Ha – Squidge is 12 weeks old today.)
As the title suggests, it went exactly as expected. There was nothing she knew of that could be of any help to me as a disabled mum. I hoped for it. But alas. Still feeling like the only disabled mum in the world.
I didn’t have to go through the rigmorale of taking Squidge with me in the pram thank God. Kev had the day off to take the car to the garage, so I didn’t need to steel myself to drop the damn frame on my head again.
Other mums had warned me that the postnatal check was just to inform me that I am fertile again and to protect against any more baby Squidgelets. Hormonal medications have always messed with me, so that pretty much only leaves condoms, which thankfully Kev is fine with. I always find the idea of discussing contraception odd though. I think it’s because it’s so easy to get a hold of. I genuinely don’t understand how anyone in the world doesn’t understand that being a fertile human, you have sex, you will get pregnant
(and die – Mean Girls.) I don’t understand how people rock up on Jeremy Kyle every morning utterly bewildered by these, the mot basic facts of life.
I had far more pressing things to discuss in my precious time in front of the doctor. Literally sat down and as soon as the words “postnatal check” were out of her mouth, I literally said: “We’ll be using condoms. Now please help me with the pain I’m in.”
Pain in itself is not a new thing for me. It’s existed within me at some level my whole life. In fact, it stopped being pain a long time ago, it’s just another feature of CP. But in the last few days, my right arm has been hurting, from my shoulder down to the bend in my elbow. I get frightened when things start to feel wrong in my stronger side. If my stronger side is buggered, then what exactly can I rely on?
I explained that I thought it was coming from the strain of only being able to lift Squidge’s weight with my right arm. I didn’t mention my stork lifting technique, although now I think about it I can’t think why, maybe I feared being told that was a stupid way to do things. But this doctor was kind and patient and sympathetic at least. These attributes helped me understand why she was running 25 minutes late – what doctor is afforded time for her patients these days?
She studied the range of movement in my shoulder and told me I have an inflammed rotator cuff and that taking pain killers as I am is probably the best course of action and that stronger treatments like steroid injections were not really options until way off in the future should I tear. I’m not entirely sure if that means I just have to carry on until I have done myself that level of damage. It worries me. I kept saying that Squidge couldn’t rightly stop growing or getting heavier or needing me to care for her and that I didn’t know what to do.
Her suggestions were logical but impractical – essentially get someone else to lift her when I feel I cannot. But when Kev works full time?
Neighbours? *shudder* How intrusive. Besides which, we’ve only recently had a rip-roaring alcoholic moved on from our street and I’m pretty sure our downstairs neighbour work full-time, as well as English being their second language. What do I do? Ring their doorbell, thrust Squidge at them pleadingy and just retreat upstairs?
She asked about the charities. I explained about there being no provision for adults, never mind parents and how alone this made me feel. I mentioned my health visitor’s work to involve social services and the doctor said she’d try and chivvy this along when I said how anxious I was about an unsupported and unlimited wait.
Next she asked me about my mood. I felt my voice waiver, tears threaten and probably overstate my love for my little girl. “I love being a mum. I couldn’t be more in love with her… but I worry I can’t physically be enough for her. She will get bigger and stronger and I can’t match that. Nobody seems to know what to do for someone like me. I’m just not bad enough but that doesn’t mean I can do this. Nobody knows what help there is to ask for. I feel like the world is laughing at my choice.”
She put her hand comfortingly on my arm and said “You absolutely have the right to a child.’
Nice sentiment Doctor, but it doesn’t seem as though the world agrees with you.
“I just want to be able to take care of her. Feed her, hug her like she deserves…. she didn’t ask for me to be her mum.”
“Don’t say that. I’ll do what I can.”
Problem is, as kind as she was, that consultation ended with “If you don’t hear from me, assume I found nothing.”
Well quite. But why is it this way?
Apparantly the pain in my shoulder could affect anyone, disability or none. Apparantly, my concerns about being good enough for my daughter are the concerns of every mother.
I can’t quite appreciate these sentiments either. Because not every mother faces the challenge of parenthood with the disadvantage of existing pain as I do, or not knowing how to adapt when new ones arise to compound a situation that is never going to change. Apparantly, I should find it physically easier when Squidge is more mobile because she won’t need lifting or carrying.
I smile. I agree.
But she’s wrong.
For when Squidge is mobile, I’ll likely not keep up, or I’ll trip over her, or she’ll pull me over when I’m trying to keep her safe at the roadside. And realistically, we’re a long way off my little girl understanding why her mummy is different. I hate that I have to make her not only understand this, but be accepting of all the limitation I will place on her life too as her caregiver.
Apparantly she will adapt to me. Maybe.
I shouldn’t be thinking so far ahead. But how am I supposed to cope, or know how if I do not pre-empt?
There’s no call coming from the nice doctor to make this easy on me.
And even if Squidge’s coming independence was enough to do it, she’s 12 weeks old for god’s sake – what do I do for the year or more before she is there? No-one understands that day to day struggles are just that. Here all day, every day.
Sympathy only goes so far.
And honestly, I’m sick of so called professional telling me how it will be. Almost apologetic, it’s always able bodied people telling me how I will be affected. Really, what can they know?