It’s finally here, the day I’ve been waiting for now for over six years. Liberation day. As of tomorrow, my almost 6.5 year-old daughter will be in a most-day camp for the rest of the summer, and then as of August, she will be entering first grade. So essentially starting now, my life begins to resemble some sense of normalcy for the first time since before I became pregnant. It comes with continued sacrifices and pain, but it is so refreshing I can’t even begin to express the emotion I’m feeling.
I’m becoming liberated in 3 ways:
1) My daughter is finally old enough she’s playing on her own more, doing things independently, not needing me all the time. That means I can rest more when I need to rest, and I’m not crawling around on the floor dealing with her or cleaning up all the time.
2) She’ll be gone, out of the house, not my responsibility for 6+ hours a day. That means big chunks of time where I can rest, take care of my health needs, and work more, meaning actually earning some more money. This also means that once she’s in school, it’s paid for (public), so that time won’t be an added childcare expense as it was before. That’s huge.
3) Most importantly, as a result of many years of recovery, physical therapy and lots of hard work, my pain is gradually (slower than a snail’s pace, but still gradually) getting better. It’s not great every day, but I’ve been able to create a semi-normal life for myself. No, I can’t sit in an office all day every day, but I can recline in my home office, take stretch breaks, and work a normal work load. That’s also huge. Every day I still feel pain, but it’s mostly managed. There are always flare-ups from excessive travel, overexertion, etc. but most of those are predictable.
I’m finally able to do things I haven’t been able to do since I first went on bed rest 7 years ago: plan social more outings with friends (like 1/week vs. 1/month), get more regular exercise, and begin writing a book, something I’ve wanted to do for 8 years now. It’s been a long wait, but I’m so happy.
It’s not all roses, but I’m already feeling a huge sense of relief and elation. Every day I have to remind myself to not even think about how I’d like to have another kid, because it’s all theoretical and I’d go through another 7+ years of hell. Would it be worth it? Perhaps, but as I approach 40, I realize I could undergo even worse problems than what I’ve already endured, so I try to tell myself to feel lucky and satisfied about where I am. Another kid would be excruciatingly painful, extremely expensive, and it might not even work out, i.e. who knows if I could even sustain another pregnancy. It’s getting better from here, mostly, so I have to remind myself I should hold onto that.
The most difficult part of the transition actually is that I have to remind myself I have more time in my day. Two weeks ago I had one week where I was able to try out my new life. I kept thinking I need to do certain things within a certain time frame, like make work calls quickly before I have to go back to pick up my daughter at school, then I realize I still have 4 more hours to get things done. I can take my time to do the dishes, and I have actually been able to catch up on little mundane projects like de-cluttering the house and organizing social media accounts. It’s little stuff, but it’s been on my todo list for years.
The only feelings of liberation I have felt that compare with this were surviving junior high, graduating from high school and college. I feel like I’ve suffered through and survived this massive rite of passage as a person and as a parent. I’ve loved every minute I’ve had with my daughter, much more than I’ve hated every minute of the pain, but I’m ready. I’m so beyond ready.