I hate Mother's Day.
There, I said it.
All it does is remind me of the husband that I used to have, the one that should be here with the kids - not treating me, but enjoying this gorgeous day together. I miss my best friend. I miss the person I was with him.
People always talk about how strong single mothers are. Well, I don't feel strong anymore.
Sure, I was strong when I left my husband and moved 1000 miles away to live with my family again, newly pregnant, with a 6 month old and barely 2 year old. Not by choice, but because he told me he was no longer happy and wanted a separation.
I was strong when I almost died at 27 weeks pregnant from liver failure, on the verge of pancreatitis, with a blocked bile duct that caused daily gallbladder attacks.
I was strong when I went into preterm labor at 29 weeks, resulting in a 4 day hospital stay to stop labor and figure out what to do with my failing gallbladder that was threatening to kill the baby and/or I.
I was strong during the 12-hour fasted MRI's, CT scans, sonograms, and having dozens of tubes of blood taken to figure out how serious the problem was - to decide whether or not they should take the baby early or not.
I was strong while I suffered from cholangitis and cholestasis for 12 weeks, leaving scars on my legs from tearing at them in the middle of the night to try to stop the itching.
I was strong when I went into labor on 38 weeks but still took my son to his dentist appointment in the morning and went grocery shopping that afternoon, with contractions 10 minutes apart.
I was strong when I underwent my third c-section in under 3 years, recovering in the hospital alone with my jaundiced baby that had to spend three days in the nursery under the lights.
I was strong when, six weeks later, I had to go through yet another surgery alone to have my gallbladder removed- and then two days later, get admitted to the hospital for complications and spend an additional four days, pumping the whole time while on a clear liquid diet for a newborn that ultimately refused to nurse when I returned home.
I was strong when my third baby went through colic and reflux, screaming for two hours every night at 6 pm, and then later getting diagnosed with reactive airways after a couple of scary ER visits where she could barely breathe.
I was strong when my 3 year old son had to go through multiple testing sessions and in-home observations to determine that he did, in fact, have special needs.
I was strong when my 17 month old daughter had her first seizure and we had to rush her to the hospital by ambulance to try to figure out what was happening to her.
I was strong during hours of researching PFAPA because her pediatrician kept saying she was just getting ear infections every month when, like clockwork, she had a 5 day fever with seizures and a host of other symptoms.
I was strong while we drove to the children's hospital an hour and a half away twice weekly, hours in the ER on multiple occasions, dozens of visits with four different kinds of doctors, two EEG's (one was 24 hours) to diagnose her chronic autoinflammatory disease.
I was strong while my baby suffered from a 106*F fever for five days every three weeks, with 1-3 seizures per flare, hallucinating in the middle of the night, screaming because her swollen joints hurt, refusing to eat because she knew that she would just throw it right back up - not to mention the ulcers in her mouth and throat that burned when anything touched them.
I was strong when nurses and doctors told me, "You're so good at that" while I held down my screaming child so that they could stick IV's in her and draw blood and force meds down her throat.
I was strong when I sent my oldest to a public special needs preschool to get the therapies he needed, despite the fact that I never wanted my kids to go to public school.
I was strong when my daughter underwent surgery to attempt to cure her PFAPA. (It didn't, it just cured the fevers and seizures - which was the biggest concern. She still gets flares every 3 weeks with the other symptoms.)
I have been strong.
For three years, I have been a strong single mom - working hard at the business I build from scratch almost five years ago. taking care of my special needs son and chronically ill daughter.
But for some reason, right before Lent started, something snapped. I can't be strong anymore. I have only left the neighborhood once since Easter Mass. I have had more panic attacks than I can count. I've lost 10 pounds from getting sick from anxiety. The thought of leaving the house makes me shake, my heart races, and I feel like I'm going to pass out. My bed is the only place I feel safe.
I have prayed harder this last month than I have in the last three years. I am taking supplements, using essential oils, journaling, praying, reading the bible, resting, going to bed earlier, not working as much.... I'm doing everything right. So why is this happening to me?
I don't know what happened to the strong, I-can-handle-anything girl that I used to be. I miss her. I NEED her. The kids need her.
I don't want to be reliant on medication for the rest of my life. I don't want to learn coping strategies. I want this part of me to just go away. I want God to just take away my anxiety over who-the-hell knows what, and just make me better. I want Him to hurry up and heal me already so that I can be the person I used to be. The mom that could take her kids to the movies, or to the library, or to the amusement park, or even just to the grocery store. The mom that loved to just spend the entire day away from the house, running errands and playing at the park. The mom that could survive on little sleep and lots of coffee without so much as a 5 minute nap during the day. The mom that didn't have panic attacks on every single holiday - even little ones like Mother's Day.