Day TWO of Write 31 Days!!!
I had a hysterectomy in 2002. Immediately after being released from the hospital, having just had our fourth baby Sophie, I was readmitted. At the time, I was pretty sure that four children were enough for us. I was also confident that I was in desperate need of the procedure.
Because I had endometriosis, I had a traditional, not vaginal hysterectomy. My mom would bring Sophie to me so I could breastfeed the newborn, but the rest of the time I would pump milk and then the nurses would refrigerate it for me. On day two of my extended hospital stay, I was shocked to learn that breast milk is considered hazardous waste and is treated as such.
Too tired and in too much pain to feed my baby girl, I called for a nurse to bring me a bottle for her. When the nurse entered the room with Sophie’s nourishment, and I saw the red bag, crudely tied rubber band and skull and crossbones on the container of breast milk… I lost my everloving mind.
I started wailing crying. Like, I was so hysterical they called my OBGYN for a sedative, later they sent a psychiatrist to my room for an evaluation. He asked me stuff like, “Have you ever envisioned yourself putting your baby in the oven?”
And I hadn’t, until he mentioned it, and then I had to be sedated for fear I might do it by accident, or do it and say it was an accident. Which made me wonder, how do you cook a baby? I have a degree in Home Economics, should I know this? And then I had nightmares my kids were visiting me in prison… and they sedated me again.
I was a wreck. I was terrified of being released. I didn’t trust myself or my thoughts or my chemical waste breast milk. I had full blown panic attacks that resulted in vomiting, more psych analysis, and more sedatives.
In the course of my hysterics, one nurse said, “You are overreacting, stop it.”
But I couldn’t stop.
I was out of my mind. Hormones? Maybe. Adverse drug reaction? Perhaps.
But fourteen years later I’d like to say something to the nurse I do not know: You are not the boss of reacting. How can someone OVER react? Where is the measuring device by which we deem the passion of response?
Furthermore, I believe it may have been hormones, but it was also grief. And no one should tell anyone how to grieve. No one. I was blessed with four children, but I waited my entire life for those children. The fact was, in those moments I knew that a different kind of clock had begun to tick. The new clock marked off time where there was only the growth of my children and with each click, they would need me less and less.
I would never feel a new life in me.
I would never experience the wonder of birth, which honestly I hated, but still.
I was officially working myself out of a job I had wanted since the first time I picked up a baby doll. Granted, our numbers continued to increase, blessed by foster care and adoption, but I didn’t know that then.
And for me, the reaction was copiously justified. It was my response to the trauma my body and mind were experiencing. I stand by my belief if you require a prescription to make it through the day, that in no way impacts your faith. You cannot convince me it does. Jesus doesn’t change because we can’t cope. He is still magnificent. By His death, that is all the Father sees, our magnificence.
Grief is personal.
Reactions are our own.
Individual children of the Maker of the Universe, as diverse as we are, can you even fathom how outstanding He is? He fashioned me to laugh, cry, sleep, mourn, dance, and worship. He alone knows the appropriate capacity of my soul.
If you don’t like it, well… get over it.