It has taken me a while to generate my next post. I did not fully appreciate how traumatic the next series of events were until I started to write them down. I could tell people megabytes about what happened, but did not allow myself to think or dwell on it. The mind has the amazing ability to protect and shield us from thoughts or memories that are difficult. This ability allowed me to do what needed to be done. People say that I am strong. I don’t feel strong.
Before I launch into what happened next I should give you a bit of the back story. I was young when Adi was born, 22 years old. I also had a gorgeous, loving well-adjusted 2 year old toddler – Bridger. In the years leading up to motherhood, I was setting myself up for failure. I made a lot of bad, reckless decisions. Having Bridger seemed to re-set me. He gave me perspective; perspective that I would need but did not know it.
I grew up in a flurry of mental illness. When you grow up with mental illness it can be difficult recognize what is the illness and what is reality. My reality was that I was desperately trying to take control of my life in all the wrong ways. I wanted to distance myself from my mother, but never thought I could do it. My rational mind would tell me to run away, but the influence of the abuse held on to me tightly. My mom was also young when she had me; she and my father were married for a short time when I was very little. I was raised by my mom and never got to know my dad. When I got old enough and started to try to run away from the reality that I knew, I ran to him. In my last year of high school and in the years leading up to when Bridger was born I had the opportunity to get to know him, and call him dad. I had the opportunity to establish relationships with family that were not abusive and triangular in nature. I could start to see the world from a different perspective, but I still had much work to do to escape the years of altered reality that I lived in. It sounds clichéd, you hear it all of the time “my child saved me”. My child, the act of having a child did not by itself, save me. It gave me the opportunity to lift my head above the cloud that I lived in to see the world from a different perspective. Without knowing it I was suiting up for battle, the battle of my life.
Slowly, Adi started to get a little stronger. As she grew stronger it was clear that something was wrong. She screamed all of the time; she did not cry- she never cried, she screamed. When she was not sleeping or trying to eat, she was screaming – she seemed horrified all of the time. Yes, babies can be demanding, but you can usually find a way to help them. When I would try to comfort her and hold her, her arms and spine would posture away from me. There was nothing I could do to calm or comfort her. The posturing or arching back was another subtle clue about her future. I later came to understand that this was a sign of a brain injury. She never made eye contact with me or looked at me; she never felt safe snuggling into my chest. It was an absolutely helpless feeling. We had a home health nurse come to the home every day to check that all the monitors were running correctly and to check her vitals. Every day I held out hope that the nurse would come and be able to offer me some advice that would help me comfort her – she could not. In spite of it all I held out hope. Hope that she was going to grow out of this, perhaps this was colic – a lot of babies have colic…”she was just a little early”