Sorry for not posting the last few weeks, my sugar dumplings. I haven’t even been able to brush my teeth...which reminds me, I hafta cancel my dentist appointment. And hair appointment. And breastfeeding class...and baby shower.
I am only posting this for posterity. I haven’t told friends or some family members cuz...there’s no point and I don’t wanna be one of those “woe is me” martyr types. Doesn’t suit me. My smile is too nice for that.
Saturday morning, two weeks ago, my adorable Mom requested we do another driving dry run to my birth hospital so she could reabsorb the lay of the route and land. Considering she’s my getaway baby driver, this is not a request to ignore. If you know my Mom or have a Mom or your own, you’ve witnessed the dangers, frustrations, and worry of Mom driving. It can be a real challenge for all parties involved. Moms often utilize backwards routes, attempts to turn only to be somehow thwarted, routinely drive around the block so as to confirm and reconfirm destination certainty, and most Moms express the need for passenger to not sigh, squirm, make a face, or comment on drivers skill... which makes the entire event high risk.
So when Mom expresses a need to re-digest, we encourage a patient slow chew.
Furthermore, for the last three ish weeks I’ve had consistently awful rib pain. Front, middle back, throbbing. It’s kept me up at night, annoyed me in the day, and confused me... I’ve iced it, I’ve heated it, I’ve massaged it, and inquired the Googs and my Doc and other preggo ladies for wisdom. No avail.
I was told and figured it was just pregnancy irritation and par for the third trimester course.
Bummer, but manageable.
When Mom mentioned she wanted the dry run, I thought it’d be a good chance to get that checked out...ease my mind a little.
So off we went.
And there I stayed.
Four days later in the antepartum wing, hooked up, drugged, exhausted, stinky and trying to halt preterm labor.
After arriving safely via Mom driving, we waddled up to L&D and we’re met by fresh faced, lovely nurses who basically said they can’t tell me squat without getting officially checked out.
I was hooked up to baby heartbeat monitor and contraction monitor and, well, monitored.
For a long time.
a really long time.
I was seen by Nurse 1 who, after 6-7 hours of monitoring, noticed I was having contractions. Big ish ones, every 2-5 minutes...that I could NOT FEEL.
Nurse 1 checked my junk and said, “yep, 1-2 dilated, 70% effaced...”
In comes Doctor 1 and shots and panic and meds and surprise and off I was wheeled to admitting and a labor room.
Nurse 2 checked my junk and said, “yep, 2-3 dilated, 80% effaced...”
Thank goodness my Mom was there...we just couldn’t believe it.
Doctor 1 checked my junk and said, “yep, 3 dialated, 80% effaced...”
So more shots and pills and waiting and wondering. Still no contraction pain...
Admitted officially to labor, paperwork signed, fears felt, NICU explained, potentials discussed, and Doctor 1 checked my junk again and said, “yep, 4 dialated, 80% effaced...”
I had more hands in my junk in 20 hours than I have had in months. Like, literally and literally.
After rib pain inquiry and a jolly jaunt in the car—preterm labor was the haps and I hadn’t even brought a water bottle.
Round the clock meds considering they wouldn’t let me take the ones I’d brought from home... antacids, Prozac, benedryl, antibiotics, steroids, procardia, to name a few. There is no real rest to be had in a hospital... and nurses come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities.
Eventually and on day four my dear OB came in, gently cervical checked me, reduced me to 3.2 dilation and 80%, and released me unto my own recognizance with the direction of modified bed rest.
Its been a whirlwind—hospital and home.
i couldn’t believe I couldn’t feel any contractions? Am I just so tough? Supermom? Naive?
Every spasm and twinge, a panic.
Every gaseous thud, a worry.
Every pee, a search for blood or mucus or clot.
Every night, a dream of water breaking.
Endless worry about preemie care, Nugget’s health, my comfort, “the plan,” and the realization that even the tiny things you thought you could control...you can’t.
Birth plan, schmirth plan.
Let’s just have a healthy baby, healthy mama.
The gist of the goal seemed to be to keep Kiddo in the oven until at least the 36 week mark, which is this upcoming Tuesday. After that, birth away! I will be able to walk, attend, socialize, move, drive, shop, and visit. All my energy has gone into research and worry and power baking this Kiddo... I haven’t doodled or written a thing until now.
I decided to illustrate my birth plan.
Seems fitting, having Kiddo on Pride Rock after half a ward was up my cooter and giving me drugs.
Someday I'm going to date again and, right now, that thought is fucking repulsive.
I never thought I would have kids. As a matter of fact, I thought I was impregnable, unable, defunct. I thought the plumbing was off and I was in the clear. It's not that I don't like kids, I LOVE kids. All kids. Your kids, their kids, all the kids. Even the nasty little shit kids that throw rocks--love them too. I just figured it wasn't in the cards for me, my awesome artist life, my selfish existence, and something I would be rather unwilling to adapt to....
Until I found out I was pregnant.
He and I.
And I loved him to fully, so wholeheartedly, so sweet and blindly...
and my fate had gone behind my back and chosen this male human to be my partner for the rest of my life...
Who was I to argue with that?
I chose to keep Nugget, chose life, chose love, and chose to parent along side FOB. I settled into the vision of our future and it fit like a glove. Dual language home, two full extended families of love, life goals still persuadable together, and nobody pretending he or she knew the answers because all of the questions were not yet written. Building our foundation one solid pebble at a time.
I thought I'd never be want of love and companionship again... that I had someone all in, 200%, flaws and all...
I went to my 34 week appointment yesterday with my Mom. We were sitting in the OB's office and all these cute, terrified couples were wandering in and out of care, pregnant, holding hands and paperwork... and my Mom caught me giving a pair of knocked up lovers the evil fucking glare. I wasn't even doing it on purpose. My eyes and brows just sort of came together and ambushed the rest of my face into judgement and hate.
"Ha. You just gave those people the meanest look, Mal."
"I hate their happiness..." I said quickly and without thought so I know I meant it.
"Ha ha ha oh, honey, they're not happy . Don't worry. No one in a relationship is."
And we laughed at the probable truth of that statement. It was comforting for a while and in those moments of relationship envy and hollowness, I can think about that statement and be mildly comforted. I think about that a lot lately, as spring approaches and I begin to actually leave my house.
Valentine's Day is coming.... and the 14th of the month was sort of our anniversary, mine and FOB's. This one we had made plans to go to a show and for some reason, in my romantic and blissed out imagination, I thought we'd get engaged. I don't know why. FOB never said he'd wanted to marry me... he was ''uncomfortable'' with that thought, too. Valentine's Day has always been a joke for me. Something to point and laugh at, shelter myself from, and wryly mock as it passes. In the past I've made cupcakes of hate to dole out at the bar, little baked black cupcakes with angry words like ''herpes'' and ''I hate you'' delicately designed on banners of fondant with roses on top. It wasn't until this past year of love, pregnancy, and hormones that I actually wanted something to happen on it, that I actually envisioned a romantic event... that I actually set myself up for incredible sadness upon it's empty arrival and passing.
Christ, this post is ''WOE IS ME.''
Anyway, someday... I'm going to have to date again. Just like the rise and fall of the sun and moon, dick has a tendency to call and I've always been it's number one fan. This truth seems like a joke right now, but I know myself.
Someday... there will be date.
It's going to have to be someone I don't meet in a bar. A sober fellow cuz I can only handle dating one person inside one person at a time.
I cannot meet him online--that's the most bullshit of all bullshit you could probably feed someone before actually setting foot in a room together.
I cannot meet on some other new age social media app--your instagram love of me is not real.
We'll have to meet during daylight hours because as of right now it's an Olympic event preparing for any kind of anything past 5pm.
Unless he's my postman, we'll probably have to meet outside my house and beyond my doorstep... which I've left a handful of times in the last few months.
I will not meet him in a bar,
I will not sleep with him by motorcar,
I will not love him fast and quick,
I will not love again this dick.
I just want to complain for a minute.
Most of the rumors are true.
Third trimester is filled with all the same yuck of the first, but with added shittiness for flavor.
You lose your lungs, you lose your vagina.
You can't tend to your feet so those turn into hideous, dead skin bird claws.
Your Nugget grows and pushes your ribs out and heat and ice soothe none.
It's exhausting just to masturbate so... yeah, no.
You pee on your hands every time you're asked for a urine sample, which is now weekly.
Your face swells and the glow you had turns into sweat. And more sweat.
Your gums NEVER STOP BLEEDING.
Sleep. Ha. That's a fucking joke.
You can't even bring yourself to leave the house to pickup more antidepressants.
Your joints weaken and every little thing is amplified into a world of discomfort and awkward.
Nothing stays clean after you clean it so you just keep cleaning things again and again.
You fret over every movement the Nugget makes.
You fret over every movement the Nugget doesn't make.
You're tired of belly touches and unsolicited advice.
Heartburn. All of the heartburn. Torches. wildfires, burning everywhere all the time.
You have no income and haven't had any for a long time which is ridiculous.
You've had no contact with FOB and haven't seen the man IN TWO MONTHS who so convincingly dumped you to be friends to be there every step of the way by your side through this pregnancy.
Your back hurts from building the high road, being uncomfortable, and sleeping akimbo.
Your arms hurt from holding you back from every run away thought you want to have, but shouldn't.
Your heart hurts cuz it still hasn't forgotten anything.
Your mind races after every weird dream you have, admiring all the things still undone.
And seven weeks left.
Until you become a Mom.
Whatever that is.
Aside from a big, dark unknown blank spot.
I shared a post to the facebooks the other day that went a little something like this:
”Got the guilts.
Haven’t been walking my miles like I had been.
Haven’t been doin my morning preggo yoga.
Been enjoying the sugar and the bread.
Haven’t gotten to the post office, the store, the consignment place, or the art shows.
Flaked on more plans than I’ve kept.
All I wanna do is sleep and vegetate and bathe and feel time pass so I can hang out with this tiny dictator, new bff, ball of leaking smoosh, and have this new mom job already.
Ambitious and restless meets ever expanding burning flesh body of winded catharsis means total body disconnect.
Thanks for being my friends still, friends.”
The overwhelming response was that of comfort in the shape of well wishes and “don’t be concerned’s” and alla that is just about being third trimester pregnant. A lot of “listen to your body” and such.
Good advice, love my friends, and yes.
....but.... but... how do I do that?
Except mixed signals. That’s the problem.
The Body is all:
...so it feels like one big organ-ized argument happening inside me all the time.
Anxiousness met with sedation,
heartburn met with spicy pickle cravings,
backaches met with desire to hike,
and nine weeks left to be amazed, befuddled, humbled, and confused. By the time I figure out which part of me I should listen to and when, Nugget is gonna be out and about, serving up cuteness and diapers the likes of which shall bring chaos to my household. I'll be battling hormone drop, baby blues, and bloody diapers of my own.
As for the past week and I'm sure the coming weeks... I don't wanna leave my house, I don't wanna go anywhere, I don't wanna do much, and I don't wanna see anyone. Other preggo mamas tell me (and sourced me) that's a sign of nesting.
"One of the few formal studies, conducted in 2013, found that pregnant women spend more time cleaning and organizing their home than women who aren't pregnant. They're also more selective about the company they keep and more likely to prefer sticking close to home." (link)
But with this internal cocktail of hormones and prozac, I have no idea how to find the root of anything happening inside me anymore.
I have a few theories though... mystical maybe's that might explain the why's.
Why don't I want to go for walks in the chilly sunshine?
(Maybe it's because I'm so over thinking about my life and my failed relationship that I literally can't take anymore so my bodily instinct of emotional self-preservation is taking over?)
But what about a short stroll with friends?
(Maybe because the Nugget Cave feels like a goddamn cannonball in my upper pussy area and every step I take is met by furious gravity?)
Why don't you want people over to comfort and celebrate and socialize?
(Maybe because the flu epidemic is insane and I can only apply hand sanitizer so many times before my flesh falls off)
What about yoga and practicing some of that hypnobirthing meditation?
(It makes me sleepy... and if I sleep in the day I can't sleep at night... and if I can't sleep at night all I do is toss and turn and get up to pee and binge watch Planet Earth II and Gilmore Girls)
I want this blog to thrive, this website to flourish, my mind and body to agree, my soul to be chill, my heart to heal--all these efforts PLUS growing a belly monster means...
**this is a doodle from 400 days ago... when I firmly believed I'd never procreate--ha...heh...uh... ha**
I wouldn't say I've been reluctant...
Nor would I say I've been anti....
Let's just say I've been contently selfish with the course of my existence for all/many of my years. I've led a life full of choice and freedom.
I've worked the jobs I've wanted to in locations I've chosen at times that have suited me.
I've dated whom I've liked and wanted regardless of habit, reputation, influence, or outcome.
I've baked casual, day long meals and desserts from the whim of fleeting taste.
I've laundered at my convenience, showered at my choice, and napped at leisure.
I've hopped in my car, tossed my city in the rear view mirror, and fled town for nights of camping and booze.
It began to dawn on me last night as I climbed into bed at 9pm, but didn't really hit me in the face until I took a long, hot shower at 9am.... in just a few short months, all of my ''when I want to's'' are going to morph into ''when I can's'' and this life of mine that has always revolved around MEEEE is soon to revolve around a Nugget.
There's a'change a'comin'.
I ask myself if I'm ready for it. How can I prepare? How can I learn about the balance needed to continue to honor myself and my needs (while not feeling like a guilty, shitty, selfish mother) and put my Kiddo first?
**This is the part in Sex in the City where the camera pans away from Carrie's column of writing self talk questions and the action resumes, unfolds, happens, peaks and perhaps resolves with a life lesson in tow. Aaaaaaaand... GO!**
I don't have an answer. I'm still preggo with 9 weeks and one day (allegedly) to go--I'm living in a land of conjecture, fear, and hope. It's a constant mash up of all three pieces of crazy possibility pie.
If fifteen years of Burning Man has taught me anything, it's that self-care is important and nobody else is gonna do it for you. Your ass is gonna dehydrate and bake if you don't drink water and put on sunscreen--and your ass will be miserable. And made fun of.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of nannying my youngest nephew. When I began he was a fresh little three month old bundle of little boy love and I got to watch my brother become a Dad instantly and over time. I think the three of us were on a walk and though I can't recall the root cause of the topic, we sort of splashed over into the realm of self-care as a parent.... although, in a very brotherly way.
He told me in his infinite brotherly honest wisdom,
"Look Mal, if I'm holding Wyatt (the bebe) and he's fast asleep and it's taken hours to get him there... but I, Dad, have to take the meanest shit of my entire life... I'm not gonna sit there and hold it for him. I do him no favors holding my shit in, all I do is hurt myself and therefore not be the best Dad I can be. So I'll wake him up, jostle the little fellow, trample to the toilet, and take that massive shit for myself. Gotta put me first. Poops and all."
I hope when my time comes... and I've got Nugget nestled deep in my arms of sleep... I find the courage to take the shit I need, the shower I should, the ten minutes I have, and the offered help of those around me. It's been a pattern of mine to gift over lengths of my personality to the lucky fellow I'm dating and put myself second out of sacrifice and overly generous love. This relationship I've got cooking in my belly is like nothing I've ever been privileged to before....
I hope I can shit.
For me and for Nugget.
People are striving for prolonged happiness. We're hoping for joy and hilarity and peace. We relish strength and wisdom and progress. Who can blame us? When it's good, it's good and feeling good feels great!
We live to linger in those positive moments and we exhaust ourselves chasing them... holding onto them... remembering them... recreating them.
But that's just the half of us. Literally. The positive.
Why do we treat the negative like crap? Why do we pretend it doesn't exist? Why is it so hard to honor sadness and sorrow? Why are we so uncomfortable being uncomfortable?
Is it in how we were raised? Is it a societal thing? A cultural thing?
That's a shit ton of questions with no answers. No rule of thumb. No general basis.
I guess all I can do is reflect on my own emotional vocabulary and accountability. Somewhere in between 12 years of Catholic school, being a woman, a sister, a sibling, puberty, and sort of a millennial, being emotional became a weakness. I have apologized for crying most of my life. Actually, I've fought back more tears than I've shed for sheer protest against crying for whatever reason. I grew up only crying in my sleep from dreams that were sad or shocking with no control over the waterworks or my subconscious.
(It's all fun and dream tears until you're in the bed next to someone you may or may not have had sex with and you start sobbing in your sleep only to freak your bedmate the fuck out--true story)
Do any of ya'll have a 'cry movie?'
Yeah, a cry movie.
Like, one you watch periodically to induce crying because it's an unnatural thing to do without prompt?
Well, I did/do.
I don't know how many times over the course of my existence I purposefully set aside 36-48 hours to watch What Dream May Come (yes, that one with Robin Williams that's kinda like Dante's Inferno and he crossed through hell and ethereal realms because he loves his Annie so goddamn much and I want someone to love me that goddamn much). I spend that movie violently holding back tears and eventually sobbing so hard that my eyes swell up like irritated bee stings and I have to chill them with iced spoons for hours later. Hence the 36-48 hours of solo time.
Highly. Highly recommend that movie for cry movie. Oh, or An Affair to Remember.
Another good one.
All the same...
I think it all boils down to how the ''I can do it myself'' "I need no help" "I'm find and unaffected" mentality has overshadowed my ability to ask for help when needed and I guess I thought that's how good character was formed. Sadness became a form of weakness, emotional vulnerability became something to avoid, and strong skin was priced much higher than thin.
Man Oh MAN, this pregnancy... This forced growth--emotional and physical--has taught me that being emotional is not weakness. I've cried so hard this pregnancy, I discovered new sounds I could make wailing into a pillow... or my steering wheel. I learned my eyes don't have to swell if I just don't block the damn exit and let the tears out. I have grown from navigating the pain of being dumped and fallen out of love with... I have learned that I don't break... I have grown in wisdom and humor. I am more well-rounded. I am more stable. I have learned more coping skills, sharpened my tools of processing, and reacquired my big girl panties. I can cry gracefully. I can also cry like a snot wielding mad woman. I can be angry and so filled with rage that my hands turn to pale, white, bloodless fists.
Allowing myself to feel that... giving myself permission to be negative, to be blue, to be red, to be whatever "negative" emotion I am feeling has, in turn, brought me right back around to actually being happy. Letting those feelings fly for however long they need to has not let me down. Expressing emotion is a strength, not a weakness.
Hello, 2018, you saucy, well-rounded, wild thing, you.
I don’t have a lot of company over for social calls, but if I did, they’d attest—Mallory covers her mirrors.
The room I currently live in so happens to be the room I grew up in—bottom floor at Mama Mo’s house. It’s the room where I grew through awkward puberty, picked at my teenage acne, painted pop punk murals upon, and spent many hungover mornings of my twenties roaring and snoring. The room of this current flashback of youth also has those long, full length, 1990’s style sliding closet doors made of mirror. They make for a constant reflection, unforgiving reminder, and inescapable proof of what I’ve looked like through every age, every angle, all the time forever even when I’m sleeping.
It’s hard to pinpoint where things begin when it comes to my shiny negative self-image.
Could it have been seventh grade when Tommy Shanley passed me in the hallway openly gazing at my chest and indiscreetly and aloud mumbled, “my god, they’re huge?”
Could it have been the fact that I had cystic acne throughout high school, played basketball, and didn’t have a boyfriend for four years and was the chubby and funny token friend?
Could it have been the weight battle that ensued after high school ballooning me into the obese realm of 225lbs at age 19? It probably didn’t help that I pierced everything on my face, cut my own hair, and wore men’s clothes in an effort to be rebellious and punk rock.
Whatever the root, where ever the stem, however the growth, insecurity and body dysmorphia has been with me a while. I hate(d) my boobs and my midsection. I spent many nights and days attempting to make plans to go out only to cancel because I hate my (insert body part here). I argued many hours with the few boyfriends I had about their insanity regarding my attractiveness. I painted countless self portraits in an effort to witness myself, warts and all, flaws and wrinkles, scars and lines, into forcible acceptance. I would lay in bed at night unable to fall asleep because tomorrow morning I’d finally change the binge eating, lazy workout efforts, and uncover the mirror to see exactly what I was.
Maybe everyone did this. Maybe everyone’s social anxiety would tornado out the closet and arrive him or her at the art opening only to lose all the oxygen in the roomfilledwithpeoplemustbolttenminutesintothereception!?!
Maybe everyone covered their mirrors and blamed it on the spirit realm being able to feng shui bullshit capture their souls while they slept?
But I don't think everyone covers their mirrors.
I think other people are okay seeing themselves.
It wasn't until last year at the ripe age of 33 that I really began to tolerate myself. I'd lost 50 pounds and rewarded myself with this cool, art deco, under-titty chandelier style tattoo. (Thanks, Nikki at Aces Tattoo) I felt pretty... or at least one or two steps closer to it. I'd started to wear half sets of fake eyelashes on a daily basis because fuckit and was determined to grin and bare it. Fake it all til I made it some. It was actually working--really. I think?
I'd finally started to like and understand my body when it came time to share it.
Like, share it.
Like share, SHARE it.
In short, Nugget and I have inhabited the same vessel for 207 days now. We've had minimal disagreements and she's a pretty quiet roommate. Nugget spreads out a bit in the communal areas, but mostly knows his/her place. I'm okay with the furniture he/she's brought with him/her and, if anything, he/she's already improved my habitation of self greatly. Food tastes better, I eat less, work out more, and am really getting better in tune with my meditative side. I've put some new work into our place and it's starting to pay off.
I tell folks I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and they look at me like I'm insane. They look me up and down and say, ''no way?" I have to insist and then I sometimes allow them to awkwardly touch my stomach as if the rock hard preggo non-abs will tell the tale I'm apparently not conveying strong enough with words.
My Mother insists I'm carrying Kiddo internally, 'in my back,' and that's why I'm not the show-iest of belly show-ers.
Regardless of where the baby's boudoir is, we're sharing the house.
I think that's why I've lucked out in the negative body image department as of late. With 80% of the mirrors covered in the house and not being 50 pounds fatter with Kiddo OR being the show-iest of belly show-ers.... I haven't had to size myself up as usual. I'm too distracted by crazy shit like kicked colons and vaginal discharge, getting dumped by my baby's father, and what shade of rich dark rose my nipples will finally settle on. Also, not having sex and being single so I don't have to see myself jiggle as I bone down has helped as well. I committed to buying preggo undies and maternity pants early so I wouldn't have to go through the painful elimination process, pant by pant, of my closet not fitting anymore. Right away these tig ol' bitties of mine grew into monstrosities of new bra size letter proportions--36DDD to 40H. I preemptively purchased boulder holders that would fit even the crankiest mammary.
What I'm saying here is... The facts of growth have been ever present.
The reflection of this growth has not.
I'm working on peeling back the mirror veil and appreciating our shape as much as I'm comfortable with... I'm working on positive self-affirmations and not worrying about losing the fifteen pounds of baby weight I've picked up in the last seven months.
I'm working on the mirror veil--as much as I love the beautiful Irish lace hanging over it's surface, it's kinda nice looking into it sometimes and thinking, ''eh... not bad...''
I'm working on myself.
It's a full time gig, self-love.
I don’t know if you’ll find this entertaining...or astounding... or embarrassing...or a sign of our ridiculous health care times. Probably all of the above.
In short and as I've stated....this pregnancy has not been easy.
Where I’ve lucked out on the physical front—very little discomfort, no morning sickness, not a ton of weight gain, I suffered threefold in the mental health department.
I am an artist. We are bizarre, moody creatures filled with turbulent emotion and social anxiety. That’s how we roll. I’d learned to roll with it for thirty years.
Until, like, October 2017.
I had these panic attacks in September and October, the third and fourth months of my pregnancy, where my mind wouldn’t stop. I was bombarded by intrusive thoughts, plagued by uncontrollable insecurity, and I spun out like a motherfucker for days unable to pinpoint or halt the physiological or emotional insanity that was each panic attack. Over the course of that time I stopped painting, stopped playing guitar, stopped seeing family and friends, and basically halted everything that made me. The worst part was that... I could see it. I was atop myself, outside myself. I was split into pieces and each one was fully conscious and aware. In those moments, the new panicked driver of my body and mind was this omniscient entity that I had absolutely no control over. Like a cowboy on a bucking bronco that longed for death so at least the ride would be over.
Before I was pregnant I was paying an assload of money a month for catastrophic insurance that I’d been grandfathered into keeping through the last ten years. This shit-tastic insurance apparently didn’t include maternity coverage. Not one...bit. Well, one bit... should I have a complication during birth, it might consider covering that complication if it fit in the standard.
Assload of $$ for shit-tastic.
Considering FOB has/had/will have amazing insurance.... and absolutely no intention of marrying me, I am still slammed with first trimester bills from my fancy insurance and have only found relief through Medicaid.
Health Plan of Nevada.
I picked the only plan my OBGYN accepted and just went with it. I really reeeeeally like my Doc and it’s been really important that I get to keep him as my provider.
I remember the first appointment I told my Doc I was feeling blue. More blue than normal blue. Payne’s gray and constantly sobbing with thoughts of self-harm as a matter of fact. He told me to find a therapist and I agreed. He told me we could handle it and I believed.
Wouldn’t simple be nice?
So I began the process...
I started with the list of therapists and offices my Doc gave me.
Three “no, we don’t accept that insurance” and one “we aren’t accepting new clients.”
I continued on...
I asked friends for references, posted on social media, went through the virtual phone book that is Google...
”No new clients/not that insurance” every time.
I called Medicaid and was pointed to mental health care offices of Las Vegas... which transferred me to the Behavior Institute of Reno... which rattled off a list of names. I called. I left messages. I emailed.
One even had the answer, "we are only accepting new clients if there is a substance abuse problem." I briefly considered fibbing myself into addiction just to get the help I needed.
Days and weeks passed and the sheer embarrassment of having to constantly ask for help, beg for help, summarize my sicknesses in voicemail after voicemail... it all wore on me as I continued to suffer.
I was so full of self hate.
I was so full of hate for FOB.
I hated this baby.
I hated asking for help and I hated being turned down.
Finally, I called the lowest name on my list. A name I’d never heard of at a practice I’d never seen in an area of town I’d never associated with medical professionalism or fine mental health.
They could see me on Friday.
She could. Whatever her name was. Her. Yes. Thank god.
I cried tears of joy. I thanked the receptionist profusely and felt hope. Hope. For the first time in months.
I went into the dumpy office with so much hope... so much psychosomatic relief that finally FINALLY someone was going to help me understand, sharpen, collect, and utilize all the coping skills that I had somehow forgotten or didn't know existed.
How.... do I summarize this encounter? I really want to give it the narrative it deserves, but it's... so fucking preposterous... I just wanna hit you with all the highlights and punches and let you chew it up as you like.
We began with a family history, questions like ''what does your father/mother/sibling do and any history of mental illness?" etc. After every answer I gave, She had a comment.
"Oh, so you didn't grow up poor..."
"That must've been nice on easy street..."
"That explains a few things..."
We switched to my problems. I opened up, determined, about my panic attacks, depression, etc. and hat I was hoping to get out of this therapy...She replied,
"Well, if you're gonna reach for anything, reach for marijuana. Don't drink a drop. Not one drop is safe. Weed, the jury is still out on.... and it's great for anxiety."
We moved to current events. FOB had just dumped me, five months pregnant, the previous week and I couldn't stop crying hysterically.
"If he is the only male in his immediate family, he's been raised like a prince so be wary of that..."
"Oh, he makes good money, he should buy a duplex and put you on the other side..."
and to top it off
"I could start a separate thriving practice for white pregnant women who have been deserted by their baby's Latino fathers. It's just what happens... especially the first time Dads in the group...."
That was some racist, narrow minded, judgemental shit. I was astonished. I was baffled. I can't believe I sat there ten minutes more to pretend to make another appointment. I was offended. I was shocked. I was... deflated... after having so much hope for this help. This woman had sat across from me, summed me up in her eyes, judged me, ill-advised me, and then basically said FOB dropped me cuz he's Mexican.
I was outraged and still am. I have since reported this person anonymously to the appropriate board and who knows what's happened to her. Hopefully she's been put in check.
I never went back. What a fucking nutjob. Man, and I thought I was crazy.
In short, I stopped asking for help and began creating my own.
Support groups? Yes.
Prozac? You betcha.
Am I fixed and all better? Hell no.
Am I on the heaps and piles happier than I was the ass end of 2017? Heck yeah.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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