Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD-- we talked about that at length in our past couple support group meetings, and how, like soldiers who fight in wars, we too suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. The only difference is that we never leave what causes our stress behind, it remains.Having a child with special needs adds stress to your life, but also beautiful new routes to explore.
I like to mention my own journey as a set of "graduations", or milestones, just like Zoé--who goes through hers. Like the milestones our little ones go through, we have our own.
When you do IVF and you manage to achieve a pregnancy, your doctor tells you, "That's it, you graduate" and I remember the fear I felt. It was so comforting, in a way, to be in the hands of the experts, and then it's the unknown that starts...the fear that something might go wrong, but ultimately, something that you have to go through, hoping that the precious little bundle of life you are carrying will continue to thrive and grow.
The second "graduation" was the time I would go to the hospital for I couldn't feel Zoé moving...and every time the reassuring feeling of hearing her little heartbeat running wild like a galloping horse.
Then, her birth, another initiation, she is taken away from us, sent down two stories to the NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit), and it's going home with an empty car seat that is the most heart wrenching part of it.
After that you get used to the daily trips to the NICU, day in, day out, in a cab, zooming through Central Park, to see your child in her little incubator, waiting for her to open her eyes, taking her in your arms. That too is reassuring, you know that she is in good hands, your own and the nurses' and doctors'.
Then came the day when she went from her isolette to a mini crib, under warm blankets. What a day! Milestone galore, we felt so happy. That meant that she could keep her body heat on her own.
Taking her home afterwards was another scary moment, fearing the first bath, the feedings, the first visit to the pediatrician, by minus 5, wondering whether it would be too cold for her.
And anxiety, nervous tension never stops, you stress about the assessments, the evaluations, the graduations Zoé has to go through. The milestones she might skip, because she has gross motor delay...
But all of that stress dissipates at times, and in a fleeting moment, or an entire day, you realize how grateful you are and how blessed you are to have the most precious child you could have imagined. I cannot picture my life without Zoé.
yesterday was one of those days, a huge milestone for both of us, Zoé changed classrooms at PIP and has a new teacher and new classmates now.
I am no longer with her in the room, but watching her behind the mirror with other anxious parents who want to make sure that their child will improve, will do well. She has her own little desk and follows the teacher's instructions carefully and attentively.
Matching fruits, objects like shoes. Putting finger puppets on her nose, on her toes, on her elbow and her neck. Hiding them up her sleeve, in her pocket. Making Pin art, tossing bean balls in a basket, way up high. That's where Zoé is now, way up high, with the sky being her only limit. I am so proud of her, she gets all the credit.
Till later, we send you all our love, big, warm hugs, and Zoé--our little yogi-- salutes you! (hope you like her downward dog, yoga move)