Rock Bottom

29 Dec

rockbottomEinstein said: “Crisis is the the best blessing that can happen to people and countries, because crisis brings progress.”

I reached rock bottom the other day. It was really the lowest place I’ve been since the breakup. It came following a two week down period. After the breakup, I went through a rough month, just getting over the shock of having what I had assumed unthinkable happen to me. And in order to survive the flood, I took on a fierce I-Can-Do-It-On-My-Own attitude. I lost some more pregnancy weight, I exercised, I got a new job, a new nanny, new hobbies, a social life. I made it a point to go out, to paint, to start a blog. I went to therapy. I felt strong and able. I knew that no matter what, I was going to be the best mother I could be, that my baby wouldn’t be affected by what had happened to us.

Now, put this Strong-Mama image aside for a minute and imagine me in my sweats, ruffled hair, dark circle under my eyes after having barely slept all week, holding a screaming baby who’s growing teeth and developing a cold, refusing to be consoled, having held him in my arms for hours, shushing, rocking and begging him: Please sweetie, please stop crying, mommy just doesn’t know what to do anymore, please… And finally, crying along with him.

That evening, I called BD, I asked him to come over. I have to give him credit for dropping everything and showing up. When he knocked on the door I opened it with a stained T-shirt  and my hair, and the dark circles, not making the slightest effort to look OK. I put baby in his arms as if I was handing him a package. I went into my room, shut the door, collapsed on the bed and slept for an hour.

When I woke up, it was quiet. Baby was asleep. I put on a bra. I changed my T-shirt. I pulled my hair back in a ponytail. I still looked like shit, but at least I didn’t look like someone who’d just had a nervous breakdown. I came out of my room and thanked BD for coming on such short notice. He said: Thank you for calling me. I want to help.

This made me sad, because looking at him I saw the beautiful, kind man I fell in love with thirteen years ago, who is no longer mine. And then I did what I had been wanting to do for a long time, what I had denied myself because I was too proud. I hugged him, he hugged me back, and I cried, finally, after a very long time of walking around with a huge lump in my throat. I’m sorry, he said. I drew back, I wiped my eyes dry with my sleeve. I’m OK, I said. And I meant it.

I had reached rock bottom, but there was something consoling about knowing that this was it. From here on, I could only get better. And there was something releasing about letting go of the charade.

I am a strong woman, and I am a good mother. Because I’m a good mother, I knew I had to call for help and collapse for an hour. If I were a bad mother I wouldn’t have called for help. I would have kept begging a seven-month-old baby, with aching gums to stop crying. Looking back now I’m proud of how I managed the crisis. Calling BD was not a sign of weakness, it was me being able to put my ego aside and doing the right thing.

Life is a series of ups and downs, highs and lows. I know that there are more lows ahead, maybe even more rock bottoms to come. But I also know that I have the ability to cope with them, to push forward and survive.


One Response to “Rock Bottom”

  1. ksbeth December 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    i’ve been there and you will be more wonderful and stronger than ever before. everything in its time. keep moving forward and if you fall a bit back every so often it’s okay, just get up and go on ahead.

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