Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Weight of It All

Not only did I put on my fancy sweatpants today, but I wore a bra as well. I felt so good about these accomplishments that I walked into Walgreens with a little swagger in my step. For the third time in weeks, I was loading up on medicine for my sickly four-year-old. Three bouts of strep throat since September and two sinus infections. #germbag

Strep made an appearance early on in Switzerland, and every time my daughter gets it, well then so does big mama. I remember sitting in the doctor's office and Amelia gagging and dry-heaving as they swabbed her throat for strep. I was up next, and apparently the doctor was concerned with my lack of gagging. "Has anyone ever told you that you have no gag reflex?" she asked in an accented voice.

Cue OCD panic. Is something wrong with me? Why can't I retch on command? Do I have a failing pharynx? I immediately went home and typed "no gag reflex" into my Google search. Yup, bad idea. A bad, blonde, busty idea.

My anxiety always seems to get me into trouble. It manifests itself through panic and ridiculous compulsions. People have often told me that I struggle with showing emotion. The truth is, I never really show my emotions because I'm too busy eating them. I prefer my anxiety with a side of curly fries; loneliness with a milkshake; and irritability with a crispy chicken salad (hold the salad, please).

Whenever my OCD symptoms worsen, so does my unhealthy relationship with loaded nachos. I've gained 15 pounds this year, hence the sweatpants (though I do have a pair with rhinestones). Most of this came on during my move back to the United States. As soon as our last box was packed, I fell into some sort of anxiety-ridden frenzy that has yet to loosen its grip on me.

How will Amelia reacclimate? Should I find a job? Will this weight gain lead to diabetes? Will Amelia make new friends? Is there an underlying medical issue as to why she keeps getting strep throat? Should I go for a master's degree? Are there bats in my attic? Should we try for a second child? Does my husband still think I'm enough? Could our new puppy have roundworm?

This question reel goes through my mind about every other second. I'm like a hamster on amphetamines who can't come off its wheel (except maybe for the wheel part---too much exercise).

And then, in what seemed like divine intervention and the timeliest of answers, I found out I was pregnant. Just like that, I had my direction: I was going to be a mom again. I was elated, terrified, and grateful. Most of all, I felt a renewed sense of purpose.

And then I miscarried.

I've always suffered from inadequacy. I've let it eat away at friendships; at my marriage. And now it was eating away at my body. Why had it failed me? Why couldn't it just do its damn job?

I feel back at square one. Like I have something to prove. And although I know this sounds very self-deprecating (albeit hormonal, as well) and not completely true, it also feels real. Grief, no matter how you calibrate it, always feels so very real.

Amongst all the chaos in my mind and a few very choice words for God, He had a little something for me in return. On my way home from dropping off Amelia at school, I stumbled across a picture she had taken while I was driving. A curly reminder of how blessed I already am.

I don't pretend to understand what God's plan for me is in all of this; only that I know there is one.

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