I woke up from those years changed. Trauma changes you, no doubt. I went to a new therapist who specializes in trauma. The plan was to see her for about six months while we processed all the residual terror from the previous two years. Slowly but surely, the storms calmed and then one day the sky was clear. Terrible things weren't happening on the regular. I could take deep breaths again. My "your kid is going to die" triggers got less sensitive and less frequent. We somehow miraculously paid off the medical bills.
The new therapist was interesting. I wasn't sure about her at first, though she came highly recommended. Because so much of the things we went through in those crazy years was centered around our family, we ended up talking about motherhood a lot.
I feel like I need to be very clear here: Beatrice and Hollis and their miraculous entries into my life were the biggest dreams come true I've ever known. I am so grateful to be their mom, and to watch them become. The kids bring me a kind of joy that defies ample language to describe it (and continues to!). Women who have a typical path to pregnancy and childbirth sometimes don't really get this aspect, but the sheer fact that my children EXIST, that they are alive and mine still leaves me breathless after six years. When you are given a gift for which you had, after years of heartbreak, surrendered all hope of ever receiving, your perspective can't help but be transformed. I truly revel in their here-ness, their very presence still feels surreal. I love my kids with a fierce fire.
And maybe that's why I was so caught off guard when my transition into motherhood found me spinning. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. And I've learned it's okay for it to be both beautiful and brutal. I can be overjoyed and overwhelmed by it at the same time, and often am. No one tells you how hard parenting is. If they did, the earth might not be populated. Seriously.