The Struggle Bus

So the last few days of 39 are creeping up on me, and I’ve been in reflection mode on the last year. I wouldn’t call it a midlife crisis, more of a decade closeout reflection. This past decade was ripe with change:marriage, houses, new job, and motherhood. So there’s been a lot to think about.

If each stage of life had a title, this one of mine would be called The Struggle Bus. At least lately it would. Why? Because some days mama just needs someone to give her a ride to catch up with life. So yeah, you could say I’ve been riding the Struggle Bus hard.

So how exactly did I get here?

I tend to be a pretty honest person. Sometimes, I can be honest to a fault. Take for example, the time in high school I was caught having a massive party while my parents were out of town. My 16 year old genius self had planned for everything! My parents had left a vehicle in the driveway, and I put the front porch lights on as if my parents were home. The neighborhood was overflowing with cars and teenagers, but the local police never quite figured out the party was at my house. So smart!

Well…until I wasn’t. Never doubt a mama’s intuition. My mama had that mama FEELING. You know that famous mama feeling all moms get?!? So she called my bedroom landline (also known as a 1990’s mauve relic that legit had the world’s longest cord to be tripped over daily), and I answered. Yep. I answered, and in her mommiest tone she asked my why I was home.

So I spilled it. Told you I was super honest. Had it been my sister, now professionally liar…I mean lawyer, that had answered the phone things may have turned out quite differently.

Twenty-three years later not much has changed. I’m not the friend you come to if you want to keep a secret. I am the one you come to, if you want me to be brutally honest to you.

In the world of social media, things can seem to be perfect and honest. But they aren’t. They’re a snapshot. I try to share the good and the bad. And let’s be real, just like any proud mama I’m going to share more of the good than the bad when it comes to my kiddos. For every one perfectly posed picture of my kids, there were 50 of them poking each other or crying because one was breathing too close to the other one.

True story, tonight I wanted to take a picture of Everett reading a book he brought to me. So in true proud mama fashion, I grab my phone. By the time I’m ready for the pic, he has now decided he wants to kiss my feet. For real kiss my feet. Then he starts biting them, and has a full on tantrum when I tell him he’s not allowed to eat my feet.

Mama needs her toes. And kids are weird. So yeah, I didn’t take the picture, but I should’ve. Because kids are weird, and not everything is meant to be perfect.

Lately, I’ve been pretty absent from all social media. It started out as an intentional week long break, but I never fully dove back in with the same enjoyment I had before.

And if I’m truly being honest, part of it’s because I’ve been sick. Part of it has been because I was ignoring me. So I needed the break.

You see, didn’t realize I was on the Struggle Bus until it practically ran me over. Type A mama problems right there.

I was so used to doing all the things for everyone else, that I was ignoring me. I’ve spent my career talking to healthcare providers about the health of others, but literally spent months ignoring my own. The irony isn’t lost on me.

With both my pregnancies I had hyperemesis. Nope, that’s not normal morning sickness. That’s the kind of sickness where you need 4 meds just to keep your vomiting to a manageable 4-5 times a day. It was special.

After delivering Vivian it immediately went away. After Everett, I had what I thought was really bad heartburn related to the hyperemesis. I mean 77 weeks of daily puking can’t be good on the esophagus. So I chalked this up as one new fun piece of motherhood.

Somewhere during that postpartum fog of E, I started waking up every day super nauseous. Imagine a daily bad hangover, but this time it’s just the sleep deprived one with someone sucking on your boobs all night, too. Somewhere in there the nausea turned into morning puking. Every single day.

Nope. Not pregnant. Not hungover.

I wasn’t joking when I said Struggle Bus.

It was bad when Viv started to expect my morning puke, and then we’d go back to our routines. Kids should not think it’s normal for their parents to puke and go about their lives, but my kid had basically seen me puke and rally for the last two years of her life. So something had to change.

After lots of pleading from my husband and mother, I finally put myself first.

So off to the doctor I went. An upper EGD, a gazillion meds, and a couple diagnoses later I’m still nauseous every morning. Yep. EVERY MORNING. But, hey at least I’m not puking. Which means I’m still on the Struggle Bus bad. So social media took a back seat to momming, wifing, and working.

But if I’m going to be honest, with 40 approaching in a few short days, I’m ready to overshare it all again. The good, the bad, and the toe biting toddlers. So cheers to bus riding and my new found baggage that’s also along for the ride: postcholecystectomy syndrome, sphincter of oddi dysfunction, chronic gastritis, ibs


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