Vacation

We are in Florida. I started this blog while here in February 2007. At that point we were new to our grief, not pregnant, and it was rather warm here in comparison to home. It’s nice to be here again, at my mil’s condo, although it’s rather hot and I am not drinking nearly enough to puke up black beans in the bath tub again.

A piece of Baby Man’s poop did roll out of his diaper (as we were changing him, not just randomly) and onto the carpet though. So we are doing our part to lessen the luxury around here once again.

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Lately I’ve been feeling like my anxieties about Baby Man’s safety are a bit more than necessary. Not saying I don’t enjoy him thoroughly, or that I’m unhappy. It’s just that I ought not to think that he’s dead for sure if he and Josh arrive a bit late picking me up from somewhere. Really there are many more likely possibilities, but the bad thoughts are deafening.

With that in mind, I decided to try and see if a therapist could help. I went to this fancy therapy center connected with the U – can’t go to the free student clinic in the summer because I’m not enrolled. I met with a psychiatrist who was supposed to help make a plan for therapy. I didn’t like the place at all the moment i arrived, because I was told to wait “in the first waiting area” and found the waiting area is a cavernous lobby with 6 or 7 sections of couches and chairs. No walls. No numbers. No way for me to know, really, which one was the first. Not a great scene for someone suffering from anxiety, let me tell you. I was nervous enough already since I’m no great fan of therapy, was running late, and had no idea for what I was in store.

On the phone, I had been clear that I needed someone familiar with loss. I was told that I was assigned to the “perinatal” team. I ended up with a psychiatrist who told me immediately that it was his last day, so I wouldn’t be seeing him again. Right off the bat, I didn’t like him because he kept referring to Natan’s birth and death as a “miscarriage.” After 45 minutes or so, he called in the director, because that’s procedure, to discuss my case. Once she arrived and he started talking, I had to interrupt him because he had been talking five minutes and saying nothing about Natan. “Um, shouldn’t you mention my first son?” He was describing me as just a new mom with anxieties.

I was really displeased at the end of it, but not comfortable enough in the moment to say anything. Now I’m even more pissed because I got a call back later that they’re recommending I go to group therapy for “anxietyNOS (not otherwise specified).”

Assholes.

I am anxious. And I am sure that everyone else in the group has reasons for being anxious, too. But I don’t want to sit in with a group, and discuss Natan’s death, and my fears for Baby Man, with people who know nothing about losing a baby, nothing about a subsequent pregnancy, and nothing about parenting after loss.

I’ve never had much faith in the worlds of psychiatry and psychology to help me with my pain since Natan died. But really, I never expected it would be so bad.

We got recommendations for grief counselors way back in the weeks after he died. But not everyone takes our insurance, and it became an annoying search. This way, going to this big center was supposed to be the easiest. But I suppose I will have to wait until the fall when I can go to the student center, or just start picking up the phone and cold calling again.

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12 responses to “Vacation

  1. I shudder to think what someone not from their perinatal team might have been like. Urgh. Is there anyone high up in the place you can call to complain? This is beyond insensitive and so very unprofessional.

  2. Anxiety Not otherwise specified. Ouch. I’m sorry and I hope you do get to talk to someone about it. I feel exactly the same way. Once you experience the, “unimaginable”, it is very easy to imagine just about everything.

  3. I am so sorry you had such a shitty experience. I second Julia- I would complain to someone about the way you were treated. Sometimes I don’t know how mental health professionals are able to get their degree for they can often be as insensitive as the rest of the world. Of course not all are, but it sounds like this guy was a jackass. I think I probably would have freaked out on him.

  4. Oh holy shit that’s awful. Just awful. I’m really stunned. I called a big center (one most people go to for relationship counseling) because it was recommended by CHOP, and I asked and got the big Grief Counselor on the staff, and she’s been very good. Actually, I might try going the grief route and waylay into anxiety, just IMO (that is to say, next time don’t say “anxiety, but need familiar with loss” just say “LOSS. GRIEF. DEAD CHILD.” They actually might be more set up to deal with that specific issue, know how to deal with the background, and the foreground as well. Usually grief is an “add on” to other issues (Like anxiety, which is a biggy) so a grief specialist might be more attuned at the connections there. Certainly the nuances in terminology. God, what a nightmare. Really, I’m sorry.

  5. THAT was their perinatal team?!?

    god, that’s wrong. or i hope it is…i’ve had no better experiences trying to find any therapy outlets with perinatal background whatsoever, and have come to this awful secret conclusion that maybe it’s all a sham meant to just traumatize and shame us further. but then i realize that sounds crazy, and wonder if i should get therapy…um, yeh.

    i like Tash’s suggestions, i will say.

    oh B. you deserve better. i’m sorry. i hope Florida provides a bit of respite for the time being…?

  6. I’ve had some lame therapists in my time, but this really sounds like someone is terrified of being around a grieving mom. So they minimize and stammer and say ridiculous things.

    Hon, phone back and ask about a grief group, or you could try to find someone through Resolve or the MISS foundation. They are more likely to know someone friendly to the issue. I really really wouldn’t suggest you go to that group therapy session. It sounds completely and totally unsuitable. It might even make you feel worse. Another place that might help is the EMDR association. They might have a therapist who could help. And that therapy is short term, therefore cheap.

    About that anxiety, you could try getting a prescription from your doc for some propranolol, it’s non-addictive, and very very safe, but it might help if you take it occasionally.

  7. Oh, that does sound awful. I agree that you have to probably need to hit them over the head with the grief part to get placed in the right therapy environment. Good luck.

  8. That is horrible. Not that i have had any much better luck, myself. So i have no constructive input , but i like tash & Aurelia’s suggestions.

  9. That sounds awful. I know that I would have left feeling worse than when I arrived. Nothing like having your loss minimized to cure anxiety, huh? Idiots.

    I am sorry to hear though that you are struggling so much with fears and anxiety. Those kinds of thoughts are not easy to keep at bay just by sheer will (as you have discovered). I do hope you find someone, or something, to help with that very soon.

  10. I also attended a perinatal grief support group – which was run by a charity and therefore free and made up of people who had lost babies. It helped just to talk openly about it with people who knew what you were talking about. I did it in conjunction with one-on-one therapy.

    But I agree that you should complain, if you have it in you – sounds terrible. My first therapist was also terrible, in fact looking back I can’t believe some of the things she said to me – and my second one was great.

  11. Thanks all. I think you’re all right. I needed to have not expected sensitivity and listening and should have just gone Tash’s & Aurelia’s route. Although I’ll say I’m not going to take anxiety meds. This is a very clear situational problem for me and I want to TALK it out. They were so wrong in treating it as generalized anxiety. I’m only anxious that Samuel will die. The psychiatrist asked me if there’s some marker, some age Samuel could reach where I’d stop being nervous and I laughed, “yeah, when I’m dead and he’s still alive.” The man totally didn’t get it still.

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