So, I did it. I went to my first solo counseling appointment.
That's it. I'm cured...no need for any further intervention. I've been declared "problem free".
So, back up a bit and you'll remember that my going to the appointment was a result of a slight temper tantrum - breakdown I had after I thought it was a fine and harmless idea to delve into scientific Trisomy and other birth defect testing. (Remember, I just wanted another ultrasound...) Even though the results told me nothing I couldn't learn by reading a medical handbook about the risks of pregnant 38 year old women, it still struck a heart cord in me and really revealed, at least in my own heart and mind, that I wasn't allowing myself to connect, or attach, to this pregnancy. I mean, if I skip the attachment part then the possibility of being faced with saying goodbye all too soon wouldn't be as difficult, right? Right!#$%^&*
I knew it was a load of crap, as well, so, I went ahead and made an appointment with a woman licensed in grief counseling. I had previously asked a few friends if they had recommendations of good counselors, but after reviewing their suggestions, two of which would have a previous knowledge of me, and then finding out I could meet for 6 sessions through Jason's insurance for FREE, I went with the obvious choice: FREE. But seriously, I really valued the idea of walking into an office and knowing I'd never be seeing the person on the "outside" in "real life." Just safety in knowing this for some reason...
So, halfway through my session, I looked around the office for a small break in eye contact. The guy in the picture looked familiar but I couldn't quite place it. Back to eye contact and my story...why was I here?
I gave her the "Jason" abbreviated version of Noah's story and then shared my own grief journey, the blog, group counseling and how this pregnancy has messed with my heart a bit. I was obviously aware of it and that's why I thought maybe I should have some counseling. She said that it sounded to her that possibly my faith or my knowledge of God was a cover up for allowing myself to really feel my grief. I told her it was more of a deep comfort, knowing that God knew exactly how I felt and that His knowledge of a bigger picture was something that gave me peace.
I also told her that over the last 3 and a half years I have processed my grief quite candidly and openly with awesome family and friends, and, with all of you! I have allowed myself to feel every emotion, including, but not limited to: anger, disgust, being totally pissed at God and Noah, despair, jealousy, hope, peace, happiness, trust, failure, anger at the unknown, frustration with "modern medicine" and the "system" of politics and insurance, surrender, peace deep down that I can't explain, hope that there is a reason for everything and it's okay that I don't understand it, and trust that He's not done with me yet...for some crazy reason.
I looked around the room again for a break in eye contact. Saw the same guy, smiling huge in a photo where he was hugging the woman across from me...
Me: "What is your last name?"
Her: "Such and such..."
Me: "We'll be at barbecues together in the future...our husband's just went to Bolivia together."
She asked me at the end of our time together if that made me uncomfortable. I didn't answer the question but asked her the question in return. I went ahead and signed up for our week two appointment.
On the way home I had a bit more time to process. Even though I felt comfortable sharing with this woman, who made me feel comfortable, I really treasured the assurance of having a neutral counselor, someone with no "outside" knowledge of me. I also realized that once I made the connection of who she was, I shut off part of my story...part of my heart. Adrienne, a person not afraid to share all of my guts, threw up some walls and started "monitoring" anything I shared.
As a result, I called the office, rescheduled with another counselor and also shot off a quick email sharing why I was switching. She called back and completely understood. I told her I looked forward to knowing her on the "outside".
One thing that I realized from our session was that over the past 3 and a half years, I have been processing my grief. I don't claim to have the corner on the market on how to grieve beautifully, but I believe I have allowed myself to walk through it, the highs and lows, and I have a pretty good grasp on grief and its triggers in my life. Hence, the reason I made an appointment in the first place.
So, even though I'll likely share more of my grief experience with the new counselor, I am also looking at this as an opportunity to dig in deep to the crap I've been burying for years...just other sludge that comes to the surface as a result of interacting with certain personality types and situations and my own coping methods as a middle child peacemaker...for me, I think it's going to be very interesting to see just how screwed up I really am. (Smiley face) But really...