Bleck! Sometimes I feel like as soon as you plop that kid out of your uterus you are off and running in the never ending race toward all things competitive. I mean, maybe sure... you aren't one of those moms who does the INSANE birthday parties, or dresses your kid like a sheik, or purchase the most awesome-tastic designer toys for you diva...but you are still competing. You still read the books about development and milestones. You still get those fucking Dr. Sears emails- even though you know you should ignore them. You are competing to achieve, to pass, the milestone test that each child had every month and every year. This milestone schedule is most likely yet another arbitrarily established construct. Scientist were all, "hey... that one kid that one time did that REAL smart-like... lets say that all kids should do that at 9 months old!" So you fret and worry. That one hasn't figured out how to walk, this one doesn't say every third letter "properly", and OH MY GOD will my kid NEVER grow teeth! More of the "stuff" that occupies the tyranny of motherhood. I think, some days, that we should have a break dance-off with Motherhood. The winner (which would obviously be me!) gets to straight up be all, "MOTHERHOOD! Stop bein' such a bitch! Not all people do it the same way!"
After Addy's two year check up the pediatrician declared she needed to be seen about her speech. She doesn't speak clearly and sometimes not at all. So we took her to the Elizabeth Richardson Center, as directed. The Elizabeth Richardson Center is a non-profit therapy center for children with disabilities. Low and behold they said, "Yep. Your baby needs more words." I mean, they (of course) gave us a volume of testing results and explained that she was "developmentally delayed" among other things.
And OF COURSE *I* had a tearful meltdown across from the staff at that tiny table. OF COURSE I sobbed, "I had postpartum depression, I was so depressed, life was so hard, I didn't do a good job of talking to her."
It is that common act that most mothers embrace in the face of trying to figure out what is wrong: "Did you say my baby is broken? It is because I am a bad mother. I didn't do something right."
The lovely staff members were gentle with me. They reminded me that plenty of children with mothers who suffered from PPD don't have developmental delays and vice versa. There is no way to draw a straight like to cause. Sometimes kids don't grow or develop as they "should". I have got to tell you that after my, "OH MY GOD DO I BREAK EVERYTHING I TOUCH" meltdown, I became indignant. "What is the measure! WHO says she is behind?! What STANDARD is she having to live up to and do *we* even value that standard?"
I still don't know the answer to those questions. Maybe I am just grieving in a small way. Grieving the loss of more expectations. Who knows. Right now I am rallying for my kid, calming the fuck down, and educating myself about what I think about all this development mumbo jumbo. The jury is still out.