I’m devastated. I took Emma to her first pediatrician appointment yesterday and it didn’t go well.
Even before seeing the doctor I was quite anxious about how the visit would go. I pictured all sorts of negative scenarios in my mind. I caught my self twice several minutes into a catastrophic story going on in my mind. One started with the doctor telling me about Emma’s congenital disease, then I saw my self telling my mother how she was not supposed to make it, both of us crying. I was at the point of seeing myself in the funeral wondering if I would ever have the courage to have another child when I realized the whole thing was only in my and Emma was alive and smiling right beside me. Then I started imagining the doctor accusing me of harming Emma, finding bruises all over her, calling the cops. I was trying to decide how I would spend the time in jail when the nurse called for us.
First the nurse grabbed Emma and put her on a scale, then she tried to measure her length, but Emma kept moving. Then the pediatrician came in. Doctor Marcus. She was a tall woman with long graying her on a pony tail. Not very sweet, I thought. Very matter of fact. She handled Emma with care, but no tenderness, like if she was a delicate specimen in the lab.
“She’s underweight” – Dr. Marcus said. “She’s lost weight since she left the hospital”.
My heart sunk. I never felt such heaviness inside my chest. What have I done? I thought. I thought she was going to start accusing me of being an incompetent mother, of neglecting my child on purpose. I could see her saying she would need to report this to some child protection agency. And poor Emma, so defenseless. What has she done to deserve a clueless mother like me?
I’m able to write about this now that I’m feeling a little calmer. Doing the Stress Log exercise I am attaching as a picture has helped me become aware of all these negative thoughts in my head. If I think I am such an incompetent mother that my child’s life is in danger, then how could I not feel terrible. Knowing that the deep negative emotions I’ve been feeling are not a direct consequence of my current situation, but a product of the way I interpret the situation, gives me some relief. This is just one of the ways how CBT helps depression.
I know I’ll feel even better after challenging these negative thoughts, but we’ll deal with that in my next blog. For now, here’s my latest Stress Log: