Prescription in hand – at a complete standstill. My feet felt like they were moving but my reflexes were absent. My daughter had already begun to cry and we hadn’t even approached the exit yet. I crumbled the piece of paper within the palm of my hand, hardly able to see the fancy letters that spelled out a future – specifically for me. Unable to make up my mind, I shoved the prescription into my diaper bag – mixing it amongst the other garbage I always forgot to clear from the pockets. The eyes of other patients were silently judging me, unfolding the layers of innocence streaming from my body. They knew why I was so washed up, torn. “She’s a new mom.” I carried that sign around my neck – it felt like a ton of bricks. My balance was slowly being swept from me and it was completely noticeable. There was no hiding from it – not anymore.
I sat in the parking lot of the pharmacy, watching tons of customers – mostly moms – enter and depart from the store. They moved so casually, as if everything I had ever second guessed was for nothing. It wasn’t hard for them… to be a mom. Why? Why were they walking into the store with a smile on their face, while I sobbed in the back seat nursing my daughter? It was an unknown detail, one that little had knowledge of. Her big eyes gave off a reflection I wasn’t prepared to see. Messy hair, oily skin, a reject of a mom who was breaking into pieces that wouldn’t ever fit back together. Regardless of that – of the clear truth – my daughter looked at me like I was the strongest, most beautiful being she had ever seen. That’s what I wanted to be… for her, for ME. I just didn’t realize how much effort, or how long the process actually was. I was ready to make the change, but I was fearful of the facts blatantly dancing infront of my face. Acknowledging the worst meant I was up for battle – one I would be so willing to hand over a loss.
I hadn’t even made it to the pharmacy. I hopped back into the drivers seat and headed home. The last thing I wanted was to be forced into a conversation… so I quietly opened the door, ignored the dogs, and collapsed onto my bed. My daughter had fallen asleep within the minutes it took to get home – I prayed that she would stay quiet for ten, even five minutes, so that I could enjoy the silence. My eyes were closed but my mind was well aware of the anxities trying to intensify its grip, complete control. I was watching a full debate – live, inside of my head – anxious to know who would win. The positives were matched with negatives… it was a tie, leaving me to make the final call.
C h a n g e –
Such a short, yet fierce word. I knew I needed a change… I craved it, even. But I was terrified that my behaviors would negatively impact my daughter and her sweet soul. I didn’t want to turn into this person who… yes, she looked and seemed happy but – was she really? Would my mood change only because my medication helped alter it? Or would it truly help me see past the storm clouds and allow me to enjoy life as a new mom? There were so many considerations, so many bullet points waiting to be reviewed. I wanted to check them off all at once… to just free up space in my mind. But by thoroughly examining all of the possibilities, would push me toward a promising outcome. That was my only option – to be happy, to love my life, to be the best version of me… because who wouldn’t want that?
After talking it over with the man who held my backbone in place, a decision was made. It took me days to find just enough energy to leave the house again. I couldn’t remember the last time I brushed my hair, or felt the want to dig through my clothes for something I hadn’t worn in a while. My reflection frowned right back at me, the usual. I slipped on a pair of flip flops, awaiting Spring to make its round. The prescription was still in the same pocket of my diaper bag, except when I flattened it out, crumbs came flying off… stains were uncovered. This felt like one of the biggest decisions I had ever made for myself. Coming from relationships that never accessed me control, never felt like it was normal to think for myself… this had suddenly became a big deal to me. I just wanted to do what was best for my family… but for some odd reason, I wasn’t always sure what that was –
The short trip to the pharmacy left me no time to rethink other options. I parked near the carts, wiped one completely down… watched the germs splatter against the black road beneath my feet… lifted the car seat into the back, and we were on our way. My heart was knocking inside of my chest, waiting for a response – a reason – why I had taken so long to figure out what my next step was. Babies within the store were crying, signaling my body to react. Milk was spraying inside of my shirt, the sweat made its return as well. I was the only customer in the pharmacy – it was time for change… now, only now.
I approached the counter and was greeted by a friendly face – judging me. I could almost see the wheels turning inside of her mind, the statements being written about me… probably true. My throat was dry but I swallowed vigorously.
“Have you ever been here before?”
“No. No I haven’t.”