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Panic Attacks and Little Debbies

By Katy Gentry McCord

I need to be more transparent. I need to stop glossing it over. I need to stop posting about a life that is edited with filters and lighting. I need to tell more people that I am not really as extroverted as they may think, that I can finish off a bag of Skinny Pop in one evening, that I honestly don’t know what I will talk about in a moms group even if I had the time to go to one, and how I have been wearing full coverage underwear since the age of 25 and it’s the best thing besides maternity pants that I have ever owned.

I also need to tell you more about the panic attacks. I need to tell you that depression and dread can look and act like a 38-year-old mom of two.

I need you to know that telling me I am an angel for becoming a foster parent does not make me feel better. Nor does telling me that you couldn’t do it because you’d get too attached. I need to tell you that’s the whole damn point – to get attached.

I need to tell people that going back to full-time teaching while raising two children under three years old has been just as hard as when I decided to quit drinking. I really need to talk more about my sobriety and how it still is a daily and sometimes moment by moment choice. I need people to know that I feel anxious all the time.

I really need people to know that when you post pictures with the one liner #soblessed, it makes me want to throat punch you.

I need you to know that everyone in my house has a therapist except my 20-month-old daughter. Okay, or my dog, but he probably needs one.

I should be more honest about the Little Debbies I devour in my car when I’m kid-free and about the gas stations I make a pit stop at to throw away the evidence.

I need people to know that many days – most days – I think there are moms out there better equipped to parent my children.

I need to tell people about raising a child that has a darker skin color than me. I need people to know there is a fear within me that will never stop when it comes to his safety. I need to talk about how this weighs on me more than I let on. I need to talk more about white privilege. I need you to talk more about white privilege.

I need to tell more people that the minute my feet hit the streets of NYC, I feel the city in my spirit. When I sit in a seat watching a Broadway show I just weep. I weep for the high school girl within me that dreamed a dream of looking out at those seats instead of looking at the stage. I need to tell more people that I grieve the loss of that reality.

I need people to know that my son challenges me in every way possible. I need more people to understand that although he was placed with us at six weeks old, his brain development was changed due to his trauma in utero and by having to leave his biological mother at the hospital.

I need to share more about raising a child that is so active from the moment he opens his eyes and so challenged with regulation that he can not stop moving his body until the melatonin kicks in and his eyes begin to droop. I need to talk more about the fatigue.

I need to share more about how I really don’t have any vegetables in my diet. Like. None.

I need more people to know that I almost died that day I delivered my daughter. I need more people to be aware that donating blood saves lives like it did mine. I need to talk about the fact that I hated being touched, even over a year after giving birth, and that I didn’t know if I would ever feel attractive again. I need to be honest about the months of pelvic floor therapy I endured because my body went through excruciating changes and about the trauma during the birth of my daughter and the hours that followed.

I need to share more about how I do not get a break. I need to talk more about how I give so much of myself to my preschool students with special needs that when I come home I don’t have much left to give my own children. I need to talk about the guilt. I need to talk about my short temper.

I need to talk about how amazing and how lonely being a stay-at-home mom can be. I need to talk about sacrifice.

I need to talk about the times I have spanked my son even though I know that it is exactly the opposite of what discipline should look like. I need to talk about my exhaustion and how after each spanking I would hold him, cry, and tell him how sorry I was that I reacted out of anger. How I tell him that nothing he would ever do could change my love for him.

I need to talk more about my son’s laugh, his humor, his ever changing vocabulary, and his wild imagination. I need to talk about how funny yet embarrassing it is to hear him use cuss words in context. I really need to watch my language when I’m around him. I need to tell more people that he’s my whole world. I also need to tell people that potty training is a fresh hell.

I need to talk more about my daughter’s face in the morning when I wake her up- that I could tell people I can listen to her babble all day and how in love I am with her. I need to tell her I would go through it all over again just for her.

I should talk more about working on a marriage while trying to save yourself. I need more people to know that I felt guilty asking my family to watch the kids while we go to marriage counseling. I need to talk more about my husband who doesn’t complain even though he deals with Crohn’s disease, who faithfully makes dinner almost every night, and who I know is trying his absolute best.

I need more people to know that I worry the Multiple Sclerosis that has consumed my mother’s life for over 20 years will eventually take her from me, years before I’m ready to see her go. I need to call her more, hug her tighter, and hold her hand. I need my babies to remember her face and know how much she loved them.

I should talk more about the exhaustion, the joy, the fear, the dread, the gratitude, the anger, the tears, the belly laughs, the sex I don’t have energy for, breastfeeding, pumping, the jealousy, the peace, the panic, the pills I have to take, the what-ifs, the house I don’t clean, the laundry I rarely do, the veggies I don’t eat, the Little Debbies I do eat, the students I adore, the profession that drains me, the diapers I change, the hits and the bites, the hugs and kisses.

I need to talk about it all. I need to talk about me.

 

Originally written and performed: Indy Fringe Theatre, Indianapolis, IN, LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER, May 2019

Katy is a professional vocalist and EMC actor as well as a Master’s level licensed special education teacher.  She has spent the last two years performing her own cabaret show JUDY GARLAND LIVE with Magic Thread Cabaret, breaking box office records at The Cat and most recently, entertaining holiday audiences at The District Theatre in her encore performance in the Indianapolis, IN area.  Other credits include Actors Theatre of Indiana, Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Circa ‘21 Theatre, and Fireside Dinner Theatre.  She was also a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall in 2012.  Katy is a studio vocalist for Hal Leonard Publishing,  Broadway Jr., Plank Road Publishing, and Music Theatre International.  Katy holds her Masters of special education from Ball State University and her Bachelors and graduate certificate in Christian and Elementary Education.  After teaching special education for seven years, Katy recently came to the realization that she could not do everything and is taking a leave from teaching to be home with her two toddlers.  Becoming a licensed foster home was the best decision for Katy and her husband, Greg.  In 2016 they welcomed a six-week-old baby to their home on three hours of notice and finalized his adoption in September 2018.  In addition to the chaos of parenting a three-year-old, Katy also is mom to a 20-month-old little girl. Katy would like to thank her marriage therapist, her psychiatrist, her husband, Jesus, and coffee for all their support.  (Facebook)

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