When I was 18 I had big dreams. I think. Life happened and I changed my major so many times I wasn’t 100% sure of anything. But what 18 year old doesn’t have big dreams?! I remember in my senior sociology class that my teacher told us not to sweat our career choices. That right then, in 2003, the average adult would have five career changes and most will find a passion or love for a job outside of the degree they received in college. My anxiety couldn’t handle that fact. If I was paying money for a degree then I better use it. As I write that statement I laugh.
The past 8 years I haven’t used my degree. I got lost in the world of special needs motherhood. I struggled with PTSD from the trauma of Whit’s birth. I threw myself into taking care of him because I needed him to be ok and live the best life possible because mom guilt. For a few years I forgot who I was. I’m finding myself again but it took a lot of pushing. I have wanted to make myself better so I can live forever and take care of Whit when he is older. I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that it’s a fine line between being a mother and being a caregiver.
When I look at the future I wonder when motherhood will go away and full time caregiver will come. In our world with the lack of support you can find because Jeremy makes too much money, his insurance from work says no, or there just isn’t a support like that in existence. So the caregiving falls on me as Whit’s mom. I’m all for it. It’s one of my five career changes and it’s an honor. I just want society to know that I am more than a caregiver.
I’m Lindsey. I love macaroni and cheese and a good french fry. The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise is my guilty pleasure. I love a good comedy. I’m good for a sarcastic comment and my face will always give away truly how I am feeling about a situation even when wearing a mask. I recently have become the caregiver for my husband. We are hoping that it’s just a temporary thing but it hasn’t been easy with the dynamic changes in our relationship.
Jeremy has horrible asthma and things have gotten out of control with it. Basic care and needs have been a challenge when you obviously can’t breathe. This past weekend things got scary and a hospital admission was necessary. I became Lindsey caregiver. I ran to restaurants that he wanted food from, for the record he didn’t do that for me when I gave birth, I advocated for the inhaler that didn’t bring up his heart rate. Tachycardia was a real concern and one of the main reasons for an extended hospital stay. I listened to pulmonology when they gave us a plan. I became the strong not spazzy one. I know he hates it but I became the driver. He insisted on being the person who picked up his meds which I sat holding my phone the whole time worried that the asthma attacks I witnessed a few days prior in the car would come back to him while he was alone in the car.
It’s a hard change where my partner in life became the sick and weak and I had to be the everything for everyone while he recovers. It’s a big job. Macaroni and cheese loving Lindsey is on the back burner because caregiving is needed. It’ll get better Jeremy will get stronger. It’ll take a few weeks as we are seeing but the team dynamic will come back.
But while I wait for my more than a caregiver persona comes back I’ll sit here and gladly take the roll as caregiver. I said vows on my wedding day that said: “In sickness and in health” and I stand by that promise. So while I’m currently rocking joggers, old t-shirts and have my hair in a ponytail I’ll be the grill cheese maker, grocery shopper, advocate, med passer, mom, and caretaker. I’ll answer the 70 million questions of our three year old, navigate Whit’s AAC device, and Jeremy’s new med schedule. I’ll master the art of coping with my PTSD and trauma from the last 8 years and I’ll achieve my goals later with a grace and power for success. For I know there’ll be a time in my life when I’ll be more than a caregiver again.