Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Psychmamma's Story

Psychmamma is the contributing editor for Special Medical Needs. She writes at Psychmamma where she covers life with Jenna, her "spunky little two year-old who was born with a triple intestinal atresia." Her blog is also the home of Special Needs Sunday.

I’m a midwestern, SAHM of a spunky two-year-old named Jenna. My blog (and pen) name comes from my background and training. We didn’t think I could have children because I have severe endometriosis, and we had happily settled into the idea of being childless. (Ha!) I was in grad school on my way to a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, specializing in children, when our pregnancy surprise happened. I had completed all my classwork and requirements, and was ABD (all but dissertation) and a 1-year internship away from the goal. When problems developed with the pregnancy leading to 3 months of bed-rest, I took a leave of absence from the program, intending to return after Jenna was born. When we learned the extent of her problems and the care she would require, I completely withdrew from the program to stay at home with her. It’s a decision I have never regretted.

Jenna was born with birth defect called a triple intestinal atresia, which, in plain English, means her small intestine wasn’t formed correctly and wasn’t fully connected. She had surgery when she was only two days old and ended up with only about half the normal length of small intestine. She spent three months in the NICU and developed chronic lung problems somewhere along the way. She has done phenomenally well and is a typically developing two-year-old in every area except for eating/weight gain and being more susceptible to serious respiratory problems. She has a g-tube that we feed her through, although she can eat by mouth if she’s in the mood or hungry enough. Currently, she'll only eat popcorn and homemade fruit smoothies.

So, I have a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and I “practice” every day with my own wonderful daughter. I can honestly say that parenting is the hardest job I have EVER done. It’s also the most joyous and rewarding one, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love to read, coffee and chocolate are two of my favorite things, I'm not a morning person, and I'm afraid of chickens. If that's not enough information for you, check out 101 more things about me here.

I write to connect with other stay-at-home moms and to have a journal of my own experiences. Plus, writing is like free therapy, and you can't beat that. I have a weekly post on Sunday that addresses some of the issues we’ve gone through and things we've learned from Jenna's special needs. Hopefully, the information and experiences I share will help to make someone else’s journey a little bit easier.

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