This morning, after I finished working my call shift, I had my first appointment with my new obstetrician. I was a little nervous, even though I picked her from all the obstetricians I know in this city because she is one of my favourites. I also knew exactly what to expect from the appointment, seeing as how this is my third pregnancy and this is my area of specialty. Regardless, I was nervous. I have been working fairly closely with this woman over the past few months with her supervising me in my delivery and cesarean-section skills. I enjoy her casual attitude, her skill, and her friendly demeanour. This appointment, though, was about to introduce a new dimension.
The appointment itself went well and there was nothing too unexpected. However, I was caught off guard by how strongly I found comfort in feeling like this woman was “taking care” of me in some way. It took me most of the day to place this familiar feeling – but I realized that it was the same feeling I had when I first met my new family doctor just over a year ago, and most pronounced when I engaged in the patient-obstetrician relationship that started with my old friend and mentor, Kay, many years ago.
Part of coming to this realization occurred after I woke up from my daytime sleep and reflected on the dream I had in my pregnant and post-call state. I had a vivid dream about the obstetrician that I saw this morning. Like most dreams, I only remember bits and pieces, but the parts I do remember were sufficient enough to point towards an underlying theme.
For some reason, this doctor was staying with me, in my house, for a certain amount of time. Perhaps it was because her house was being renovated or something like that – she was displaced for some reason. During this stay at my house, she was very attentive to me and how I was feeling; she took time to talk to me about “stuff.” I don’t remember any of the details of what was said, I just remember feeling like it was important that she listened to me. She was very affectionate towards me in a maternal way, making me feel like I was, again, being cared for, looked after, and important to her. At one point in the dream, I remember my own mother appearing and then feeling confused about why she was there and what her purpose was at that moment in the encounter.
That’s pretty much all I remember. Initially I woke up from this dream feeling a strange sense of belonging and satisfaction. However, that feeling quickly gave way to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness. All those feelings arose as I realized that everything I felt in the dream was not real and were only projections of feelings that I want or need but am not able to acquire – at least not in the places I am looking. It was at this point that I remembered having similar feelings of wanting to be cared for by other female (and physician) people in my life.
This is not a new feeling or phenomenon for me (let me find a post from the early days of The Old Blog to prove it). It was a while back in my counselling when I discovered that these feelings originate from the lack of maternal care and influence from my own mother. I have been seeking to have this role fulfilled from other women for almost my entire life – at least since I was 12 or 13. I am surprised, however, to discover that after knowing for so long where these emotions come from, and having spent many years working on them and realizing that I need to look inside myself to find a solution to these difficult emotions, that I would still so easily fall into the old, familiar, yet unsatisfying pattern of seeking comfort in places (and people) where it can’t be found.
In addition to feeling sad, hopeless, and confused about the re-emergence of these emotions, I am feeling angry at myself for falling back into this harmful pattern of searching for maternal love and acceptance where it can never be found. Obviously this is something that I need to spend more time working to resolve. Perhaps the resurgence of this Maternal issue is something that I am meant to deal with throughout this pregnancy. Perhaps it is also part of the reason why I am feeling so uncertain and uneasy about my decision to have another baby. Maybe all of these emotions are tied together somehow: the desire to seek out maternal care, the prominence of these emotions in pregnancy, and my somewhat confusing desire to expand in my role as a mother.