Wondering why I bothered.4:43 pm
Maybe sharing this letter here is not my wisest decision yet, frankly I'm so angry and upset right now, I don't care.
It's been a shitty day.
A letter to my gp:
Dear Dr T
I would like to thank you for your understanding when I came to the surgery a few weeks ago to discuss how difficult I was finding life after the sudden death of my daughter Florence in July 2009.
I'm sure you appreciate just how difficult it was for me to admit I was having problems coping emotionally.
I was relieved when you suggested counselling, and very much hoped being able to talk to someone outside of my family and close friends would be beneficial.
I remember at that appointment telling you I would only be able to attend daytime appointments if my youngest son (8 months old) would be welcome too. I honestly did not expect it to be a problem. He is still a babe in arms, safe in my sling,and feeding or sleeping. I am rarely without him, and after losing my daughter, I find even the thought of leaving him with anyone other than my husband, far too stressful.
My husband was able to take some time off work last week, and so for my first counselling session I was able to leave Ernest with him. When I explained to the counsellor that I would be bringing Ernest to future appointments, she did say it might be an issue, since the appointments were “about you”, but firmly believing that babies under one should be with their mothers as much as possible, I assured her it would not be a problem for me to have Ernest present.
I simply do not have anyone who could take care of Ernest anyway. My family lives in Birmingham, my mother in law in Wales, and my father in law is currently recovering from a hip replacement. The only friend available during the day who could take care of him, (because he knows her well.) lives a 20 minute car journey away and is currently taking pain medication which means she can't drive.
Today I came along to my second appointment, with Ernest happily snug in my sling. I was nervous, I hadn't particularly found the first session helpful, and had some small misgivings about the counsellor I was trying to not focus on.
After taking me upstairs to the counselling room, the counsellor began to explain to me that she couldn't see me with Ernest present, as it was “inadvisable”, and “against surgery rules”. (something I'm frankly baffled by, since over the years I've had several of my children present, as babies for various procedures including a cervical smear.)
I was confused, and I think my first reaction was to say that in that case I couldn't come. My perception was that the counsellor was quite confrontational. I'm not sure what reaction she expected from me, but I was feeling particularly vulnerable.
She suggested I go back on the waiting list for an evening appointment, but first asked me if I even wanted to continue with counselling.
I left the surgery in a hurry, with my head spinning, and trying very hard not to cry.
The counsellor said she had decided to wait to tell me she couldn't see me with Ernest present, rather than telephone me, which I find a curious choice, since it would've been far easier for me not to have to come to the surgery to hear her decision.
As I explained to you at my appointment, Ernest has had some feeding difficulties, and I am exclusively pumping breast milk for him. To accommodate a 12 o'clock appointment, I had to re arrange my pumping schedule, make sure Ernest was fed, and then walk for 20 minutes to get to the surgery. Incidentally I had that same 20 minute walk home, all the time trying not to sob in the street.
I'm left now with a feeling of deep disappointment, and a mistrust of counselling. I'm sorry I confided some of my story in this particular counsellor at my first session.
I'm proud of my daughter Florence, and will do whatever I can to protect her memory, and the tiny bit I have of her.
For this reason I'm now sorry I came to you for help, and I would like to cancel the appointment I had with you to follow up.