I receive the questions periodically…
“When will you finish your doctorate?”
“Are you going back to teaching in the future?”
“When are you going to work again?”
The fact is, I have made peace with not finishing my dissertation and, therefore, never have the initials Ph.D. after my name. I have also made peace with the reality that my future does not include teaching again or any other career. I consider myself to have entered early retirement from my career as a college professor and I have done the mental work to accept my shift in status as I embrace my life as a stay at home mother.
A major portion of the answer to this question is that my brain is failing me. Or, I have entered into what is technically termed as cognitive decline or impairment and the diagnosis of Cognitive Disorder has been added to my records. This is very standard for someone living with a schizophrenic disorder. One’s immediate working memory in conversations or tasks becomes impaired and unreliable. Remembering conversations from the previous day (or earlier that same day) is highly difficult. Following conversations can be overwhelming. The ability to follow through on tasks without a detailed list becomes impossible. And so much more as it progresses. Basically, the simpler… the better. And the less stress… is even better.
In order to contain the progression, my medication cocktail has been augmented to include a medication that is commonly utilized for Alzheimer’s patients. Being 38, it feels rather surreal. But, I look at my toddler son and the importance of trying this medication therapy becomes very real. He is not quite two years old, I have many years left to enjoy his laughter, smile, shining eyes, sweet hugs, and I must try anything at my disposal.
In addition, if becoming more realistic about my needs stress-wise and also simplifying my life are needed in order to preserve my health as best as possible for my child, husband, and myself, then that is what I must do.
So, becoming a stay at home mother… shifting my status… becoming more realistic… While it has been a true adjustment, it is a must for my health and a must for my future as a wife and mother.