Post Traumatic Growth

I was reading somewhere about this thing, it’s like the opposite of post-traumatic stress. It’s when people, following some sort of traumatic event, their lives actually get better, perhaps because they find meaning in the trauma, or gain a new perspective.

Anyway, I was thinking about that this weekend as I ran my half-marathon in support of the CP Association of B.C. I remember for awhile after C was born I felt guilty when I ran, or even went on a long walk, wondering if she would ever be able to do the same. I still don’t know if she will, but I have no excuse.  So this weekend I did just that, running a half-marathon, raising close to $2000 for charity, and I had a lot of fun doing it. It was not a textbook-perfect race – I started to fade in the last quarter and walked a good bit of it. But I had these profound moments – there were tears running down my face watching the elites race past so elegantly and seemingly effortlessly. Another time when I was walking a girl shouted out “we got this to me!” And I was able to run the last few hundred metres because of her.

And then I came home and J told me that C had spent a good long time picking up toys and moving them out of her toy boat. The child has such limited fine motor skills that you might have told me she had just flew to the moon. He was elated.  Then she and I sat and did it again, first with one hand, and then the other.

I remember another mom saying to me that she wouldn’t change her daughter’s CP, and at the time I was not there. I’m not sure I’ll ever be there, but I think about it less. Another mom the other day whispered to me conspiratorily as she watched her son in a power chair – “You know, life is still just as happy, isn’t it?” No, it’s not any less happy. Quite the opposite.


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