Just push through…
You are a mom…
If you do not push through, what will your family do…
These are the thoughts I replayed over and over again for the last seven years. For seven years as my entire leg would go numb. For seven years as my nerve pain would be so intense that I could not walk from the car to the house. For seven years as my numbness would minimize my urge to urinate.
For seven years I just kept saying “Push through, you are a mom.”
Then one day I fell into the pits of anxiety, despair, and sadness so deep that I did not trust myself to make decisions or be a mom. I knew it was time to be assertive with the help I would seek.
Let me give you a little background. When I was eighteen I was in a car crash that resulted in my spine being rebuilt. At twenty-three I had my daughter and this caused my tailbone to break and caused stress fractures in my hip. At thirty-three, a bacterial infection was discovered, it had been hanging out in my spine, and surgery to remove the hardware was necessary. That same year I would spontaneously lose feeling in my entire left leg and foot and when the feeling would come back, I would have chronic nerve pain and spasms. Nutrition, chiropractors, acupuncturist, physical therapist, and mental therapist were part of my monthly regiment. Doctors were puzzled so I gave up after six opinions.
Then came the day that I could not pick myself up off the floor. I was soaked from the flood of tears that would not stop.
I had enough.
So I prayed. I prayed for hours. I prayed so deep that I did not hear my phone or the dog. A few days later I publicly asked for help and my call was answered. A stranger gave me a name of a doctor. A doctor who sat with me and devised a plan and who ended up performing minor surgery. For seven years a nerve had basically wrapped itself around a bone. A two-hour surgery was all it took to take away that pain.
I am on the path of recovery.
…..but I had to ask for help.
……I had to stop pushing through.
…..I had to realize that asking for help made me a stronger mom.
As moms, we get caught up in the fear of not being good enough for our kids. We get caught up in the fear that our weakness will damage their well being. We get caught up in the fear of judgment, criticism, and incompetence. We push through to the point of exhaustion. We push through to the point of collapsing.
Our bodies are designed to rest and recharge, it is essential to our health. We live in a world with constant stimulation. Our cell phones and the constant influx of information in the media. Our brains and body are not designed to have this much technology and this much constant stimulation. Then as moms, there is this expectation to work constantly, whether that work is in a career, at home, at fitness, at making sure our homes are Pinterest perfect. We shut out our pain signals. We quiet them so we can continue being the mom we expect of ourselves and the mom we BELIEVE others expect of us.
Let go of those expectations. As moms, when we become present in our own lives, we listen to our body’s needs, and we embrace self-care, and then we can be present as moms. When I mention self-care, PLEASE do not try and emulate other’s self-care rituals. Instead, find what works for you. My self-care was having surgery and allowing myself the time to recover. My post surgery self-care is creating days off where I can spend the day reading, taking walks, watching Netflix, or dancing around my living room while eating a bowl of ice cream.
The lessons I have learned this last six months are:
Do what brings you joy…it will not look like anyone else’s joy.
Ask for help. Needing help makes you a better mom, not a weaker mom.
Be ok admitting when there is pain. Be ok NOT pushing through.