So I haven't been feeling well lately. The other day, while prepping lunch for the kids, I stepped over to the laptop briefly to do a google search to self-diagnose. (I'm like most moms, often looking up whatever seems to ail my children only to read scary-things-that-could-be-wrong, work through initial panic, and then say a grateful prayer for my family's health.) At that moment, I felt so terrible that I thought, there's got to be a name for this, but when I placed my fingers on the keys, all I could think to type in the search bar was "feel like shit". I laughed at myself, and didn't hit Enter.
So what are the symptoms, really? Well, for one I'm thinner than I've been since high school. I weigh ten pounds less than my college and early married years. I don't really understand why because I am always hungry and always eating. Also, as my legs attest, I bruise very easily. I'm not sleeping well (the kids are a big part of this one), usually about 6 hours of non-continuous sleep. In sum, I feel sort of, generally, crappy.
After some talks with friends and my sweet husband, I've decided it might be a little anemia and lack of sleep. It got worse and worse in the three weeks that I wasn't taking prenatal vitamins, so I'm thinking there's a connection there. I restarted those and I do feel dramatically better-- less voraciously hungry, stronger. I also dedicated the next few days to nap-taking and earlier bedtime, which improved the quality of my sleep and returned some energy. Though I am feeling better, I still plan to call my doctor and set up a physical this week so that I can express my concerns and see if he has any ideas or pointers. I don't think this case is rocket science, though... I think my diagnosis is likely right. But I also know that if one of my kids was feeling that bad, I'd take him/her in to the doctor. I'm thinking I should think enough of myself to do the same.
Aside: I've also had a stiff neck this week which went from uncomfortable, limiting, and inconvenient to excrutiating, immobile, and frustrating, and after chiropractic adjustments and my friend Katia's deep tissue massage, I'm just sore but optimisic. I've got two more appointments next week to keep things limber and improving. This bit's unrelated to the other stuff; it's a recurrent injury from a childhood fall, but the timing wasn't so hot.
During the big talk with E about how I feel, what to do, I realized that part of the problem was that I'm seriously still adjusting to being an adult. I'm nearly 30 so that's a bit annoying, maybe, but I really was struggling with the "Where's my mom?" kind of feeling. I was wanting someone to mother me the way I do my own kids, and I felt depleted from giving so much energy to the little ones and so little to myself. While recognizing this and thinking about how to avoid another low point like that google moment, I'm deciding it's all about balance and perspective. I do want to be the kind of mom who "puts the kids first"; I just don't want to end up a martyr for the kids, a resentful giver. I need to refuel to keep balanced. Ethan is a good place to do that, but I can also do a little self-mothering. I can take myself to the doctor. I can remove toe nail polish and choose a new color. I can nap and take vitamins. I can look out for myself and advocate for my well-being. I can also take solace in the fact that kids are never as literally hands-on as these initial years and keep perspective that I will have more breathing room before I know it.
As I lie next to a little Jack tonight or comfort a scared Harper back to sleep, I know that I'm never as patient with myself as I am with my own kids. But my body is telling me that I can extend a little mothering to me from time to time and I think it's fair to listen.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Posted by Ruthie at 9:05 PM