Picking up the latest cold or stomach bug is never on my agenda. I don’t often get sick, but when I do I usually can reflect back and see the early signs of something coming on. My family has been sick a few times in the past year and somehow I was able to stay well and healthy. My daughter is two and a half and when she’s sick it means extra snuggles for me. When Dan is sick, he turns into what I refer to as a man-baby, but I grant him grace, make him soup and rub his head and feet. I have clients cancel when they’re sick because they know it’s not smart to encourage the spread of a bug in our community. Why is it that when I get sick, I have to go through a series of emotions before I finally come to a place of granting MYSELF some grace?
I was incredibly sick yesterday and am still feeling the repercussions. Looking back I can recall a headache beginning 4 days prior. I amped up the water, eliminated sugar and minimized caffeine consumption. The next day two clients called to reschedule their appointments (universe telling me to rest?). The following day I helped out at a baby and family expo for several hours shaking hands with everyone, handling papers, holding the hand of a lost child and smiling for a great photo-op with Spiderman and Superwoman. My daughter also had the time of her life in the bounce house with all of the other snot nosed, sticky handed kids. I was exhausted at the end of it all. Day four of the headache began with a very challenging work meeting where I ate a donut. I thought a heated vinyasa class the the perfect detox for the evening. Then came day five.
I woke up with an even stronger headache and immediately began trying to convince myself the wavy feeling in my gut was nothing. A shower and stretching didn’t help. I canceled my first appointment of the day which was at my dentist office. I didn’t feel like having my mouth poked at with a headache and figured if I didn’t feel rushed to leave, I would surely feel better. Half an hour later it was clear my body was not interested in keeping food down. I rationalized I made a poor breakfast choice. I continued to entertain my daughter while guilt began to consume me. “I can’t cancel on a postpartum mother” battled in my head with “What if I get there and puke and her baby gets sick” which then turned into “My boss is going to be so mad at me!” I was off to the races with ridiculous, time-wasting thoughts of how I was going to have to cancel my whole work week, then cancel plans to leave town this weekend so I could make up the extra work, which then meant a whole weekend without my daughter…I’ll spare you the rest. Let’s just say I was being a bit over-dramatic.
Here’s the truth of it all. People get sick and then they usually get better. No one would prefer to be around a sick person if they do not have to be. I had to put aside my ego and trust that the families and clients I had to adjust appointments with would fine. The laundry would be fine and so would the dishes. In fact, I would be fine if I allowed myself to truly rest, regroup and reconnect.
I rescheduled the rest of my commitments for the day. I even renegotiated a commitment for the following day (today) to take some of the pressure off. Plus if there was anything lingering, it would not be appropriate to work with a newborn. Both of my bosses were sorry I was sick and asked how they could help. One made herself available the rest of the week if I still needed coverage. My mom checked in and said she was willing to help with anything. The offer sounded lovely and I rested until she arrived. She made my daughter dinner, helped clean a bit and prepared her for bed. I turned the lights off at 9:00pm and woke up at 7:00am feeling like a new person.
Today I left the house and it felt good to get fresh air. My daughter was in daycare and I had the day to do a little paperwork, pick up new toothbrushes (because eww) and put my feet up. I ate toast and it was delicious. I granted myself grace and so did everyone else. I’m a massage therapist and postpartum doula. I’m a mother to a sweet, adventurous and creative little girl. I’m constantly in “nurture mode.” I do well with self care, but I can easily forget that it’s okay for me to be nurtured, too. In fact it’s necessary. Not just by others, but perhaps more importantly by myself. It’s also necessary for me to ask for help. This is not always my first instinct, but I’m getting better as the years go on.
Here’s to a restful evening, a pleasant day at work tomorrow, and a restorative three day weekend to follow.