I’ve spent the past three days battling this horrible cold. Today I finally made it from the bed to the couch- big improvements I tell you. But the whole time I kept thinking, How do mom’s do it when the baby is outside the womb? I mean the only decent thing I have done for anyone else the past two days is feed the dog and that doesn’t take much energy or thought. He’s not picky. I did not have to hold or rock a baby, patiently nurse or change yet another dirty diaper. To be honest the idea frightens me, how do sick mom’s take care of themselves and a little one or two?
I mean mom’s can’t call in sick.
I have been extremely thankful that my work is flexible and supportive. I can do emails and coordinating from home and my husband can take over translating and driving and night-time debriefs in a moment’s notice. Those are the benefits of job sharing (don’t worry there are countless other challenges, but I won’t go into them today). He makes me a smoothie before leaving the house and brings home soup for dinner. The dear woman who cleans our house made me the best homemade mint, ginger, cinnamon tea this morning. I’m convinced she’s like Guatemalan’s version of Martha Stewart. And I’ve had some good friends who have shared their cold fighting home-remedies. My midwife was a phone call way when my fever was up to 100.7 and I tend to appreciate her calm response. “don’t worry your body will protect the baby at all cost. Just may take you longer to get better.” And the little girl inside of me hasn’t seemed to mind so much lying still for 3 days. She’s kicking and flipping as much as ever… and I love it. Every little tap and movement, somehow reassures me and makes me pause to listen to her, to wonder what she’ll be like and pray for her. It’s really the only form of communication we have right now, so I’ll take it.
Somehow bring sick and being forced to rest has also made me realize something. I can’t keep doing everything the way I was doing it and be a healthy mom. I’m sure all moms-to-be discover this ah-ha moment at different points. Probably some at the 1st trimester when your morning sickness turns to night sickness and you have to cancel plans and change schedules, or maybe for some moms at 30 weeks when you have gestational diabetes and sciatic nerve pain you are forced to slow down and put your feet up, and maybe for others it hits you on night 5 of the 2-hour sleep cycle. I don’t think there is any need to compare. For me, it’s been this week. Week 25. For the past 5 months I really haven’t had to change that much in my routine. A few more naps at the beginning and a few more calories in recent weeks, but that’s it. I’ve continued working full time, and walking with friends, making time for yoga class or a visit to the gym. I’ve been making meals and going to the market. Granted because it’s harder to carry large boxes of stuff I have gifted myself my own pregnancy spot right outside the grocery store…yep, on the red-line with my blinkers flashing. It’s totally illegal, and totally working for now. I’ve been up at night reading and browsing the internet, working on some articles and writing projects, but probably not getting as much sleep as I should be. And these few days I’ve realized something probably needs to change.
I want to enjoy these last 15 weeks of pregnancy and I want to be healthy, but I know that means making some changes. Saying no. Asking for help.
I guess mom’s really can’t call in sick, but I do think we need to learn to call for help. The closer I get to motherhood the more I realize how important it is to have girlfriends, other moms, family, babysitters and a spouse who I can ask for help.
I don’t think motherhood was meant to be done alone. I am thankful for sick days when I am reminded that it can’t be.
photo credit: digital journal (I wish my profile was that cute)