Updated: Oct 16, 2019
I would really like to say that I knew myself better as a 33-year-old mother of two. But sadly, I ignored my body telling me it was sick until my appendix came close to bursting.
I remember, in the blur of getting to the hospital, as I was trying to loosen my body out of the fetal position I said, "I think I'm dying." My husband was as comforting and kind as he could be, but honestly it didn't matter in that moment what anyone said. I knew by body was failing me, and I knew it was because I had failed it first.
Adalyn Joy chose her own time to come into this world, and she's been changing mine ever since.
My daughter, Addy, was born 3 1/2 weeks early at exactly 3 am, 7 days after my first, Jackson, turned 3. She came into this world loud and full of energy.
Truthfully, I don't know what I expected it to be like staying home with two kids. I know now that I wasn't prepared for the toll the exhaustion would take on me. Months and months of waking up during the night, fighting with 20 minute naps, entertaining a toddler, trying to exercise, keeping up with housework, making healthy food for my family, and trying to hold on to any piece of my identity as my own person was too much.
I started to feel so worn out, unbelievably tired. Exhaustion is truly a form of torture. My husband likes to joke that it steals a piece of soul night after night. In hindsight, I can think of so many things I could have done or asked for that would have helped. Simply giving myself a break from nursing, even for a few nights could have been such help. But I was too lost in motherhood, in the guilt that came from not wanting to nurse, the worry of what other moms would say.
Looking back, it’s hard to know exactly when the exhaustion became too much for my body to handle. Somewhere in the haze of taking care of everyone else I became so disconnected from my body that I ignored the warning signs. Since then, I have been on a journey to figure out what true, healthy self care really looks like.
No one else is ever going to speak up for what you need.
As moms putting our needs last seems like the natural role to fall into. In part, that's because sometimes we have to. Sometimes our needs are simply a causality of the job. The lesson I have learned is how to find the balance between the demands of motherhood and my own needs.
So many moments we need quiet, or a break, or to eat and our babies needs are louder and more urgent. So we push ours down, just for a moment. For me, those moments started to add up , they started stretching longer. I couldn’t hear my own body over the deafening noise of what society taught me I should be able to do. My ability to voice my own needs got so muffled by everything else that I missed how physically sick I was. I had my appendix removed with no issues, and eventually I healed. It was the most painful experience of my life, emotionally and physically. I will never take my body for granted again. I hope that I can carry my scars as reminders that my body is a beautiful, strong gift and that I need to find ways to take pride in keeping it healthy.
I am so truly thankful for this experience and thankful that the human body is beyond weird and our appendix is pretty much a useless organ. I made a promise to myself that I will never ignore how I feel again. I will never think that my pain does not matter or that I need to suck it up and keep going. I will check in with myself daily. I will make my health a priority and ask for help when I need it. If you are a mom out there struggling and trying do it all, stop and ask someone for help. Make sure you are not putting yourself last. Your kids don't deserve a perfect mom, they deserve a happy one.
You deserve happiness too.
For all of the partners, grandparents, aunts, uncle’s, and friends out there who know a mom go help her. Don't ask her if she needs help, because she does. Ask her to name five things she needs to do today and do them for her. Chances are she has running list of about 50 things jumbled in her head and would appreciate the help from anyone.