Thursday, February 2, 2012

Goodbye bed rest

I'm taking a wildly optimistic stab in the dark and am going to assume that the unborn child has put the pieces together that I'm over 39 weeks and that his father has the next several days off of work and will grace us with his presence soon.

At the very least, even if the previous assumption is wrong, it's safe to say that while hovering around and (God forbid) past my due date next week, I'll either be too lazy or cranky to blog. Hence, one last blog post before The Berry Patch goes from three to four Berrys.

I'm happy to report that the challenges of last week subsided and life this week returned to normal. Charlotte has been almost unusually well behaved and happy and has also taken to mothering her brother even though he's not technically here yet.

After her bath yesterday she said that her brother needed some lotion too and then rubbed lotion on my belly. Then she decided that he also needed some snacks and lined up Crispex on my belly. She's also taken to walking by and spontaneously hugging my belly while closing her eyes and laying her head on it. I'd like to take all of this as signs of child psychic abilities and that she knows something about his impending arrival that we don't. After all, she's the one who told us that he was a boy right from the start, so it's not totally off base.

I was thinking about our little Adventures in Bed Rest around here and realized that like any challenging situation that's not an actual tragedy, it could absolutely been seen as a blessing in disguise.

For a lot of reasons that are partly due to upbringing and partly due to my inherent personality, I'm terrible at asking for help. It's not that I have too much pride or am too embarrassed, it just always seems a little like a waste of time and like a burden on other people. If I technically CAN do something, why wouldn't I? Why would I ask someone else to change their schedule or pitch in when there's really no urgent need for them to do so? It's just never made sense to me.

But this time, despite my internal resistance that I would probably be fine and probably wouldn't end up in the ER again, I had to decide that it obviously wasn't worth the risk and dive in and line up help. And believe me, it felt wildly indulgent to have someone watch Charlotte while I was home watching television or browsing Pinterest. Do you know what actual alone time feels like to a stay at home mom? To someone who hasn't peed or done errands alone in two-and-a-half years? It's bizarre... and awesome. It feels like what it must feel to be a wealthier parent, someone who can regularly pay to set it up so that you're only with your kid half time - way easier.

But after a while it felt less indulgent and kind of nice. And then I realized that my unwritten criteria of "ask for help only when your ship is sinking" might have been a little stringent. That maybe some people ask for help when nothing at all is wrong and they just want to make their life a little easier. It's still a concept I'm digesting because we all know of the indulgent, coddled cry babies of the world who seem to take advantage of people.

But as I come out of this three years of new parenthood and grad school and financial stress... and as I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can also see that life doesn't have to be quite as hard as we can make it. And I think the forced bed rest came at the perfect time to make me start to see that.


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