Self Care

I just finished watching an episode of House (I know I know I’m addicted) in which a pregnant mother refuses to terminate the pregnancy to save her life. She risks her life so the doctors can try to save her baby’s life. She knew that if the baby was terminated, she would live and have a chance for more kids. But her maternal instinct was so strong she refused to let go. Cutty saved the day and saved the mom and the baby.

And it made me think of something that’s been lacking in my life, and in the life of most moms of special needs kids that I know – Self Care.

Beign a mom usually comes with a gene of selflessness…we sacrifice our selves for our kids. But being a mom of a kid with special needs wreaks havoc on that gene. You feel you can’t stop unless your kid is well. So you go go go you keep going because you will do anything for your kid.

But lately I am realizing that sometimes stopping and taking care of my self is part of taking care of Nathan. I am realizing that even though Nathan is out of the womb we still have an invisible umbilical cord. I have noticed that the more stressed out I am the more stressed out he is. The more calm, relaxed, happy I am, the more calm, relaxed, happy he is.

But the umbilical cord extends even further. Because Nathan depends on us for every single thing. He depends on us to feed him, bathe him, hold him, move him, wash him, give him a drink..every thing. So not only do I need to be emotionally stable, I also need to be physically strong. Because if my back goes out or my shoulder goes out, how do I help him?

I have been trying for a long time to prioritize some “self care” time. But it is always last on the priority list after taking Nathan to therapy, working, calling clients back, calling his insurance and social worker, sending reports to clients, feeding Nathan, making sure he gets tummy time and belly time. And after all is said and done, even thougn all I wanted was 15 minutes to meditate and bring myself back to balance…they day passes in a multitude of busy actions and I never got “me” time.

And the more I try to get off the treadmill and slow things down, the more I realize, that self care isn’t just a commodity, it’s a necessity.

On Friday I decided I needed to do something so I went to see an acupuncturist. Yes, I spent $35 that I could’ve spent on a treatment for Nathan, on myself. It wasn’t easy to do. But I realized I had to, I had no choice. The acupuncturist found an imbalance in my liver and gallbladder. And after a 2 hour treatment, I left and had the best night sleep I’ve had in a long long time. And I woke up feeling more balanced and stable than I have in ages.

So I write this post to beg any other mom that happens to stop in to check on Nathan – please try to spend some time taking care of yourself. I don’t do this and I don’t like to preach what I don’t practice. But maybe if we all support each other and remind each other how important this is, it will become easier and easier. And instead of feeling guilty to use up time and resources for ourselves, we’ll feel happy to know that we are also taking care of ourselves.

I hope to share about my journey to self care. I will try to share what steps I will be taking from a depleted, empty cup, to an overflowing, full of energy cup.

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