I Can Do It

While I watch my 3 year old get ready for preschool, I’m watching her struggle putting on her boots. I offer to help her, when she interrupts me saying “no mommy, I can do it myself.” As I grit my teeth, anxiously waiting for her to get it right, I realize this is typical behaviour for any preschooler. Preschoolers are learning how to do so many new tasks, and as a parent I often forget that we should let them figure it out. As I watch my daughter figuring out how to do most tasks, and insisting on doing it herself, all of this has me thinking. I’ve come to the realization that I rely on doing so many tasks independently. All most, too independently.

For years, I have been overly independent. Dating back to when I was in my late teens, I made it a priority to move out on my own without help. I would work two jobs to make sure I was able to pay rent comfortably, and figuring out my post secondary school courses. When I was 19 years old, I spontaneously responded to a job ad in a local newspaper, to apply as an AuPair in the United States. Within a few months I was on a flight to New Jersey to move in with a family I had only met over the phone, coordinated by an organization I had only read about through a newspaper ad, ready to take on this year long adventure. When my time in New jersey was finished, I moved back home temporarily before moving again, working a few more jobs and relocating out of city to settle down and attend college.

It wasn’t until I was watching my daughter learn new tasks or go about her daily routine before I started realizing that not only does she have some very similar character traits as I do, it really had me thinking about myself, and why did I move around alot? Why was I so persistent to do things by myself? Why would I turn down help when circumstances would be so tough for me to manage by myself? Was it because I was too proud? Or was it because I didn’t want to burden a friend or loved one?

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

To ask for help felt too gut wrenching. I had a hard time finding the courage or finding comfort asking. I remember when I was in college and my college money was delayed and I couldn’t pay my rent on time. Even under these circumstances I reached out to no one. I found myself skipping 3 days of college classes to work enough hours to cover my rent. When I had a college roommate who decided to move out while I wasn’t home and wrote me a faulty cheque for his last months rent, I reached out for no one. Whether it was money, help moving, or balancing various work and home life responsibilities, I find myself in various circumstances where I would tackle these tasks, and run myself so thin that I begin to feel like I’m a 10 year old laptop riddled with viruses trying to run windows. For some reason, I still find enough bandwidth to push through, no matter what it took to get there. Why was I doing this to myself? Why would I endure all of this pressure? It goes beyond a sense of pride. It was a way to hide that I was different from others. A way to hide that I carry a past.

What I was really doing was running myself too thin. I would refuse help, but internally stress myself out for taking on too much. I remember sitting down with an old therapist, when it was discussed that I suffered from Hyper-Independence. I know what you must be thinking, “is this a real thing?” It is. Hyper-Indepence is a real condition. It is a condition that develops when someone has experienced a form of severe trauma or chronic illness. For years, I have created this false notion that I had to prove I was capable, and to prove my value and self worth through all that I was capable of doing independently, instead of who I am as a person. This would caused me so much harm, than it was good for me. I would over do myself on many tasks, I refused to ask for help when times felt impossible, and when I would find the courage to ask for help, I would feel even worse about it. I would begin to feel worthless.

The road to recovery is slow, but constantly moving. My self worth is not measured by the amount of tasks I take on alone. I am learning to not fall into the mind trap that when I do eventually ask for help, it may not be accomplished in the same manner I have set out in my head, but rather it was done differently, and that’s ok! I was reminded to give others the opportunity to help me. I don’t have to do everything myself, and that it’s ok to rest. To be strong goes beyond how much you do. If you ask for help it doesn’t mean that you’re weak. In fact, this is far from the truth. Recognizing when I need help shows incredible strength. Strength and courage to ask. I would be lying if I said I followed these suggestions perfectly. What I can say, is that each day is a new day. The more I practise, and allow myself to accept help, with time I will be able to find a healthy balance of independence.

For anyone who is struggling whether its with Hyper-Independence, or various forms of anxiety, remember that you aren’t alone. Find someone you trust. Someone that you can lean on to ask for help. Let them know how they can help. Remind yourself that this journey is slow. It will take time for your trust, strength and courage to come. Give yourself patience. Once you get there, you will find that this will be the most mentally and emotional thing you have done.

Don’t say the M word

There comes that time in your marriage when you feel ready to start a family. You spend endless days and nights talking about it, planning about it, and finding the exact right moment.  No matter how much planning and preparing for the special time, no one ever prepares you for the “What If’s.” What if it takes longer to get pregnant? What if you miscarry?  There are so many “What If’s,” and yet, so many people only talk about being pregnant, and everything else except the really upsetting stuff.

Well, I’m here to break the silence. Part of going through the motions of trying and getting pregnant comes as a “package”, and this includes the good, and the BAD.  When the time was right for my husband and I, we both couldn’t be happier. What I did know going into this, was that it can take time, and that patience will be your strongest strength. It wasn’t because of my age, but in general, for most woman, conceiving doesn’t always happen right away.

After a few months trying, we got a positive. For me, the signs were very early on. What does this mean? What I mean is I take a test. One of the moments during this whole process, and all part of this “package” I learn quickly I don’t enjoy, and despise peeing on a stick. I wait my 3-5 minutes, and look for a line, positive sign or a smiley face. My line was faint. It was there, but not vivid.  So, like any couple would, my husband and I were excited.  Now, most people at this stage would wait to share with family, and immediate friends. Anyone who know my husband and I, we were not that kind of people. I knew ahead of time, anything can happen during this time.  What I didn’t know, nor was ever discussed with me, was that most first pregnancies result in miscarriage, or chemical pregnancies (early miscarriage). Such as, 10-25 % of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and up to 70% of first-trimester miscarriages end in chromosomal anomalies.

The following morning, after spending the previous day excited and nervous, I knew instantly something wasn’t right. Symptoms of stomach cramping, spotting etc which lead me to take an immediate doctors appointment. The next two weeks persisted of multiple blood tests checking my HCG levels, which lead to an early ultrasound, which confirmed the worst possible news, there was no baby.

I knew going into these tests, that this was most likely the case of a “chemical” pregnancy. How does this differ from a miscarriage? The difference is “timing” A chemical pregnancy is the most early time of a pregnancy, often mistaken for a missed period. Miscarriage takes place between first-trimester up to 20 weeks, once there is further progression of development.  If it wasn’t for my extensive research, talking and sharing this disappointment with other woman, I wouldn’t have been as level-headed, and motivated to try this journey again.

We tried a few weeks after, and I experienced very different body changes. After a couple of weeks of discomfort and not feeling myself, I went back to my doctor.  She had me do a urine test, and the nurse asked me ” any chance you could be pregnant?” I looked at her and without hesitation I say “No, well I guess there could be, but it would be very minimal given 2.5-3 weeks ago I miscarried.” The nurse prompted me to take my test. I sit back down in the doctor’s office, giving my doctor a list of my symptoms, when the nurse interrupts me, with a huge smile on her face. She looks at me and says “So, what do you think?” All I remember was sitting there super puzzled, and super nervous, and the nurse says “The test is positive! But not just a line, but the bluest of bright blue positive lines.”

So in light of all the ups and downs,  disappointment and sadness, for all the Moms, moms to be, and woman out there, to never be afraid to talk about and share your journey, no matter the good & BAD. Sometimes we need the reassurance that we are not alone, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Our baby girl at 18wks

 

 

 

Reflection

Photo by Stephanie M Photography-stephaniemitchellphotographer.wordpress.com

Photo by Stephanie M Photography

There is no time like the present, to take a step back and reflect on your life: love, friendships, work etc.

For those of you who know me, you will know that I’m not one to reflect openly. But this time is different. I have experienced changes in my life, both positive and negative, and I want to share with you, my journey. What better way to share my reflection, than write it out.

Work created more stress in my life, than good. I had planned and prepared myself for my surgery to come for a while, and it came at the perfect moment.  Even though I would have to recover physically, this was the least of my worries. Surgical recovery allowed me to reconnect with my body, both physically, and mentally. I learned to read, and understand my body and understand what my body is telling me. This was something I have lost a long time ago, and I didn’t  know I did.

My surgery blessed me with time away from work, but most importantly, it taught me to slow down. Not that I had much of choice, lol. Taking time off has been a blessing in disguise, because like most of us, I found myself living up to society’s pressure of a fast pace, and hectic lifestyle. We always find ourselves on the go, doing too much, because if we slowed down, for just a minute, we will feel like we are running behind; we’re missing out! I am realizing, this isn’t true. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

I figured out how to rest, and simply slow down. More so, slow down with everything including day-to-day activities. For example, driving to get errands done, I slowed down. I didn’t rush. I stopped being the person who tried to get through the yellow light so I wouldn’t have to wait the few minutes. I waited. What is 2-4 minutes going to gain me? Why do I need to live 2-4 minutes ahead, all the time? If you are constantly trying to rush a head, you will lose out on the present moment.

My time off also allowed me reflect on my relationships, with my husband, my family and friends.I put forth more effort to not only be a better wife, lover, and supporter to my husband, but ultimately to be a better person for myself. Sometimes, we need a realty check. That’s what I did. We all can relate, that busy lives, and poor work environments can really effect our relationships, even when we think it’s not. Time away from work, allowed me reflect on how I can make my relationships better.  What can I do to change some things.  For me, reaching out to friends or family more often; planning and scheduling time to visit was a commitment I promised myself.

I remember a saying my mom shared with me, “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a life time,” and at first, I didn’t really understand it. But then I got the “Ah Ha!”moment, and it all made sense. Rather than getting upset when your life changes, and you start to drift apart from a friend or two, understand that there is always a purpose, and the purpose could be temporary, or forever.

By the end, I found myself happier. I didn’t have the unnecessary stress from work, but more so, my reflection on myself, my life, and relationships with others, has given me a huge wake up call. I plan more. I do things for myself, that I didn’t think I had to do, nor thought I had the time to do, and most importantly, it felt OK to do it. We spend a lot of our life focusing, and worrying about others, we forget to think of our self.

Women multi-task, it’s how we get things done. We naturally try to do lots, at one time. At some point, this will catch up. I’m 29 years old, and it already was catching up. We need to slow down, and just take a moment of rest. If that means for 10-15 minutes, then do it. If you are able to take a day off work, do it. Statistics have proven, that those who take 1-2 days off a month for “personal” time, are much more productive, and happier at work. What does this tell us about the way we live now, compared to 15-20 years ago?
On another note, statistics have proven, woman also have a harder time resting. Rest doesn’t mean sleep, this is referring to taking a break. Letting our inner body, take time to rejuvenate.  I believe my time off, has truly allowed me to rest, and it taught me how to accept it.  To be honest, I thought I would get bored, and not enjoy being off, but truth be told, it has been the best thing that has happened to me, well, next to the day of my wedding, lol.

As my recovery completes, I have been blessed with new beginnings, and better endings, and this couldn’t have happened without my rest.
We all need to live life in the moment, but this doesn’t mean forgetting about tomorrow, but rather , learning how to balance both. Don’t ignore one, for the other, embrace both.

I will continue to practice to slow down, and to live life in the moment, without ignoring tomorrow. Even if it means stopping at the yellow light.