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Lessons Learned from my Back Surgery

black wonder womanThere is nothing like 2 months spent flat on your back to give you a new perspective on life. My world quickly went from vertical to horizontal in a matter of days when I discovered I had a collapsed disc in my lowest lumber. I found myself deeply impaired, lacking the ability to walk, drive, pick up my kids, cook or do much of anything else. I was stunned. My initial response to this news was to just keep pushing through. I treated my acute back pain like anything else in life: If I just give it the old college try I will eventually conquer it, right?

So that’s what I did!  I just kept trudging along waiting for deliverance from my pain but changing nothing about how I operated. I would rally my entire might to lift myself out of my car. Once I found myself upright, I would stand there with my head lifted to the sky for a moment, as if to beg God for one more ounce of strength.  For any normal woman, this would be a sign that somethings gotta give but not for me! Besides Wonder Woman had just come out and I was ready to defy the odds with sheer willpower.

Have you ever tried and tried and will power just wasn’t enough? I finally came to a point that putting one foot in front of the other was not sufficient and it was there that I broke. I was scheduled to make a presentation that morning and my only focus was to get there and make it happen. But the fatigue of chronic pain and the emotional toll of being totally helpless, finally had it’s way with me on the side of a road in South Dallas. I sat there in my car crying big ugly tears. There was a man parked in a black truck and I could tell he was looking but I didn’t care. My tears came from the depth of my soul where I usually store them away so no one can see. But this time they erupted from my hiding place and I couldn’t quite figure out how to turn off the faucet.

It was in that state that I cried out to God pleading for him to answer. It’s not that I hadn’t prayed for God to alleviate my pain before, I said my prayers and asked for relief every day, maybe even every hour. Even still, it was a passing prayer, maybe one in which I just spoke the name of Jesus as my prayer. This time I came to God exasperated from not hearing his response. I couldn’t take it any longer and the veneer of self-sufficiency that had masked my prior prayers fell off as I sat and wept that day.

Discerning the voice of God can be a tricky thing sometimes as He speaks to us in many ways and primarily through his written word. But it was this moment in that still small voice, I could hear the Lord say- “Go to the doctor RIGHT NOW, emphasis on RIGHT Now.” that was all the permission I needed to let go of the helm I was so desperately trying to steer. I crumbled like a toddler held in her father’s arms. I needed God’s approval to stop trying to fix my pain and get help. It took several days and 2 failed attempts to return to work for me to accept my superior’s approval to let go too, but I eventually got it there. From then on it was a whirlwind of diagnostic tests and appointments. Soon enough I found relief through surgery and I couldn’t be happier that I stopped when God told me to stop.

Maybe you are going through something, where you feel the weight of the world crashing down on your shoulders. Sometimes our trials feel like a boulder that we fight to push uphill; with every passing second and each slip of the foot its possible, that boulder could overpower you with its great force. We often wear our hands to the bone while making little progress. When someone steps in and says “let me help,” we cling to the success we’ve had; we point out how far we have come with the bolder and with the end in sight we feel that a victory may be cheapened by accepting a helping hand.

What I learned from my back surgery was this… accept that hand. Help does not make you weak, help signifies that you are strong enough to realize your own limitations.

 

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Getting Real about Postpartum Depression

Did you think that your first weeks with your new born baby would be blissfully spent kissing strawberry scented baby toes only to find yourself in a pit of despair?…. I did

Don’t get me wrong, I had the same reaction as most mothers to my adorable baby boy! He was and still is the apple of my eye, but something was off. Not only was I experiencing the normal shock of being a new mom including the sleep deprivation, anxiety, and doubt. But there was also alot of self loathing, an inordinate amount of crying as well as distance between my son and I.

My mom warned me about those evil little thoughts that come upon women in Postpartum, thoughts of hating your kids or even worse. I took it with a gain of salt but I don’t think I truly grasped the concept until I was there.

I remember taking a nightly walk with my husband and baby, it was a Tuesday, and I could not conceive how I would possibly make it to Friday. The very idea of my own personal survival was faint at best.

I did all the things I was supposed to do, I fed him, I kissed him, I rocked him, I changed him and I truly loved him. But I was not doing it with a kind and gracious heart. I was not serving him with joy, rather with bitterness. I remember singing to him when I couldn’t get him to stop crying even after doing ever single thing they tell you to do. Slowly but surely my song turned into tears and we sorta just held each other and had a temper tantrum.

What perplexed me the most is how other mother’s seemed to delight in baby care. On the weekends I would see post from moms on Facebook talking about they couldn’t wait to wake up to their babies and care for them all day. I thought they were crazy.

On many occasions I would call my husband and tell him that I just couldn’t take another second of it. He would assure me that he would take over everything when he got home from work. I would count the hours until I heard his keys in the door.

I was soaked in vomit and breast milk and things were not normal.

I had a dear friend, who has suffered with depression for some time now, encourage me to get help. I didn’t think anything was wrong with me, I just assumed it was taking me a while to adjust. I started by talking with my doctor about it. I went to a couple of counseling sessions and that didn’t help much.

I spoke with trusted friends and family about possibly going on anti-depressants and their responses ranged from go for it, to just pray about it, to you don’t really need it.

I struggled, I prayed.

I think there is a fine line between what people call the “baby blues” and Postpartum Depression. Even more so I am willing to say that in a completely healthy state a mother, like myself, can not be enamored with the things that baby care requires. These things include being pooped on, vomited on, no sleep, noise, bleeding nipples and so on. I am not really sure who would love these things unless they are a gluten for punishment. Its possible to not really enjoy the newborn stage and its ok. You enjoy your child and these are byproducts of their care.

But when the darkness is consuming you, its not normal and you need help.

So I spoke with my doc and she gave me the meds. The safest antidepressant for nursing mothers they had. I read, I researched, I scrutinized, and I double guessed myself. I think I even called and badgered my doctor some more.

I had the medication in my bathroom and I would stare at it, I didn’t want it. It made me feel weak. It made me feel nonspiritual.

I finally took the meds and OH HAPPY DAY! It was the best decision I could have made!

This was my journey, maybe it is not yours. Medication is not for everyone, but it is an option and for me it helped.

Shortly after a cloud seem to be lifted from me. I still had to do the same things, and get no sleep but my attitude was endearing.

Going back to work was a big part of my journey as well! I know this is not the norm for most moms but even after addressing my postpartum, I could not wait to return to work! I remember driving to work my first day back it was the crack of dawn I had one million things to do but I had never been so happy to be in the daily commute. People asked me if it was hard for me to leave my son, again this was not about depression, it was about me. It wasn’t very hard. I had a trusted family friend loving on my child, he was safe and taken care of and he was loved.

Little by little I realized that work actually energized me to be a better mom for him. I was given the opportunity to miss my son and to value our nights and weekends together which made them all the more sweet.

Please do not hear what I am not saying, I do value stay at home mom, I do realize that meds are not always the answer, this was my story I think other woman can relate. 11150669_10100725832477910_4102300406201662869_n

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Tips For Working Moms

I dropped my son off without his shoes 😦 In light of my epic fail today as a pregnant working mother of a 15 month old, I decided to write a little blog on the working mommy tips I actually get right.

1. Find a place at work to nap! A bench a bathroom couch, supper comfy chair, or supply closet take a cat nap it will do wonders!

2. Apologize profusely about your lack of mental acuity. I typically pride myself on presenting ideas in an articulate manner yet at times it comes out as mush mouth in meetings 🙂 people will value your good work despite your glazed eyes

3. Packing lunch is Always a problem! I start off with the best intentions to mix together a chicken salad or build a burrito in the am but who has the time? So I pack a huge sack with the raw materials needed for lunch. Sliced Bread the entire pack of Colby jack, an entire heart of romaine lettuce. Sure it looks like your carrying a personal grocery store but who cares!

4. I have not mastered the 30 day meal prep I’m sorry I just can’t! I have downloaded the material from

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