When I Return to Myself, I Can Return to My Children.
Before you judge me, let me explain.
The last day I was in the hospital, I was alone. But ok with it. My impromptu stay was due to an unexpected miscarriage I experienced just hours before (read the post here).
The hospital volunteers were regularly coming in and out of my room every so often, with a cart full of games and positivity in tow.
"Why are ya here, hun?" They would ask, huge smiles on their faces in anticipation of possibly playing a card game or two. I was in the Neurosciences ward, so the reason for my stay wasn’t exactly obvious.
"I lost my baby." Immediately, a wave of sorrow would filter over their faces, usually followed by a quiet moment or two where they would try to find the right words to say.
"Oh honey. I'm so sorry. Do you want to talk about it?"
"No, no I don't."
"Do you want some company?"
"No, no I don't. But thank you."
They would quietly wheel away as I laid there, a part of me actually feeling guilty for robbing them of their hopeful enthusiasm in under 3 seconds. But the energy I would have to put into acting remotely interested in an UNO card game was just too much when I could barely lift my head off the pillow to look out the window.
All the while, I was counting down the hours to when I could leave and potentially hop on a plane. Strangely enough, I had booked a trip to Maine months earlier while my mom planned to be there with my Aunt and Uncle. However, the morning of my flight my doctor was still not convinced if I should be discharged quite yet, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should be either.
Upon returning to room later in the afternoon, my doctor looked at me squarely in my eyes, "Let me ask you a question: would you rest more at home, or in Maine?"
"Maine." I responded without hesitation.
I love my children, but I knew that if they knew Mommy was upstairs in bed all weekend they would be banging down the doors to see me, kiss me, cuddle me, ask for a snack, and read them books. Although I love those moments more than anything in the world I knew that I would have to put myself and my needs first. I needed to rest and couldn’t be deadlifting toddlers. Thankfully, my blood pressure finally returned to a point where I was given permission to leave with instructions to take it easy.
And take it easy I did.
I slept in.
I read books.
I had 3 meals a day.
I enjoyed breakfast on the beach every morning.
I allowed myself to cry freely when I needed to.
I meditated without looking at my watch.
I spent quality time with family I never get to see.
But more importantly, I returned to myself.
Believe me, I missed my husband and my kids so much that it hurt. I missed the way my babies smelled and was seriously hungry for some kisses. But while being away from them I also realized how much I missed ME and my identity outside of being a mother.
It shouldn’t take a moment of sadness to propel me into “me-time” but I’m grateful that I did. I think it’s important to stay in touch with the woman that I am on the inside, before I had 4 little eyes staring up at me on the outside.
When I arrived back home, refreshed and well rested, I had a zest that wasn’t there before. I was able to give my kids a sense of attention while around them, being more mindful of the present moment.
How many times do we shoo our kids away if we are just too tired to play? Believe me, I get it. Giving myself a mental and physical break gave me a chance to bounce back and be truly present in their presence. The challenge now is to keep that part of my life consistent.
Those small moments I return to myself help me return to my children.