Just sit down.
No, wait, go lie down.
You really need it. For your own sake, for your children’s sake. Stop trying to get back up again.
I know its really hard to wait for your body to get back in gear.
But you know what? That feeling, that exasperation, that, “Its been so many weeks why can’t I handle stuff yet? What’s wrong with me?”, feeling? Let. It. Go.
I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you. You’re expecting too much from yourself. If you can’t do everything the way you used to, it isn’t because there’s somehthing wrong with you. It’s because you’re physically not ready.
“But she does it!” And you can count off on your fingers, how many of your friends were up and running with babies.
I know you see other women do amazing things every where, but do they tell you how much it hurts them? Did they tell you about the anger, frustration and maybe even physical pain they go through? No.
Any of you, all of you, I wish I could hold your hand and assure you, that you’re not, supposed to be ok. You need to rest, to eat, to let someone else take care of the home that seems to be falling apart. You don’t need to run and prove to yourself that you’re superwoman, just like all the other superwomen you see around you.
They are not superwomen. They are you. Does that make sense? They are you, just like you they struggle, just like you they are often exhausted and at the brink of breakdown.
If anyone tells you they aren’t, then, honey, somethings missing.
I was one of them. After my first child, I was up and running and found it confusing when I got tired. I didn’t understand why I felt like falling over all the time. I thought it was just me. So I kept going. Cooking, cleaning, carrying things I shouldn’t have carried. When people saw me doing things, they assumed I was fine, so expectations around me rose, and I rose to meet them. All the while feeling stuck in a body I didn’t understand anymore.
Then number 2 came along and the back aches got worse. I tried to get rid of all the pain, nothing seemed to work so I got right back up again. I have pictures of myself sitting on a stool while someone else lay in my hospital bed, only a few hours after having a baby. No one told me to get in bed. To lie down. It wasn’t their fault, I was the one acting like I didn’t need it. I was strong, right? I didn’t realise that I couldn’t be and that I shouldn’t expect myself to be stronger than the system Allah created. My entire body felt internally broken, and I still ignored it.
Then came number 3. And with that the realisation that I needed to rest, but it was a short labor and I was better than after baby number 2. I had two children under 3, so I got up again. But I struggled and I cried and thats when I finally knew, I needed to stop but I couldn’t.
After baby number 4, I’ll tell you it was hard to stop. This time around it took me 3 months instead of 6 weeks to begin to feel normal again. I had to stop trying to get back up I got up, I didn’t want to, but I had to. I’ll tell you it was really hard and very painful. The difference was that I knew I had to bear the consequences of that choice. I knew that I’m not supposed to be able to do everything. I knew that the house would get messy. I knew that I wasn’t cranky because there was something wrong with me. It’s because I hadn’t slept properly in six months.
I know, when I start feeling tired, I mustn’t push through, I have to lie down. I know I have to eat ten times a day.
People around me probably looked at me and said “wow”. So, I’m a homeschooling mom of 4 kids. I drove to co-ops 2 to 3 times a week. But that’s it. Thats all I did. I cooked simple meals, kept the house just clean enough, the kids are still part unschooling this year, we still do just the bare minimum of math, grammar, spelling and Quran. I still haven’t the energy to take them out for sports or Quran or any other activity. I lie down and rest while they play on their own. I’m always late for everything.
Maybe after 4 kids, my advice should mean something. Even if you choose to get up and on the move, know that you have to bear the consequences of that choice.
No one is going to respect you or your health unless you respect yourself – mind and body.