Friday, September 11, 2015

that still, small voice ...

by Dotti



Do you listen to that still, small voice when it whispers in your ear? You know the one I’m talking about. Well, recently, I chose to ignore it at my own peril.

Toward the end of July, my mother asked if I could come spend a week with her while my brother and his family went on a long-planned vacation. I said, ‘Sure, Mom. I’ll see what I can work out.’ Little did I know that my best laid plans were going to get a bit unraveled.

Four days before my planned departure, I was diagnosed with bronchitis. Well, having been through that before, I knew it was nothing to laugh about. I did ask my family to see if Plan B could be worked out because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep my promise.

Hmmm. There didn’t seem to be a Plan B. So ignoring that still, small voice whispering in my ear, I dutifully put myself on that plane, drove from Baltimore to Pennsylvania and settled in to care for my mother. I’d begun to feel better so I thought all would be well.

Not.so.fast.

When I returned home a week later, I quickly learned that my bronchitis had turned into pneumonia. I was so focused on caring for my mother, I neglected to care for myself. Sound familiar?

It turns out I’m great at giving advice to other women about self care … but not so great at practicing it. I’m always the first one to tell you that you can’t jeopardize your health. Uh. Yeah.

For women, I think it’s often magnified because we’re the ‘caretakers’. We always push aside our needs to minister to the needs of others.

Friends, we really do need to take self-care seriously. We need to actually do it, not just give it lip service, engaging the help of others if necessary. We really should not jeopardize our own health to care for others, even those who are so very dear to us. We’re expendable. If I hadn’t gone to my mother’s, she would have been disappointed but she would have found another solution to her problem.

Above all, listen to that still, small voice when we hear it. It is usually is smarter than we are.

I told my daughter that if I had known then what I know now, I would not have gone to care for my mother. My daughter is adamant I’d have gone anyhow. I’m just really not sure.

Thankfully, I’m well on the road back to health but I wonder: 

What would you have done?

6 comments:

heyjudephotography said...

I'm so glad that you are feeling better Dotti. I am almost certain that I would have done exactly what you did. We seem to think that self-care is selfish, but it is the opposite of that. I know this is something that I need to work on, and when I do take time to heal, to rest, to be - everyone is better off for it.

terriporter said...

Oh, Dotti, I think most of us would have done what you did. It's in our DNA to be the caregivers . . . for everybody else but ourselves. When we're needed, we're there, regardless of how detrimental that can be to our own health and well being. I'm so sorry you had to go through this but so glad you are on the road to recovery.

AFishGirl said...

I am tucking the words here into my pocket and I'm going to review them over and over. I think we need to get our still small voice into BIG LOUD VOICES because without self-care, well... thinking of you on this road to recovery and with a huge hug.

Nicki said...

misguided invincibility is not restricted to silly teenagers - I dare say we women have written the book on it (moms especially).

sherrygaley.com said...

Oh Dotti, Dotti, Dotti. I am so glad you are getting better and so sorry to hear about your illness. I have only admiration for your intentions to care for your mother…We all have to work to untangle our association of taking care of ourselves with being selfish. The kind of dilemma you faced is a common one. Your reflections are appreciated.

Liz said...

Very well said Dotti! I think most of us are guilty of this.

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