Be Gentle with Yourself Dear Girl

This has been a trying time for all us. There is fear, pressure, isolation and confusion – all on a daily basis.

I have been trying to navigate these times while also being freshly postpartum.

And, I thought I was okay.

It’s been hard, of course – a newborn is challenging. Five year olds are challenging. Marriage is challenging.

Life is challenging.

All that, plus a pandemic and hormones that haven’t quite settled are a recipe for a hard time.

But, I was making it. I was putting one foot in front of the other and making it.

Then, I went to my 6 week appointment at my OB.

That morning, we had all slept in. The baby wasn’t particularly fussy that night, but man was I tired. When I woke up at 8:30 am, I scolded myself saying “you have too much to do to be sleeping this late.” In the back of my mind, I heard a slight whisper that I could barely make out.

“Be gentle with yourself dear girl.”

My body, mind and spirit were tired from the pressure I’ve been putting on myself, the fear from the virus, and the physical changes of being only 6 weeks postpartum.

On the way to my appointment, I caught a look at myself in the mirror and thought, “Dear Lord, someone needs to tell that girl to run a brush through her hair … man I look rough” …… the whisper returned a little louder this time.

“Be gentle with yourself dear girl.”

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I spent the morning dealing with a newborn and a 5 year old’s “homeschooling.” I had to rush all morning preparing for a babysitter because the children could not accompany me to my appointment because of the virus.

When I arrived at my appointment, I stepped on the scale and nearly had a heart attack. I am about 30 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight. I heard my heart beat in my ears as I sat down. But then, a little louder than my heart beat, was that phrase.

“Be gentle with yourself dear girl.”

I just made a human being, a beautiful and very hungry human being. There is no reason that I should expect myself to lose the weight overnight. I am a walking talking grocery store for my little guy. Cutting calories is not high on my agenda. My body has bigger fish to fry right now.

My OB walked into the room and we elbow bumped because of our current viral climate. He smiled broadly and said “Well, Ms. Amanda, how do you feel?” And tears began to drop. I told him that I physically felt well, but emotionally I was sad and disappointed at how my maternity leave was going. I missed my family and was frustrated. All the things that we planned to do and places we planned to go were not an option because of the Coronavirus. Then I immediately apologized because I “shouldn’t” be complaining. And now, loudest of all, the voice in my head reappeared.

“Be gentle with yourself dear girl.”

My OB validated my feelings saying “yes, this must be a hard time for you right now.” That validation felt good. It reminded me that I should feel however it is that I needed to feel right now. It felt comforting to be seen.

I don’t know why it took hearing, over and over “be gentle with yourself” for it to sink in. I will have to repeat that mantra over and over throughout this crisis and my maternity leave. I assume that when I return to work in healthcare in the middle of this pandemic that I will have to give myself even more grace. I will have to tattoo that mantra in the forefront of my mind.


All I can hope is that the whisper in my head continues on, louder and louder. I say to you also, “Be gentle with yourself dear girl.” This time in our lives, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in, likely presents many challenges. “Be gentle with yourself dear girl” and know that you are seen and are just as you should be.

 

Amanda Fuselier
Amanda is a native of Kenner, LA and is now an honorary Cajun. She is married to the most interesting man in world (Joe) with one son (Kael-pronounced like the superfood), one dog (Luna), one cat (Loki) and a partridge in a pear tree. She spends her days working as a social worker/yoga teacher/toddler tamer. Amanda graduated from the University of Louisiana of Lafayette in 2003 and earned her Master’s in social work in 2005 from Louisiana State University. She has worked in the fields of inpatient and outpatient mental health and is now immersed in Hospice and End of life care. For fun, she enjoys long walks with her favorite furry companion (Luna the wonder terrier) accompanied by a disturbing amount of true crime podcasts. She has learned that life is too short - do the things, pet the dogs, drink the drinks, and eat the cake!

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