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Mama Health: Time and Money

Mama Health: Time and Money February 2, 2011

A while back, my husband noticed my winter blahs, told me he would watch the kids and pushed my pregnant self out the door to spend an hour alone at a coffee shop. I had a blissful time spent drinking hot chocolate and writing in my journal. My husband wanted me to do it every week, but somehow I never went back.

2 years ago, I called a Chiropractor and asked what their prices were. (Ever since a car accident in my teens, my shoulder and arm tend to go numb if I sit in the same position for too long. Add 3 babies, and my back could use some help.) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Chiropractic care here in Canada is a fraction of what it costs in the states, but I never made an appointment.

Almost a year ago, I realized that I would love to start seeing a counsellor. I did some research online, but I never made any calls.

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Last week I had a dream.

In the dream I had found a large lump in my left breast. I had gone to the Dr, and after a mammogram and other test’s I was told that the lump was cancerous and that I needed to get treatment as soon as possible. I had lots of paperwork and information, I was fully-informed.

The dream continued. Time went by. The tumour got bigger, so big that my breast started to look kind of “lumpy”. My left side started to ache, I wasn’t able to keep up with my daily routine anymore.

I got calls from the Dr’s, concerned that I hadn’t started any treatment yet. I told them that I was fully planning on it! We just didn’t really have the money to spend on treatment right now… My husband had been stressed at work and I felt bad making him watch the kids while I ran off… Time was so stretched this month, maybe next month would be better…

The Dr was shocked in the dream, but all my excuses made perfect sense to me.

Until I woke up!

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What was wrong with me? How could I be so flippant about a life and death situation like that? The dream bothered me and at first I wasn’t sure why it kept nagging me in the back of my head. But after a few days it dawned on me. I dreamt the same excuses I always make when it comes to taking care of me. Despite my growing to the point of realizing that I don’t have to be superwoman, and figuring out that it’s OK to need help sometimes. Despite learning how to try and respect my body with the basics of nutrition, hydration and getting the sleep my body needs. Despite learning how to fit in the little moments that make a difference in my day.

I still fight the idea that I am worthy of care.

Despite my husband encouraging me to go out, or his efforts to remind me to call the chiropractor, or his reassurance that we can afford a counsellor, I fight it. I still have this leftover message from the past that spending time or money on myself, would be selfishness.

I rationalize:

Why should I spend money to help with the physical pain in my back? I can just sleep on my other side, or hope that it will go away in 8 years since it hasn’t disappeared in 7. After all, I am still functioning, I can still finish whatever has to be done around the house. I don’t really “need” a Chiropractor, or all that time wasted running out to appointments. It might not even make a difference anyways.

or

How can I think about getting a Counsellor when we are trying so hard to pay off our debt and save enough to make a new start? Doesn’t time heal all wounds anyways? And I’m getting a lot out of the books I’m reading. I’m only depressed sometimes, and I’ve managed alright so far. Plus we still need to get that new car seat, it just wouldn’t be wise to spend money on a service that I don’t truly “need”.


or

Yes, an hour alone was refreshing, and my husband was more than willing to watch the kids. But he has to work hard all week, doesn’t he deserve some time to do what he wants when he gets home? Why should I be just one more demanding person in his life?

It seemed ridiculous to have this same sort of attitude and list of excuses when it came to the cancer in my dream, but in reality I’ve been in the habit of treating all of my needs and wants that flippantly.

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When I was pregnant with Ms Pooky, my midwife told me that I needed to add a calcium/magnesium supplement to my vitamins. She was convinced I wasn’t getting enough. I looked around, but never purchased it. The liquid one she was recommending would cost me about $15 a month, did I really need it that bad? It wasn’t even going to affect me that much, right?

I had digestive issues all throughout Ms Pooky’s pregnancy and the roughest recovery of all of my pregnancies due to chronic constipation issues for 5 months after her birth. When the digestive issues started to flare up again with this pregnancy, I was depressed, dreading another tough Post Partum recovery. While at the health food store this last month, I grabbed the calcium/magnesium supplement on an impulse, and within a week, all of my digestive tract issues were gone.

After looking it up on the Internet, I found that Magnesium is actually critical for bowel health, and that many people even take it regularly to help with constipation. How could it have taken me 2 years to purchase what I was told my body needed? Those 5 months of pain and delayed recovery after Ms Pooky’s birth could have been prevented? And yet, I didn’t think it was important, I didn’t want to be “selfish” and spend $15 a month on myself. I thought that months of needless pain and loss of energy and added depression over my health was the less selfish route.

I’m done with excuses. I don’t need to wait until a life or death situation to make it OK to spend time and money on myself. I can take care of myself before it ever gets to that point. I can use the time and even the money it takes to care for myself, so that I can be healthy and happy. So I can be the mother my children need.

This week I called a counsellor and set my first appointment. I think I’m going to schedule a massage too.


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