I am sure I am not alone when I say that scheduling time for myself isn’t something very high on my priority list, especially not to go to the doctor. I spend my days chasing my little ones around, making sure that everyone is fed, maintaining our household, and often times I go to bed already planning for the next days’ activities. An appointment for me is difficult to squeeze in.
Being a mama means that my entire job is to be a caretaker.
I am the one who sets up everyone else’s appointments for them. I ensure that both of my kiddos are up to date on all of their well-visits and dental checkups. I am the one who makes sure that they get the help they need when they aren’t feeling their best.
But with each passing year, I am becoming more and more aware of how important it is to be my own caretaker as well though.
Last summer, I was feeling what I could only describe as pure exhaustion.
Being the busy mom that I am, I assumed that it was normal; that it was because I had two kids now; this was just a season that all moms went through. My symptoms came on so slowly that by the time I even noticed that it may not be “normal,” I just kept equating it to outside circumstances and making excuses as to why it wasn’t really an issue.
I was wrong.
I’ll never forget the day I was carrying my one-year-old up the stairs for her nap and felt like I was going to collapse. I got to the top of the stairs and was completely out of breath. Me, someone who (mostly) enjoys working out, couldn’t even climb one flight of stairs without feeling winded.
This was not okay. I was not okay. It was time to make an appointment.
One thorough check-up and eight vials of blood later, we found out that I had iron deficiency anemia, my ferritin levels (iron storage) were completely depleted, and I was low on a few other vitamins as well. I remember crying when the doctor told me. Not because I was scared, but because I was relieved. I was grateful that it wasn’t just all in my head and that there was an actual reason I had been feeling SO tired and worn out.
Me, the ultimate caretaker, was not even taking care of my own self.
I chose to ignore my gut and push through, just assuming that this season would soon pass all on its own. For months, I had convinced myself that I must not be getting enough sleep; that maybe I pushed myself too hard in a workout; that this was just how all moms must feel every day. I needed to just stick it out and suck it up.
We are almost a year out from that original diagnosis, and I am still working through the effects of waiting so long to make that initial appointment. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and shake myself!
Mama, if this is you right now, make the call.
Choose to prioritize your health and be the amazing caretaker we all know you are – but this time, do it for you! Just as much as you cannot pour from an empty cup, you also cannot properly care for others if you do not first care for yourself.