To serve and be served | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, January 29, 2009

To serve and be served

I am pretty independent. I don't love it when people want to help me out. I mean, I do......but, really I don't. I want to be able to do everything myself. So when someone offers me some much needed help, the first thing that comes to my mind and usually right out of my mouth is "Oh, you're so sweet to offer, but I've got it taken care of." I'm not really sure why I'm this way, but I have a feeling that many of us women feel the same.

When I am pregnant I suffer from hyperemesis. I am so ill, that I can barely function enough to get myself to the bathroom every twenty minutes to throw up. And that is about all I can do for about the first six months. The last three months are better, but still I'd say the "morning sickness" is more severe for me in the third trimester than it is for many women in the first trimester. With Bria, there wasn't a lot my doctor did, (and true it wasn't as severe that time), but I had no other children, and I had the luxury of quitting my job and just staying in bed. With Chloe, I first did a steroid treatment and then they finally gave me a PICC line through which I received anti-nausea medication, hydration and nutrition. This PICC line stayed in my arm until 2 weeks before I gave birth. With Sophia, I was hospitalized at 9 weeks since I had already lost 20 pounds at that point and was severely dehydrated. After my week long hospital stay, I was released with a Zofran pump, which I kept until I was about 32 weeks.

With Bria and Chloe I lived near my mom, but even she couldn't give me all the help I needed. With Joel working full time and going to school, he didn't have a lot he could give me either. And this is where I had to learn to rely on others for help. I really hated it, but especially once I had other children to take care of, I knew that I really didn't have a choice.

With Chloe, I had several friends who helped me. My visiting teacher, an adorable Hungarian lady who wouldn't take no for an answer, would stop by my house periodically and say "I have five minutes!" and quickly do the piles of dishes or clean a bathroom. My friend Adrianne called me one day and said "I am taking Bria every Friday morning. You have no choice. I'll be there at 8:00 sharp!" and hung up. Another friend, Marianne, insisted on taking Bria a few mornings a week, and my mom took her the other mornings. This allowed me to guiltlessly stay in bed until noon when Bria was brought back, and I moved to the couch and watched movies with her until Joel came home. There was a Portuguese lady in my ward named Ana who brought me dinner every Tuesday night until Chloe was born. Without fail. And she didn't even mind that sometimes we probably had every dish in her house because it was just too hard to return them quickly.

With Sophia I was far away from my parents or any family, and I still received the same sort of service. The Relief Society arranged a plan for me where one sister was in charge of me each week and provided dinners and childcare. I remember Kim coming over a few times just to get vacuuming and sweeping out of the way for me. My mom even ended up taking Chloe for a few weeks to Utah because I was really struggling to take care of her during the day. Since I had the Zofran pump, I started to feel better earlier on, but people still insisted on helping me and by then I had learned that it was okay. I still needed to rest as much as possible and was grateful for the offers.

I also learned what perhaps was the most important lesson of all about service: By allowing others to serve me I was blessing their lives. Okay, so I wasn't the one blessing them, but because I let them serve me, the Lord blessed them. Conversely, by not letting people serve me, I was actually denying them blessings. I love to serve others. It makes me feel good, and I truly am blessed when I do. It's not easy being on the receiving end, but there does have to be someone to serve, or there would be no service. I think we all have the chance to take our turns being the recipient of service, but do we always take it?

I hope so. I have realized that I am back to my old ways lately. Trying to do it all alone. I forget that people want to help me out when I need it, and while I am not in such dire need as I am while pregnant, sometimes I can still use a hand.

The other lesson I have learned through these experiences is that I want to be more like my friends. Friends who saw an opportunity to do something for someone and took it. They didn't ask me what I needed, because I would have just told them I was fine. They observed what I needed, and then they did it.

I'm working on it.

35 comments :

  1. Great post, Lara. I'm sorry about your awful pregnancies!

    A few years ago a friend of mine told me, "Lisa, you need to let people do things for you. You are keeping people from getting blessings!" just like you mention in your post. I hadn't thought of that.

    I'm terrible about serving others or knowing how or when to help. I hate that. And I live so far away from most people that I know, that I rarely am offered help, either (which I'm sort of glad about or I'd be refusing it all the time, too). It's too bad I don't get much practice with giving service. OR receiving it.

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  2. I have the same problem. I don't want people to have to do things for me, but I too have learned that it truly helps them out and I have gained some remarkable friendships through the process. I hate asking for help, but there are great women that don't wait until you ask. I loved this post, it is so true to so many of us.

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  3. I realize that I am depriving people of blessings when I do this, but for some reason, I can't stop. "I'm fine" just comes out. There have been times where I just really needed help, but no one offered and I wasn't about to call anyone and ASK for it. Sorry about your yucky pregnancies.

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  4. I think that accepting help is THE HARDEST thing to do. We know we need it, but, for me at least, I don't want people to know that I need it. I have been blessed with a few really close friends that totally ignore my "I'm fine" and do whatever it is they see that I need. And I love them for it.

    Now to take that and be able to do that for other people. . .

    This is a good thought provoking post. Thank you for sharing it.

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  5. I struggle with asking for help, but I've learned to accept it when it's offered. People want to help and are glad to find a way to do it. I know that when I feel burdened by all my boring daily tasks, even doing the same thing for somebody else rejuvenates me a little, so it really does help others when we let them do it for us too.

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  6. How sweet. You'll know when you are needed. It may not be drastic but anything you do to help others is great. It's great to have good friends and family huh? Gotta love it!

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  7. You know I relate all too well from this post! I just wish you would have called on me when you were pregnant with Chloe. I know I was busy with student teaching and subbing and classes, but I would have helped. The important things matter! (btw...I'm almost done with the watercolor painting. I got distracted from finishing it with a sb layout! imagine that...lol)

    The hyperemesis thing is what's keeping me from getting pregnant again right now. Chris is afraid of it being a carbon copy repeat of Christian's pregnancy (I had hyperemesis with Mk too of coruse, but the pregnancy wasn't the emotional and global disaster as Christian's was) I know my ward would help me out and all that, but I worry about my kids not having me (I include my 3rd kid - Chris - in this) and right now Coolidge District won't get subs for teachers and while I can take leave, who would be able to cover for me? No one. So I don't know. I want my third baby SO BAD. The caboose has to come soon. But hey, if I lose my job due to these budget woes, I'll just get knocked up!

    (hey, post at my latest entry. No one has and I feel lonely...)lol All you need to say it, "I was here!...Lara" lol

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  8. I meant to say, "when you were pregnant with SOPHIA." Duh. I know who your kids are! For some reason, I was thinking Sophia and Chloe got typed! I must be channeling with Chloe's wonderful drawing and artistic abilities! lol

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  9. Great post. There have been several times in my life when I've needed the kind service of others. At first I was the same saying "no thank you" and by the end I was saying "can you please vacuum?" Good friends and family who know just what you need are truly angels here on earth, aren't they?

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  10. I've never known about hyperemesis until this post, but I do remember you mentioning it about your pregnancies during one of our playgroup dates. Oh, man, once is bad, but three times, I'm glad that you had many people that "ignored" your wishes to help.

    I'm like you, until this one situation, but that another post for another time... I still have a hard time talking about it.

    Hooray for service. I had a somewhat similar post about Thanksgiving time because it's also hard for me to ask for service, but I love, love to serve.

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  11. Lara,
    You are so brave to go thru all that 3 times !

    I am so grateful my 4 pregancies were pretty smooth. ( one was with twins, a few complications )

    I had a misscarriage between my 3rd and 4th pregnancy. I was going to try and muddle thru ( I have a hard time asking for help too ) however, my visiting teacher, Rosie, just took over so I could stay on bed rest for a week as my DR. had ordered. She did everything for my 3 kids and I that week while my Hubs was at work...a true Angel here on earth !

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  12. I think that this is so true! And honestly, refusing to let people serve and help you is a form of pride.

    My branch set something up where we all signed up to do something to help another woman in the branch. For instance, make a meal, babysit, teach scrapbooking, etc. I signed up to make a meal, and I'm excited about it. If the lady ever calls me back!

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  13. I've finally gotten to the point where I am gladly let people take my kids when they offer. I don't know if I would let someone come and clean my house, though!

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  14. Did you peek inside my soul or something?

    I've been on both sides of the service see-saw, and I know which one I prefer.

    I'm working on it, too.

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  15. I'm impressed with the fact that you had more children after your first! If I were you, I would probably have given up! Puking is sort of my phobia. I haven't puked in 11 years.

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  16. I can't imagine going through that with every pregnancy. Yowza. (I get migraines, sure, but . . .)

    I'm so glad there were that many people stepping up to help--even if it's hard to accept it. They cared. That says a lot.

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  17. Oh, Lara! I know that feeling. I had hyperemesis with my first pregnancy (only for four months, though, you poor girl!) and it was so hard to let anyone help me. My RS president finally laid down the law: I was going to get help and I was going to like it!

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  18. I try to remind myself of that. I'm glad I'm not the only one that does that.

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  19. Okay, we have more and more in common the more I read your blog. I had that, but it was undiagnosed. :( I lost so much weight during the first tri of each pg, then my thyroid would act up and I would gain 60 pounds amid the daily vomiting. It was horrible. I had never run into any one else w/ this condition. I have learned post preggo that it is common amoung women with thyroid problems. So my ? 4 U/... I know you said you have PCOS, but where are your thyroid levels? Women should be kept at a TSH reading of 2 or lower. Just thought I'd ;ass that along. email me if you wanna chat more : got_org@att.net

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  20. what else can I add? Nothing. You have said it all and said it very well.

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  21. I wish it were easier to get babies here! If it were, I'd have more.

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  22. It's amazing what we go through to bring children into the world. Wow.

    Our family has also received a lot of service. We have actually had to ask people to stop a couple of times, because they just kept bringing meals, coming over to help, etc. After a certain point we started to feel guilty.

    We received a letter in response to one of our "thank you so much for your help, now please stop" letters (which we phrased very tactfully, of course). I mean to reread the response often, because it taught me a lot. Like you said, being able to help someone is a great blessing. It is not necessarily the thing itself (the time, monetary cost, etc) that is the sacrifice for the giver. It is more a sacrifice from their hearts. It is a test of their charity and faith. And when they pass this test, it can bless their lives tremendously--perhaps even more than it blesses up to receive the service. Having their response has completely changed my perception of what they do for us, and each time I receive, I am filled with a deep gratitude (not guilt) and a desire to listen more closely to the promptings of the Spirit as they have.

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  23. I am awful at this.
    AWFUL.
    AWFUL
    AWFUL.
    I am also awful at seeing needs a lot of the time. It's smart to just drop by with your extra 10 minutes and see how you can help out.
    Amazing amounts of things can be done in 10 minutes.

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  24. I have been contemplating this for some time now. With the economy going the way that it is there is so much service that could be done. But the ward that I am in I have noticed that no one wants to accept the service. And when I show up at their door, that door just doesn't get answered.
    ---Why do people do that?---
    Or when I call, they wont pick up their phone?
    ---Anyone else hate caller ID?---
    Well anyways, I also get the, you have 4 kids. Your hands are full, you can't help me. Makes me feel like I am a helpless soul that just can't do anything.

    However, I know that there are people that need my help, I know that I can help them. It is just a matter of getting in the door.

    I too have a hard time accepting. But then there are times that I really need the help and I don't know who to ask, it is also about having a good enough relationship with others. I hurt my shoulder last year, Emma was in kindergarden, and then my youngest was about 4 to 6 months old. I couldn't pick him up, I couldn't change his diaper. I couldn't even get my shirt on by myself, I told a friend about it, but I was overlooked. Then I gave up hope. I think I am grumbling. I should stop now. I do believe this post hit a soft spot.
    I am so glad that so many people stepped in to help. We were really in a good ward at that time, hu.

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  25. Thank goodness for such great people who don't take no for an answer and serve. What great examples. I've never been in a situation like yours where I've basically HAD to rely on others where I didn't necessarily want to, but I'm sure my day will come.

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  26. I was wondering if you were pregnant again. Because if it happens, it will be my turn to help you! :)

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  27. So when it happens again, I'm there, my dear! Maybe Sophia will let me take her for two weeks, wouldn't that be fun too! We will be in stitches with her. Love you dear!

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  28. It is hard for many of us to let others "help" But as you mentioned in your story, and others in their comments, It is so wonderful for others to be ALLOWED to be of service. Sometimes we aren't able to totally give service back to the very people who helped us, but you keep the chain going, help the next, and help the next.......and by the way THAT SUCKS THAT YOU GET SO ILL DURING PREGNANCY'S. sorry

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  29. sheesh, that's a lot of awfulness for a pregnant lady. I'm sorry.

    And nextly, me too. I don't accept help well, but this whole thing with Asher and the traveling husband really broke that. I'm getting better anyway. I hope. :)

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  30. I to tend to brush off help. Great reminder, thanks.

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  31. It IS hard to be on the receiving end of service, but I believe it frustrates the plan when we make it too difficult for others to serve. It's tough though, I agree. I need to work on that too. Thanks for the post.

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  32. Anytime I have gone out of the way to truly serve someone, the Lord has blessed me tenfold. It truly is a blessing to be of service.

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  33. I remember I made you guys potato soup and Joel told me later that it was amazing and I was really flattered because I'd heard your stories about his families culinary adventures. It's always wonderful to help someone out and when you really need it--to be helped in return.

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  34. I am so sorry you get so incredibly sick. That's awful. For us it was the getting pregnant part that was hard but I generally did pretty well after that. Except with the twins but that's because they are twins.

    Like you, I also have a hard time saying yes to help- even when I really do need it. I think you bring up a good point about just being assertive when offering help.

    My little sister is afflicted with Grand Mal seizures every few weeks. The hardest thing for her has been learning to accept help and to not be disappointed when it comes from everyone BUT her visiting teachers. They just give her the trite line "if there's anything we can do call" but that line comes on the heels of them whining about how busy and overloaded they are so she really does get the real message which is "we are here to fill our obligation and get our church points once a month. Don't bother us beyond that". Amd she doesn't.

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  35. Your opening line is so me. I say, "Oh that's OK," even if I need the help.

    And you are my pregnant warrior hero! I'll never forget the time I visited you when you were preggers with Chloe & you had that line in & were holding one of those hospital walking bag things.

    (crossing my fingers that maybe you won't get sick next time!!)

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