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.