Come walk with me…Let’s take a journey back in time.
I am young – in so many ways. I’ve been 26 years old for 2 whole months. And I am a brand new mom as of 8:20pm last night. I am blessed to have had a quick shower early this morning. I am blessed to have a HUGE family, and my husband and I have many friends. It is Saturday, and family and friends are so happy to come and share moments of boundless joy.
They come and greet me and hug me and I smile and nod and agree that he is beautiful and I know that I have a wonderful gift from God.
All. Day. Long.
Some time in the evening I am alone. I decide to take a walk down the hall. As I pass by the nurse’s station, there is an angel there behind the counter. She calls me over. She looks to be somewhere in her 60’s and she chooses to share with me her great wisdom and tender care. She informs me that she has watched visitors come in and go out of my room all day. I smile and say yes I have had many visitors. Then she tells me, very kindly, that I could have asked the nurses to keep visitors out for a time so that I could get some rest. I am aghast!! I can’t do that!! She smiles knowingly and says: “Yes you can. You are exhausted!” I cringe because I am so readable, and I meet her eyes with my tired ones and acknowledge the truth.
So with great compassion, she points down the hall where there is an upgraded room that is empty and has, of all things, a Jacuzzi tub. She instructs me firmly, but lovingly, to go get a change of clothes and then go there and take a long hot bath and turn the jets on.
Like an obedient child I follow her instructions. I step into the tub, I sink down into the blissfully warm swirling water. The water flows, and my tears flow. Tears of exhaustion. Tears of gratitude for this angel who could see what was happening and did something to force me to rest and be good to myself. Someone who was attentive enough to know I had a need that I had not realized or given any thought to because I could not offend anyone.
There was no sleep the night before. Difficult to sleep with pain after childbirth and nurses checking and rechecking…and…fear. I am afraid of this new role and being responsible for another human being. I am alone in my fear because no one can know. That would make me a horrible person and I am a mom now so if I am horrible that means I am a horrible mom too. Remember, I am young, in so many ways.
Throughout my pregnancy I had other moms tell me that once the baby was born this mysterious maternal instinct would magically be triggered and I would inexplicably know. Everything about my new role would be clear and understandable and doable. All would be well.
If you know me, you will smile at this because it exemplifies how my mind works. I read every book I could get my hands on looking for that procedural formula to follow to be the best mom ever. To my complete surprise, there is no such thing as a formula. It does not exist. There is no way to prepare ahead of time for this!! I know that now, but in my young, naïve, and analytical mind, it was so logical that it must be there somewhere. I searched for it diligently.
So here I am, the day after giving birth. I’ve been a mom now for almost a whole entire day. Ummmm…nothing. No magic, no revelation, no confident knowledge of what to do or how to do it. I don’t even know how to hold him or feed him or change a diaper. The next day when he comes to my room for the first time, nurses have to show me. I’m completely clueless. And I am afraid. What if I don’t do this right? After all, I am supposed to do everything right, especially something as important as this!! What if I inadvertently hurt him or harm him in some way?
No sleep, fearful thoughts, and the all day stream of visitors = overwhelming exhaustion. In this gently ordered time of rest, in the relaxing warmth and the massaging jets of water, I fully relax for the first time all day. I let go of the mask and the pretense and the constant striving to behave as expected. I finally let it all go, and my entirely new world becomes a little brighter and a little warmer, more welcoming and less overwhelming.
All because someone who had no obligation cared enough to get involved and see to it that I got something I desperately needed. She gave me a great gift. She gave me time to be who I was right then: a terrified new mom who needed to just be alone and allow the stress to be released in a way that was safe and freeing and oh so comfortable. She paid attention and knew that I must be tired, and that knowledge was confirmed when she saw my heart in my eyes. She responded with a way to give me a soothing balm of comfort.
I never knew her name, but I will never forget her. I hope to see her in my eternal home in Heaven because I would love to give her a warm hug and thank her.
Thank you is so inadequate…but thank you, whoever and wherever you are, for going above and beyond the job description to simply show that you cared by fulfilling a need I did not even know I had. Your act of kindness made such an impact that I still remember every detail years later. Thank you for being my ministering angel that day.
This post is dedicated with love to all the nurses who see what they do as not just a job, but a calling, and they truly care for others when they need it the most.