Give Away Girls and Motherhood: When a Visit to the Emergency Room is Your Idea of Rest

Executing the self care juggernaut as a mother is difficult. Many times, women put their basic needs aside for others. They actively participate in self-neglect.

Meet Give Away Girl Sarah.

Sarah has had a long day after waking with weary eyes at 5 am. It’s already dinnertime. Sarah’s kids have been bickering, her husband’s just gotten home, and the whole family is talking about tomorrow’s to-do’s.

Keeping an eye on the stove and the kids and with one ear in her husband’s conversation, Sarah begins putting clean dishes away. In her haste, she breaks a glass, gashing her hand so badly she passes out. A friend rushes her to the hospital. Sarah’s blood is gushing, her heart is racing, and now she’s worrying dinner won’t be served to her two girls. But really, she’s exhausted.

“We’ve got another mother. Get the stitch kit!”

All stitched up and alone in a bed in a quiet room, Sarah relaxes and waits for the doctor. A nurse brings her a blanket and asks if she needs anything. She snoozes and wakes to realize she’s enjoying the peace and pampering.

When the doctor comes in, she apologizes to Sarah for the wait. Sarah says, “Are you kidding me? This is the best I have been treated in months!” The doctor said, “That is pathetic.” And so it is.

I learn from Sarah that time spent that evening in the ER was, for her, a much-needed relief and rest. (she’s a classic Detrimental Caregiver). Could mothers be cutting or otherwise hurting themselves to get some tender loving care? Ask Sarah today and she’ll say nurses told her just that, that night. She’ll deny it about herself though.

How to stop self-neglect. 

Self-neglect leads to fatigue, resentment and a host of self-destructive behaviors. Sarah eventually learned to reengineer her days in the following ways:

1. Sarah slowed down. She set up daily reminders to make her stop, take 10 breaths and shift her energy into a more gentle space.

2. She has acknowledged her pattern of self-neglect and how this is harmful to her health and well-being.

3. Sarah asks for help from her husband, her older children or a close friend.

Note: Sarah was a classic DC (Detrimental Caregiver). If you are new to my blog and want to know more about what it means to be a Detrimental Caregiver, click this link to jump to the previous post.

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