I have had issues with anemia during the last decade for an array of reasons and each time it’s come up and surprised me. I was never anemic during my pregnancies, but somehow anemia is my kryptonite. And, the two times I’ve been anemic I had no idea until I was exhausted and had a spate of illnesses.
I was referring to my illnesses as an Election Flu, since I had been ill almost every other month for more than a year. Somehow I was caught up in life and work and didn’t think that there was a pattern of illness and exhaustion. But, my family and friends kept reminding me that I was getting sick lots. I finally asked for some blood work and realized that my illness and exhaustion was from anemia. I am eating so many green leafy veggies that I think I am seeing green. Oh, and I’m eating more meat.
But, that is not the point. The point is that it’s important to take care of your health. Self-care is not a luxury. And, in the midst of the blood work and doctors’ appointments I had a few surprises. So, here I am taking better care of myself and finally sleeping better and feeling somewhat better. What I have been thinking about is that I am not going to take my health for granted. I am enjoying this tea from Silk Road and reading with my cuppa.
I practiced yoga with a new instructor and she wore a shirt that read “radical self-care” and it positively affected my practice. The ability to take care of oneself is often viewed as a luxury or even unnecessary. Self-care is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. And, at times self-care seems antithetical to academe. There is always another paper to read, write, or a meeting to attend. The vagaries of an academic life means that we often do not leave the office. Wait, maybe some do, but the rest of us do not do this well.
Radical self-care means not apologizing for leaving work early.
Radical self-care means that taking time to get better from an illness is acceptable.
Radical self-care means setting boundaries.
Radical self-care means that you don’t have to do everything.
I’ve been thinking about the ways in which birth experiences influences the ways in which you feel about your health care provider and yourself. I heard a great MA Thesis defense this year and during the latter part of the defense there was some discussion about personal birth experiences. This made me think about my two birth experiences with my daughters. Both births required some intervention. And, here I am thinking about them some ten years later.
I did not opt to find out the gender of either of my girls. And, I had a birth plan in mind. I did not follow the birth plans, but I did end up with two baby girls. My eldest was encouraged to join us via the breaking of my waters and I labored for some 11 hours with her. I was quite thankful that for the epidural and will never forget the excruciating back labor. It really was like someone was trying to grate the skin off my back and hurt like nothing I had ever felt before. The next wonderful thing that I experienced were the shakes post-childbirth thanks to the epidural–with my teeth chattering. The rails of the hospital bed were cushioned so that I would not hurt myself, during my seizure like shakes.
The easiest part of my birth experience was breastfeeding. I had no issues with breastfeeding post-child birth. I also have warm memories of that first diaper change with the meconium being released by each daughter. Oh, good times.
My second (and last) child birth experience was more traumatic. I started off laboring standing and was feeling pretty good; however, in the matter of 10 minutes I went from laboring standing to the nurses realizing that something was wrong. I was summarily prepped for surgery and had an emergency c-section. I will never forget the moment on the hospital bed with my arms strapped down and feeling the doctor tug and open me up. I did not feel any of the surgery, but I could feel movement, and then my daughter was taken out of me. My doctor explained that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my daughter’s neck twice and this explained the fetal distress. I shed tears of joy and relief. I felt guilty that every contraction strangled my poor girl. This daughter is more of a fighter and she comes by it naturally. Listening to other women’s child birth stories I am struck with the joy, honesty, and in some cases regret.
I did not feel guilty about the interventions that I had with my birth experiences, then, I do not now. And no one else is going to change my mind. Smiles.
I took a few months off during the Summer Session and then Summer Break from my weekly Friday Fun Facts! This week’s Fri Fun Facts is about finding balance. Oh, now, stop that smirk or snort! You can find balance or attempt to do so.
1. Schedule in your lunch, workout, and study/reading time. You need to protect your time and part of this is investing in your sanity. If you have more balance–you are happier.
2. Related to the above point–do make sure that you are eating right, sleeping enough, and getting in some exercise. These are all building blocks for your health and happiness.
3. Schedule in some down time or fun time. It might be the gym, fun reading (what’s that?), and time with your family or fictive kin.We schedule in our dates. And, my family uses an Excel Spreadsheet to track our schedules and the kids’ after school activities. It keeps us organized.
4. Be organized. Work smart and not too hard. Maybe use an application that turns off your internet access or the fun social media apps that suck away at your time. Set a timer for your writing or studying.
5. Find a network. This network might be from your seminar, department, or other colleagues on campus. You need people around you to occasionally bounce ideas off or to chat with about the insanity of higher education.
I hope that this first installment of Friday Fun Facts is useful to you. Welcome back to the Fall term.