This morning, as I was crawling back into bed at 4 am after nursing baby E, I felt a sharp pain in the middle of my chest. I lay still and prayed that it would go away, that it was a muscle spasm brought on by anxiety and/or a strange position during the most recent nursing session. I willed it away because I’m only 42 and can’t imagine not being around for my baby and preschooler. I begged and pleaded with God to keep me safe and alive and healthy.
It seems to have gone away and I think it must have been a muscle spasm. While laying there, I renewed my commitment to making a doctor’s appointment for a check up. I’ve been between doctors for about two years now—my old, favorite, primary care doctor is in the city and I have no time to get there these days (and I have yet to find a new, hopefully wonderful, doctor in the ‘burbs near us).
It’s part of a theme I’m pursuing these days in which I am committed to taking care of myself in as many ways as possible. I went running on Sunday with our new (to us—thank you Craigs.list) double jogging stroller. I’m not buying mass produced cookies and am instead indulging my cravings for dessert with one or two squares of dark chocolate. I’m turning off the TV to read whenever possible. I’m trying to look at myself in the mirror with kindness, the way I would look at someone I love and respect. I’m considering getting off the diet-coke-train that I’m on. (Hey, I know I should just get off right now, but I have an incredibly addictive personality and I can’t imagine giving up my 20 oz of the bitter drink every morning. I’ll get there eventually.)
This—my commitment to myself—may be the biggest and most important commitment in my world. Yes, my relationship with my husband is an important commitment. And of course, my commitment to care for my kids is vitally important—they’re my heart and soul living and breathing outside of my own body. I cherish these family commitments with everything I have and am. But all of these other commitments fall apart if I don’t keep a strong and centered commitment to myself. If I don’t care for myself, I’m not caring for anyone. I remember this, oh, some of the time, and my goal is to simply remember it and practice it even more often. It’s not selfish to care for yourself so that you can care for others. In fact, I wish more people practiced it (Mom, even though you don’t know this blog exists, I’m looking at you, here!).
I think I’ve found a doctor—a small practice connected to a bigger practice in my little suburban town. I’m going to call today and make an appointment, and I’ll definitely mention the muscle spasm and the other various and sundry physical complaints of middle age that I’m experiencing. I'm really enjoying this life, these days, and have no intention of compromising it any longer by not caring for myself.
What are you doing to care for yourself today? How are you keeping your commitments?