Monday, November 18, 2013

The invaluable reflections of recovery

Last week marks the completion of my 6 weeks of recovering from Meningitis. Woo hoo! I made it y'all! As I look back, this period of recovery and rest has been invaluable to me. Boy, did I really need it...

At the beginning of my recovery - I didn't want to rest. I just wanted to get back to normal life, and was anxious to do things that I had always wanted to do. I made a bucket list - including: cooking more often for husband-ji, exercising, doing yoga, taking Maya to the park, and finding a better balance in terms of juggling my responsibilities to myself, as a wife, and as a mother. However, the doctor basically put me on bed rest for 4 of those weeks - which really stressed me out. I still felt like I wasn't in control. I still had the debris of the meningitis illness - with my speech and reading effected. The doctor said I had to rest more to recover faster, or else if I didn't rest, recovering could be postponed to months or even years. I had no choice.

And then, I had an "Aha!" moment. I realized that to obtain the balanced life that I so dearly craved - I was going to have to take it easy. My body needed rest and I needed to find peace in resting. I had a new mission - to make the best of these 6 weeks by using it as a time to take a much needed rest, reflection, and inventory of my life. Besides, the hustle and bustle of normal life would return back to normal in no time!

How was I going to learn how to balance my life if I was so busy trying to do everything at once? So instead, I took it day by day. I only did what I felt like doing, or that my body was capable of doing. The minute I got tired, I would stop and rest. I learned not to push it. I learned to be easier on myself - to not have such high expectations of myself in terms of getting things done. I learned to be more present in my daily life, which in turn made me even more reflective. I felt like by quieting my mind, I heard more...

(Maya & me)

Motherhood has been a non-stop journey, sort of like a rollercoaster. There is always something that needs to get done, laundry to do, food to be cooked, play to be done, toys to be put away...in a nutshell - it is non-stop! As Maya got older and was getting more active, I was having a tough time juggling everything. I felt like maybe I couldn't do it all. But then, being forced to rest in recovery, I realized that the only thing my daughter needs is me. She doesn't care whether I take her out to all these activities. She doesn't think I'm a bad mother for wanting to stay home on some days. She just needs ME. And when I realized that, I calmed down and was more present. And in turn, she calmed down a lot. You see, the pressure that I was putting on myself to be my version of a "good mother" was also effecting my daughter negatively. And I didn't realize that until I stopped doing it. All of a sudden, she went back into the calm baby she used to be..."oh, there you are," I thought. When it was really a reflection of myself....

During my recovery, I totally cut down on my social life. No more play-dates, no more seeing friends - I just didn't have the energy. Towards the end of my recovery, I saw maybe 1-2 friends per week. Before Meningitis, I was also going through a transition time in my friendships, as a lot of my non-mom friends were increasingly dropping off the map. I felt like these friendships were leaving my life, but I kept holding on out of a fear of loneliness. Not surprisingly, none of these so-called friends reached out to me during my Meningitis or recovery - and I didn't reach out either. I realized that instead of hanging on to these friendships, I just needed to let it go - and that maybe it wasn't right for my life right now. Another thing I realized - is that the friends I have been hanging out with - they're not so hard to get a hold of! The friendships that I have now are so easygoing, and they are not hard to maintain at all. It doesn't take so much work to be friends with them. It's simple, as it should be...quality, over quantity. I don't need tons of friends, I just need a few really good ones.

(Family)

By cutting down on my social life, I faced the fear of being lonely without my friends. Only, I didn't feel lonely. I kinda liked hanging out with my self! I started to really concentrate on my self - my health, my daughter, my husband, my family, my writing and self-reflection. Being in recovery really brought my focus back to centre - as it should be. It brought my focus back to what's important. I realized that before, I was focused too much on other people's lives - on helping others, giving advice to friends, worrying about others' lives - which distracted me on what was really important - my health, my child, and my husband. Those three things need to be my main focus every single day, and everything else is secondary.

6 weeks ago, I was asking myself, "Why me?" Why am I so unlucky?" But, oh how my perception has changed... Life is funny like that. Now, I am so thankful that I got Meningitis. I am so thankful that I was forced to rest and reflect on my life. Being in recovery helped me learn how to pace myself, find balance, enjoy life more on a daily basis, and take the pressure off myself of doing everything at once. It was an invaluable time...

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So, what do you think, dear readers? Do you think periods of resting and reflection are important to your life? Have you guys ever gone through any important reflection periods?

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5 comments

  1. Congratulations on the recovery. Let me introduce myself- I go by Raina online and came across your blog recently via American Punjaban Pi (and ended up reading every post in your blog during the course of a day). I am an (South) Indian woman married to an American man and living in California with a daughter and there was a lot in your blog that I could identify with. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there and for sharing all that you and husband-ji go through. :-)

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    1. Thank so much and thanks for reading! I'm so glad I got you hooked ;)
      So glad to meet another couple like us!
      We used to live in SFO in 2008. Great Indian food there!
      What kind of South Indian are you? Tamil, telugu, malayalee...?
      My hubby is from Hyderabad.

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  2. Hi Alexandra, my family is from Karnataka but I didn't grow up in that state. I grew up all over India and a little bit in the United States. The place we live in is heavily populated by Sikhs so authentic south Indian food is hard to come by bit luckily there is a place I can go to to get a dose fix if things get bad :-).

    Keep blogging!

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    1. Us too! We have virtually no South Indians in Vancouver, it is all Sikhs. When I see another South Indian, I do Hallelujah! We used to have the Madras Saravana Bhavan restaurant, but now someone else bought it. We still go to it because they still have the S.Indian chefs who do dosas.

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  3. Ahh I miss Saravana Bhavan! We go to House of Dosa now. 👍👍

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