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Back Breaking Stress & Practical Ways to Rest

Earlier this year when my daughter was born, I was healing great, better and faster than I had experienced with my son. I felt spry and ready to hit the road running. Literally! I was ready to pull out my running shoes and whip my body back into shape. I felt like supermom. But at my six week mark, postpartum, I was having one of these “I feel like supermom” days and decided to try carrying both my fussing children at once, on an icy sidewalk… it did not end well for me. Thankfully, my children were just fine and unphased by the trauma! I, however, suffered a compression fracture from falling, all my body weight plus the weight of my two children in my arms – my arms too busy holding them in safety to even think about catching my own fall – and that was that. A spinal compression fracture. Ouch. I felt out of commission for a few weeks, but that was the thing –  I couldn’t be! I had littles to care for, and I could barely lift my infant, let alone stand to make a meal! Let me be quick to say that I have a wonderful husband who was very helpful at this time, except that he was simultaneously recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL. We were hardly a good team at this point.

I didn’t rush to the emergency room, or anything, even though I probably should have. I did not know I had suffered a compression fracture until six months later when we finally got an x-ray taken. My advice to you would be, if something hurts in your body so badly that you’re nauseous and unable to lift more than a couple of pounds, among other symptoms…. please see your doctor. Let me just say that. But I was so intent on keeping going with life, I was certain I just had some bad bruising. Well, I was wrong. So after the initial couple weeks of heafty pain, intense nausea, I just kept going, trying to put it off. I guess I just stopped thinking about it! Crazy right? I don’t know, maybe it was still all those post birth hormones. Survival mode, mamas! I started training for my half marathon again, living life normally… again, do NOT do this if you have a broken bone. Rest is important. Get the help you need. But I’m telling you this to make a point today! Anyways, six months later, we confirmed it had been a back fracture. Wow, how glad I was it hadn’t been WORSE! I said many prayers of thanks!

Hindsight, I can laugh about it, but at the time I was an emotional mess. I didn’t know what to do and I needed to be able to function to take care of my children AND my husband. Oh why oh why did this have to happen? Why did I have to think I was amazing enough, six weeks postpartum, to carry my infant plus my nearly 40 lb son!? Don’t judge me. It’s a thing we moms do. We do ridiculous things because we love our children so much, sometimes we don’t think straight. That’s what I’m going with anyways. I was blinded by bliss when my son also requested that I carry him. What can I say!? Well, now let me tell you that since then I’ve learned to remind him that he is much too heavy for mama to carry. He has two very capable feet. I will hold his sweet little hand.

I think about this accident nearly every day still. Not only because I can still feel where it happened. Although nearly completely healed, I still need to use caution when lifting, there are some workouts I still shouldn’t do, but over all, I feel normal again.

When I think about this incident, it serves as a great learning tool for me actually. I need rest. I do believe there is a time to push through things that are very hard and difficult. Definitely. But I also believe that sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to rest, to repair. Especially if we have experienced a trauma. Maybe you feel like life doesn’t slow down, so you’d better not miss a moment! Work as hard as you can! Who knows what tomorrow will bring! Nobody has time to sit down and heal! Well, let me remind you that tomorrow has enough worries and cares of its own. (Matthew 6:34) If you’re feeling absolutely run down, burned out, in pain, or worse yet, numb to things in life… take a rest, my friend. Let your trusted friends know that you’re going to take a day or a week and lay a little lower than normal, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe you can’t take a whole week’s vacation from work. In fact, if you’re a parent, you’re lucky if you get 20 minutes to yourself! You know what I mean! But what does rest look like for you right now, today? Is it unplugging from your phone for an hour or two? Is it sitting down to meditate for an hour? Is it heading out for a run first thing in the morning, or right away after work?

Looking back, I wish I would have taken that time healing from my injury to just re-strengthen my yoga practice with workouts that were gentler on my body, instead of training for my half. When I finally realized this, I tapered down my runs to just maintaining my cardio, and started attending yoga twice a week again, my back improved immensely! (I will for sure write on the healing effects of yoga in a future post, and my personal experience! Stay tuned.) I had to learn to readjust my own expectations I had placed upon myself, and give myself some space and grace. And it has ended up turning into an incredibly sweet time for me. An experience about growing in stillness… and appreciating the pain and the recovery that follows it and how that has grown my soul.

Are you feeling like you need some rest lately? Or maybe some fresh inspiration? I feel you. Don’t forget to download my free journal page PDF from yesterday’s post! And let me know if you’d like more tips on practical ways to rest on a day to day basis, and how you’ve found your own ways to rest from life’s chaos.

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