Exhaustion ... why you need your rest and should not let yourself get to the place of ... no turning back ... insanity. Years ago when my second child (known to many as Sophie ... but to me she was Fia Mia) was first born ... I learned a great lesson about how and why one should learn to say NO.
When I was prego with Fia, I was teaching middle school on Guam. It was hot and humid and the closer it got to my delivery date, the harder it got to remain sane. Nine months pregnant and I was having trouble lasting more then a couple of hours. After about 30 minutes of teaching a classroom full of prepubescent and beyond pubescent ... 7th and 8th grade brats ... I was way done. So in late May, two weeks before school was out ... I took an early maternity leave.
Did I mention, I had a (almost) three year old little boy ... David or boy boy as he was called then ... and that John was working swing shift so we didn’t have to put our son in child care (this means I was a full time teacher and a full time mother, and housewife...no nannies or mama’s little helper) Did I also mention...we moved back to the island just six months earlier...stayed at my mom’s house ...until we began to wear out our welcome...and then in mid May moved temporarily into a friends house to house sit while they went on vacation...and did I mention I was tired and it was hot and oh by the way...I was clueless about how and why and when to say NO.
So a couple days after taking leave ... I caught the flu which caused premature labor and I gave birth two weeks early to Fia. Well I had planned on giving birth the second week of June and so months earlier, I had agreed to carve a watermelon into a whale and fill it with a variety of fruits ....I think ... or maybe it was I agreed to carve two watermelon whales...and a watermelon basket...regardless...I felt like a watermelon I know that much ... and so proceeded to stuff those babies with fruit for a wedding shower. Noooo problem....less then a week and a half after giving birth...and I am up carving watermelons and fruit...no problemo ... except I was exhausted.
That night, John went to work and here we are in a strange house and it is sweltering hot and so I put David and Fia to bed with me and we crash until about 2 am. Then I suddenly wake from a very deep sleep to the sound of Fia choking and struggling to breathe...her face was turning deep red and I went into immediate overdrive. I jumped from my bed picked her up and could not for the life of me think of what to do. I immediately called 911 and begged for an ambulance. As I was waiting for them to arrive I started pacing and crying and yelling for God’s divine intervention (with poor little boy boy following me in horror).
I walked outside and promised God I would go to Africa if he would just save my baby girl. As I am flipping out and still waiting for the ambulance, John pulls into the driveway (as he just got off work). He immediately goes into a panic as he sees his crazed wife crying in the front lawn with his children. I jump in the car and tell him to race us to the hospital. We struggle to get the emergency lights on as we drive...(we never did figure it out) and as he drives at break neck speed ... and mind you no seat belts or car seat... I am holding Fia in my arms as she is struggling to breathe and I am hysterically begging him to get us to the hospital before she dies.
We finally arrive at the hospital and I run into the emergency room holding Fia and crying my eyes out...and little Fia Mia is breathing just fine thank you. The guy that helps me with my dying baby ... gives me a once over ... with a, ‘how pathetic’ look on his face and sends me to an observation room to sit and collect my wits and dignity.
Well, as I am sitting in that little room with Fia and boy boy, by my side....I hear my husband talking to a nurse. She is a very attractive fellow Yapese and oh by the way...someone he use to date. I hear him outside the door explaining what happened and then he asks her, if she would like to meet his wife. It is at this time I start examining myself.
I am sitting on a chair without shoes...I have bright blue pants on that are not buttoned or zipped...because I just gave birth and I can’t zip them...fortunately I have a blouse over the pants that covers this disaster...unfortunately it is a white blouse and I have no bra on...fortunately the blouse has ruffles. My hair was tied up when I went to sleep...its all over the map at that moment and mascara is smeared under my eyes. David is standing next to me with no shoes and no clothes except for his underwear...as I said it was a very hot evening. Fia is in my arms with a towel from the hospital...because she is also naked wearing only a wet diaper. John however, just got off his job at the hotel as a front desk clerk and is formally dressed in slacks and shirt and looks great. Yeah like I really wanted to meet Miss Yap!
Morale of the story....go to bed and get some sleep...or its one long nightmare for you and a traumatized family. Seriously, when we are beyond tired, we are more likely to mishandle things and to hit the hysteria button in record time....and when we are exhausted we are not the only one that pays the price...our family suffers right along with us. The key to staving off exhaustion is learning when to say No. It really is okay to say ... I just can’t do that ... sorry I’m a wimp...please keep looking until you find a superwoman that is more willing and capable.
We hear it preached all the time, there are many good things our church could be doing but we have chosen to focus our limited resources and time on what God has called us to do...evangelize, plant churches and disciple men. Well, there are many things you as a child of God and a woman could do...but you are called to love (and respect) your husband, raise your babies and maintain a sane nurturing home for your family. Everything else is possible ... only when it is not at the price of your family.
Unless of course you have a special calling to carve whales at midnight ... in which case occasional insanity is forgivable... just don’t make it a habit ... and please get some sleep... sanity is a precious thing to lose and I hear a good nights rest will keep you young, skinny, smart, lovely, witty, wise, happy, and did I mention...cool way cool.