being confined to bed rest for 10 weeks feels a lot like a prison sentence. i say this without hyperbole, if i'm being honest. there are lots and lots of people who can't get out of bed and are stuck in the hospital for one reason or another. but most of them don't actually feel like getting out of bed. there's an entirely different element of difficult in that, but to be confined to a bed when you feel perfectly fit for living life as usual...well. that's another matter entirely.
the quickest way for me to feel hot tears springing to my eyes is for me to think about all the things i am currently unable to do. i won't make a list for you now, but let me assure you: it's very very long.
the key to mental survival is diversion and distraction. keep your hands busy. think about things that are far enough in the future to be well removed from your mental to-do list that keeps getting longer and longer from all the things currently left undone.
so i've thought a lot about parenting.
ours is a culture that scoffs at those who would seek to prepare for big life events in advance. marriage. having children. being a doctor. these are things that one couldn't possibly know anything about until you're there. in it. doing it. we're much more likely to plan for a wedding, a birth, a med school graduation, than for the events that follow. but i would argue that it doesn't hurt to think about it. mentally traverse the road on which you're about to embark. explore different schools of thought. premeditate a little. so that when you're finally there and it's all hitting you at once, you've at least thought about it a bit. there's no way to fully prepare, to be sure. but a start is a start, yes?
Nick and I had a brief engagement--5 months. our med school schedules didn't really allow for any kind of formal premarital counseling, so we improvised. we bought a book with a stupid title--Don't Get Married Until You Read This!--and every Saturday morning, we cozied up in a Chicago coffee shop and thumbed through the pages, asking each other questions from the book. questions like who will handle the finances? when do you envision us buying a house? who should be responsible for cooking, cleaning, housework? and are you gay and just marrying me to cover it up? sometimes the topics seemed ludicrous. others spawned some really great conversations. it was one of my favorite things about that time we spent in anticipation of our life together--the way we both committed to preparing for our life together.
we've sort of taken to parenting in the same fashion. there are a few baby books we're committed to reading, but there have been other timely HuffPost articles, Netflix documentaries, Modern Family episodes, etc that have all sparked some great conversations too.
there's a comfort in these conversations for me. especially when so much of the parenting is being done by me and me alone right now. talking to Nick about how we hope and plan to raise our daughter helps me to feel like we're in this together. it reminds me that, someday soon, there WILL be life outside the four walls of room 508. and that this is temporary. it should be my mantra: bed rest is temporary. parenting is forever. and to all who have admonished that your life is over once you have kids, i would argue that my life will begin again when hers does. bringing our baby girl home will be such a sweet, long-awaited moment for all of us. our lives will never be the same.
and thank god for that.
photo: unknown, via Pinterest