I've had three children, all of which were high risk pregnancies. Because of this, my Doctor ordered strict bed rest from seventeen weeks on. Her goal was to get me to at least 36 weeks gestation. No physical activity of any kind was allowed, except for the required weekly Doctor's visit.
The highlight of my pregnant life was when I'd finally get to leave my house, once a week, for the drive to my Doctor's office. With my husband at the wheel, I'd roll down the car window, even though it was December, and breathe in the fresh outdoor air till my lungs couldn't hold any more.
As I spent month after pregnant month, laying on the sofa on my left side, I promised myself I would never take physical movement and health for granted. I knew I'd never complain again about having things to do, because I'd be so grateful that I'd be physically capable of it.
Friends and family would stop by during this time, and visitors would joke, "I wish I had orders to just lay around!" I'd give them a half smile, not wanting to use any energy to explain how very difficult it is to just lay. To be at everyone's mercy for anything you need done. There would be no way possible, to explain in words, how it felt as if the world were passing you by, while you lay - forgotten - and no longer contributing to it.
I think of all my husband had to do while I was on bed rest. Besides the physical duties that fell to him, he also had to become my live-in psychologist. He'd cheer me on, reminding me I was doing that which only could be done by me.
I'd try to listen, and would hope to feel differently; but the loss of mobility is one that messes with your mind.
My bed rest days are long behind me now, but the sting of dependency occupies a permanent corner in my psyche. I will never take my working body for granted.
I give thanks for my hands that were able to clean and caress my babies when they were little, my legs that now carry me outside for a walk in the sunrise, my arms that are strong enough to lift a fallen child, my body that can dance in joyful celebration with a friend.
Today, as I move about my morning, running up and down the stairs carrying laundry with nothing to stop me, washing my floors with the energy that comes with the gratefulness of being able to move, I am more than humbled at my good fortune and health.
What makes my appreciation even deeper is the memory of the time that I prayed for a return to just the mundane.
I will never take the daily for granted. And I am deeply appreciative of it.
This past Saturday morning, my friend's sister, Mary, was hit from the front by a car that never saw her. She was out for her daily 9:30 a.m. walk. Mary has multiple fractures of both arms. She won't be able to use either of her arms for two or more months.
I'm sure she can't wait to get back to what her life was, one that she may have not thought of before: that of being able to do whatever it is she needs to.
Mary, I am sending love and good thoughts your way. I know that your bones will heal. I also know that when you're back to being able to care for yourself, and your family, that you'll see your wonderfully able body in a thankful light.
In the same way that I've come to see mine.
Get well soon, M.