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Surrender to the Beauty in the Breakdown

Photo Credit: Ravi Roshan





I have been giving others advice about how to support their wellness and fight off flu season.

I took all the precautions for me and my family.

Yet somehow I sat in the Minute Clinic parking lot, ugly crying into my face mask--you know the ones they give you that make you feel like a leper--wondering how did I get here?

I knew that this was going to be a busy week as I looked ahead to my calendar. Mastermind kick off and virtual essential oils event. 2018 had been off to a calm start, and I was ready to invite the energy in of consciousness and simplicity. I wanted to prove to myself that there is a way to be successful without all of the hustle. Faster isn’t always better, and it’s okay to unitask and unifocus. This was the energy I wanted for 2018.

3 days into the new year we got an unexpected snow storm. Like the strangest thing ever for Charleston, SC. It was legitimate snow and the city shut down for days. It gave us much needed family time and a chance to unifocus and unitask, as mentioned. 2018 was shaping up to be just as I intended.

A week later there was all this talk about flu. I took all the precautions. Disinfecting. Diffusing. Supplements. My family was not about to get sick. Ironically my essential oils event was about supporting wellness. I also knew that the mastermind was kicking off and I had this whole picture in my head of my introduction video to be polished with me as a professional thought leader. I would guide these women with all my wisdom and “togetherness”. Again irony struck its ugly head.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling just awful--head cold, sinus infection-like symptoms. Mikayla had started a fever Friday night in the middle of the night and on again off again Saturday. I felt perfectly fine. Even Sunday, I knew I needed the extra rest but I assumed everything would be fine after a little self care time--the weekend got busier than expected and I hadn’t slept much the night before with Mikayla’s fever situation. Later that night, however, I got the chills so badly and had a fever.

Monday morning I woke up at 5 am with a 104 fever. I called my midwives’ emergency line and they said it sounded like the flu and they would call me in Tamiflu when I woke up. I went back to sleep and woke up with no fever and feeling better so I thought maybe I was in the clear. I called the midwives back and said what if there is a mistake? I don’t want to take meds if I don’t need to, so they recommended that I go get a swab from urgent care. I drove 20 minutes, waited 20 minutes, only for them to tell me that they will not see pregnant women. WTF? I still don't understand that one except that it added to the drama of the day.

Then I found a Minute Clinic another 20 minutes away. There was an hour and a half wait. So many people there for flu kits. So many cases of flu outbreak that Charleston is having a shortage of Tamiflu. After the long wait, I finally went in with the nurse practitioner who did the swab. As we waited the 10 minutes for the results, we made small talk and I really felt in that moment that the test was going to come back negative.

As soon as the results came in, she handed me the mask and said “we’ve got a flu here”. I literally burst into tears. It brought up so much stuff for me. It reminded me of when I found out the news that I was having a miscarriage. It made me feel guilty for not getting a flu shot. I felt anxious about putting my baby at risk. She was supportive and kind. I left to get my meds--and then proceeded to ugly cry in my car.

After talking to my mom, who offered to fly out, I decided I should ask Mike to come home from work. The thought of taking care of MIkayla alone and sick was too overwhelming for me.This was a big surrender too. I wanted to push through and do it all on my own. I didn’t want to ask for help or support. I also couldn’t help but feel defeated after all that I have been doing to stay healthy during this pregnancy. Healthy meal prep. 90% Vegetarian. All the oils. and Supplements and Positive thinking.

In the end, I was faced with the irony--I am a fallible human. This entire pregnancy has been about surrender-- after miscarriage and then Zika virus paranoia and so much nausea. I just got off my anti-nausea meds 3 weeks ago and was finally glad to be med-free. Irony.

A few hours after my pity party-- I started to think about the beauty in the breakdown and all the other times when illness and devastation had their upsides too. When I was 4 years old I got pneumonia. This was very scary for my parents. At the time my grandparents were taking their annual trip to Aruba, and I had never been. My parents asked the doctors what they thought and they said a change of climate may be just what I needed. This kicked off an annual tradition of Aruba trips with my family, memories we will cherish for a lifetime. Beauty in the breakdown.

When I was in 8th grade I got mono. I was super sad to miss all of the 8th grade graduation parties and dances, but what I got from this experience was memories. My mom and I got to spend a lot of extra quality time together--as she told me stories about her childhood. And unlike most people who do not have an appetite with mono, I couldn’t get enough of the delicious food at my disposal. Everyone felt bad for me and would pamper me--pizza one day, Chinese the next, even hot fudge sundaes. That’s what I mostly remember about my mono experience. Beauty in the breakdown.

When I was 18 I got the flu while in college and they sent me home except that my family was off to Aruba that week. Part of me really feels like I was meant to go on that trip for it was the last time that they all got to go away with my grandparents. My grandpa died a few months later. Just as our family trips to Aruba began with my illness at 4 years old, perhaps they were meant to end the same way. Hindsight being what it is, I didn’t end up going, and instead I went to stay with my Nonna. This provided a really good chance for us to bond and for her to be a caregiver again in the wake of my Nonno’s death 5 years prior. Those are memories we will cherish forever. Beauty in the breakdown.

I thought about my miscarriage and how when I shared the news with my family, they drove 16 hours from Massachusetts in a hurricane to be with me. We shared tears yes but we also shared laughs and love and fun times. We had a chance to bond over life’s unexpected twists and turns. Again--the beauty in the breakdown.

And so after my ugly cry and self pity party and feelings of guilt, I decided that someday I will look back on this setback and see the beauty here too. And maybe I don’t have to wait until someday. I will get some much needed rest, which will be a rarity when baby #2 comes along. I will have the opportunity and permission to sit back and practice self care because what else do you do with an influenza diagnosis while pregnant when you’re out of work for the rest of the week? I will unifocus and unitask because isn’t that what I said I wanted more of in 2018 anyways?

Life is funny sometimes if you just learn to surrender and you learn to see that there is beauty all around us---even in--especially in--the breakdown moments.

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