Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On Sucking It Up

Last week my doctor said I was a hero for getting through this pregnancy. Hero! And, of course, I instantly started tearing up. It felt so good to have a person that knows about all my aches and pains and voms for the last 5 months and still believes me and supports me and acknowledges that this has been hard.

Because besides the words of sympathy and confusion (you are STILL sick?) I get, the next most common comment has been that I just need to suck it up. Which implies that somehow I am at fault for my own illness. (I could write volumes on how our culture tends to blame the sick person for being sick, but that is another post for another day)

Suck it up and go for a walk. Suck it up and go to a restaurant. Suck it up and go to work.
My cousin threw up until she delivered and she still went to work every day.
My friend's sister-in-law had what you have and she still gained weight.
My aunt's cousin's niece had severe pain too and she still blah blahed.


Kudos to whomever you know who was doing a much better job at feeling like super poop, but I'm not her.

I'll be the absolute first to admit I'm not good at sucking it up. I prefer comfort above all else. I prefer my cozy slippers to bare feet. A sweater at the lightest chill. I have lived for the last 4 months wrapped in the coziest blanket I own, named Rolf (after the Sesame Street dog it resembles). I will buy a dress solely on it's ability to not require Spanx. At the first sign of a cold I will take to my bed.

You get the point.

I see no need to be a hero unless you have to. That just makes you feel worse, your illness last longer, or you infect other people. I positively marvel at those with morning sickness who still make food for their family. Seriously. They need medals.

You can't even blame my mom for this behavior. If I wasn't throwing up, bleeding, or with a temp over 101 - I was at school. Usually I had to go to school until a nurse diagnosed me with one of the aforementioned ailments. Besides a case of bronchitis/pneumonia in first grade I was usually at the top of the class for attendance. Birthdays, deaths, inclement weather: no excuse! My mom would probably run six errands in a tornado warning with a broken limb before checking herself into the emergency room and never whisper a complaint. Again. I'm very proud of her, but that's not me.

In my defense I CAN suck it up if there is an absolute need. I don't have many examples of that but I do know I have hauled myself out of bed after abdominal surgery to attend to emergencies and the needs of my sweet puppy. I'm not worried about being able to suck it up for my child when life requires it which I'm sure it will.

But why court misery? Right now I don't need to attend to anything other than trying to be comfortable and hanging in there for 9-10 more weeks.

So I just can't take it personally. My doctor thinks I'm a hero and that is the warm hug I need to get across the finish line. I know I'm doing the best I can. I'm grateful for the ever increasing hours every day that I feel better than before.  And the next time someone mentions sucking it up I'll invite them to come over around 4PM and they can hold my hand and/or my hair for the next hour or two of total pleasantry and we can suck it up together!

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