Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On accepting help


I am fiercely independent and determined to do things myself. I generally prefer to do things myself rather than watch someone else do it half-assed or inferior to how I would do it. Rarely will I admit that I cannot do something-- I will try every avenue to accomplish something myself before asking for help. These characteristics apply to my personal and professional life.

For the first time in 28 years I find myself having to ask for help and relying on others to do things for me. It is uncomfortable. It is awkward. It is also extremely humbling and a reminder that I am human.

Apparently a cesarean section is a big deal. Since I have been taking only ibuprofen and haven't really had any pain, this is a little hard for me to believe. I received a heap of post-op instructions that I am trying to follow. Despite my desire to live life as normal, I have been relying on family and friends to drive me around and asking my husband to do things that normally I would do myself. It is amazing how losing something as simple as the ability to drive suddenly made me feel so trapped, so reliant on others. And so day after day this week I have called people in my life and asked them to do something for me. I am allowing others to drive me. I am accepting offers to help, to cook dinner, to visit me.

These small things are difficult enough for me to accept. But the added challenge of learning to care for two preemie babies has been a real opportunity for me to accept the help of others. While there is certainly some parts of motherhood that I think are natural, so much of caring for a preemie baby is completely unnatural to me. Additionally, I have TWO babies who are immensely different in their needs and their progress. I spend hours each day in the NICU with my babies. Brandon and I are able to change their diapers, take their temperatures and then feed them. Every feeding presents new problems and I think that in eight days I have only fed Grace once without having to ask a nurse for help. But every time I go back, I ask questions and learn from what each nurse has to say.

In only one week I have had to abandon my stance as the strong, independent Erin and admit that I need help and the result has been suprising. I feel more love and support because I have allowed people in my life to share their gifts with me. This week I learned that NICU nurses are a true gift to my girls and to Brandon and I. They are patient as they teach us how to care for Grace and Ana. I feel more and more confident every day because of what they share with us. In my personal life, accepting help has given me the opportunity to spend time with people I love as they drive me to and from the hospital. It gives me a chance to draw from their strength and love. I realized this morning that I was happy to have 20 minutes to spend with someone else as I let them share their generosity and love with me. I am immensely grateful to everyone who has reached out to help our family. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Finally, the last week has given me the chance to spend time each day with my mom. Whether for a short visit or a ride home, my mom has rearranged her whole life to help me. And only 8 days into their lives, I already know that when my girls need me, I will drop everything for them.


  1. This post is so sweet Erin and paradigmatic of what I think all first-time mothers feel. Even if the challenges seem simpler, we all realize we really do need help. We are not alone. And I think that is part of growing to realize how much your children need you. Your capacity to accept love mirrors your capacity to give it back to your children.

    Thank you for sharing! Rest up and continue healing.

  2. SO, so much to say.

    Your daughters are GORGEOUS.

    You are learning lessons that took me years of parenting to accept. In fact, I think it was when I had my unplanned c-section...which, by the way, I am so happy you aren't in pain. I was incapacitated for weeks.

    I am home Wed-Fri, and am happy to come visit you :)

    xoxoxoxoxoxo :)))

    PS, It's time to update your About Me blurb to include MOM.

  3. So beautiful Erin!!! It's hard to accept help sometimes but so necessary and someday you will share with your girls this story and how much love there is in their lives.

  4. I am ready to visit very soon too! Monday and/or Tuesday of Thanksgiving, Blake will be in school and I have the days off. You are absolutely beautiful and I am positive you ARE an Awesome mother!