Friday, March 1, 2013

Scaling Back

As I alluded to a bit in the last post (and as you might have noticed), I'm scaling back with the frequency of posts on the blog. For the longest time, I had plenty of things to say or post each day and had to restrain myself from posting more than once in a day sometimes. As life with Dean in particular and the boys in general has gone on, and as I've started working more and shifting my time, I'm finding that trying to post here every day stresses me out. So that's not good. 

As I'm prone to do, my thought was to go in the other direction and just close the blog. One extreme or the other. But I don't want to do that! Just know that I will not be posting as often and that that's *intentional* and not because I've forgotten about the blog or don't care as much about it anymore. 

Part of this is wrapped up in a greater campaign of Get Ali Back on Track. The pun here is unintended, but it is there because lately, my best friends have been

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

and this place

I've had scoliosis for quite some time, the origins of which are uncertain. Nothing ever really bothered me until I was pregnant with Cole and started experiencing significant sciatica. Ouchie. As I continued to hunch my way through the loosening ligaments of three pregnancies, nursing babies, lifting kids (in particular, a dead-weight low-toned toddler that was Dean pre-walking), and tons of computer-based studying (seminary) and work, my neck and back were/are a mess. I went to a chiropractor for a while after Cole was born and on and off until a bit after Emmett's birth. Then I took a break, but I can't deny the pain now. The boys are big enough that I can scoot out when they are at school or with a sitter and give my body the intensive chiropractic care it needs. My scoliosis is worse my neck is 10 degrees too far forward. All that to say, my body hurts. 

Something that annoys me to no end is when people tell me to take care of myself. Thank you, yes, I appreciate the sentiment, but it's often said with a tone of condemnation, as if to say, 'You have so much going on that it is understandable that you have not devoted an extreme amount of attention to yourself... so will you go ahead and devote an extreme amount of attention to yourself?' And it seems that it's often from people who if you said, "you know how I could better take you up on your advice? If you came over in the middle of the night to put my son's bipap mask on his face every time he took it off so I could get a full night's sleep," they would not really be interested in the topic anymore. I try to console myself by saying that people who say this especially to a mom of a kid with special needs just have no earthly clue what they're saying and that, if they knew, they would be sad about how much more they were just isolating the mom in saying so....

And in my mind, I never stopped taking care of myself. I didn't take up heroin shooting as a hobby or become a founding member of a local Moms Gone Wild chapter (don't Google this. It's probably real and I don't want to know what these people are doing). 

I did. the best. I could. with what. I could. 

I still do.

Have you done more? 

Now that I don't have a baby, or a baby-on-the-way, the definition of "taking care of myself" has changed. The limits are slightly more generous and I can define them more specifically besides "surviving to the end of the day" (although, let's be honest, those days still happen on occasion). Praise God! Having 3 children so closely together at a young age with an already-misaligned body probably was NOT a great idea, but at 31, I have (God willing) a generous amount of time to repair and heal and move forward. This is exciting to me!

In casual conversations with other special needs moms, a lot of us have bodies that have suffered alongside our kiddos. Coincidence? Are kids with special needs more likely to be born to moms (or dads) who have physical issues or who hold tension in their bodies? I don't think so.

The reality is that being the mom of a kid with special needs introduces a level of stress on the body that is unlike any other. I've had some of these issues for a long time, but the degree of pain that has accompanied my body in the past few years is like nothing I've experienced before. I'm 31, people. It's not old age. Fortunately, I believe in a God who heals...

"Jesus answered them, 'it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.'" - Luke 5:31

Jesus is referring to those who are spiritually sick and have no recognition of their need for healing. I think, in recognizing our physical limits, we also submit to a God who brings all kind of wellness. Thanks be to God.


Anonymous said...

Please please dont close the blog! I have an almost 2 year old with pws and have learned so much from you. And not just about pws! Happy to hear from you every few days! Or whatever works. Good luck with getting back on track. Sarah

Anonymous said...

My situation with work health survey:
Exercise more - less now because I moved to a location that has nowhere to walk at lunch time.
Lower your stress level - I was fine until the facility was shutdown.
Eat better - I have to cook for myself now, along with almost all the other chores, except for the ones that are good exercise.

Anonymous said...

I second Sarah - my oldest son is 2.5 and has PWS and I've learned a lot from blogs like yours!
And I'm also frustrated by people telling me to take care of myself, including my husband... "take some time for you do to some exercise/sleep/whatever" he says... is that during the 26 hours a week childcare I have during which I'm supposed to fit in 40 hours of work, or is that when I have the kids and am also trying to shop/clean/cook/take B to physio/speech therapy/actually enjoy the kids?! But I'm glad that now yours are a bit older you might actually be able to have some actual time for you! Rant over... my husband does also come home and go straight into bathing kids, washing up etc as well, so I think (hope?)it must just be all families with young kids? Or I'm doing something wrong...

Ali Foley Shenk said...

No worries! I'm not going anywhere, just can't promise that I'll post every day or even close to it. :) If there are any topics that anyone wants to hear about, please let me know, too!

Sophie, I do think it is slightly more possible once the kids are older. Emmett is only 2, but already he's at the point where I can leave him with somebody more easily and me being able to do something like get to the chiropractor 3 times a week is actually possible! And yes, I hear you on all the working and housekeeping and being with your kids and the rest of it! Umm, when am I supposed to rest? At least it's wonderful that you (like I) have a husband who helps out a ton! I don't think you're doing anything wrong at all!