A few years ago, I was trying to decide if I should pursue some medical testing and intervention for a chronic set of symptoms. I put off medical consultation for many reasons: my schedule, my role as a mother, my ambivalence about taking care of myself ahead of others. As time went by, my medical situation did not magically solve itself as I had hoped. Apparently, ignoring and avoiding are not approved medical approaches. (I thought I was “monitoring the situation” – but I was wrong. I was avoiding.) Eventually my doc, who is incredibly wise, said, “Would you let your child experience this?”
I was horrified. Of course I would not let my child experience this debilitating situation that was interfering with daily life activities…..oh, I see. As my doc pointed out, I was modeling decision making, but this was not the type of model I wanted to be.
And thus began my new standard of care. “Would I let my child experience this?” If the answer is no, then I call my doc and get an appointment, and actually follow directions in a timely manner. As an example last month I stepped on a nail, waited for 2 days, and then had an appointment. I’m not perfect, but I’m getting closer to the medical decision making model I would like to be for my child.
Self-care can be such a burden. We seem to be conditioned to take care of others first, next, and last, and sometimes fail to put ourselves on the list. But would you let your child experience (insert thing here: untreated trauma, crumbling shoes, lack of sleep, unrealistic expectations)? If not, ahem, maybe you want to talk to my doc????