Thursday, November 28, 2013

Receiving Kindness

I have not posted much in the last few weeks, but I have a pretty good reason.

Our dear sweet Alice arrived in early September and she has kept us all busy. She is a delight, though, I must say. Such a sweet baby!

Her birth has really made me realize how fantastic our network of friends is here, and how fortunate we are to have them.

It has also made me realize how important it is to receive kindness openly and gratefully.

See, I'm independent. I like being self-sufficient. I pride myself on being able to "do it all"-- have a full time job, have a family, have time to do family and job WELL, be creative on the side, be kind on the side... etc.  (while also recognizing that the demands on women in our society are pretty ludicrous and overwhelming. So, maybe I don't "do it all", but I have my own version of "doing it all").

Both of my sons' births were pretty run-of-the-mill. Relatively quick and easy, I was feeling back to normal soon after they were born. Alice was different. Her birth was quick and easy (maybe a little too quick, in fact. She was born just 7 minutes after we got to the hospital), but I had some issues with hemorrhaging afterwards. I'll save you the grisly details, but it was not pretty. And I was not well after. My hemoglobin levels were so low that they talked about giving me a blood transfusion, but the potential negatives didn't outweigh the benefits.

Here's my point: after Alice's birth, it wasn't a question of "doing it all". It really wasn't a question of doing anything. I couldn't physically walk more than a few steps without feeling exhausted. I wasn't allowed to hold her while standing or to drive, for fear I would pass out and hurt the baby or myself.

So for about two weeks I sat on the sofa and nursed the baby every two hours. I ate and nursed. I slept. I cried. I showered. That was it.

And my friends came through for us in the most incredible ways. They took our older boys on play dates, they delivered countless high-iron meals to restore my hemoglobin, they sent flowers and cards and gifts. They were amazing.

It was a good reminder to me that kindness isn't just about putting kindness out there, that sometimes it's about accepting that you just can't do it all alone.

It's about receiving the kindness of friends with grace and thankfulness.

Today (on American Thanksgiving), I wish you not only kindness, but also thankfulness.

Katharine Owens is a writer, professor, printmaker, mom, environmentalist, amateur naturalist, and lover of all things bug.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Just wow! And oh my goodness! I wasn't aware of your baby news! Congrats!!!! This post was a lovely reminder too! Yes, this holiday season there are so many things to be thankful for-- especially friends. Happy holidays! And bisous to you and yours from France!