I’m walking… okay, semi-running (in full disclosure… I was also in flip flops) down the street… step off the curb, half a block from my apartment and BAM! I’m in the street- ON the street having heard a CRUNCH SNAP CRACK as my left ankle buckled and slammed me into the dirty hot concrete.
I had been back in NYC a mere 18 hours. New York City literally welcomed me home with a giant kick in the ass- cause that’s her style you know.
No! This can’t happen! I have a goonie to chase! A job! 5 jobs actually! I live in a 4th floor walk up! No! This can’t happen! You’d think tears would spring to my eyes and pain would surge through my body but all I felt was anger and inconvenience and some serious disappointment.
I dragged my sorry self to the sidewalk and called my friend who was playing with my little gal at the park two blocks away, “I just fell and I’m pretty sure I broke my ankle”. He rushed over and together we figured out a course of action, called my hubby while he wrangled my girl and some kindly strangers (yes, there are a few kindly strangers in New York) brought me a chair and ice.
In the 10 or so minutes he spent on the curb continually chasing my toddler and navigating a busy street, cigarette butts, old gum and her desire to run up to every dog including those with muzzles and an appetite for wiry baby girls, I realized that it would be quite some time before I would be able to fully parent alone again. This is SO unfair. It’s summer and I am just finding my flow with work and life and a more positive outlook. Now I can’t even take my kid to the park. Wear her. Push a stroller.
I had quite the pity party in my little mind before we even reached the hospital.
The X-Ray showed that there are no broken bones. But possible tendons ripped from the bone? This would account for the very strange sensations in my foot and inability to flex the foot beyond a degree or two. I was handed a prescription for painkillers, some crutches and a referral for an orthopedic surgeon.
Luckily my inlaws are within driving distance and even luckier, my sister in law is away and we can stay in her apartment which is the floor below my in-laws (luckier still- there’s a big screen TV with cable). My husband had two non negotiable 12 hour work days ahead and without this option we’d be hooped.
It’s been 4 days and I am hopeful that things are improving and that my up coming consult and MRI will show little more than a bad sprain and a short recovery time. But in the meantime? I’m basically postpartum again. My only job? Nurse the baby.
It’s all coming back to me. Being laid up in bed unable to get the smallest thing. Needing my phone, water, a snack and other supplies within arms reach. Going outside is virtually impossible. It is super easy to feel down and trapped and cut off from everything. It is equally difficult to ask for the support I want and need and to accept help. And I’m really struggling to feel like I am worthy of rest, recuperation and giving myself permission to do nothing but heal. And nurse the baby.
Is this the lesson? I’m pretty sick of universal smack down lessons. I’m a reasonably aware individual but I am struggling to understand why I need to be slowed down right now. I like motion, I like having lots going on (I was headed home to dig up my old acting info to submit to my agent for a film role I’d be great for… and was so excited to be re-opening that chapter). I am better when I am busy and my version of balance is being in the flow and engaging lots of different parts of myself at once. If I am going to slow down I will slow down on a farm in the country- not in NYC where you have to have 9 streams of income and eat or be eaten thank you very much.
So maybe its a chance to heal my own postpartum experience. And to remember what it is like to be in that space. Maybe it will make me a more compassionate doula and remind me of how big of a task going to the bathroom can feel. Or how staying in bed all day nursing can make you want to climb the walls with boredom. Or that it is actually really hard to ask for what you need (even when people are specifically asking). Or what a strain on a relationship it can be for mom to be out of commission and dad to be working outside of the home and also managing all the heavy lifting of meals, cleaning and errand running inside of the home. Or that we need community. That I need community. That it is okay to receive. To just BE sometimes and not DO. Or maybe its enough to finally get us out of this 4th floor walk up (anyone know of a spacious 2BR first floor apartment with a garden in Williamsburg or Greenpoint with tons of closet space and a great kitchen for under $2000/month? And while I’m at it- does anyone have an invisible unicorn I can borrow?)
Whatever it is- I’m in it to win it. Must get comfortable asking for what I need and how I need it. Must get comfortable integrating the lesson I try and bestow on new moms that “the most important thing you can do right now for your family is rest and heal”. Must validate that wisdom by living it. Must get comfortable in the knowledge that although I like being busy and engaged with life there is no valor in rush and struggle- and sometimes less is more.
And to all my mamas holed up in their apartments with achy lady parts and leaky boobies- I’m with ya in spirit sisters!