Two weeks ago, I encountered a hospital lunch delivery of a beautifully prepared Greek salad, adorned with romaine lettuce, feta cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives, and of course Greek dressing on top. Since consuming this mini-masterpiece, I began requesting it on my meal card on a daily basis. As the days progressed, my Greek salad hopefuls resembled little of the original and the impostor salads frustrated me to no avail. Finally, over the weekend, I decided to express my aggravation (in a nice, but assertive way of course) to the meal services department and was a little shocked to discover that the concept of a Greek salad was completely Greek to the woman on the other end of the line.
My inability to prepare my own meals is just one example of many that have been completely and utterly out of my control since being in confinement. During my pregnancy and even before, I would ardently discuss my concerns about having a baby with my friends. My friend, Jessica and I would ruminate about our biggest anxieties having a baby would entail. Jessica admitted to a fear of sleep deprivation while I feared having to let go of some of my controlling, neurotic tendencies. I often wondered: Would my house remain perfectly spotless? How would I find the time to exercise? Would I still have the time to cook wholesome meals?
My daily schedule, life, and ritualistic behavior was based on a carefully collaborated model, in which I was the solitary enforcer. During times when I felt out-of-control, the full fledged OCD would kick into overdrive, and I would diligently clean everything within my personal radius; cook and bake until my kitchen literally kicked me out, due to overuse of equipment, smoke, and heat; and exercise for no less than an hour at the gym (think: Courtney Cox's character, Monica, from friends). I would then have anxiety that I had unhealthy behaviors and fanatically try to balance these unhealthy tendencies with healthy ones such as eating well, trying to get enough sleep, etc. Like I have blogged before, I am the first to admit that yes, I have issues!
The first few days of being chained to the bed, I was pained both physically as well as emotionally. I had no other choice but to wave my white flag of defeat and surrender complete control of my life in order to guarantee the well-being of incubation Baby. This initial defeat was accompanied by a tumultuous tsunami of anxiety, as I thought about every facet of my now-abandoned life that had either been taken for granted or overly controlled.
Eventually, after I succumbed to my situation, my anxiety significantly lessened, and now, it is almost nonexistent for the first time in my life. I began to realize that the more control I believed I could exert over my life, the more of an out-of-control spiral I weaved. Now, that I have absolutely no control, I have minimal anxiety. My daily schedule lies in the hands of the hospital staff, including the time of day I take my medications, my good-patient privileges, and even when and how the meals are served. My house, bills, and errands are now managed by my husband; the responsibilities of my job have now been dispersed among my boss and colleagues; and my mom helps pick up the other scattered pieces of my life. The one thing that I still can minimally control is that I am feeding Baby J good nutrients and following the Doctor's orders to remain in bed the majority of the time.
As the days passed by, I eventually came to accept the fact that my coffee may sometimes arrive lukewarm with sugar, instead of Splenda; my French toast may arrive on white bread, despite my bold, obnoxious letters, which scream FRENCH TOAST ON WHEAT BREAD ONLY; and my turkey sandwich request may be mistaken for ham (of course all of these casualties are much preferable to ice chips!). However, after I sat on the phone with the food services department and patiently explained the intricacies in making a Greek salad, she delivered and it was delicious! And, if I never received my perfectly fantasized salad, I would have eventually gotten over it. To my amazement, my complete rendering of control does not signify that it is the end of the world, but quite the opposite, the beginning of a new life....