It Takes a Village

Today Mark and I are attending a class at Sick Kids to learn about caring for your child’s G-tube. Now, I have experience caring for patients with G-tubes, but I think it will be good to refresh my knowledge, and to attend with Mark. I’ve known about this class for a few weeks, but it just dawned on me last week that since both Mark and I would be going to the class, we would need someone to watch Penelope while we were gone.

I thought for awhile about what our options were. She will need medication and at least one feed while we are at the class, so I need someone who is comfortable with caring for a baby with an NG tube- not an easy person to find. Luckily, I have a group of friends who are pediatric nurses, and I knew that the best solution to my problem would be to ask them for help.

How hard can it be to find someone willing to watch this sweet baby?

How hard can it be to find someone willing to watch this sweet baby?

As I sat down to write that email to the group, asking if any of them would be able to watch Penelope, I felt really nervous. I was worried about what they would think of me asking for help. As if needing assistance with my special needs baby was somehow a failure on my part. I knew this was an irrational thought- this group of women are the most wonderful, kind, caring, and generous group of people you could ever wish to meet. Logically, I knew that none of them would think of me as a failure for asking for help, but that irrational fear of being judged stuck in my head. For Penelope’s sake, though, I swallowed my fear and sent out my message.

It literally took less than an hour from the time I sent the message to have someone lined up to watch Penelope (thank you, Kelly!). Everyone in the group responded to me- if they weren’t available on the day I was asking about, they volunteered to watch her another time so that Mark and I don’t have to wait another year for a date night. Even my sister, who has her hands full with four girls of her own, including a 7 week old baby, offered to come into the city to help out if I couldn’t find someone to watch her. The warmth and kindness in these responses brought tears to my eyes, and the anxiety I had felt before sending that message felt even more irrational than before.

I’ve written here before about dealing with irrational thoughts. Worrying needlessly about things is something that I have struggled with for a long time. Over the years, it has probably cost me multiple opportunities for new friendships or new experiences.  I am so grateful that this time, I didn’t give in to that anxiety about being judged.

Asking for help can make us feel vulnerable. As if somehow, it represents a failure or a bad decision. The truth is, though, that everyone needs help from time to time, and the real failure lies in not recognizing that and not asking for help when you need it. The old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child” is certainly apt here (I don’t know where we would be without the support and help we have received from family and friends), and in fact I think it should be applied more broadly- it takes a village to live life.

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2 thoughts on “It Takes a Village

  1. I loved “It Takes a Village.” Your writing is so beautiful Julie. You are right, take the support of family and friends as it truly does take a village!

    • Thank you, Karen! My mom taught me the value of community a long time ago, and that influence is still with me. She often had to rely on help from many people outside our family- friends like you- and she accepted that help with grace and gratefulness.

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