Lessons I Learned When I Fractured My Foot

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A few weeks ago, I woke up with a severely swollen right foot. I couldn’t put any weight on it at all. Next to an unmedicated childbirth, it was the most pain I’ve ever felt. It was the kind of pain that makes you nauseous. And I didn’t know where it came from.

When I got to the doctor the next day, x-rays revealed that I had fractured it. That was certainly a surprise! Since it had been bothering me for a few weeks anyway, I now assume it had been mildly fractured for a while, and my continued dancing from my adult ballet class had never let it properly heal.

While in a boot for two weeks, I had plenty of time to reflect and learned a few lessons.

1. It’s ok to rest.

As women and parents, we shouldn’t have to give ourselves permission to rest. But it seems like we do, and when we give ourselves permission, we often rationalize it. Too often, we feel we need to be everything to everyone. 

When my doctor told me I had to rest my foot, I outright laughed at him. I have three kids. I work a couple of jobs. I have responsibilities. I didn’t understand the concept of rest, and it was hard to figure out how to do that.

But then I realized that if I wanted my foot to heal correctly, I had to rest it. I didn’t have time for a longer recovery. 

It took a little practice, literally telling myself out loud to “stay put.” Even without an injury, we all need more practice listening to our bodies. Society tells us that resting is bad and that every second of our waking hours should be full. I like to get a lot accomplished during the day, but I learned how much more productive I could be when I learned how to take some time to turn it off.

2. It’s ok to ask for help.

I pride myself on being super independent. I like to take on everything myself, don’t like being told what to do or how to do it and like to accomplish as many things as humanly possible in a day. Usually, when someone tells me I can’t do something, it makes me want to prove them wrong, but there were just some things I couldn’t do (or would be downright dangerous to do) with a boot on. Just like when I was postpartum with my twins, I had to get over myself, accept some of my limitations at this moment, and ask for help. 

Even now that my foot is mostly healed, I find myself not feeling like I’m failing every time I ask for help with something. It was a necessary lesson for me to learn. Everyone needs help at one point or another. Asking when you need it isn’t a failure; it’s a triumph.

3. It’s ok to slow down.

If you’ve ever walked with a boot on or had an injury that makes walking difficult, you know it just takes longer to get places. My family is used to me moving quickly throughout my day. I walk fast, run up and down the stairs, and get annoyed when our animals are underfoot.

Moving more slowly caused a lot less pain, so I learned that it just took as long as it took to get places. My kids had to learn to be patient with me, taking longer to get to them. It gave them more opportunities to do more things independently throughout their day. Moving more slowly wasn’t as annoying as I anticipated it to be. And it turns out that I enjoyed not seeing life passing by in a blur like it usually does.

I never thought I would need to sustain an injury to get myself into a better frame of mind and create some boundaries around how I live life.
 
I look back now, and I realize how important it is for my children to see parents who don’t always move at the speed of light, who can accept their limits and know when to ask for help, and who understand that they don’t always have to push through the pain (physical, mental, or emotional) just because they are parents.

It should never take an injury to make a person slow down, but that’s what my fracture was for me. I want all moms to know that even though we think we can do it all, it’s exhausting to always be everything for everyone. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to slow down. And it’s ok to rest.

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Charity is originally from CT, but grew up in New Hampshire. She returned to CT in 2000 for college, and currently resides in Monroe with her husband (married in 2011) and three children (A son born in 2012 and identical twin daughters born in 2017). Charity works part time as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the CT Birth to Three system. She thinks it's the best of both worlds because she gets to work in a job she loves (and needs to pay off those hefty grad school loans!) and be home a few days a week with her children. Charity enjoys theatre, and brings her son often. This past year, she discovered her gifts as an intuitive medium. You can visit her personal website at: www.charityferrisintuitivemedium.mypixieset.com.

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