Monday, August 31, 2009

No crutch for me, please.


The Gorman household is officially pacifier-free!
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Deirdre was never a die-hard fan of her paci, but a few months back, she reacquainted herself with the binkster and used it to fall asleep during nap time and at night. She would suck on it for about five minutes, let it fall out, then fall dead asleep. She wouldn't need/use it again until the next time she was in her crib. I wasn't worried about weaning her off until her 1st birthday (or even later), but about a week ago, she started throwing the paci out of her crib before falling asleep. I figured that was a signal that she was pretty much finished with the thing. So, on the second day she threw out the paci, we just left it where it fell - and never put it back in her crib.


I fooled myself into thinking that those five little minutes with the pacifier weren't that important, but apparently, they were quite precious to Miss Deirdre. On that third day, when she realized that Mr. Paci wasn't anywhere to be found, she wasn't very happy. During the couple of days that followed, the first 15-20 minutes of her naps were anything but tear-free, and she even skipped a few because she just couldn't fall asleep. But, all in all, the little lady has done pretty well, and now goes down without too much fuss. She doesn't quite jump into bed like she used to, and she certainly takes a little longer to fall asleep...but I'm happy to say that the worst seems to be over. Thanks to my good friend Liz for encouraging me to end the paci-fest while it was still early.
***
Realizing that Deirdre has had to re-learn how to fall asleep without the pacifier makes me think of the "re-learning" I had to do when I made the decision to stop working full-time. Because the stress and long hours of full-time work was exacerbating my lupus activity to the point where my health was severely deteriorating, I made the decision to resign from my job. I took a part-time, work-from-home position at the same company. While I know I was fortunate to a) have the option to take a pay cut and b) have a part-time position available to me, I can't tell you how difficult it was to emotionally break free from my full-time work. I enjoyed my job, loved the people I worked with, and felt good about all I had accomplished. My identity was wrapped up in my job - and I underestimated the feelings of security, comfort, and familiarity that I derived from working full-time. My job helped shape me as the independent, confident woman I was; stripped of my armour, I wasn't quite sure what would be left.
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Could I still be that strong, accomplished person? Would I be able to relearn how to be "me" without my work? The answer to both questions is yes. Even after quitting my part-time job two years later, today, I can proudly say that I've licked them both.
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Having published a book, birthed a baby, and maintained my health during both processes - I couldn't feel more accomplished. The security blanket of working full-time is no longer needed. In fact, I think I might feel a little suffocated by working, now that I've been away from it.
***
What a fabulous feeling not to need that crutch - I wish I could explain to Miss Deirdre how liberating it is not to need something "external" to feel good, confident and secure. I know she'll come around...she's practically there. Before I know it, she'll be jumping into bed, without even thinking about that silly old paci. Goodness knows I don't give much thought to that lost commute every morning. How long did it take me not to miss that? About a week? If that!

1 comment:

Sadaf said...

I was recently diagnosed with Lupus and I'm going through the EXACT same thing you did 2 years ago. I've been off work now for 5 months and the new medication I'm on has messed with my brain. I know I can't go back to my 1.25 hr commute each way on a crowded subway and then deal with a very demanding (albeit a well-paying) job. Then, to top it off, I had a seizure last month and the govt took away my driver's license probably for another year. I've been struggling to cope. Thankfully I have a 4 year-old to keep me busy and I've started writing a romance novel (something I've wanted to seriously do for the last 2 years) which I hope to complete by the end of this year. Just wanted to say that I'm happy for you and your post was a source of inspiration for me. I think I'll be alright. Thank you.