No woman is an island (even if are feeling like you are large enough to be one).
It has taken me 28yrs and 6m being pregnant to realize that, sometimes, even I can't do it all. I still try. Oh boy, do I still try!
Asking for help has never been easy for me. It always feels like I'm admitting defeat. That I'm incapable of doing something. I know a large part of this is due to frequently being underestimated in my abilities by others. How on earth could a small, little female like me be able to do (fill in the blank) ? So I overcompensated. to show them that not only CAN I do it, I can do it better than they can. This worked well for me for a good number of years. Plus, this kept others from not meeting my exacting standards for things. If there was one thing I could say I honestly hate, it is having to go behind other people to do thing correctly or to fix their half-effort attempt.
It has taken me years to relinquish control of several household chores to the Hubs. Call me crazy, but I use to prefer to do all the laundry, dishes, 90% of the household cleaning, all because our definitions of clean were... different, to say the least. Slowly, I let him help where and when he offered. Mostly because I ended up not having time between going to school full-time and working about 30hrs to do much of anything at some points. A semi-clean house was miles better than a not clean house, right? Eventually, I put him in charge of a few chores and he was openly welcomed to help with anything else he wanted to do around the house. There was no way I could keep up with keeping things clean between the 2 of us, the 2 cats, and the 2 (adorable) fur explosions we call dogs while working ~50hr a week.
The 1st trimester, I was so worn out to be much good at anything. That and the constant nausea prevented me from doing any chores that had even a slight odor. The Boy was stellar here. Sure, our house wasn't spick and span, but it was passable and liveable. Once the nausea and utter fatigue passed/lessened, I was back to doing more. (I'll admit here that I didn't pick up all the things I was doing before. Hey, it was pretty nice not having to do all the cleaning and sitting around instead).
The 2nd trimester, I've been more involved. Not just with household cleaning. I've been back to helping with all the projects around the house, doing more at work. It feels great to have energy to do things, even if I tend to overdo them just a touch. I no longer feel delegated to the sidelines.
Except, that's where people keep putting me or at least trying. Now that I'm "noticeably" pregnant, sure people are nicer to me and are offering their help left and right, but they are also pretty quick to try and prevent me from doing things. Oh no you don't! I may be pregnant, but that doesn't mean I'm disabled. I can still do lots of things, even some manual labor. For the most part, I just have to modify how I do thing. However, there are things that I admit I can no longer do at all (Goodbye, heavy lifting and repetitive bending over). But all their objections and coddling has kicked my "I'll show them" overcompensation into overdrive.
Exhibit A: The last month of my life - At work, things have picked up for me. I have had the usual lab work, no problem, additional (and time demanding) tissue culture for a collaborative project, and that manuscript/paper I've been making figures for and writing. At home, I've been involved as much as I could in the demo of our old deck, the construction of the new, larger one, and all that goes with it. The build ended up being more involved and took longer than we initially thought. Now that the platforms are fully constructed, we've been trying to work on the staining and railing construction, when the weather decides that it isn't going to try to wash us all away. I haven't had a weekend off this whole month. The one weekend where I wasn't doing work or home stuff, we hit the beach for a impromtu family reunion of sorts as Hubs' brother and family flew in for a week from California. We hadn't seen them all in about 2yrs, and hadn't meet the youngest niece at all! While it was tons of fun, I wouldn't call staying in a house with 8 other adults and 5 kids (4 were under 4yrs) super relaxing.
Oh, and I've forgotten to mention that my younger sister is still staying with us, and now my dad has started his new job in the area, (but due to his several days on and off schedule that makes it difficult to rent a place cost-effectively and older vehicle) stays the night at our place as well on work nights.
In the last 2 weeks, I've made next to no progress on that paper writing. I had to keep pushing back when I said I'd hand it over to the boss. It was defeating me. I didn't want to give into it, so I kept struggling. Add in crazy hormones to that frustration and you get an awesome meltdown. I realized, between my snotting and sobbing over failing at everything, that I just have taken too much onto my plate. I just can't do it all. At least, not right now. If I wasn't in my current "condition", I could probably make some serious progress staying up later and pushing myself a bit more. Right now though, that isn't a viable option. I sleep poorly as it is, so all the rest I can get is desperately needed. It just isn't healthy or a good idea to strain myself that much at the moment. I wouldn't be the only one suffering.
What's a Type A, over-achiever to do? I squeezed into my big girl panties and sucked it up. I met with the boss man and let him know that I'm not getting anywhere on the paper due to not having time outside work hours and no time during them without letting other work suffer. It was a bit of a relief, but I still almost cried. He was super understanding and asked if I wanted his help with the paper. He didn't want to take it away from me as he felt I should have ownership of all aspects of that project. But if I wanted, he would be willing to finish it for me. Part of me still felt like a failure, throwing in the towel. He understood that too. He's a classic over-achiever as well. He did admire my choice of self and family over work a bit. Apparently, if he could go back, he would like to change how often he worked instead of spending more time with his family.
I know this is just the start of me needing to let things go and start asking for help more regularly. It's creeping into all sorts of corners of my life. More and more, I've had to ask the Boy for help getting up from certain positions and to carry things that I previously could. I know I'm going to need a lot more help with little things and big things as time ticks by and I get bigger. Oh and definitely if/when the baby comes.
It's dawning on me that just because I can't do every little thing myself, it doesn't mean I'm incapable or worthless. Just human. And pregnant.