The Lesson I Learned (Again) About Comparing Myself To Anyone Else

(WARNING: this one’s not for sensitive eyes!  I let the four-letter words out below as I feel them.)

The What

Here’s something you may have never heard or read from me before--I’m pissed off.

I know… I’m a coach—I’m not supposed to have negative feelings.  Blehhh. 

But I’m human.
Particularly, the female kind.
The pregnant female kind.

So yes, while most of my working time is spent helping other humans harness the power of their thoughts and intentions, I'm not enlightened all of the time.

I'm pissed off, and I'm giving myself permission for it to be ok.  Even if only for today.

The Why

At the time that I write this, I'm at the beginning of the third trimester of my fourth pregnancy. 

When I was just 5 weeks pregnant, without obvious explanation I woke up one morning in the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.  Worse than labor, worse than recovery from Cesarean delivery, worse than ruptured ovarian cysts. 

This pain I was experiencing was manifesting as low back pain that was so intense.  It alternated between paralyzing pain and drop-me-to-my-knees pain.  I was simultaneously terrified that something was really wrong with my pregnancy and wracked with the guilt of feeling that if this was what this pregnancy was going to be like... I didn’t want to be pregnant.

 Ugh...  That’s so hard to write...

While I was healing from this mysterious onset of 11/10 low back pain, I had to do things that are all too often so very hard for us moms to do. 

I had to let the house go.
I had to let the kids watch a LOT of t.v.
I had to cancel a week’s worth of appointments with patients.
I had to refer some of them to other offices for the care they needed because I just didn’t know when I’d be able to get dressed again to leave the house, much less adjust my patients.

What felt like the worst part of all was that I was just starting to feel like my practice was heading exactly where I wanted it to go:

Most of my patients were pregnant moms,
I was excited to support them through their pregnancies,
and I really felt like my work was in alignment with my core values.

You know... dream-life kinda stuff. 

While I knew that I could and would recover my business when the time was right, it really sucked to feel like what I had been building was crumbling.

I stayed as positive as I could, though,
because that’s what I was supposed to do, right?

After a lot of rest and ice and great adjustments, I got back to normal pregnant life.

Fast-forward about four months, and I'm now looking at more unexpectedness in my plans and goals for my career. 

{{insert annoyed eye-roll here}}

With the addition of a newborn to our family (and with support, encouragement and inspiration from the amazing Dr. Karen Gardner and Rockstar Doctor Mom Melissa Longo), I decided a few weeks ago to transition my practice to a home office. 

My thoughts were all positive and cheery, like this:

"GREAT!
This will be PERFECT!
Ultra-low expenses, no commute, a solid tax deduction.
The kids can be playing upstairs while I’m seeing patients downstairs.
I’ll never have to worry about forgetting pump parts at home.
Hell, I can even pop dinner into the crock pot between appointments.
I'm gonna have the best life ever now." 

So, with a projected completion date of August 31, 2017 for our new home (and yes, my new office!) I was full of excitement and anticipation. 

I was totally ready to rock'n'roll in my new space.

BUT...

August 31 came and went and our house was nowhere near ready.
Then the next deadline—September 15th….
Now the next new estimated completion date--October 20th.

That’s less than 3 weeks away, and I just don’t see the house being finished in that timeframe. 
I mean, there's still no sinks or toilets!

Ok, well... there IS a port-a-potty in the front yard, but...
I'm pregnant!  I pee a lot!  In the middle of the night!
Am I wrong for wanting an indoor toilet???

There's carpeting and painting and light-fixture-hanging and door-installing to still be done.

Another deadline very likely to come and go...

All of these arbitrary deadlines...
in addition to building a new house, selling an old house, raising kids, managing two businesses, living in a hotel (oh yeah, did I mention we lived in a hotel for 5 weeks?!)...

The deadlines...
The unmet expectations...
The disappointment...

 I’ve not posted on social media about how stressful or crazy-inducing this process has been.

I mean, my gosh, there are way worse problems in the world—racism, hatred, hurricanes, wild fires, mass shootings.  How in the world could I complain about such trivial problems?!

But you wanna know the truth?  I woke up this morning with this overwhelming sense of:
“fuck, I am SO. Pissed. Off!”

It’s not just the house not being done.  For the first time today, I realized... it's so much more than that. 

It’s knowing that even if we do get lucky and move in in October, my body is not up to the challenge of picking my practice volume back up to what it was before.

I’m tired. 
It’s hard to breathe.
I sometimes get stuck on the floor.

And damn, even if I wasn’t so huge and tired, I would really only have about 2 months of time to work on my practice before the new baby is born. 

Ohhhhhh.... the new baby.....

When I think back to how consuming and exhausting taking care of a newborn was with my first two, my body says:

OMG, are we really going back to those days again?!?
What were you thinking when you signed us up for this?!?

When I think back to the searing pain that was living in my low back in May and how every time I cross a clear limit in how many patients I see per day, my body says:

 DO LESS.  OR ELSE.
You've been warned.

If I had to boil all of my pissed-off-ness down to one concise (albeit whiny) statement, it’s this:

WHYYYYYYY (why, why, why, why, why {{while kicking my feet}}) is it that every time I start getting my practice to where I want it to be, I get pregnant and then seem to be unable to do both?  WHY????

And here’s where this starts to deliver something potentially meaningful for you
that's more than just me whining and ranting about my ultra-first-world-problems.
Maybe.
Hopefully.
If not, I'm sorry.

The How

I heard that question in my head this morning—“WHY?”  And—like I would with any of my coaching clients—I turned it around. 

I asked myself again, “Why?” but this time truly open to receiving an answer instead of merely complaining.

Why is it that I see other women in chiropractic managing their usual full patient loads until the day they go into labor… but I can’t?
Why is it that they seem to be able to do and have something that I can’t do or have?
Why do I even care what anyone else is doing in the first place?
Why is it that the picture I have in my head of the practice I'm supposed to build is always just within my reach but still too far away to grab it?

WHY?

And then I remember…

I have this sneaky genetic connective tissue disorder that I’m very fortunate to actually do really great with… until I’m pregnant.  And then, my joints feel like they're gonna fall apart.

I'm lucky to be able to practice at all with this condition, especially after 10 years. 

I remember…

God's plan and my plan may not always match.

I remember…

Just because someone else can and does, doesn’t mean that’s what’s right for me and my family.

I remember…

The cliché but deeply true saying “comparison is the thief of all joy.”

BINGO.

I know that comparing my journey to anyone else's leads to one thing:
feeling unreasonably shitty about myself.

But even though I know this, comparisonitis still sneaks up on me.

It captures my focus and keeps it on what I don't have.
I don't have the time,
the money,
the success...

Under the spell of comparisonitis, I can't look at all that is good around me,
all that I have,
all that I've done,
all of the magic,
all the possibility...

When I'm not paying attention, comparisonitis takes hold of my thoughts.
If I let it go too long, I start to actually believe those thoughts.

I start to actually believe that I'll never be successful enough,
that I'll never "make it",
that nothing I do is quite good enough.

Just like with any sickness, the comparisonitis healing process takes times.

But I already feel better.
Thanks for reading.