Women are caregivers. We care for our families, our communities, our jobs, and our organizations, but for some reason we have a hard time caring for ourselves. We don't seem to see the connection between the effort we spend on the caregiver and the level of care we are able to offer. I love it when mamas decide that taking care of themselves might be a wise investment of time and energy. Michelle is a perfect example of a committed professional and mom who has decided it is time to care for the caregiver. This is her story.
When I was younger, I looked forward to “retiring” and doing the things I love to do. Now that the time is here, sooner than I thought, I’m afraid I won’t be able to do the things I love. Even though I was born with a congenital heart defect and health care professionals have ALWAYS been a part of my life, I never once considered that I might have to stop working because of my health – not once. Until now.
Jessica is one of those calm, competent women you meet and think, "Now that lady has it all together." She is smart, accomplished, and unflappable. As a person who is easily "flapped," I admired her instantly. My respect for her deepened when I learned that her capabilities endure in spite of, not because of, her life story. Jessica has been through the proverbial ringer with her family of origin and her marriage. This woman is a dandelion and will bloom in the most inhospitable environments. She has set out to change the course. Steadily, lovingly, and daringly, Jessica does not accept that a past must determine a future. Here is her story:
My husband, Dan, and I started out our married life the way so many young people do…in debt! We had both graduated with bachelors’ degrees and both had great jobs lined up after graduation. The large student loan debts that got us to those great jobs seemed like a “normal” part of young adult life. And so, we made plans to carry around this baggage for years and just pay it off as we went along. It was what so many others just like us were doing and seemed like a very mature way to handle things.