Of Martha, Mary, and Mastitis

This is not me but my sick stunt double

“We can take you in the wheelchair,” said the nurse as I was getting discharged from the maternity ward.

“Oh no, I can walk myself,” I insisted.  I grabbed my bags and got up to leave.  “Whoa,” I exclaimed as I dizzily leaned back on the bed.  Good thing David was holding our newborn!  I have never needed assistance in walking and certainly wasn’t about to be wheeled out of here.  I’m a mother, and I can take care of myself AND the baby, thank you very much.

After a couple of more failed attempts at putting one foot in front of the other, however, I had no choice but to give in.  I still felt weak and unsteady 48 hours postpartum.  The nurse waited patiently for me to take a seat in the wheelchair and proceeded to push me down the hallway.  I’m supposed to be pushing a stroller, not sitting in it! 

As soon as we arrived home, I went about cleaning the house.  The place was a mess, and my parents were coming over soon!  In-between baby feedings and diaper changes I did the best I could to tidy, vacuum, launder, and cook so that my parents wouldn’t think that I was a total wreck, regardless of the fact that life with a new baby is quite literally out of control.  “This baby won’t stop crying, honey.  Where is the off switch?” I kept asking David.

When my parents showed up at the door, they made a beeline to their first grand child and took turns holding him in delight while I continued to sweep, mop, wipe, and fold clothes.  “I could use a little help here,” I said under my breath and actually began to look forward to feeding times just so that I could kick my feet up for a little while.

Only a few days later, it was Easter.  I had been a member of our church’s worship band for many years, and I had every intention of going back to sing and play for the Easter service.  “I can’t believe you’re out and about already,” people marveled as I sang my solo.  “You look like you’ve got this baby thing down!” I was feeling pretty good about myself.

…Until later that afternoon, that is.  I began to run a high fever, and the redness around my breasts clearly indicated an infection was setting in.  Mastitis.  I pored over the pages of my baby books, and the experts all agreed that the most common cause of mastitis is — you guessed it — new moms trying to do too much.  The good doctor got me some antibiotics and ordered bed rest.

For the following three days, I stayed in bed, crawling out only to nurse Josh and to eat.  The friends at church brought over meals.  Initially I refused, explaining that my mom was around to help me with cooking so there was no such need (ha!). The truth is, I didn’t want to admit that I was in need.  Boy, is it humbling to receive, but what choice did I have?

On the third day, I felt as though I came back the dead. The house went to pot again, but oh well.  And the undisturbed bonding time with Josh?  Priceless.

This reminded me of a story from Luke 10:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

   41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

It took mastitis to bring down this Tiger Martha and become more like Panda Mary.

Are you a Martha or a Mary?  Anyone experience mastitis?

2 thoughts on “Of Martha, Mary, and Mastitis

  1. I never experienced Mastitis, but I did try to do “everything” once I got home from the hospital and tried to make life go “back to normal”. HA! That didn’t last too long. I was so shocked at how much laundry a little baby can produce. Their clothes are so small, why so much laundry? And no clothes dryers in Japan!

    • Chris, you really did amazingly well for being in a foreign country. I don’t think I would have done what you did without getting sick. It is shocking how this little creature can turn our world upside down, isn’t it? Oh, but they’re so worth it.