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  • Renee Burns

Resiliency as Privilege in an Outta-Whack Universe


Knee Update: Since my last post I have secured a date for knee surgery- February 22nd, whoohoo! Since my last post, I have also been intentional about taking the time each day to share something I have gratitude for on the Raising Peaceful Warriors Facebook and Instagram pages. Since my last post I was super focused on setting up time to see friends before going under the knife because I was determined to do all the things that I knew would help my psyche pre-surgery!


Seeing friends for me in the age of COVID has looked like the following: A friend comes over, usually after 6 pm when the girls are (fingers crossed) going to sleep, wearing a mask, and then we go on a walk/run/snowshoe/ski, etc. (it is winter, after all). Post ACL tear, walking became the only option.


However, winter decided to descend all kind of fierce on northern Minnesota, and since my accident we have not seen above 5 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, as I write this now it is -8, with a -20 degree wind chill. So obviously even a walk outside with is not in the cards…arrghhhhh!!!


At this point, I feel like a broken record of saying things like “well this is just the cherry on top”, or “just to add insult to injury”, or “the icing on the cake is…” in response to people asking me how I’m handling the news of knee surgery….


And now here we are, a little over a week out of surgery and Mother Nature is even like- HAHA!!! NO YA DON’T!


Anyway- I have been reflecting on, and having lots of conversations around the idea of resiliency recently. Is it something you’re born with? Is it something that can be taught? How does one measure resiliency? There’s a whole world of research, professionals, and literature out there studying those exact questions…


Over the past year + I have found myself taking a deep dive into what it means for me to “be resilient”. What I keep coming back to is my awareness of my privilege.


Let me explain…


I was afforded to opportunity to go through IVF. I was lucky enough to have the health insurance to feel safe going to the ER when my water broke. I was educated enough to ask all the questions and advocate for myself, and my unborn babies, before they were delivered at 26 weeks. I was beyond lucky to be able to relocate to a city, three hours away from my home, to sit by my twins’ sides in the NICU for 3+ months. I was blessed with a supportive family and community I could lean on when needed. Throughout the pandemic I have been fortunate to have the unwavering support and the health of my in-laws to be our “bubble”. And, even in reflecting on my last post regarding the ‘Mother F*ing’ of the universe, I was handed a knee injury while skiing with my husband, in a beautiful part of the country.


So- for me, I believe I have been afforded the ability to see the above in a positive light.


How?


I know that I was given the ability to have the biological responses see the “bright side” due to all the protective factors I had throughout my life. This has included being in therapy on-and-off throughout my life, seeking support and community when I need it, as well as solitude when it feels necessary.


This IN NO WAY means I believe in the “it’s all good/positive vibes only/just change your brain if you just put your mind to it” toxic culture that exists. I KNOW first-hand how much work is needed to “find the positive” when people have experienced deep traumatic events such as I have.


Non-the-less, I ALSO know how fortunate I am to be able to even take the time each day to create a social media post highlighting gratitude. Because you know what? You know what that means? It means I have time, it means I have access to technology, it means I have literacy. And all of those things are blessings.


I think of the mothers who weren’t able to be bedside everyday while their babies were in the NICU due to their jobs, or their other responsibilities at home. I think of the women who want children, but will never be able to afford them because of the cost of IVF. I think about the single parents who are navigating a pandemic, while working full-time. I think about the unfair amount of people who are not able to share their children with their parents due a loss from COVID (and yes, I have too many peers who have lost parents to this ugly virus)…I think about those wading through a medical emergency, English as their second language, or those far from family, or without financial stability.


This, my friends, is how I believe I have been able to find balance, to be “resilient”, and to trust the process over the past year+ of events that have been beyond challenging, and unimaginable when thinking of becoming a mother.


As a dear friend of mine said the other day, “Well, you know- the universe is just going to continue to F* us…” and man, I haven’t heard anything so true in a while! I’ve appreciated all the support, the “you deserve to get a break” comments out of empathy (which I believe I DO NEED A BREAK!)…but, at the same time, I feel in balance knowing that the Universe is “just going to continue to F* us”… So in the mean time, I want to make sure to acknowledge my privilege.


So there it is. An updated reflection on how I’m managing being a new mom, with NICU-grad 1 year old twins, in the age of COVID, preparing for knee surgery.


As hard as it may be at time, especially when you are feeling totally F*ed by the universe- I invite you (anyone who’s reading this) to sit and make a list of the things you have that others do not. I know it sounds lame, elementary, and simple, but it is such a grounding exercise to help find balance during such an outta-whack time. BUT…. if you’re going to do it, don’t forget to allow yourself to have your 30 second (age-appropriate) “F* U Universe” temper-tantrum;-)


From a not-so-blissed-out-tired mother- who’s currently grateful that her babies are sleeping….thanks for following along

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