For those of you just joining us, welcome back to The Waiting Room, a series of essays solicited from the team at Heather Elder Represents that share insightful and sometimes hilarious tales about a learning experience with the agony that can come with waiting — stories of learning, adjusting and sometimes even appreciating it.
It is my hope that as we all keep navigating through the unknowns, that you will feel inspired by, and even draw strength from them. We truly are all in this waiting room together!
Kate Chase, Creative Strategist, Guest Editor
A Co-pilot is Key
By Vanessa McGarry, NYC Associate
There was definitely a lot of waiting around when I was a kid in the 70s. We had no gadgets or anything to distract. I remember spending what seemed like hours in the car with my brother waiting for my parents to finish their endless errands.
At first, we would beg to come in with them — to the bank, the hardware store, my dad’s office. But then we realized it was way more fun in the big old station wagon. One of our favorite things to do was to give names to the people passing by the car and create entire stories around them. We spent hours doing this and would end up laughing until our sides hurt over the silly things we would invent. Looking back, those endless car hours are some of my happiest memories with my brother.
I still play that game when I’m waiting in line at the airport 🙂
Carving Out a Sacred Space
By Lindsey Monroe, Chicago Associate
I had anticipated the arrival of my second son to happen promptly on his estimated due date, which was November 11. Each day came and went, first the 11th, then November 12, 13, 14. At first, it felt like 24-hour torture. I was given 14 days from November 11 before my doctor told me that I would be induced, and she would start the process for us. But, I was determined that nature would unfold exactly as it should, and so, I waited.
Each night, before falling asleep, I was certain that it was “the night,” and each morning I’d wake up to nothing to note. I’d receive at least 15 phone calls and texts overnight, asking if anything had happened yet. Then, I’d waddle to my weekly appointments and errands. It was finally socially acceptable for strangers at the grocery store to ask me if I was having a baby and when they were due to arrive. My response always created a look of horror when I would respond, “I was actually due eight days ago,” as if the baby would be born right there in the produce aisle. The strategic plan for my mother and sister to arrive on November 12, to help care for their brand new grandbaby/nephew came and went, as did their disappointing visit.
But, it was in those final ten days, stretching from November 11 until November 21, that I realized the importance of waiting. It was a physically and emotionally intense time of “in-between” as I was neither here nor there. It was my old self and my new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. I had one foot in my old world and one foot in a new world — a period that was absolutely necessary to the process.
I started taking it one single day at a time.
I created a small window, maybe 15 to 30 minutes of every day, to connect with my baby and myself. The first step in the process for me was creating a “sacred space.” In the days of my pregnancy, it was a quiet spot in my bedroom that included a yoga mat, some candles, a banner of sweet affirmations a friend made for me, along with a journal and pen. I would carve out this time whenever it was possible, sometimes it occurred in the morning and sometimes just before bed. Before I would start each session, I would take two minutes to just clear my mind and write down whatever was lingering in my brain. I created a playlist that I listened to every time I was working on getting into this “positive space.” I would repeat the same series of yoga poses and breathing techniques each day. The more I would listen to the same tracks, do those poses, and focus on my breathing in the same ways, the easier it was to my find my center and truly enjoy the time instead of racing through it and getting to the next thing on my to-do list.
I’ve reflected on those ten days of my pregnancy several times over the last several weeks being quarantined with my family, knowing that much like that process, this time is wholly necessary, and it too will end!
My “go-to” right now to settle my mind, is finding time to escape my now-adolescent aged boys for a 30-minute walk outside. I go solo, without any headphones, without any distractions — rain or shine. Before I leave, I make sure I have my “to-do list” in order, written down, so I don’t have any lingering thoughts of what still needs to be done for the day. I focus on putting one foot in front of the other, paying attention to the sights, sounds, and smells around me. It’s 30 minutes of peace that has helped me to regroup and really keep things in perspective. My mantra is, “this time is wholly necessary, and it too will end!”
See you next Saturday with Chapters 6 & 7 from Hunter Freeman and his Ten Feet is a Win and Cade Martin’s Walking into the Unknown. Come join us in the waiting room !