I'm usually not shy when it comes to speaking my mind, and I usually know just what I want to say. Sometimes I hold my tongue for the sake of propriety (though probably not as often as I should), and occasionally I regret not speaking up when I should have. But once in a while the right words are just too hard to say.
Today the words are: I need help.
These words aren't hard to say when I really mean things like "Share some advice," "Give me some ideas," or "I'm so pathetic I ought to be committed." But when uttering them admits that I can't handle my life, they don't come as easily.
However, with gentle encouragement from some loved ones over the last few days, I have come to realize that asking for help can be okay.
One friend offered the wisdom: "Lots of people can [do what you do], but no one else can carry this baby to term." Her comment made me delegate every speck of work related to the ward talent show tomorrow night. That was a liberating exercise. It also made me rethink my plan to get through this light-duty phase in grin-and-bear-it solitude.
Another friend counseled that it's better to ask for help now, while I can (hopefully) prevent preterm labor, than to require help later because I have a baby in the NICU.
Combined, these two ideas have softened my proud heart and helped me ask for some favors. The service is already pouring in. Garry picked up groceries on the way home from work today, helped with dinner dishes, and directed the boys in an evening clean-up effort. Someone else bought the things Tyler needs for a preschool party tomorrow. Another friend is organizing people to bring my family dinner a few nights a week and help with some household chores.
I have been touched by the general willingness to help, as expressed in emails and blog comments:
"Seriously, Heidi, whatever is needed."
"Just take it easy and remember, there's help available should you need or want it. I'm just around the corner."
"Let me know if I can help in any way!"
"I'm here for you!!! Just call."
"I am serious about coming to help clean or WHATEVER you need."
"I was serious about coming over to scour your shower."
"So when can I clean your house? I can also stock your freezer with meals."
"You know all you have to do is ask and the Relief Society will jump right in."
"As I said on the phone, leave the shower scrubbing to me!"
"If you need me to do some shopping for you or anything while you're down, please don't hesitate to ask."
While I prefer to be the able-bodied bearer of goodwill, I am certainly grateful that in this time of need I am surrounded by women who share the same ideal. I would help them through a tough spot, and they'll help me.
Which brings me to two words that are very easy to say: Thank you.