February 27, 2007

my constant companion

ben_car_seat.jpg
ben, ready for action, Canon Digital Rebel XTi

Some years ago a friend of mine was telling me about an icky procedure she was going to have to do the next day at the hospital. "Do you want me to go with you?" I asked. Tears welled up in her eyes. "That would be so nice," she said. "I didn't know I could ask for that."

There have been so many times I've been in the doctor's office by myself getting tests or biopsies and wishing someone was with me. I don't think we ever stop wanting the comfort of a loved one at a scary visit to the doctor. We underestimate how vulnerable it makes us feel.

My friends and I were talking about this recently and realized that we all think we have to do these things by ourselves.

We don't.

We don't have to be that independent or strong. It broke my heart to hear that a friend of mine recently got a biopsy for breast cancer all by herself. Can we all make a pact right now that we can ask our pals to go with us to the places that scare us?

Posted on February 27, 2007 10:16 AM
Comments

Oh, i love you all so much.
I wish you'd been here - when I could have used some smiling friends - but, you know what? When i was scared, and in the middle of the tests - there were nurses who stopped to hold my hand and smile. There were ladies to answer my questions and people to cheer me on. So, if you haven't a friend to go with - to hold your hand - I claim God will provide someone - assign someone to be there for each and all of us.
Georgy

Posted by: georgy at March 2, 2007 08:06 PM

Came via Code Yellow Mom.
I'm with your friend I didn't know I could ask for that". Wow! what a concept. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's always much better having someone we love when doing something scary.

Posted by: No Cool Story at March 2, 2007 07:53 PM

Last night my friend told me she needed to go today to get 8 shots for an upcoming trip to Peru. This post inspired me to offer my company, which she gladly accepted. I'm on my way over to the clinic now!

Posted by: Josie St. P at March 2, 2007 09:09 AM

I'm in! I'm a big fan of holding hands...let's all hold hands through the scary places of our lives!

Posted by: jennifergg at March 2, 2007 08:21 AM

That seems like a remarkably lovely idea.

Posted by: Rebecca at March 2, 2007 08:18 AM

this seems kind of ridiculous after the sincere nature of your post, but, ... where did you get Ben's hat? i love it.

Posted by: spliz at March 1, 2007 02:13 PM

I know we all tell you this all the time, but your child really is astoundingly beautiful. I love his chubbying cheeks.

Posted by: Dr. S at March 1, 2007 09:28 AM

I so agree with you on this. I have a friend ask if I would go with her to have an amnio and I went willingly because her husband was out of town. She was surprised later to find out that the procedure kind of wigged me out, but I can't imagine doing something like that alone. I think women should always support each other like this.

Loving the photos of your little man. He is adorable!

tammy

Posted by: tammy t at March 1, 2007 08:04 AM

Andrea - I just had a baby and am feeling the need for some superhero advice on surviving the first weeks.
Maybe you could make a post about this in the future? :)

Posted by: Tiff at March 1, 2007 05:54 AM

My husband is a constant source of support for me; if I had to be without children with someone, I'm thankful it was with someone as earnest and loving as he is.

Nevertheless, throughout my life it has been my friends who have surprised me with their unflinching support. My small family is not deeply rooted (although we are getting there), so I learned early to invest emotionally in my fellow womenfolk. What a blessing it has been to have them--although I wish I had thought, Andrea, to rely on them more when I pretended to be stoic.

And I enjoy reciprocating, too. It makes me feel bonded and needed, a heartwarming sensation! :-)

And just for the record, Ben just gets more beautiful. What a lovely little child.

Posted by: Pamela at February 28, 2007 11:30 PM

I'm terrible at asking for help... And in this case, asking for company! But it would be soooo nice, you're right. I'll try!
xx

Posted by: Alex at February 28, 2007 09:45 PM

Great idea..

I took my sister to my ultra sound appointment for my last pregnancy. Nervous as all heck as my last ultrasound had confirmed a miscarriage. Hubby had to work and could not take the day off so my sister came with me. And glad that she did.

The ultrasound taught me I was having twins! The twins my sister dreamt I was going to have two nights prior (and told us all about at a family dinner the next day, the day before the ultrasound.)

It truly does help to have support on those stressful appointments, your post hit that home and will do my best to be there to those near and dear..

Posted by: natalie at February 28, 2007 08:23 PM

I'm so for having girlfriends around for support!

YAYAY for girlfriends.

As for Ben being you constant companion, how could you not love that! He is soooooo adorable!!!!

Big Hugs,
Love Toni

Posted by: Toni at February 28, 2007 05:11 PM

My dad is going in for a bone scan tomorrow due to a "not so clear" x-ray that he had today because of back pain.

After reading your post today I called him up to see if he wanted me to come with him. He was so touched that I did.

Thanks for the gentle reminder.

Posted by: mary at February 28, 2007 04:16 PM

It's time for all of us to start being each other's best friends!
Thanks Andrea- and Ben is too cute!

Posted by: Regina Clare Jane at February 28, 2007 01:50 PM

Ben is growing so quickly. His face changes in every photo!

I think I am jinxed. I am nearly always on my own when something bad happens out of the blue! It would be nice to ask someone to come and be with you.

Posted by: laura at February 28, 2007 01:09 PM

you know this really never crossed my mind, i love this post, thanks Andrea.

Posted by: Lori at February 28, 2007 12:06 PM

thank you for speaking of this. I know for me, it's about being
afraid of being dependant on someone because then what if they leave??? I am working on trust and on realizing that I am not
alone in ANYTHING. And that what I would give to my friends
and loved ones-a hand, an ear, a drive-is what they would gladly
give to me too.

Posted by: omgirly at February 28, 2007 11:55 AM

You're a great friend. And we shouldn't be afraid to ask for someone to go with us to scary things. That's really what friendship is all about. being there for each other. If any one of my friends asked me to go with them to some scary medical procedure, I would be there in a hearbeat.

Posted by: Kirsten at February 28, 2007 11:25 AM

I'm in! I was just thinking about this last night...I sometimes don't even remember that it's an option to ask for help or an opinion or advice from others...thanks again for the great reminder.

Posted by: rubyslippers at February 28, 2007 11:05 AM

such a great point you make...i spent the last few days in-out of the hospital for pre-term labor and my mom was my constant companion when my husband could not be there. we need to support each other and remember to ask. my prayers go out to your friend...she does not walk alone right now.

Posted by: mamie at February 28, 2007 10:55 AM

Your son is beautiful. And so clear-eyed and direct. He has deep thoughts, you can tell.

Posted by: owenora at February 28, 2007 07:59 AM

Great photo! A smurf astronaut getting ready to go on a space traveling adventure!

Posted by: mark at February 28, 2007 07:48 AM

I'm in. Also, Ben looks different in this picture, did he turn a different side? He's so precious.

Posted by: mareshia at February 28, 2007 06:59 AM

I just want to weigh in here and say:
Please remember your guy friends in this pact too. Many of us can't ask for this kind of help, but would appreciate it if it were offered. Most men, I guess, don't have girl friends in the way women do, and I think this is the kind of thing that happens less in male friendships. And there are a lot of guys sitting alone in waiting rooms wishing there was someone next to them.

Posted by: . at February 28, 2007 06:05 AM

oh yes, definitely! I'm all in for the pact.

Posted by: luzie at February 28, 2007 05:17 AM

oh absolutely!

Posted by: jen lemen at February 28, 2007 03:06 AM

Yes.

Putting up that photograph of Ben is the perfect distillation of this essential idea. He needs your help, constantly. In a way, we really never leave that part of the baby stage. We just get better at faking it.

Asking for help is strength.

Posted by: shauna at February 27, 2007 09:53 PM

amen!

xo

Posted by: stef at February 27, 2007 08:34 PM

You are at such a wonderful point in your life, with your little constant companion!

Oh I remember those days! Those days were so precious, with that tiny baby always hanging around!

Enjoy the time with your companion...they grow up so fast!

Warmly,
Andrea

Posted by: Andrea at February 27, 2007 07:49 PM

Hey, A,
Was that me? I'm asking only because it is so easy to imagine you making this generous offer to any of your friends, as I know you made it to me!
Either way, here's the amazing thing, my especially magical friend. I'm having that same icky procedure done again tomorrow afternoon. And, though you are in Berkeley and I am in Boston, you are going with me again, because I still remember that entire morning with you and what it felt like to be supported and cheered by your company. Most of all, I remember how much less afraid I was because you were there. Indeed, I've been thinking about this, and taking comfort from those memories, all night...and then I saw this post.
So, I want to say "thank you" (again!) and also to note how beautiful I find it that having a friend there with me once changes the experience forever. Which is not to say that I won't also have someone come with me (or, at least, be on call for me) tomorrow.
I love you very much,
S

Posted by: sara at February 27, 2007 07:27 PM

amen to that:) j

Posted by: Jamie at February 27, 2007 05:54 PM

what a delicious photo! thank you so much for sharing his gorgeousness. i struggle with this issue and find it much, much easier to give than recieve support. i love the thought of making someone else's scary experience less scary. i had an accident a couple of years ago and often spend hours each week seeing various doctors, specialists. i find it easier to put my head down and deal with those appointments myself. i think i worry too much about upsetting people and having to cope with their reactions. it feels as if i can get through it if that's all i have to focus on.

i will TRY too!

amy

Posted by: amy at February 27, 2007 05:42 PM

i just can't get enough of this baby!!!

xoxo
wendy

Posted by: wendy at February 27, 2007 04:58 PM

I found your site through Chronicles of Me, and I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your photos. The one with the baby and the pregnant woman in front of the SF backdrop was amazing, so was the one of the desert spilt into thirds. Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed them. I have heard your name a lot through Boho’s blog. I also have recently started to really enjoy taking pictures of my daughter, if you have time check them out at Dear Kaia

Posted by: intrepidflame at February 27, 2007 04:27 PM

i'm horrid about asking for help, but i'll do my best. thanks for the reminder.

Posted by: amy at February 27, 2007 04:18 PM

Great idea... I went through a miscarriage and my husband had to leave right after I was taken back to the room because I had no one to stay with my other kids! So, either way would have worked for me!

Posted by: Cris at February 27, 2007 02:58 PM

Done.

Loving your posts and photos.

Posted by: Tiff at February 27, 2007 02:49 PM

Agreed :)

Also, what a cutie-pie-green-been!

Posted by: mikaela at February 27, 2007 02:18 PM

I'm in!

Sophie

Posted by: Dreamer Girl at February 27, 2007 01:54 PM

YES! what a marvelous idea. there has been so many procedures with this fertility journey where i have been alone because Carsten was needing to be at work (not always but sometimes). i never even thought of asking a girlfriend. this idea fills me with warmth. so does the thought of me being there for someone else.

thank you for this.

and oh my gosh...Ben is seriously the most adorable pumpkin ever. check out his funky onesie and hat. he's a rock star already.

love you.

Posted by: boho at February 27, 2007 01:44 PM

Yes, yes, yes. Let's make a pact. I'm in. I NEED my girlfriends. It's true and I'm not ashamed to say it!

Posted by: victoria winters at February 27, 2007 01:20 PM

Ben is beyond adorable!

Posted by: Robyn at February 27, 2007 01:10 PM

i did the 'results of the biospy' thing alone. and of course, the doctor was over 90 minutes late seeing me - let me tell you, i wished i had a girlfriend there with me then. those 90 minutes were the longest of my life, and an active imagination didn't help! i guess i was the same as so many others - we don't think to ask because we don't want to be a burden... i remember something profound a friend said to me once: "part of being a friend is LETTING your friends help you"... hmmm..

Posted by: brenda in toronto at February 27, 2007 01:00 PM

I agree with Chookooloonks. I will make a pact to try. You post and an article I just rea din Real Simple's March issue have buoyed me up to try. The article was about a young Aussie woman who trained herself to be independent. SHe prided herself on it. When her and her fiance were visiting a foreign country he was stung by a jellyfish and died. Two Israeli women refused to leave her side throughout the ordeal. It was inspiring for me, as I have been way too independent myself through this life.

Thank you for reinforcing the togetherness we all need, especially in times of crises.

Posted by: chronicler at February 27, 2007 12:35 PM

I'm in! I took one of my girlfriends to get cancerous spots on her face removed/biopsied. It ended up being more involved and emotionally draining experience for her than she expected and I'm so glad I was able to be there with her. My boss was really cool about it, too. She let me use my sick time since friends are a part of a more inclusive definition of family.

Posted by: princess smartypants at February 27, 2007 12:30 PM

I love this sentiment.

I, too, did the biopsy alone. Not all of us have that person to turn to, and if you were raised in a family of high drama, you can sadly be trained to turn to self for support. At this point, I'm trying to unlearn that conditioning.

Posted by: deezee at February 27, 2007 12:20 PM

Wow. Is it sad I find this easier said than done?

How about I make a pact to TRY?

Posted by: Chookooloonks at February 27, 2007 12:17 PM

I did a biopsy alone - terrifying. My husband would have normally gone, but he couldn't - he is my strength in times like that. I didn't have anyone to ask to go with me then, other than him.

Posted by: OMSH at February 27, 2007 11:52 AM

Here here...yes we don't have to go alone...well maybe the men like to...to prove their strength? I don't know, but that is how my hubby is and so I am grateful for girlfriends.

Your constant companion is such a doll. Has anyone ever told you that before? LOL.

Posted by: Leslie at February 27, 2007 11:36 AM

YES! I asked a girlfriend to help me go to the oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth removed.

Posted by: EricaLucci at February 27, 2007 11:29 AM