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Lives of Doctor Wives: Survivor Saturdays: In Search of Support

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Survivor Saturdays: In Search of Support

One of the great things about this website is that we all share something in common. It isn't that we're married to doctors, but that we all know what each other are going through. Sometimes, I feel like I've survived a war zone, and meeting someone else who understands my pain and sacrifice is somehow comforting. This is a wonderful resource, but sometimes it isn't enough. So where can we turn for support when we really need a break from screaming kids, or a chance to have a good cry when nobody is around? Your family is a great resource, if you're lucky enough to still live near them. Sometimes, even that isn't enough, though.

Church families are a great place to look for support and encouragement. Many churches also form small groups, where handfuls of people live life together. Small groups are an incredible gift, if you are careful in selecting one where all of you have something in common. I'm in a small group right now, and I couldn't live without them. My group is made up of seven couples, all who have teenage children. After our group formed, two of the couples unexpectedly had babies. We have "lived life" together, counseling each other when marriage was in crisis, delivering meals when work became too demanding, babysitting when flu hit, and even running to each others' rescue at 3am. I have even allowed others in my group to talk to my son about poor choices, knowing that their wisdom would be better received than mine.

I only wish I had looked to small groups when M was going through residency. I thought I didn't have the time. I was so busy treading water that I didn't want to give up a precious hour to sit through a bible study. I didn't know small groups aren't always bible studies. The one I'm in now isn't. In fact, the group used to include the pastor - he explained that small groups are about building relationships. That's what we do. We share struggles with others who understand, and allow them to help find answers. Sometimes the answers involve an attitude adjustment, and sometimes the answers come in the form of an offer to babysit. Church family can reach beyond the abilities of your immediate family in ways you cannot know until you reach out.

Don't overlook this valuable resource for support. Ask around to see if your church has a small group you can join. If you're not active in a church right now, shop around for one. Small groups don't have to be initiated by the church, either. You can approach a few people who enjoy each others' company and propose you all start a group. Selecting people from your church will give you a better chance of getting good advice, rather than stoking your negative feelings.

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Blogger Jennifer said...

Eeek! I meant to add my contribution to this post and just never found the time to do it!

We've been involved in several small groups during the course of our 14 year medical marriage. Right now, we're a part of an amazing "team" that is like family to us, and their support is priceless for all the same reasons Kathi listed. (Our church decided to call the groups "teams" instead of "small group" because someone heard something that said if you invite a man to a "small group," he thinks he has to share his *feeeeelings* and won't go...but give it a sports analogy, and he's all over it!)

One group we were with during training years included a couple with one child about the same age as our youngest, a couple with school-age kids, and a couple with teenagers - and the husband was on staff at the hospital. Even though we were all at different seasons of our lives, this group was probably one of my favorites. I loved the mentorship aspect that it took on. It was so encouraging for us to have a close friendship with couples who have survived what we were currently experiencing - training and parenting young kids.

In any case, having community will keep you alive. We weren't created to be alone. Getting started may take some courage, and you may not find the right "fit" with the first group (or the second or third), but please please please! stick it out until you find that community of people to walk with you.

November 7, 2009 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 7, 2009 at 11:23 AM  

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