Strong As A Mother: Embracing The Journey With A Medically Complex Child
We’ve all had the conversation at some point in our pregnancy. You know the one I’m referring to. A stranger, or maybe even a friend or coworker, will come up to you and congratulate you on your pregnancy. They’ll gush over your belly and ask you if you would prefer a boy or girl. You’ll say it doesn’t matter. As long as baby is healthy and happy.
Those words come out so effortlessly; it’s the generic response to this question and it’s true isn’t it? As long as the baby’s healthy, we couldn’t care less about the gender. We never stop to think, what if my baby is not healthy? We never entertain the possibility. It just couldn’t happen to us. Then your doctor calls you back for a repeat anatomy scan because something just ‘needs a second look’ or your pediatrician gives a concerning look after your child’s wellness exam. Then the panic sets in.
Learning your child is sick or has a disability is not only hard, it’s terrifying.
Your mind tosses through every “what if” possible as soon as you get that diagnosis. You feel isolated, you’re scared, and you find yourself at the mercy of your Google searches more times than you can count.
Then you look at your sweet child and you know what the face of strength really looks like. It looks like the little warrior laying in front of you, fighting this battle like you know only they could. It’s a feeling that takes your breath away and you swell with a love so overwhelming and so beautiful that you need to take a moment to gather yourself.
The inevitable fact of life is that not all babies will be born healthy.
Some will have visible disabilities and some, like my two heart warriors, will have disabilities that won’t be as present. Looking at my children when they were babies, you would never know they were sick. They were chubby and smiling children whose hearts were failing them right in front of our eyes.
When your child is born with medical complexities, it doesn’t take long before they become the strongest people you know. Their resiliency will astonish you beyond anything you can imagine.
They’re not the only strong ones though, mama. You are. It may not feel like it today, next week, or even years from now. But you will get through this. You build this remarkable strength for your child, your family, and your friends. You help your child adapt. You adapt. Even when the hospital starts to feel like home and the doctors appointments and therapies become overwhelming, just know you’re not alone. There’s a whole village of other moms ready to welcome you with open arms. There are people that will understand your struggles, they’ll understand the setbacks your child faces and they’ll look at you with a brave face and tell you that you’re going to make it.
You were made to be that sweet baby’s mother for a reason. Now own it!
Local resources for families facing Congenital Heart Disease:
Louisiana Pediatric Cardiology Foundation, this local nonprofit provides support and resources for heart families as well as provides free heart screenings for high school athletes. For more information, or to donate to this cause please visit www.lpcf.com
Camp Bon Coeur is a nonprofit summer camp for children with CHD. One of the only camps in the country providing a safe, medically inclusive environment for heart kids. Their office is located right down the road in Lafayette. For more information, or to donate to this cause, please visit www.heartcamp.com