Dear Sweet Mama,
I'm writing to you today to share a short story in hopes that maybe you can relate; so that if you ever find yourself in a similar state of mind or situation, you can find peace in knowing that you're not alone and that you're doing a good job. I heard a statistic that stated that as a parent, one is able to feel higher emotional highs and lower lows than ever felt before having children. Since having Emery I've been blessed with experiences to feel those highest highs, but this last week has shown me what some of those darkest, lowest lows feel like, thus the point in my writing this story....
You see, this last week my sweet baby girl got sick with croup. Although I now know that croup is actually very common in young babies and toddlers, I didn't fully understand it at first, and in my mind my daughter had caught an illness equivalent to polio. The doctor in the emergency room made it sound like Emery's cough was no big deal (which was frustrating because the only reason that we went to the ER in the first place was because a doctor on the phone had told us to go in just in case she had croup) and I felt completely helpless because everything that the doctors were telling me to do to help the cough I already was doing with no success. All I knew for certain was that Emery had an awful cough, that it was the worst at night, and that somehow it had to be my fault that she was sick.
There were so many times in the middle of the night that Emery would wake up coughing and crying, and after calming her down and getting her back to sleep I would lie awake in bed unable to relax because I knew that another coughing attack was only a short 30 minutes to an hour away. It was during those dark hours in the night that I experienced some of those low points mentioned above, and the heavy sense of guilt and self-doubt was almost unbearable. I spent my nights blaming myself for taking Emery out in public too much, letting too many people hold her at the family Christmas parties, and wondering if she would have even gotten sick had she still been on breastmilk as opposed to formula. No matter the scenario I was always in the wrong, and the negativity combined with the lack of sleep wore on me phyisically, mentally, and emotionally.
Now that Emery is finally on the mend and I've had a chance to reflect on the situation with a more clear mind (and after several gentle reminders from my forever patient husband) I've come to learn an extrememly valuable lesson. Occassionaly as a parent, bad and/or scary experiences are going to happen with my children. I'm absolutely positive that there will be more colds, scraped knees, and possibly even another trip to the ER in my child's future and that is OK. It is not my fault, everything will turn out well in the end, and ultimately as long as I'm doing my part to love and take care of my child as much as I can and in the best way that I know how, then I am doing a good job as a mother, and guess what mama, SO ARE YOU. In fact, I bet that you're even doing a better job than you think. Society puts so much pressure on us as women and mothers to be "perfect", and even with how heavy that societal pressure is, I still feel like in many cases it's nowhere near as bad as the pressure that we put on ourselves.
So relax a little bit, go hug your babies tight, and know that you are an amazing woman and mother. If you feel like it, once you've been able to convince yourself of that insanely important truth, go tell another mama you know that they're doing an amazing job too. Despite how much happiness it brings, momming is definitely not the easiest job in the world, and I deeply believe that it's made a little bit easier with support from loved ones and friends. Thank you for letting me share my story with you, and know that I very much consider you a wonderful friend. ♥︎
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.