3 Things I Learned from a Sick Little One
Since Labor Day weekend, my little Truett has been sick. We are just now finishing up on antibiotics and finally on the mend. What started as a simple cold, turned into double ear infections, turned into treating for pneumonia, turned into antibiotics, X-rays, steroids, breathing treatments, and more. It feels like the list goes on and on. This is my first "real" sickness with Truett. He has had a couple of sniffles here and there, but this one definitely set itself apart and earned a commemoration in the baby book. For that reason, I want to share what I learned:
First, let me tell you that if it takes a village to parent, it takes all those villagers and some tourists that happen to be passing through to take care of a sick kid. I was reliant on so many people through this. From family members with medical expertise fielding my questions, to our amazing pediatrician who not only will text over the weekend, but invite us over to her home to see my sick baby, to considerate employers who put my child above anything I have to do at work, to friends cooking meal, saying prayers and lending out wellness supplies, to grandparents snuggling my sick child -- my village is made up of rockstars. Part of that village I must mention as well is my dear husband -- he is always my anchor. I tend to get frantic, and he always assures me all will be okay. While I am guilty of allowing this to at times frustrate me (sometimes you just want someone to panic with you -- am I right?), I realize it is one of the best things about him and such a strength to our relationship. I need the balance.
All my dear, sweet villagers were helpful, informative and loving, but there are somethings that despite the help, being a mom in this village still remains to be an isolated island. For me, this island was medical decisions. They felt like big, scary choices that I was making alone (which I wasn't!) I tend to live in the space between give-me-all-the-medicine/run-all-the-tests and crunchy-granola mom. And let me tell you this: there is a lot of gray area between these two spaces. A lot. I knew Truett needed to get better, and I trusted friends, family, some of Google and above all, medical experts to help me figure out how to get there, which means I took the medicine, I ran the tests, etc, but it did not remove the guilt from the part of me which is a granola mom. While you would think that this crunchy, hippie mom would be all about love and acceptance, my inner granola mom can be a real -------... mean villager. Let me share some of my guilt --
For Truett, we ended up having to switch antibiotics because the first one wasn't working. I was plagued with doubtful, negative self talk.
I should have noticed the first antibiotic wasn't working sooner.
Maybe it would have worked and I switched too soon.
Maybe he was feeling better and I was worrying too much (per usual).
Along with the antibiotic, we ended up doing breathing treatments over the weekend because Truett was short of breath, wheezing and coughing. As a first time mom, this was scary. After a weekend of coughing, wheezing and no-sleep, we took Truett in for an X-ray on Monday morning. He chest was clear. This sent my head spinning again.
Maybe we shouldn't have done any breathing treatments.
I shouldn't have done the x-ray.
I should have given it more time.
Even as Truett started to feel better, the guilt felt all-consuming. It felt like I was solely responsible for all these decisions and the pressure was on.
How was I supposed to know?
Were my decisions the right ones?
But, this is where I had to rely on my village again. They had to remind me that I was in fact NOT on an isolated island with all of this. Our pediatrician is an amazing doctor with a heart of gold. She is making informed decisions in our best interests. My friends and family have gone ahead of me on this. I can trust their sound advice. I counted on them for reassurance. Here is some solid village advice given to me that helped:
Just the fact that you are weighing the pros and con and worried means you are doing it right. Caring a lot and working to take care of your baby can't make you a bad mom.
We live in an "all natural" and "organic" culture that makes us feel guilty for choosing traditional medicine, but not that long ago, your child would have a far limited chance than what they do today of surviving past their first birthday because a "little" sickness would have been life threatening.
You listen to advice and you weigh options and you make a decision. That's the job.
Do not let Google give you too much of a false sense of expertise.
This experience, these people -- they taught me a lot. Firstly, I am grateful that my baby is well again. Secondly, I am thankful for my village.
A thankful villager
P.S. Mommas, what lessons have you learned from sick littles?