Dear Mama at the hospital,
Don’t forget to breathe. Scan your body - relax those muscles.
You’re scared. I get it. Me too. But, in the midst of protecting your little person, try to remember that you matter too.
Your basic needs have to be met. Eat food. Drink water. Take a break. Say yes to friends requests to help - ask for a quick break, or a hug.
Impossible? You say.
I get it. I’m right there with you. Day 4 in paediatric ICU. My babe cries when I leave, and calms when I return. How, when he is this sick, can I leave him to get dinner? To go to the bathroom? To take a minute to have a cry and re-group?
It’s simple - but also so so complex: For him to get a good mom, I need to tend to me too.
It’s so easy to forget that. As women, we have been conditioned to look out for everyone else, and not ourselves. We are taught that we only matter if those of us around us are calm and happy. That our worth is based on others' feelings about us. We are a good wife if our partner is happy. A good mother if our children are happy. A good daughter - friend - employee - if we make those around us feel comfortable.
Well, guess what? That’s crap.
You are worthy regardless of how anyone else feels. You deserve happiness too.
As hard as it is, this is one of those times where you need to shift your mind. “But I’m already dealing with a really ill child, how can I do that too?”
Because… you don’t have a choice.
That baby needs you well. That baby needs you present, and caring, and loving.
And the only way to sustain that - is to love yourself too.
So… find a way to let you be taken care of too.
When the nurse asks if you need anything say “yes, can you get me some water please?”. Leave your child and pee - even if that means a few minutes of discomfort for them. Allow your friends or your spouse to stay with your child so you can get a break - some quiet to focus on your breathing or call a friend to vent.
Yes, your baby is sick. But you giving up all of your reserves to them won’t make them better. All it will do is make you feel stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted.
You got this.