Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Dropped My Baby...

Yes, it's true, I dropped my baby. In the public health nurse’s office. Moments after her 4 month immunizations (poor girl!!). It was the ultimate “I’m a horrible mom!!” moment for me. Tessa didn’t fall far (only a few inches) and is completely fine, all she got was a small scratch on her arm and a good scare. It could have been much, much worse.

I spent the rest of the day replaying the scene and feeling worse and worse about myself each time. I eventually had to tell myself to stop thinking about it altogether, or if I was going to think about it, to look for positives and lessons learned. So, here’s what I got:

      1 - Worry only makes it worse. Like I said, for the rest of the day I replayed the incident over and over in my head, and each time my mind made it worse than it actually was – she fell further, went unconscious, started bleeding everywhere, etc, etc. Reliving an incident doesn’t undo it and doesn’t change the outcome, so why waste all that time and brain power thinking and worrying about what was or what could have been? Let it go!

      2 - I’m NOT a bad mom. One mishap does not forever ruin one’s career as a mother. There are many other things I’m doing well (or at least well enough). I know it’s hard to forget moments like these because they’re so shocking and out of the ordinary. But instead of constantly reliving one awful thing that happened, why not spend my time thinking about all the hugs and kisses, the cuddles and smiles, those wonderful moments when I’m rocking her and she falls asleep in my arms? Those are the moments I want to dwell on and have etched into my memory forever. Tessa is fine and won’t even remember that this happened. She’s forgiven and forgotten, so to speak, so I need to do the same.

      3 – We’re way harder on ourselves than anyone else is. I told another mom friend about this incident, and her response was full of grace. She basically told me that it could have happened to anyone, don’t worry about it, babies are far more resilient than we think, etc etc. I started thinking about what my response to another mom would have been if the tables were turned. I’m pretty sure I would have responded in much the same way – “don’t worry about it”, “you’re a great mom”, “these things happen”. Why is it so easy for me to let someone else off the hook but not myself? Why can’t I extend the same grace to myself that is so quickly given to me and that (I hope) I would give to others? Let’s give ourselves permission to mess up and not beat ourselves up about it forever.
(I was working on writing this when I received this post in my inbox from another blog I follow. Very similar theme and worth looking at if you're a mom who ever struggles with "mommy guilt" - and don't we all?? )

      4 - I’m sure nobody looks at me and thinks I have it all together, but just in case they do, here’s proof that I don’t – I dropped my baby! It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, and women are especially bad for this. There’s no way I’m the first person on earth to have dropped her baby, and it’s quite likely that someone who I consider to be a great mom has also dropped hers (or done something similar). There never has been and never will be a perfect parent. There are, however, great parents who occasionally make mistakes. I'll always fall short if I'm comparing myself to some impossible, unrealistic standard that doesn't even exist. If we must compare ourselves at all, let's at least remember that we're comparing ourselves to ordinary, imperfect people who have bad days and mess up too.

Two days after her shots and her happy as ever!
 We are so thankful for our happy, healthy, beautiful, and tough little girl. And this mama is thankful for grace for each new day.

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