Today has been a rough day for me. I got very little sleep last night. Up at 11 to pee, up at 12 to put the dog to bed (no joke, most nights she comes in to get me to take her to her bed to tuck her in), up at 12:30 to take her out, up at 2 to feed Sabrina, up at 3 with the dog having a seizure. Up at 6:30 for the day.
This morning, Sabrina had her 9 month well-child visit. No shots for the 9 month appointment, so what could go wrong?? Try EVERYTHING. She basically cried from the minute the nurse came in until we were walking out of the building. I became sick in the middle of the appointment and had to go sit on the floor in the cold bathroom until I felt better. (Long story that I don't want to share, sorry, some things even I don't want to talk about, other than I AM NOT PREGNANT!) Worst of all, we found out via the "Cover Test" that both of Sabrina's eyes are pointing inwards and that she needs a referral to a pediatric ophthalmologist. My mom had mentioned a couple weeks ago that she wanted me to talk to the doctor about Sabrina's eyes but I had never before saw what she was talking about, and really only notice it in pictures. So I was a bit in denial, hoping that it was nothing. Apparently it's more than nothing.
So back to work I went after her appointment, feeling queasy and like someone had punched me in the gut. I talked to a few people about what was going on, and I kept hearing the same thing over and over again: "It could be worse." Yes, I know it could be worse. It could be much worse. One thing about the internet is it puts people and situations far worse than yours right in front of your eyes. There are several pages that I like on Facebook that follow the stories of kids with cancer or chronic seizures or other debilitating conditions. The Ice Bucket Challenge is everywhere, bringing to light conditions such as ALS. Without a doubt, our situation is not grave, is treatable, and is certainly not life threatening.
But I am Sabrina's mother. She is my only baby. Am I not allowed to feel some amount of sadness for my child and for myself? This is the first issue that we've really faced with Sabrina, other than "typical" things like jaundice and acid reflux. I myself have had glasses since early elementary school. Chris also has glasses. So why do I feel this horrible sense of sadness and devastation over something that is certainly not devastating to the logical mind?
Because she is my baby. Because she sat screaming in that office this morning, breaking my heart in two to the point where I felt physically ill. Because she matters, and in the same way, I matter. My feelings matter. I know people only meant well by saying that it could be worse. But in trying to possibly put a positive spin on something negative, they inadvertently made me feel worse, because I felt as though my feelings were inconsequential because someone out there is going through something far worse than I am.
So many times, we unintentionally dismiss other people's feelings because we or someone we know may be going through something similar or worse. It is human nature to try to relate your feelings or experiences to others. But the unintended result of doing so could be making the other person feel as though their feelings aren't important or valid. I think as mothers we do this to each other far too often.
And we do this to ourselves. We are so busy worrying about what others are thinking and feeling that we forget that our own thoughts and feelings matter a great deal as well. During our days filled with long workdays or keeping the kids entertained, filled with being a mommy taxi service or sending e-mail after e-mail in which it feels like you're talking to yourself, we do not acknowledge our own feelings, nor do we talk about them enough. But sometimes that exactly what we need to do. We need to talk, to vent, to make our feelings known. Whether that is through coffee with a trusted friend, talking to your mom, or seeing a therapist, we should all be aware of and acknowledge our own feelings more. Start a blog, write a journal, join a moms group, talk to someone at your church or place of worship. As mothers, we need to build each other up. We may not share the same feelings or views on things, but we need to create a culture of motherhood where we matter.
I am still inconsolable about Sabrina's possible vision issues. Luckily she goes go the specialist on Friday, so hopefully we will get some answers soon. And even though I acknowledge wholeheartedly that it could be worse, I know that it's okay for me to be upset. I love my daughter and I want what is best for her, as we all do with our children. So I am going to give in to the sadness and hope for the best.
If you encounter someone who is saddened or upset about something that is happening to them, empower them to go with their feelings and encourage them that tomorrow is another day, hopefully a better one.