I’m writing this from hospital. Sitting on the not-very-comfortable single person sofa bed, watching my 12 month old daughter sleep peacefully in her hospital cot.
Luckily for us, my daughter isn’t seriously sick. She’s had a cough and a mild fever on and off for the past few days. Originally the doctors thought it might be croup, but now we’re waiting for the full results of her blood tests which indicated she has some kind of infection.
While I’m telling myself I’m not really worried, there’s still a small part of me that’s quite anxious.
I’m sure most of us would agree the hardest thing about parenting is having your child get sick. Especially when that child is a baby – they don’t understand what’s happening to them, they can’t tell you how they’re feeling, or where it hurts. You can’t explain to them why you’re forcefully pinning them down to let the nurse take their blood, or why they’re lying naked and scared on the cold x-ray machine. It’s traumatic – for both the child and the parent. I know I barely held it together in the fourth hour of my emergency room wait at 3am when my bubba was getting increasingly distressed.
But as I sit here now, all I can feel is grateful. Because all I can think of is those Mums whose children are really, truly, seriously ill. Those Mums who’ve spent more nights on fold-out hospital couches than they have their own beds. Sleepless nights spent watching over their precious children, willing them to get better. Anxious days spent holding their breath, waiting for test results, hoping and praying for good news.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to be the parent of a seriously ill child. In the three and a bit years I’ve been a mum this is the first time we’ve dealt with a sickness which required hospitalisation. We’ve been so blessed to have robust, healthy girls, who are rarely ever sick.
However, some of my friends have not been so fortunate. Some of them have, and still do, live with the daily issues of having really sick little babies, toddlers and children. Mums whose babies spent the first few months of their life in hospital. Mums whose babies never made it home.
So I’m grateful. I’m grateful to have beautiful, chubby, healthy girls. To live within 25 minutes of an amazing children’s hospital. To have wonderful, caring and thorough doctors and nurses who pull funny faces at my little Moochie. To have an awesome supportive family. To have a flexible job where I can change my shifts with ease. To have enough medical knowledge to understand what’s happening and not be frightened of the hospital environment.
I’m even grateful for having to wait four hours in emergency, because it means that, while my daughter was sick, she wasn’t sick enough to need emergency intervention.
Because I know there are so many other Mums out there who have much less to be grateful for. And it’s to those Mums whom I tip my hat. You Mums (and Dads!) are amazing, truly.