Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When Did I Become a Mama?

Over at Mom-101, Liz's most recent post is about when you first, really, know or realize (kind of like an "a-ha!" moment) that you are a parent. I really had to stop and think about this because I sometimes still don't feel like a parent despite the fact that we never go out anymore, my whole shower schedule revolves around when James takes a nap, and I find myself whistling ridiculous, toy tunes, when I am alone.

My "parent moment" was two days after Jamie was born. Jake had been spending the night at the hospital with us since we had a private room but on the second day he had to go home because we were having a radon mitigation system installed and the contractor was coming over to work. Karl, the guy who was doing the installation, was really busy and difficult to get over to our place-so we did not want to cancel the appointment. (Remember-Jamie was born a week early) So Jake left and after I fed Jamie and one of the nurses came to check on him, I asked if she would take him back to the nursery so I could shower and take a little nap. I was finally feeling up to getting showered and putting my own clothes on! So I did. I showered, got dressed, put a tiny bit of make-up on, and tried to nap. When I couldn't sleep I decided to read a magazine and have a little snack. After about two hours passed, I went to get James from the nursery.

When I entered the room, a nurse was just finishing up taking his temperature. There was a folded square of gauze laying next to his face that was slightly yellowed. My heart started racing and I asked what was wrong. She told me that James just wasn't feeling well and had thrown up a little. My eyes filled with tears and my heart just broke. I felt terrible, like the worst mother in the world, and so full of guilt because here my little one wasn't feeling well and instead of comforting him, I was selfishly showering and reading magazines. The nurse said she was sure it was because he had been circumcised that morning and sometimes they are a little under the weather after that. She assured me he would be back to normal in no time.

I took Jamie back to my room and as I held him, I thought about some of the things I'd teach him, and all the things I'd have to protect him from, and how I would die if anything ever happened to him. Looking back, I know it really wasn't a big deal (him being sick)-but at the time, it really made an impact on me. How about you? Did you have a moment?


Mom101 said...

That's a great story - I'm glad I inspired you to share it. Isn't it amazing how powerful (and yet useless) guilt is? As if you could have stopped him from throwing up if you just hadn't put on that damn eyeliner.

I love that you realize that it wasn't a big deal, even if it made a big impact.

VDog said...

That happened to me ALL THE TIME when the Little Man was in the hospital (four weeks since he was eight weeks early). I would FINALLY get up after hours and hours by his side, or holding him, to go to the bathroom or get something to eat, and something big would happen.

Really sucks to come back from a 10 minute scarf food and pee break to find four nurses around your baby. Serious guilt time.

Jana said...

Well here's one for you. Amanda was about 3 months old when she came down with a really bad cold (from daycare probably). After she got "better" she still wasn't normal - to me. So, I took her to the doctor who told me if there's no fever, there's no problem, but we'll run some bloodwork just for fun. Well, the bloodwork came back showing her with -0- new white blood cells, and she was admitted and given a blood transfusion. Well - I was a young mother, with a job and a recent divorce, and so I left Amanda alone in the hosptial (guilt guilt), I came in after work to find that the transfusion needle had pushed through the vein in her forhead and she had this HUGE red lump between her eyes and they had her strapped down so she'd leave the needle and lines alone. (BIG HUGE HORRIBLE GUILT) There's been a lot of guilt over this child of mine over the past 25 years, and she even today takes advantage of it by getting me to spend all that time with my blue-eyed baby granddaughter Fay!!!
The best advise I can give you is don't let guilt eat you up, because the kid isn't going to remember it anyway. YOU can feel guilty all you want to, if it makes you feel better (which it won't) but the kid isn't going to remember the day he was circumcised and vomited (after all - wouldn't YOU??). Cheer up and look at the wonder your child is, mama, you're doing OK.

Anonymous said...

nope, don't have one. :)

but joannie, i loved the story... i love knowing more about you. i miss you terribly.