When your child is sick I often wonder if it’s harder on the parent or the child. Today I had to take my daughter back to the doctor for the second time in two weeks. During the first visit, the pediatrician diagnosed her with a double ear infection and a sinus infection. She went on antibiotics for 10 days and seemed to be better. Then just a few days ago she started showing the same symptoms again, only worse. She is absolutely miserable and it breaks my heart. After being at the doctor’s office for almost two hours this afternoon we stopped by the pharmacy on our way home to get her second round of antibiotics. Needless to say it’s been a long day and I am anticipating a long night.
Fortunately, my daughter only gets sick once a year that results in a doctor visit, but the entire illness typically lasts off and on between Christmas and Valentine’s Day. It comes and goes and usually in rounds of three doses. It typically involves a cold and an ear infection. Last year it went down to her lungs and she needed a nebulizer because of her wheezing (which may I add is extremely terrifying as a new mom with a barely one year old baby). This year it’s all in her head and in her sinuses. Either way my baby is sick and it’s out of my control.
When she is sick I put my life on hold to take care of her – needless to say my daily routine is altered. Luckily I have flexibility with my work schedule and support from my husband and family to help when it gets this bad. What’s worse is when we are both sick, which has happened on a few different occasions. I can’t wait to grow our family but I also cannot imagine having multiple children sick at the same time! This week I have had to cancel various commitments, a dentist appointment, and other work related events to make sure that I am there for her every moment of the day. There is usually not a lot of cleaning and cooking going on during these times but as soon as she’s better I go crazy and clean and disinfect everything!
When your child is sick they often need or want you by their side at all times – at least mine does! My daughter keeps saying “I hold you” and of course I do. I don’t mind as it gives me the opportunity to become a supermom and take care of everything I can to be a hero in her eyes. I have gotten more hugs and kisses and whispers of “I love you” more in the last couple of days then I can count. I love spending time with her on the good days and the challenging days.
Even though I am a superhero to her, I feel completely overwhelmed, exhausted, and helpless on the inside – especially if your child is whining and or irritable and nothing you seem to do makes it better. Seeing your child sick can be very frightening, and heartbreaking especially if they don’t have the verbal skills to tell you what is wrong. My daughter keeps saying “I hurt” and when a mom hears or sees that her offspring is hurt, she goes into protection mommy mode like no other and hurts, too. The worst is when a high fever begins in the middle of the night and you have to debate whether or not you need to go to the emergency room.
When we were waiting for our turn with the pediatrician I was in the waiting room with two other first time moms. One mom had a seven-month-old boy and the other mom had a four-month-old girl. I spoke with both moms and it was the first time their infants had been sick. They just had a look of terror in their eyes that stemmed from fear of the unknown and they both commented of just how helpless they felt. And at the same time I witnessed so much beauty in how they were holding and comforting their little ones showing love, compassion, strength, tenderness, and patience while they waited. They were giving their children everything they needed in that moment and all they had as a mom.
It’s never easy when your child is sick and it typically doesn’t change based on what age they are or what symptoms they have. Your children are a piece of you and if they are sick you’re sick too. It reminds me of the movie E.T. when E.T. became sick Elliot became sick too. I think of that when I think of mother-daughter attachment. As a parent you just can’t help that bond that you share.
I know I am doing everything I can to love her, comfort her, and give her what she needs to be healthy again, physically, emotionally and nutritionally. It is just hard to sit back and watch when you have done everything you can and they’re still sick.
So next time you see a mom that has a sick baby first ask how the baby is doing and if there’s anything you can do to help and also ask how the mom is doing and if there’s anything you can do for her as well. We are all in this together!!