Today’s Our Land Series post has been authored by the full-hearted, heart-full, fabulous Chris Carter, from The Mom Cafe. This woman is not only fabulously amazing, but she’s got such an unwavering faith for life, motherhood, and peacefulness. I truly admire her and am more than honored to feature her words here, today. I think that you’ll be as blown away by her goodness as I am.
Our Land – Your Mother’s Child
I am sharing this season of motherhood I endured for a reason. This was our life, for nine years. I am grateful every day that I can use the word “was” because at the time, I never thought there would ever come a day that I could. After countless diagnosis and surgeries and procedures, we have finally figured out all of my daughter’s many medical issues that created such affliction. I thank God for this long winding path to her health. Those were the most difficult years of my life.
For all those mamas who struggle and suffer through the twists and turns of their children’s painful path, please find encouragement in my conclusion. I believe each child was created specifically for us… and each mother was hand picked for them. Oh please believe that, dear moms. And carry forth your calling. May every woman with a child realize this truth.
It’s 1:00am and I lie here listening to my dear daughter cough her lungs out. It reminds me of all we have been through with this horrible ailment they call “Asthma.” She is in a bout, but it is mild compared to what we have been through during the last eight years of her life….
From her first horrific beginning of this journey, it has been an intensely exhausting and terrifying experience. I could write pages on her long struggle, but I will only tell a short story instead.
My daughter has struggled with multiple medical issues that have led us to doctors and therapists and specialists on a daily basis. She was a sick baby, and I was a tired and terrified mama. There were endless days of questioning and doubting and fearing the worst. After a year and a half of those days, we decided to risk it and take a trip to Florida to see some friends and family. She was only 18 months old, and gasping for air….I was holding her pacing with hysterical anxiety in the ER in Florida praying and crying for help. After the RSV diagnosis and fearful nights, long days of doubt and despair, multiple medicines, and breathing treatments…she healed. The nightmare was over.
I survived. It was awful.
But this nightmare wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning. There were countless doctor appointments, ER visits and urgent care interventions to follow in her young years. As unending medical “treatments” all failed, this was our hopeless and helpless way of life. This terrible road has been excruciating to both her and I. And yet, we are here. We have come so far. We have survived the agonizing hours and days and weeks of ongoing bouts that shake me to my core.
We all have those “raw spots,” don’t we? My greatest weakness is fear. My most profound disability is anxiety. Her life from the moment she was born and turned blue has struck me to my core. Like lightening….Fear. Anxiety. Angst. Terror.
My deepest moments of despair lie in those circumstances that are still vivid and alive in my memory. Such moments I remember all too well…
There are so many. I’ll just share a few:
Leaving my 2 year old in the isolated respiratory unit of Children’s Hospital at 2:00am, sobbing…after begging the doctors to please let me take her home. I was nursing my 5 week old baby boy, and after hours in the ER, I had to leave her alone with strangers….tubes…in her hospital crib…. so tiny…so sick…her oxygen was just not going past 80 after hours of breathing treatments and shots of steroids. I had no choice. I had to leave my baby girl. I cried as hard as my screaming infant all the way home. I was grateful that my husband could stay with her….but only a mother can feel this pain. I was always the one who took care of her through those dark long nights while I tried to protect his sleep. He was our provider. He had his own nightmare of finding work. It was only in my most desperate moments that I would come into the guest room where he slept and jolt him to his feet begging for help. He jumped every time I would open that door, always expecting a crisis… it was our way of life.
I flash in my mind to another snowy torturing night alone holding my baby as she clenched her chest and cried in her sleep coughing, wheezing, gasping. I knew full well where I was headed in the snowstorm. My husband out of town and my baby boy asleep…..and as it always does, the nightmare continued to unfold. There was always that breaking point that slowly crept in. The times that I dreaded would come. The times where what I thought was the worst was not. The times where I begged God for healing, with no answer. No doctor had it. No specialist had it.
No answer. Hopeless.
I could never begin to give a number to the amount of hours, days and weeks I have held my child in my arms with a bowl while she gasped for air as I prayed desperate prayers for help. I could never begin to find the words for the hell we have endured. I can only use the description of my baby pulling her hair out in clumps to somehow convey the pain and the throttle of existence that rocked me to my core so many times. Her bald patches and all the clumps of hair I would find through the years was the deep reflection of the trauma she endured. I too, wanted to pull my hair out in clumps. I too, felt that unending crack in the earth that engulfed us for days without air. To this day, my chest tightens every time she coughs. To this day, I still find hair after a bout.
It’s not clumps anymore, and I don’t shake as hard….
We manage. She has gotten stronger. Every time she starts, however, I still respond physically…clenched teeth, chest tightens, perspiration, blood pressure flies, pulse quickens. Mentally….oh no no no no…I can’t…no please…help, help…God please no. Emotionally……angst….anger…..fear……anxiety. It’s been learned. I don’t know if that will ever change. I listen to her now, and I still tighten, plead, and tear up in anguish. I know it could be worse.
I am sharing this part of my motherhood for a reason. I believe that I am learning how to survive my core “black hole.” I believe that it will never ever go away. It’s who I am. But this child was given to me and has led me on a journey of the most critical growth I could ever have imagined. I believe that through it all….all the pieces…..that came crumbling down inside of me over and over again…..somehow….continue…..to rebuild…..stronger…..more durable….refined…. a little….as our journey unfolds. All this time, it was all about her. And yet, I find that maybe it was about me, too.
There is this theme of motherhood that portrays a beautiful sentiment:
…”You were put here on this earth to be your children’s mother… they are a gift and you will teach them and raise them and help them find their ways. You will direct their paths and you will lead them through learning and understanding who they are. You will care for them and provide for them all that they need in order to become the human being they were meant to be. You will challenge them and test them and allow them to fall, in order for them to be able to find their footing on more stable ground. You will show them that the make-up of who they are, is both worthy and worth working on…You will press upon your children, the beauty of their core, both in the dark places and in the light. You will embrace their weaknesses and guide them through discovering strengths rooted in them. You will help them navigate their plan and find their purpose. You will be there with them through it all.”
What if, by chance… It actually was the opposite?
“You were put here on this earth to be your mother’s child. She is a gift, and you will teach her and raise her and help her find her way. You will direct her path and you will guide her through learning and understanding who she is. You will care for her and provide for her all she needs in order to become the human being she was meant to be. You will challenge her and test her and allow her to fall, in order for her to find her footing again on more stable ground. You will show her that the make-up of who she is, is both worthy and worth working on…you will press upon her the beauty of her core, both in the dark places and in the light. You will embrace her weaknesses and guide her through discovering strengths rooted in them. You will help her navigate her plan and find her purpose. You will be there with her through it all.”
Our children…. It’s not just about them. Apparently, it’s about us too.
I told you that Chris is incredible and that you’d adore her as much as I do. Here’s a bit more about her:
Chris Carter, from The Mom Cafe is a SAHM of two pretty amazing grade school kids. She has been writing at TheMomCafe.com for almost three years, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration and faith.