Monday, July 14, 2008

My baby. My sweet angel baby,

No one ever told me that becoming a mother means resigning yourself to a life of guilt. From the day you find out you're pregnant, you start to feel guilty.
"I shouldn't have had that glass of wine three weeks ago."

As your pregnancy progresses, you find more reasons to feel guilty.
"If only I'd remembered to take my multivitamins every day, he'd be healthier."

And then they're born and the opportunity to make bad decisions just multiplies.
"Maybe if I hadn't started him on solids when I did, he wouldn't have this wheat allergy."

And when they start moving, oh boy the chance for regret and guilt just skyrockets. (For proof just look at this post.)

After this weekend, I am absolutely riddled with guilt and can not suppress the feeling that I am the most inept and horrible mother ever.

We went to Ottawa for a four day vacation. The first two were wonderful and filled with reunions with our closest friends. Then, on the third day, Hayden and I were playing outside before we went out for breakfast. He kept splashing in our friend's dog water dish and I kept dragging him away and trying to get him interested in the birds and flowers. He ran back and picked up the dish, about to pour it all over himself. So I grabbed it to tug it out of his hands before he soaked himself in dog drool. When I yanked it from his grasp, he squealed and I assumed it was a tantrum. Then I looked down to see his hand covered in blood. Little did I know, the protective rubber seal that normally covered the handle he was holding was gone, leaving a sharp metal edge. When I'd pulled that dish from his hands, I'd actually pulled that sharp metal edge into his fingers. The guilt immediately rose like bile in my throat.

I ran inside with him, my grasp putting pressure on his heavily bleeding fingers. I ran them quickly under cool water and he screamed out in agony. When I opened his fingers to assess the damage, my heart flipped and my eyes instantly welled up. His middle finger had a deep gash on the first finger pad (closest to the palm) and it continued up and in past his first joint. It looked deep and angry and not something I could fix. Beside it, his other finger had a deep gash to the pad. With the help of our dear friends (and please guys - I hope you know that we don't at all even remotely think you are the least bit responsible) we bandaged up his hands and headed to CHEO (the local children's hospital). 11 hours, a conscious sedation (horrible to watch), a whole lot of blood, a horrible doctor, and five sketchy stitches later, we hobbled back to Adam's uncle's house.

I was hoping that tonight it would start looking a little better, but when we changed over the dressing, the biggest wound has turned black...not a good sign. We're going to see his doctor tomorrow and she's referring us to a pediatric plastic surgeon to make sure his little hands will work perfectly.

The guilt continues to overwhelm me whenever I think about it, if I try to sleep, when I see his little hand or hear him cry when it touches against something. The reasonable part of my brain tells me it was an accident and I couldn't have foreseen the result of my actions. But the deeper, darker part of me is needling my heart, asking again and again how I could hurt my own child this way. Snidely reminding me that if I had a little more patience, maybe I wouldn't have pulled so hard and Hayden would be fine; That all three times Hayden has been really hurt in his short 20 months of life, it's been under my watch; That I am one horrible mother. I can't stop thinking it. I can't stop blaming myself. And the thought that he might need more surgery or have more trauma twists my stomach until I gag on the guilt.

Every mother I tell this to tells me that this won't be the last time. That there will be many times in my life that Hayden will hurt himself and I'll relive the moment forever and think "if only I'd..." or "If I had just..."

I never would have believed that I would have three such moments before my baby's second birthday.

Say a prayer or think good thoughts...My gut tells me we're not through the worst of it yet.


Big Sis said...

Oh little need a boost and to know what a truly, truly amazing, patient, caring, loving, teaching, and I could go on and on, Mummy you are to your beautiful baby boy and my precious nephew Hayden. My little man thinks his Si-Si is the absolute best and asks to go to your house daily. Know that I only wish I could be as animated, patient (yes, you have waaaaay more patience than I) and laid back as my precious little sister, I am truly envious. I think that guilt is just a part of being a Mum and we all have it at one time or another and it's natural...but NEVER doubt your true skill as his one of a kind I said sometimes I wish I was more like you. Of course things happen when he is with you, cause he is always with him Mummy so who else would it happen with! When my little dude fell a couple of weeks ago and I was holding to "leash" had the same feelings as I saw the gash on his face and the resulting black eyes, "I was right there" "Did I pull on the leash and make him fall"....guilt, guilt that you had anything to do with your child being hurt...part of Mummyhood...but hey only the Mummy love and cuddles will help them when they are hurt right :) Love you so much little sis, love big sis xoxo

Anonymous said...

Would Hayden choose any other mummy? Does Hayden love you any less? Are you the most important person to him? You didn't do anything intentionally. You would lay down your life for that little guy. Its absolutely horrible seeing your child hurt and it doesn't matter how careful you are, accidents happen - and he's a boy - there are going to be lots of cuts and scrapes. Ben was the only one who had stitches. My heart hurts for you and Hayden but you truly are one of those one in a million mums, fun, animated, loving and always remember the words to songs. Its tough right now, but Hayden will be OK and nobody could love you more than your family and we will always be there for you. Time will heal not only his wounds but your heart.
I love you.
Muma Mugs

wordmama said...

You know, it's only through you guys, my family, that I'm still sane (relatively). Thank you, thank you for your supportive words. I know I can't begin to forgive myself until his hand is healed. But it means a lot that my family is behind me. Thank you!

Amy said...

Lucy I saw many times on Saturday how you just want to protect him, and this was just another time. That makes you a great mom, not a bad mom! FYI, when I was a little older Hayden's age I put my hand in a bicycle chain that my 4-yr old sister then pedalled (imagine my mom's guilt about that! I can still remember the panicked way she ran out of the kitchen to get me). One mashed hand and hospital visit later, and my hand works just fine.

The W.O.W. factor said...

wWordMomma, from what I've read from you, you are a great Mom! And like ANOM said..."Does Hayden love you any less? Are you the most important person to him? "...
I don't want to shatter any 'hopes' for you...but my kids are 30'somethings....and I STILL think "what if's" "should haves"...yet they grew up to be totally loving & responsible adults. It's just a Mom thing, I recently, I talked to MY Mom about the same kinds of things...and she in her 80's still thinks those same things about us 4 kids and growing up.
Hayden will heal...and so will you Mom!

wordmama said...

I do have such wonderful friends. Thank you Amy and Barb.