Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Yesterday one of my friends posted this on facebook,
'Do you have kids?' A blank stare in return. 'Do you have kids?' I repeat. She smiles, 'No, but I have a niece, so I understand.'
How the mother had the reserve not to hit the woman or at least scream at her is beyond me. That's more self control than I would have. And my friend, is not only a mother, she is the mother of a sick kid.
I have several Facebook friends, people who I really only know as acquaintances in real life, who have sick kids. The ups and downs of their mothering lives are often laid bare on the computer screen. And we, mothers of healthy kids, will never know what it is like.
As mothers, we do know that when those new lives come into the world everything changes in ways you could never have predicted. The constant need for attention, the responsibility for another life that rest on your should every minute of every hour. It's a daunting role to choose in life.
Mothers with sick kids get way more than than they signed up for, including a self-taught medical degree. Lots of time away from home (in hospitals), and a crash course in patient advocacy.
If they have other children, they are spread even thinner. Their outlines become translucent.
Their inner lives, their past life, a distant memory. Forget about being an artist or developing a career; there is not time for you.
My mother had sick kids. My sister had kidney problems that resulted in numerous surgeries before she was 10 years old. I had Grand Mal epilepsy which subsided when I was seven but was replaced with recurrent bowl obstructions which have persisted into adulthood.
Mothers with sick kids are not living the same experience as other mothers and it wouldn't hurt to remember that.