Most people who know me consider me a strong person. I totally agree with them because the dress fits. I am extremely resilient, it takes a lot to shake me and even when I am shaken, it rarely shows. I fall and get right back and I rarely give up, I will keep on trying and trying till I get a result that I can live with. Failing most times for me is not an option and I will always fight for the things and people that I hold dear. However, having a child is threatening this definition of me.
When my child was born, he scared me. I was scared because I did not know if I had it in me to be a good mother. He scared me because he was so tiny and I was afraid that I would mishandle him and break one of his tiny bones. That in my weak post-partum body I could slip and fall and drop him. It scared me that this young little being could be suffering from being too cold or too hot or that there could be pain somewhere within him and I would be unable to tell from his cries. I had finally met a challenge that I could not simply win by sheer willpower, determination, and skill. There were too many unknowns. We passed the stage though and he grew. We had tears along the way, his and mine (so much from me!!! I may have made up for all the tears I have refused to shed over the years)
I thought the next phase would be easier, less scary. Life comes to you fast! The young man discovered he can turn and just by turning front and back he was also able to move. My hyperactive child would also sit for a while and then decide to throw himself backward or to the side. No, he was not falling. He had decided to make a game of it and was intentionally throwing himself and breaking out in laughter. Clearly, the little boy has no idea how anxiety, heart palpitations or stress work. So now I had to be careful of placing him in narrow places, always making sure his crib was closed as he took his naps. I could not even bear the thought of this tiny person falling from the seat or the bed to the ground due to him not being secured properly.
This life was not done with me though. One day, almost like magic, the little man starts crawling. This milestone, for him, also came to the realization that he did not need to harass adults with cries to put him in a standing position. He could do it all by himself. So, you’ll sit him down, he’ll crawl to the nearest thing he can use to support himself up, stand and support himself to walk away. Like wow! How he’s brain has grown. I am so wowed. I took time to just look at him and be amazed. Happiness, wonder, and amazement? No that’s not how the world works! The boy discovers he wants something reaches for it, then chooses to hold with both hands. His sweet innocent-self forgets he needs the hands to support him and BOOM!!! Houston, we have a situation! Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING could ever have prepared me for that moment. That first fall sent everything inside me at high speed. I ran to pick him, my heart was racing faster than Lewis Hamilton lap in Bahrain last year, and my hands tried to feel his head to see if there was any damage. He quickly calmed down, climbed down and was at it again. How do babies do that? How do they just move on from a major incident like it did not happen? Sigh!!! I contemplated putting a mattress on the floor to catch his falls but then it would interfere with his freedom to move around and crawling down the mattress may also present another challenge. He’s had a few other minor falls but he seems to have figured out how to avoid falls, by leaning against the seat or adults when he wants to use both hands. On this same note, one day when I was half asleep and the baby was in bed with me and I thought I had full control, the baby crawled away and fell off the bed. Luckily onto pillows that I had used to secure the edges. Needless to say, I shall NEVER sleep again.
One of my loved ones, pointed out, that the worrying never stops. The older your children grow the more fears you have for them. You want more for them. AS they grow into themselves, so do your dreams for them and your expectations for them. They are their own person but are an extension of you and for that, you will always worry about them. So, people, I am not strong. Not anymore, at least. I am just a mother doing everything to keep her child safe and working very hard for the world not to notice that she could lose it at any point to achieve this goal.