26 November 2011, by Mandy Loh
In a span of 3 days, I’ve managed to experience two totally extreme ends of the emotional spectrum of motherhood!
I’ll start with the horrible one. Just yesterday, I had the most awful accident with Cristan. I’m still recovering from the shock and trauma, and am sharing this in a pretty vulnerable state. PLEASE DO NOT JUDGE ME because accidents do happen, and of course, I definitely did not wish for any harm to come to my darling boy. I have learnt a hard lesson and will be much more careful in future. But enough of preambles, let’s get on with telling you what happened:
If you’ve been following my blog, you’d already know that I work from home, which is an arrangement I totally love. But having to manage a full load of work, while caring for Cristan at the same time, means having to multi-task most of the time. This had worked out well until yesterday: as I was cuddling Cristan to settle him down for his late afternoon nap, I received a work call on an urgent matter. Not wanting Cristan to fuss while I was on the call, I walked around the living room with him in one arm, holding the phone with the other. Perhaps it was complacency (I’m pretty used to holding him with just one arm) or simply the lack of concentration on him (because I was focusing on the teleconversation), but somehow, suddenly, Cristan lurched forward and fell right out of my arms, face-down onto the cold, hard, marble floor!
It was a terrible, heart-stopping, stomach-churning moment as I saw him land right in front of me. I COULD NOT BELIEVE I HAD DROPPED MY SON! I froze in shock and disbelief as his wails pierced through the air. Thankfully, Tim was at home at that time, and rushed over immediately to pick Cristan up and comfort him. We took turns to cuddle him as I profusely apologised and prayed desperately that everything would be fine. Our poor darling was shocked and dazed, and cried for a while, but calmed down soon after and even fell asleep! Tim and I, however, were worried sick and monitored him closely for the next few hours. We quickly checked online for advice on what to do when baby takes a tumble, and just to share what we had learnt:
- Do a thorough check for any serious injuries/ wounds (bleeding, broken bones, etc)
- Monitor for signs of concussion – excessive sleepiness, persistent vomiting
- Watch out for prolonged crying or screaming – which could indicate internal injuries
We were initially unsure if we should let him sleep, but as he seemed fine for the few minutes after the fall, and had no visible injuries, we let him take his nap. He was also easily roused (he woke when Tim tried to put him down in the cot – totally normal behaviour!) so that eased our fears of a possible concussion.
Thankfully, Cristan did not sustain any serious injuries, and there was no bleeding, vomiting, nor any other danger signs. He was also behaving normally, albeit just a little bit more fussy than usual last night. This morning, he was right as rain, smiling and laughing as though nothing had happened! Babies are so amazingly hardy!
A fall like that hurts the baby physically, but let me tell you, it wrecks havoc on a mother’s emotional state like you wouldn’t believe! I was a train wreck – my insides were wrenched by guilt and completely twisted in knots. I momentarily lost all confidence in my mothering abilities, and declared myself the world’s worst mom. I hid myself under the covers for a while and just cried in utter despair that I had inflicted such pain on my baby.
At times like this (and trust me, there WILL be times like this in any parenting journey), it is crucial to receive love and understanding from loved ones, and I really appreciate the support from my dearest sister and some great mommy friends, who reassured me and gave me the strength to let go of the negative emotions. Tim was also a stellar pillar of support, comforting both Cristan and I and making sure both of us were alright.
At the end of the day, I’ve realised that it’s not productive to dwell on the guilt and remorse of “what I should/ should not have done”, but to learn from the mistakes and just continue trying to be the best mom I could possibly be. After all, motherhood is all about learning on-the job.
With that, let me close with the highs of being a mom – Cristan said “mama” for the first time on Wednesday! Yes, it may just be babbling, but I’m taking it as him calling me mama! And that, my friends, makes it worth going through all the lows! 🙂