Monday, September 26, 2011

Mom Guilt

A bit after my daughter started 1st grade, about two weeks ago, she developed a cough.  No fever, just an intermittent cough.  So I wrote it up to allegies or maybe one of those mysterious childhood coughs, courtesy of a new school year.  Then, this past Thursday, my husband brought my daughter home from soccer practice early.  She was wheezing, coughing and having trouble breathing.  We sped off to the ER, where they thought she had allergies or maybe had developed exercise-induced asthma.  They did a chest x-ray and we were all surprised to find out she had pneumonia.

I was devastated and instantly went on a guilt trip of epic proportions.  How could I let my child walk around with pneumonia?  How could I have been so flippant about her lingering cough? I was going to write a big blog post about my guilt and what a terrible mother I am.  But a couple things have happened since. 

First, when I posted my guilt to my Facebook page, I received many comments from other moms, telling me stories about how similar things happened to them.  I realized these things don't just happen to me.  Why, as mothers, do we always immediately assume we have been deficient in our duties in some way and that we are the ONLY mother who makes mistakes?  As far as I've observed, my husband rarely instantly blames himself for being a bad father.  He walked out the ER on Thursday night, saying, "Wow!  Who knew?  Even the doctors were surprised!"  Whereas I walked beside him, silently torturing myself for not being a "good" mother.  I really need to take a page out of my husband's book and get over myself already.

Then, on Friday, we went to my daughter's regular doctor, who listened to her chest and told me she sounded good and that we were lucky because it looked like we had caught the pneumonia early.  Her two week cough had simply been a virus that recently turned into pneumonia.  Again, why did I torture myself, assuming she had been very ill for a long time?  In my rational mind, I'm sure that I would have taken her to the doctor if she was exhibiting worrisome symptoms.  But no, I doubted and tortured myself instead.

So I learned that I need to have a bit more confidence.  I need to remember I'm human.  I need to remember I'm a good mom.  And I need you to remember the same.