Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Biggest Mother Fear

We sat in the white room waiting to hear the test results from the Doctor. He'd been really great - calling us himself, interacting with CJ, fitting us in at the last minute. The kind of health care provider you want to be treating your child. I felt like I was holding my breath.

"I'm sorry. The results just take a little bit to load."

Then there it was. Pictures of the inside of my daughter's head on the screen. The Doctor patiently walked us through her brain. "Here's the stem. Here's the -something else-" (not what he called it). "Everything looks normal.....Except for this little spot here."

The Doctor explained to us about different types of seizures then told us CJ's seizures were called focal, or partial, seizures, because only part of her brain was seizing. That meant her seizures wouldn't look like her falling on the ground and shaking all over. More likely just part of her body would have tremors (her first shaking seizure was just her neck and face) or she'd zone out. She wouldn't respond to her name or a touch or anything while she was seizing and she wouldn't know anything had happened. She'd just come right back and continue on her way. She could also experience seizures while sleeping. All of these were things that COULD happen.

Which led me to ask the doctor a simple question, "How can I tell if she had a seizure (at night, when I'm not looking, etc)?

His response cut to my heart, "You'll know."

Mother's live with lots of fears. We try not to let it rule our parenting or our lives. I still want my kid to ride a bike, see the good in most people, try new things, and be brave. I don't let fear run my family.

But can I let you in on a secret. My biggest mother-fear isn't that someone will get sick, or hurt, or lost. My biggest fear is that I won't know.

What if I don't know if she is getting enough milk? What if I don't know the best way to soothe her? What if I don't know that she's supposed to be learning something?  Or when someone shouldn't be trusted around my kid? Or don't know what happens when I'm not there to protect her? Or that she is sick? Or that someone is hurting her? Or that she shouldn't go somewhere?

What if I just don't know?

Leading up to having CJ, I got a lot of parenting advice and heard lots of times, "Trust your instincts. You're the Mom. You'll know what to do." Which sounds really nice, but what if I DON'T KNOW?

My instincts are to google it. Or find someone who has blogged about it. Or see what some chat forums might say. Surely I'm not the first mother to think about this problem? The internet always shows me another mother who has my same question.

"But, women have been doing this for thousands of years. It's part of your maternal instincts."

To which I say, sure, some things are. And yes, women have been taking care of babies for well, all time. But they used to do it differently. Mothers and sisters and grandmothers were close. They had collective wisdom on their side. Most of us don't have that anymore. So we turn to each other online. Because we're all scared of not knowing.

We turn to God. But in His infinite wisdom he lets the rain fall on the just and unjust. And the hard times and uncertainty rain on the believer and unbeliever alike.  

So most of the time we live a rich, full life. With falls and scrapes and triumphs and joys. But in the back of my mind the question lingers.

"How will I know she's had a seizure?"

"You'll just know."

What if I don't?



  1. I agree with your dr. you will know. Watching mom for the past years I can always tell when she has had a seziure. There will be signs in her behavior and demenor. So sorry CJ has this challenge. Hopefully there are some breakthrough things to help her. What a great mom youare