This weekend Adoption STAR Founder & CEO Michele Fried shares the challenge of remaining calm in the midst of a troubling news.
As my children are getting older (and so am I), motherhood seems to be defined in so many different ways. One thing remains constant, however, and that is how it feels to be afraid for your child. Before I became a mom, so many people told me how hard being a parent was. In my early months of parenting I never could understand what they meant because everyday mothering was more wonderful. Until one day while feeding my first, hives popped out all over his body. Then on another day a child on the bus would not sit next to my child. Then it was ear tube surgery and another time eye surgery. Somehow I managed to get through these times (so did the kids.) I was being a mom.
When the doctor called to tell me that our 14-year-old’s scoliosis x-ray was normal, I didn’t expect him to say, "We have some concerning information though. The x-ray shows that your son’s heart appears enlarged." I was at work when I received the call so I naturally wrote down what he said, much like a case note I would have written for a client. I was professional. I was calm. What do I do? He told me. I did it. Cardiology appointment made. Everything organized. I was being a mom.
Hard part now… I need to tell someone. Husband, yes, call him. And so I told him. He had way too many questions and I had no answers. I would not search the Internet knowing I would only find doom. Since the appointment was almost three weeks away, we decided not to tell our son about the cardiology appointment until closer to the date.
Did even one day pass with me forgetting that something may be wrong with my son’s heart? Not one day. When my mother told me she was so worried about it, I snapped at her telling her that I could not talk about it. Professional. Calm. I was being a mom.
The day before the appointment I finally told my son that he would need to miss some school the next morning because he had a doctor’s appointment. Besides being a bit stressed over missing a class or two at the very start of his freshman year in high school, he handled it well. But then he didn’t ask why he had a doctor’s appointment. From experience, I have learned only to give a child the information he wants to know when he is ready to know. Later that night he asked and I told him. He asked if it was identified that his heart was truly enlarged what would it mean? I told him I wasn’t sure but that medication, diet and an exercise program may be prescribed. Okay, I cheated and looked on the Internet. I was being a mom.
The appointment came and we sat in the pediatric cardiology waiting room with young mothers and their infants. We sat amongst the toys that my son doesn’t play with anymore because he is a teenager. After filling out the new patient forms, a kind doctor came to the waiting room to greet us. In less than 20 minutes I watched my son being weighed; have his oxygen level taken; an EKG and an ultrasound done of his heart. The doctor engaged my son in conversation and educated me (and the medical student beside us) about hearts. He then said, “Nothing to worry about mom. His heart is fine.” Very simple words, yet I cry now as I type them and I cried when I first heard them. I thanked G-d of course, and the doctor.
And so it is an emotional day because my son is okay. I’m just being a mom.
Read more by Michele Fried:
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