Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Heart's Worries

Not a care in the world :)
Far too often it feels like parenting has become a contest.  Who walks first, talks first, reads first, you name it.  I've written before about how judgmental I've been of parenting, as terrible as I feel now about it.  Even in the special needs and medical communities, it has sometimes felt like a contest.  Sometimes it feels that every concern can be trumped when we should be supporting one another unconditionally.  I'm so lucky to have found some support groups where members don't need to have these concerns, but not everyone is as lucky.

When you become a parent, not only are you suddenly responsible for this new life, you now have this heart full of worries.  Some may have financial concerns, and may worry about providing for their child.  About being able to purchase the right toys for development.  The right food for healthy growth.  The best doctors for healthcare.  Other parents may not be ready for the toll that a child can take on a relationship, and they may pack their box full of worries about being a team.  Staying together and working together.  How they can care for a child and a relationship.

My heart was quickly filled with medical concerns when Ronan was born.  Thank goodness I had five months of maternity leave to deal with all these worries!  I worried about Ronan's heart.  About his prognosis.  About if I would get to see him grow and develop, or if I would have to say goodbye.  There was no room for anything else.  Now as we've slowly chipped away at medical issues, my worries have shifted to developmental concerns.  I worry about Ronan being able to enter a typical school.  I worry about his language skills, as I've started seeing him struggle with communicating.  Each time something comes out of the box, I find something else to replace it with.  Not as concerned with the immediacy of another open heart surgery?  Great, now please worry about your child's gross motor skills. 
A walk with my family does wonders for these worries

Here's the thing.  These new worries are no less important to me than the others.  They occupy the same place as the medical worries did.  Before I could sit and read for hours about heart conditions, new medical studies, and research heart valve replacement procedures.  Now I could spend a day researching vestibular therapy, hypotonia, walkers, and orthotics.  Although there has been a shift away from more pressing, life threatening medical worries, these new worries take just as much mental capacity and just as much work on my front to get through.  The point is, these items are important to me.  Sacred to me.  They are in my heart.

These worries are just as important to me as anyone else's worries are to them.  They occupy the same place for us. 

While the contents may differ from parent to parent, my worries are not any more or less important than any other mother out there.  While I am struggling so much with Ronan and his eating, and my  greatest fear, at the moment, is that we will end up with a feeding tube, this is no more important than any other mother's greatest fear. We all have different worries about our children.  We find different ways to fill our this part of our hearts.  So maybe the next time someone approaches you with a concern you find trivial, you can take a deep breath, and realize this worry has just as much weight and meaning.  That it may occupy just as much time and energy as yours.  It is in their heart.

In this same vein, I leave you with a video from the Cleveland Clinic that has been making the rounds, "if we could see inside each others' hearts."

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