I recently saw a nature show on TV where a mama lion was protecting her two cubs. They were adorable, with spots on their fur, and the cutest faces. Mama hid her babies in a cave, brought them food, and later showed them how to hunt. Most of all, Mama protected her cubs. She would fight to the bitter end if she had to, in order to keep them safe.
The way the lioness acted was not so different as human mothers behave. From the moment my daughters were born (actually from the moment I knew I was pregnant), I protected them. I helped them learn to walk, read, and brush their teeth. I fed them healthy food. I taught them morals, about God, and how to be good, kind people.
My girls are both in their 20s now, but I continue to help them navigate their way through life. Most of all, I give them my unconditional, motherly love.
I remember writing in my oldest daughter’s baby book, “Everyone gave me advice on how to take care of you. But they never truly explained how much I would love you. How you would change my life forever. And how I would become a better person because of you. How I would want to give you the best of everything. How I wouldn’t ever want anything or anyone to hurt you.”
When my children are sick or hurting (mentally or physically), I feel like it hurts me just as much. I want them to be happy. But I know I can’t always do that.
When Talee was in fourth grade and suffered from severe anxiety, I wanted nothing more than to take the panic away from her and give it to myself. I’d gone through years of fighting panic attacks and knew exactly how she felt. But I couldn’t make her better.
Talee was frightened and didn’t understand why she couldn’t make the symptoms go away. She was embarrassed and didn’t want her friends to know. She didn’t want them to think she was strange. She was mad at herself for being scared and not being able to go to school. And I was angry that I didn’t have the power to take her pain away.
Looking back, I realize I did help. I reached out and got her the medical help she needed (child psychiatrist and antidepressant medication) in order to recover. Honestly, I’ve never thought about it this way before.
I was instrumental in Talee’s recovery. It didn’t happen as fast as I wanted. I couldn’t wave a magic wand and have her anxiety disappear. It took time. But I was there every step of the way.
So moms and dads, you are helping your child. You’re being proactive and getting your son or daughter the support he or she needs to live a healthier life. It may take months or years. And it won’t be easy. I know that firsthand.
It may mean fighting the school system or getting your child’s teachers to understand the anxiety and mental illness. It may take switching doctors or therapists in order to find the right one to help. It may mean trying different medications and doses so your child can have some relief. It may mean sleepless nights and challenging days.
We are the fiercest protectors and advocates for our babies.
Don’t give up the fight.
Image courtesy of africanmemories.com