Tonight is one of those nights that I feel the terror of a small child. I wonder when I’ll ever really feel like an adult instead of a little kid pretending to play house.
Yesterday was so overwhelming. One of those days when it was hard to be a mama. I felt kinda out of place. Less like an adult, and more like a child trying to fulfill this responsibility that was oversized. Like a tiny body dressing up in shoes that reach inches past their heels.
I knew we had a doctor’s appointment the next day to get both girls vaccinated. We decided to get caught up on Cora’s vaccines (we vaccinated through six months and then decided to delay to do some research on vaccinations. She is almost 4 now). She just got 2 last month. She watched Devree go first and then willingly got positioned to get her shot. However, the nurses moved too quickly and poked her before she was calm and eyes closed, so she saw the needle and broke free from my hold and tried to push the needle away. She cried so hard afterwards. It was just a very emotional experience. But a few hours later she was talking about how it never hurt, etc. I thought it ended well.
Two months later (now)… I wanted to gauge where Cora was at so I asked her how she felt about getting more shots. She immediately burst into tears and her body tensed up and she threw her head back in total despair, “I don’t want to get shots!!” It was seriously so heart wrenching. She is a very obedient, mellow child so when she acts up I know something is definitely not ok. As the day went on, I got more and more anxious about taking her in. Late last night, my anxiety was totally overwhelming. I knew that she would recognize the doctor’s office. I knew that I would not be able to hold her down or hold her still if she decided to fight. When she was 2, I had a hard time controlling her physical outbursts, let alone now when she is older and stronger. I knew that if it was going to happen, we’d have to have multiple nurses holding her down, she would be screaming like she was going to die, I would feel terrible and she would NEVER want to go to the doctor’s again. It would all be to traumatic for her. As I thought about me going into get a shot, I felt her anxiety about the pain. It so was very real.
I felt like I had to get over this anxiety, so I turned to facebook to ask other parents what they would do or have done with their kids. A lot of my good friends and family reached out and generously took the time write lengthy responses to help me out. Some of the advice I considered, some of it I was like, “Tried that,” or “That would NOT work with my kid.” One of my friends simply stated,
Follow your instinct.
She then messaged me and said,
Do follow your instinct. You’ll find peace in that decision, whatever it is. The peace is the most important piece of the puzzle.
At first, I was like “ok thanks…” that is not helping! Because that is not telling me my exact answer of what to do! My husband came in after he had seen my facebook post and we had a long conversation. What came of it was- we know our child more than anybody. And to be even more frank- I know my child better than anyone. I am with her 24-7. I know the way her face subtly changes with each morph of thought and mood. I can see in her eyes and feel in her energy when she is excited or happy even if there is not one fleck of a grin on her face. I know situations that make her feel safe and others that totally freak her out. I really really know her, and she trusts me. She trusts me to honor who she is.
We weighed a bunch of different options and considered the advice we received. We confirmed that with our daughter, tricking her into the doctor’s office would be a detrimental decision, totally breaking the trust she has in me. She is a type 2 and very emotionally wired and in tune and needs to feel validated. She totally recalls memories with a lot of detail and uses that detail to process connect events in her life. That is why she was so fearful of the shots because she remembered so many details. And if I tricked her, she would NOT easily forget about it.
We decided/realized that there was no way we could take her in to the doctor’s in this emotional state. No good would come of it! We decided to wait until she is more ready. We are not vaccinating out of fear, so we are in no rush. She’ll get them eventually. Maybe it will be 1 month, 6 months or a couple years from now, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we maintain the good, trusting relationship that we have. I felt so relieved and at peace with our decision.
And then it all kinda clicked.
My anxiety was not a defect!
It was not something I needed to get over. It was not something I needed to smother until it dissipated. It was my mama intuition saying, “This doesn’t feel right.” It was my instinct, and when I followed my instinct I felt at peace, just like my friend had said.
I realized in this “aha” moment that I need to trust myself more and question myself less. I am the mother of my children and that is pretty much like a super power. I am blessed with divine intuition for their needs. I know them so well and I need to trust that knowledge and that familiarity. It’s fine to ask for advice and resources, but really only I can make the most informed decision for my kid!
So parents, give yourself some credit. Trust your gut when you have a good feeling or a bad feeling. Don’t feel the need to just get over anxiety or worry. Embrace it. Follow it. Let it flow through you and help you make decisions. And don’t let society or culture pressure you into certain time frames. Each child has their own pace and rhythm. Honor who they are and don’t feel the need to parent them like your friends do. I am so grateful for experiences like these that teach me so much about myself and parenting.
Remember to follow your peaceful feelings. The peace is the most important part of the puzzle.