November 23, 2009

Illnesses and Motherhood

Usually I don't blog about when Sadie is sick, because it happens so often and I don't really care to remember it. However, this illness has been eye opening and a bit of an self-esteem booster for me, so I'm going to record my thoughts.

It had been three wonderful months since Sadie's last cold. That's by far the longest she's ever gone without getting sick. My little nephew Ethan just turned one. He's had three colds in his entire first year of life. Sadie, on the other hand, has had three colds in one month on many occasions. She's easily had 30 - 40 colds in her 22 months of life! When you combine that with chronic constipation, stomach aches, hemorrhoids, and teething you can see that she's been sick or uncomfortable most of her short life.

Also, when Sadie gets sick she really gets sick. She never has a low grade fever; it goes sky high. It takes days for her temperature to break, and she's up every hour during the night (literally!). When Sadie gets sick it means exhausting days of trying to comfort her and sleepless nights of rocking her. It's hard work and scary!

Looking back I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. All the mothers I know seem to really enjoy motherhood. But I kept thinking: What's so fun about having a baby that cries all the time, who is terrified of everyone, who gets up 4 or 5 times a night, and I can't take anywhere because she's either A) sick or B) going to get sick? (All while teaching seminary, by the way!). So, no wonder I didn't greatly enjoy her first year of life. Who would - being sick, sleep deprived, and lonely?

Back to present, it's been three wonderful months of enjoying my happy toddler and I finally understand what is so wonderful about motherhood! What's not great about having a cute, funny, little replica of one's self that you can dress up and take out and everyone admires? Sadie has become so enjoyable and manageable!

However, sadly, we slipped back into our old habits this past week - illness, sleeplessness, and crying. But now, I know that's not normal. Yes, it's a part of motherhood where our patience is tested and perhaps our most growth occurs, but I think I've come to realize that it's understandable and okay that I do not enjoy that. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy motherhood or that I don't love Sadie. It's just the majority of my experience with Sadie during the first year and a half of her life were of her sick; so, no wonder I was often stressed, and consequently, constantly questioning why I didn't find more joy in motherhood.

So, when I look back on the first year of Sadie's life, it may not have been all bliss and happiness; but at least I have the peace of mind to know that we were the most responsive, nurturing, and loving parents we knew how to be. Despite many peoples' good intentions, we never let Sadie's cry go unanswered or let her silently suffer if we knew there was something we could do to comfort her even if it meant our own needs were often unmet. That may not sound like much, but I'm really proud I can say that!

I survived, I'm better for it, I adore my child, my child adores me.....but I really really hope the next one is easier!

(The picture shown above is representative of the first year and a half of Sadie's life.)


Valerie said...

Such a great post Alecia! I admire your honesty and willingness to share your emotions and thoughts with everyone. (I am not as brave yet) I know it was no coincidence Sadie was brought into this world to be your daughter. You are just the right mother for her, you gave your all, as Heavenly Father knew you would, and needed you to do. You are a great mom, and I'm so excited for your new baby to come into the world and join your wonderful family.

Sharla said...

Poor Sadie! I hope that your next baby is healthier, but you are such a good mom to Sadie. I can't even imagine having a child so sick, so often. Hopefully she keeps up with being healthy most of the time. You've got such a good perspective on it.