Motherhood

Can I Have a New Mom?

Can I Have a New Mom? www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Stacey Philpot

We sat around our well-worn kitchen table, my four-year-old excitedly reporting on the fun she’d had that day at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. There had been nature walks and scavenger hunts, pool-time and even bowling. I strained to hold my body up and utter whole sentences in response while we ate the take-out my husband had purchased on the way home. I reached deep into the depths of my being to extricate excitement, follow-up questions, silliness-you know, all the things a four- year-old desires during these sorts of conversations. The thing is, I just didn’t have it to give.

My body was screaming so many things at once, about pain, about fatigue, about noise, about light, about heat.

My daughter was asking me a question.

“What baby?”

“Do you think after dinner you could play with me outside?”

“No, honey I’m sorry. It’s still too hot for Mommy to be outside and she has to rest after dinner, but maybe Daddy could play?”

“Why do you just always have to rest?”

It felt like I had answered this question no less than one million times in her short existence. It also felt like I was failing her, maybe the whole world in every way possible.

“Do you think tomorrow while Daddy is at work you could take me to the park?”

Hadn’t she just been to the park today? Wasn’t it ever enough? She was four. Of course, it wasn’t ever enough. I was a terrible person.

“No, honey. It will still be too hot tomorrow. Remember, Mommy can’t go outside very much in the summer, especially on super hot days? Because it makes her sicker?”

“I wish I could have a new mom, one who wasn’t sick all the time. Can Grandma be my mom?”

The pain was instant and visceral.

I told her, “No. Grandma cannot be your Mom. You already have a Mom, and it’s me. When people get sick we don’t throw them away and get a new one that works better; we take care of them because we love them.”

That night as I lay in bed listening to the rhythm of my husband’s snoring, a siren like breathing sound, alternating with a sawing like snorting, I tried to lance my wounded heart with words I spoke to myself.

I tried to stop the bleeding by reminding myself I was not only her mom but the mom who fought for her from the time I saw two lines on a stick reporting an impending visit from the stork. Even as my body fought me at every turn. Even when I didn’t yet know what my body was doing to me, or what it would do to my sweet baby girl, I prayed over her and fought for her every single day.

I dreamed about her future. I hoped and prayed others would get to know her, the way I was. I begged her to stay with us and laughed about the way she was already showing herself to be a woman who knew what she wanted.

And one surreal day, the hospital played the lullaby signaling the birth of a baby in their nursery, for my fleshy pink perfect baby girl. And I held her little foot in my hand for the first time, the same foot that had kicked me in the bladder while I was driving and made me pee my pants so many times, the same little piggy that had kicked me in the wee hours of the night and reassured me, “I’m still here” and I whispered “I will never stop fighting for you.”

Then came the newborn days, when I was sometimes too sick or dizzy to carry her in my arms, so I pushed her from room to room in her bassinet with wheels on it. My best friend came over after work and helped me, sometimes even staying overnight because my husband’s work required nights away. And I was still whispering, “I will never stop fighting for you.”

But this four-year-old asking for a new mom doesn’t know or understand any of that.

I told the shattered pieces of my heart that she one day would. I told those shards of glass that I was raising a warrior, that one day she’d look back and not see weakness but strength. One day, she’d look back and see how hard I fought to give her everything I had.

It’s not much. But’s it’s everything I have. 

These may be the only things she learns from me, and I’m okay with that: 1) I’ll give you everything I have. 2) I will never stop fighting for you. (Even when you want a new mom)

About the author

Stacey Philpot

Stacey is an author, goofball and avid reader. You can find her blog at http://chronicallywhole.com/ where she endeavors to encourage other warriors like herself along in their journey of battling for health and discovering wholeness. She is mom to Hayden and Avery, stepmom to Julie and wife to Ryan (a smarty pants who works at NASA and logs their whole life on spreadsheets and pie charts, true story!) She has a strange affinity for eating whole meals in bed (don’t tell anyone) and is convinced smelling old books will make her smarter.

10 Comments

  • Such a brave post. Every child has uttered hurtful words to their parent, even unknowingly. Thank you for sharing this private family moment. I said a prayer your heart deep down would know the words you offered here, “I will never stop fighting for you.” Hugs.

  • My friend was just telling me her son said “you’re not my best mommy”. I’ve been told to go to another room. Thank you for sharing.

  • My kids are now 21 and 17. They have never said it to me out loud, but it was obvious at times that they thought it. My daughter spends most of her time at her best friend’s house and upon returning home, she always talks about her mother and all the things they do. She is a single mother of 5 kids and works full time as a chef, but still has time and energy to take them shopping or go to movies, etc., and does it all with a laugh and a smile.
    It saddens me that I too was like that when they were young, but they don’t remember most of it, all they know me as is the sick mommy who does as much as she can but it’s not enough.
    Thanks for the article, the words from your daughter can be really hurtful especially when you’re trying your best, but it’s questionable how she will feel later on. I figure my kids will not ever understand it completely but once they grow up and have their own family, they will appreciate how difficult parenting can be and look back to see that I tried my hardest to fight for them everyday and develop a new level of respect for me.

    • Yes. It is SO hard to hear about how awesome all the other moms are when we are literally giving everything we have. But can I tell you a cool thing? Last night, at dinner, my daughter says, ” But Mommy is kinda awesome because she’s kind of like a doctor she knows so much about medicine, she used to be a teacher and NOW she’s a writer. Mommy is like EVERYTHING! That’s kinda amazing.” I’m by no means a doctor, but I absorb a lot of medical information from all my specialists and articles, journals I read. No longer being able to teach felt like profound failure for a long time. It was shrouded in shame. But I have to tell you that I DO feel a great deal of pride in this resurrection of self, in finding a new one, a new way to be productive when I lost that old me, that old means of income and support, community was ripped away. The fact that my now five year old saw that, recognized value in the reinventing of myself was vastly meaningful for me. So, we just never know what we are teaching them, implanting inside of them of value for later on in their lives!