I am a warrior momma. I have gotten down and dirty in the trenches, doing whatever it takes to keep my child alive. I’m the mother of a NICU baby. I am the mother of a kidney kid. I am the mother of a transplant patient. 

I have placed NG feeding tubes for my baby. I’ve given shots to my son. I’ve administered IV antibiotics at home. I’ve performed dialysis at home. I’ve held my own child down for lab draws and IV placements. I’ve seen my child successfully through nine different surgeries, including a kidney transplant. I’ve stayed with him countless nights in the hospital. I’ve spent countless nights taking care of him in the hospital, while simultaneously changing diapers and feeding his infant siblings. I’ve been a tireless advocate for him.

I have gone to war for him.

I have been overwhelmed with worry. I have been so tired, I couldn’t see straight. I’ve broken down and absolutely sobbed my heart out because I had no idea what his future would hold. I’ve stood outside and wished upon a star every night for years, just wishing my son would live. I’ve feared he would die. I’ve gotten down on my knees and prayed, sometimes even screamed, to God asking for help.

RELATED: 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Became A NICU Mom

I have celebrated his victories. I’ve watched him overcome many obstacles. I’ve seen the face of bravery, and it is my son. It is absolutely my son.

I’ve done all of thisWE’VE done all this, and we’ve done it successfully for 13 years.  He is now a teenager with a healthy kidney that’s been plugging along for 11 years.  That kidney shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

But nothing, and I mean NOTHING I have ever been through has prepared me for what it means to care for that same child in the midst of a mental health crisis.

Nothing prepared me for the mental and emotional anguish of admitting my child to a psychiatric unit, knowing I have no other choice, knowing I have tried everything else. It is the most soul-crushing, devastating, frustrating, humbling, sorrowful experience I’ve had to date in my life.

RELATED: Watching Your Child Struggle With Mental Illness is Pure Agony

When you’ve spent his entire life doing whatever it takes to make sure he lives, being confronted with the awful truththe truth that he actually wants to dieis earth-shattering. It rocks you to your core. Everything you think you knew about him, every way you have ever thought about him is suddenly called into question. You spend your days and nights consumed with a completely different type of worry. No longer are you just fighting concrete, identifiable things like viruses, bacteria, dehydration, kidney damage. Now you are fighting his own mind and quite frankly, that is one of the most frightening things I’ve ever encountered.

This. This is an entirely different kind of war and it’s going to take every fiber of my being to figure out how to wage this. 

But, I am a warrior momma. I have the utmost faith in myself. I have the utmost faith in God. In time, I will figure this out, and I will go to war like I have so many times before. I will find my footing. I will harness all the power within me, and I will do what I always do. I will see him through this and we will come out on top. 

RELATED: To the Mom of an Anxious Teen

Because this is what we mothers do. We do absolutely whatever it takes for our children. We are quite simply, unstoppable warriors.

Navigating life with an anxious child can be challenging and heartbreaking. Helping Your Anxious Child is a great resource for parents who find themselves on this journey. Don’t have time to sit and read? Listen here on Audible

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Jen Riley

Jen Riley is a wife and mother, a writer and photographer. She spends her days managing her family's extensive activities and pouring out her soul in both words and pictures at http://www.jenrileywrites.com and http://www.jenrileyphotography.com