So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

One afternoon I sat, gently swaying and patting my son’s back, after nursing him. I allowed my hand to rest on his little back, as he breathed in and out. When suddenly I heard what sounded like wheezing and crackling as he breathed. What was previously a moment of peaceful parenthood, now became a full-blown anxiety attack that went from zero to sixty as I frantically lay my ear on his chest to hear him breathe. Something didn’t sound right. “He aspirated, I just know it,” I told my husband.

He was just a couple of months old, my second born. Everything about my pregnancy and experience with him had been a challenge thus far. I battled infertility with our oldest and didn’t expect to become pregnant again. I found out I was pregnant three days after my husband left for a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. I was a young military wife with no family support where I lived and a special needs daughter whom I had given up my life to take care of.

My pregnancy was high risk, due to my history with my first and my daughter being born with a birth defect. My labor was complicated, my son couldn’t breathe, and after two failed epidurals, I screamed till I lost my voice, as I brought him into this world.

RELATED: Darkness Can Linger Following a Traumatic Birth

Did I mention we were three weeks away from a military move, and I had to drive for 20 hours postpartum? I came home from giving birth to a mattress on the floor and realtors constantly coming through with little notice to show our home. It was my first breastfeeding experience as my daughter had a cleft palate and couldn’t and it was so painful. I ended up infected and almost needing stitches.

I fell into postpartum depression as I struggled with feeling like I failed my first child by not being able to be there for her during this difficult time of moving and transitions.

After coming so far in her therapies, she reverted and developed a horrific stutter that no one but me could understand. I would sit and talk with her as tears streamed down my face because I didn’t know how to help her. She was so frustrated that, after an autism diagnosis and being completely nonverbal, she had worked so hard to be able to speak and now her ability was going away again.

The whole rug was being ripped out from under her—we were losing her doctors, surgeons, therapists, and specialists that we had known her entire life. I didn’t leave our home for months once we moved to Arizona. I would sit nursing my son and just cry endlessly in that rocking chair.

It wasn’t just adjusting from one child to two. It was losing my entire support system for my daughter and me, losing the time I had to work with her, losing the sleep I needed to be OK. I knew my nerves were shot, but I didn’t realize how deep of a toll all my experiences with my first child took on me. I knew I wasn’t just having anxiety. It was something more.

I was diagnosed with PTSD as a parent with a medically fragile child. As I sat in the new pediatrician’s office, in our new state, with my new child, I struggled to breathe as every breath my son took, heightened my already over-the-top anxiety attack. I cried trying to find out who his doctor should be when I had just moved and hadn’t gotten him established yet. I cried to the nurse hotline that it sounded like he had fluid in his chest. I cried to my husband that I just needed a doctor to listen with a stethoscope and tell me our son is OK.  It took less than two minutes for the doctor to tell me my baby was OK and his lungs sounded clear. 

This was the start of so many triggers I would have with my children.

I see blood in my daughter’s mouth from a loose tooth she was determined to wiggle out whether it was ready or not, and my mind flashes to her mouth caked with blood after her cleft palate repair surgery, and I feel my stomach turn and my heart start to race.

RELATED: Mommy’s Hidden Monster: Parenting with PTSD

I hear my child say their throat is a little sore, and I immediately go into worst-case scenario and check the back of their throat as I recall the time my daughter had bronchitis, pneumonia, and tonsillitis with a double ear infection all at once, and she almost didn’t make it.

I held my son as he had to get a daily heel prick, due to severe jaundice and something that may seem so small to another parent, triggered the memories of them pinning my daughter down, time after time in the hospital, because they couldn’t find a vein for her IV. I can still hear it in my head, “Ma’am, I think we are going to have to shave your daughter’s head because all her other veins keep blowing.” My beautiful Rapunzel with hair I could put in a ponytail since she was born.

When I tell you I could tell you countless other examples such as this, you cannot possibly imagine how many. When my kids cry, fall, bleed, and experience all the usual scrapes and tumbles that the typical active kid does, the experience is FAR different for me than it is for many parents.

Has this resulted in me being a bit of a helicopter parent? ABSOFRICKINLUTELY! Am I even a little bit sorry? Nope. Have I been judged by other moms for that? So much.

So, this is what I want to tell you. It is impossible to know someone’s story from the outside looking in.

You might not have the faintest idea how thin of thread that mama hovering over her kids is hanging on by. You may never experience the battles she is waging against her mind that always tells her the worst things that can happen to her child will come to pass . . . because they have.

RELATED: When the Worrying Never Takes a Break

Please be kind. Please don’t mom shame. Please don’t attack another person’s parenting style because you don’t know what led that mama to be so protective of her baby. Maybe it was clutching them in her arms while they turned blue and stopped breathing. Maybe it was trying to shake them awake while their oxygen levels plummeted. Maybe it was not being able to be there or help their child as they were wheeled back to the operating room, crying for their mommy.

Parenting is hard enough as it is. Parenting with PTSD and anxiety can feel dang near impossible some days, and we could use all the support we can get.

Originally published on Today Parents

Tabitha Yates

The Redeemed Mama is a published writer, certified life coach, and busy homeschooling mama. She resides in southern Arizona with her three children and loves writing about parenting, life, and growth! Come join her social media community for a healthy dose of hope, healing, and humor!

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

So God Made a Mother With a Willing Heart

In: Motherhood
Mother and daughter smiling, color photo

You may have heard it said that God only gives special children to special parents.   But, when God made the mother of a child who has special needs, the Lord did not need a special mother, the Lord needed a mother who was willing. God needed a woman who would say yes to an assignment that many choose not to accept. The Lord knew she wouldn’t feel qualified to raise a child with special needs, but that didn’t matter because God would equip her every step of the way. Since there is no such thing as a perfect mother,...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

10 Tips to Banish Teenage FOMO

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen with red hair smiling

Do you ever feel like the whole world is having a party—and you weren’t invited Maybe you worry about being included in the right groups or invited to the right sleepovers. Maybe you envy the relationships you see at school or youth group or feel jealous of the perfect social media posts showing others making memories together. If you’re a teen in 2022, you’re probably well acquainted with the fear of missing out. Knowing or wondering what you’re missing or who is getting together without you can leave you feeling lonely. It can leave you lonely and a little blue....

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

I’m So Thankful For This Little Family

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler boy and infant girl, color photo

I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, and praying for a life like I have now. Praying for a man to love me, to be loyal to me, to want a family with me, to provide for me, to show me what stability felt like and what it felt like to not ever have to worry . . . and here he is right in front of me. I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, praying for a house I could make a home and raise my family in. Here it is right in front of me. But most of...

Keep Reading

The Kids are Grown—Now What?

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Middle aged couple at home smiling

Between video chats with our son stationed overseas, our daughter flits in and out our door from college while the shoe jungle by the front door and lack of peanut butter in the house are proof our youngest adult son is still under our roof.  Our kids are now independent—almost. Gone are the days of diapers, endless food preparations, naps (well, not for me), and announcing everyone’s daily schedule like a calendar drill sergeant. After years of simultaneously spinning multiple plates on various body parts, we managed—by God’s grace—to raise three kids to adulthood. We made it! (High five!) We...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!


Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime