Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Perspective

Sorry that I have been a blog slacker these days - I am working on a schedule/pattern for posting more regularly!

One of the reasons that I have been so MIA is that there has been a explosion of babies in my area - and I feel compelled to visit and snuggle them all as much as I can! But this week has been a little over the top actually and it gave me something to blog about!

Yesterday I got a phone call just as I stepped out of the shower - it was my friend Stacey, who has a three month old baby girl. The voicemail message was concerning - Stacey said she was having pain on her right side and it was getting progressively worse. By the time I called her back, she was sounding more panicked. I reassured her that I would be there in 15 minutes, threw on clothes and headed over. By the time I arrived, Stacey had gotten ahold of her doctor and was told to take some medicine and wait an hour to see if the pain got better. Her husband was at work and was going to try to get home asap - but he takes the train to work and it would take a little while. I took the baby, got her to sleep and by about that time Stacey's cousin had arrived to help too. As the hour passed, Stacey's pain got worse and finally the doctor advised taking her to the hospital. I stayed with the baby, cousin to Stacey to the hospital, Husband met them there, Stacey's mom arrived an hour later to stay with the baby. In the end, Stacey is fine - minus some kidney stones - and the baby was an angel for all involved.

After that excitement yesterday, I was ready to spend some quiet time with my good friend Melody and her 2 week old baby boy today. We'd made the plan for me to come over in the afternoon to keep her company since her hubby went back to work today. I knew that Baby Boy had been giving her a run for her money since coming home last Monday - not sleeping, fussy eating, etc. But wasn't quite prepared when the tears started flowing when I asked her "How are things going?". She's tired, he is cranky, she feels guilty because she gets frustrated when he's wide awake from midnight to 5am....who wouldn't be?! We spent the next few hours lamenting how one always thinks "it'll be different for me" and how nobody tells us how REALLY HARD being a new mom is really. I don't know that I made her feel much better - but I hope that I reassured her that she is doing all she can and that he'll figure out his days and nights soon. I also promised to call more often - and reassured her that she only needed to answer when she felt like it. I want her to know I am there for her - but also give her space to get used to this new life.

All of this got me thinking about just how difficult parenting is - and I haven't even done it! And it got me thinking about all the parents out there who do not have the support - physical or emotional - that most of my friends have. What could have happened if Stacey didn't have people she could call when she was in pain? Or if she didn't have someone she could trust to leave her 3 month old daughter when she needed medical attention? What if Melody didn't have family and friends to come keep her sane during these rough first weeks? What if she didn't have anyone to reassure her that all babies cry a lot and that she is still a good mom?

Talk about perspective - It is easy to see how many babies get neglected or abused when I think about just how blessed my friends and family are... and it makes me even more determined to do more to help those parents who need the support. I've had some requests to provide a Resource Placement - but my work schedule has seriously limited my ability to accept these placements. I feel horrible turning them down and frustrated at my inability to help.

Which is why I'm currently job hunting again - with two "second round" interviews this week! Please say a prayer that one of them works out!

Also, please say a prayer for all the mommies and daddies out there struggling to do the best they can - and think about what you might be able to do to make things a little easier for them too.

3 comments:

  1. This post rocks! Thanks for sharing your perspective and continuing to to be honest and about your role as a social worker. :)

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  2. I have really been thinking about this a lot lately as well.

    Nate and Beth are only 11 months apart. Peyton and Britton are a year and a day apart. There is not a day that goes by that I think about their birth mom trying at 17 years old when Beth was born to care for Beth (NB) and Nate (11m) and Brother (3)with the inadequate support she had. She lived with family but they are all drug users and dealers and had very little money. What kind of support is that?

    There is no wonder the children were so severely neglected and no wonder she never bonded with either of them.

    Having babies this close together is a full time job, even with older children in my house to help out, and a supportive husband. Plus the fact that I don't use drugs and I am forty years old with a whole lot more experience and patience than a 17 year old girl.

    I feel so blessed to have been given the privilege of raising these four children along with my own birth children but I will be the first to admit IT IS HARD WORK.

    (Hope it's okay but I may follow up with a post about this also.) Thanks for the post and for being such a supportive friend to these ladies. They are blessed to have you as their friend.

    Hope things work out with one of your job prospects.

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  3. What your wrote here is so very true. And even when there is support, if it is not good support, it is not helpful. For a baby that cries a lot, if the person there to "support" parents does nothing but tell you how you need to let the baby cry, that the baby is being held too much and is now spoiled, and that is why the 2 week old is so fussy, that is not really support. And so often these misguided people pass on from generation to generation, bad parenting advice that also does not support the mother or help the baby.

    I learned this a lot with a sister-in-law that truly felt that how she was raised was just fine, and so she raised her kids the same way. she failed to see a need in breaking the cycle of addiction, dropping out of school, and breaking the law was necessary because she had been raised that way, and she was fine. Plus she had been raised to believe all the negative in her life was someone else's fault so of course there was no need to change her behavior, that was not the cause of the problems in her life. That teacher deserved to be punched and she was going to teach her kids that too.

    Thankfully, while she is not very receptive to the support in her own life, She has allowed her kids to spend a lot of time with our side of the family. Her accepting our support has allowed us to help baby-sit, give the kids clothes, pay for summer camp or piano lessons, take them to the zoo and things like that. It has changed her children's lives, and they do want better than what their mother's side of the family has done. So giving her better support and the kids having better support has made a difference.

    So, even when you can't change Mom's life, she might be open to some small things for her kids that can make a big difference.

    Melissa in Durham

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