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Letters From Listeners

Advice for Overwhelmed Mom

I broke down in tears yesterday listening to the caller whose 12-yr-old daughter was in ICU after having a stroke. It brought back all the memories of my own (now) 12-yr-old daughter who was born 14 weeks premature and spent 79 days in ICU with a brain injury due to lack of oxygen from a prolapsed umbilical cord. I completely empathized with her feelings of being overwhelmed - the panic in her voice - "How will I take care of everyone?"

You gave her excellent advice on the brain being very plastic. My daughter's brain has been able to develop new pathways around the damaged tissue so it is very hard to tell she has cerebral palsy. This was possible through years of weekly therapies her entire life (but I suspect it will be a much quicker recovery for Charity's daughter as there are many cases of stroke victims making full recoveries, even in elderly people). It has changed my life completely, and that of her siblings: Her father left, became an alcoholic, and has never paid child support. I had to leave my active duty military job that I loved and moved in with my parents. I had to accept help from other people (something I thought I was above). Which leads me to the next excellent piece of advice you gave: Take it one day at a time. If I had been able to see into the future and know all we would go through and what it would do to our family, I would have given up right then. But I focused on what she needed that hour, that day, that week... And forced myself to not be scared. I didn't have TIME to be scared!

Finally one additional thing I would advise her to do: Lovingly enlist the help of your husband and your other children. Don't take on all the burden yourself. Your husband and children don't want to lose you either. If everyone pitches in with helping with her therapies and needs, it will strengthen your family. If you try to do it all yourself, at the expense of your husband and children, it will tear your family apart. Seek and accept help from outside agencies before you leave the hospital, and join support groups - they will provide you a wealth of information and support.

Been there,


Tags: Health, Motherhood-Fatherhood, Mothering, Parenting, Response To A Call
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