What They Will Never Know

Emma was down with a real bad viral infection this past week. First it was the horrible greenish phlegm, then fever with runny nose, and a fever that wouldn’t subside. Worse, my mom got sick too, and then I. It was a coughing frenzy in the family. At night, I couldn’t sleep with the hacking coughs. In the day, I felt miserable and sluggish. I was adamant I didn’t need to see a doctor. There’s not much medication I can take anyway since I’m 29 weeks pregnant. 

However, there was a sudden urge that came across me one night, a voice inside my head telling me I should just go check with a reliable doctor. Not only for my sake, but for Emma’s sake. It felt like we were passing germs to one another like baseballs. 

Underneath all the drama, travelling between clinics and running errands, I cannot shake off the feeling that I have failed in taking care of my child. Yes, we explain to her that germs cause her to get sick this way. We tell her if she doesn’t eat well and take care of her hygiene, this is the bad stuff that happens to her body. She cannot go swimming or to playschool. Feeding her antibiotics is a challenge as she knows those taste bad. As a mother, it is my duty to nurture her back to good health and educate her on hygiene. Still, there is an underlying message in my head which tells me my kid is this sick because I did not breastfeed her long enough. I did not try harder to give her the best milk. This may have led her to be so picky with food, hence she has a poor diet leading to poor immunity. 

The bottom line is, as a mother, I will continue to blame myself for not doing my best. It breaks my heart when she gets sick. It worries me a great deal when her fever does not subside. As much as I know she will have to go through getting sick with colds and flus to build her immunity; as much as I know fevers are a natural reaction to the body fighting off the infection … there is still always a guilt lying somewhere in my heart, that I didn’t give her the best as a baby, and so she is weak in health now. 

I don’t expect readers to understand my nonsensical writing. What my child will never know is the thoughts and feelings that go through my heart when all of this is happening. One will only truly understand when one becomes a mother herself. When you watch your child cry in pain as the doctor draws blood from her hand, your heart cries, and yet you have to put up a strong front because the child is looking to her mother for strength to be brave. When you tell your child she may need to stay at the hospital if thigs don’t improve, and the look of fear your child gives you can break your nerve any moment, yet as a mother you have to be strong and cheerful about it to keep your child feeling safe. 

It’s true when they say you’ll never know how much love your heart can hold until someone calls you mommy. Oh, all this sappy talk is making me emotional. I’m glad nothing serious came out of her blood test results. Whatever germ that was causing a havoc in our family, is now tamed and we’re all recovering back to normal. And my child will never know, until she becomes a mother herself, what emotional turmoil I went through during this time.


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