I enjoy every aspect of parenting, the attitude, tantrums, fun, play and stories. However there is one phase that I dislike (read hate) about parenting. Any guesses? It’s the time when my daughter falls sick.
It’s that terrible period when I tend to lose my cool. I start to over think and then the continuous loop of thoughts begins–
“Did you over feed her? What did you feed her? Why did she fall sick? Oh she will miss school, what about her studies. So much to do” and it continues. Few years ago added to this was mommy guilt of leaving a sick child at home and going to work. I dreaded those days. The moment my daughter sneezed I would panic and my whole day at work would go like, “Is she feeling okay/ What if it got worse in school. I shouldn’t have sent her to school and what if she has to be hospitalized?” At night I would get up at least 10 times to check if she had fever.
And the result…I ended up being an exhausted and frustrated mommy.
However it all changed one day while we were sitting in the doctor’s clinic and as usual I was in my panic mode. She held my hand that day and asked, “Mumma, didn’t you ever fall sick in your childhood?”
That one question transported me to my childhood days.
My Appa got annoyed when I got common cold and infections. Many a times I took medication on my own, so that he didn’t get annoyed. When I was diagnosed by chronic bronchitis, he was upset.
“Why can’t you take care of yourself?” he yelled at me that day. He brought medicines, took me to the doctor, but I never felt the tender care and love in his presence when I was sick. In those days I was angry with Appa, but today, I empathize with him. Maybe that’s how he was brought up, maybe he too was never showered with love and care.
When I watched the way I reacted, to Samu’s illness, I felt that, I was a mere reflection of my Appa. How did I feel as a child? I felt that it was my fault that I fell sick. I kept feeling guilty and never shared any issues with my Appa. And today I was behaving the same way.
I worked on this behaviour with Swapnil’s help. He is pretty cool when it comes to handling such situations. Initially I struggled, my mind kept searching for the worst consequences even for a minor common cold. However I when I started rewriting my inner narrative, it all changed.
Swapnil believes that ‘Our body keeps communicating to us. If we listen to it and take adequate precautions, then we won’t fall sick. However when we tend to ignore the signals, our body gives in and that’s when we fall sick. Maybe a way to get our attention’
My daughter’s paediatrician once told me, “When your child falls sick it’s a good sign that her body is working properly. When she vomits, it means her body knows how to throw the unwanted and harmful substances out, and it’s a good sign, isn’t it? Your daughter is building her immunity system and for that she has to fight these small viruses.”
Gradually, instead of getting worried about my daughter falling sick, I started working on building her immunity system. This included small alterations in her diet (including fruits, nuts and leafy vegetables) and regular exercise. When I did that, I observed that her immunity did increase and slowly the frequency of falling ill reduced.
Two days ago, I received a call from my daughter’s school. She was feeling feverish. When I was about to leave home to pick her up, I sensed the same old feelings of panic rise in the pit of my stomach, but that very moment I pressed the pause button, took few deep breaths and reminded myself that once in a while our body asks us to take rest and if we don’t listen to it, then it chooses its own path.
Since last two days she is relaxing at home, reading books, playing carom, watching Jungle Book episodes, drinking soup and resting cosily in my arms. Today afternoon as we finished reading one more story book, she said, “Mumma I like it that you don’t get tensed these days when I’m sick. I like this cool mumma.”
I hugged her as she dozed off peacefully in my arms.
It took me few months to shift my response to this situation, however I am loving this new change. I feel energetic as the internal chatter is shut.
As a parent do you face similar emotional shifts when your child is ill? If yes, then how do you deal with it? Feel free to drop in your suggestions in the comment box.
Love and gratitude,