My one year old tries to touch outlets, consume inedible objects, and lunge towards ledges. Long story short, he loves danger. It’s hard to keep up with him when I’m healthy. When I’m sick, it’s impossible. I shudder to think of what could happen if I had a seizure while alone with him. I think of the items he’d choke on, the glass he’d break, how scared he might feel.
A few days ago I woke up to the familiar sound of crying. I went to roll out of bed to get Crosby and I couldn't, I was having a seizure. I listened to him wail for ten minutes while I lay frozen, thanking God he was in his crib. Once I regained control of my hands I texted my Mom who immediately rushed over from next door.
Crosby will not remember any of this, but I will. I won’t forget the time I spent away from him during his precious first year. Logically, I know that getting healthy is the best thing I can do. The sooner I get better, the sooner I can be the mother I want to be. But that logic doesn’t take away the constant pit in my stomach and nagging thoughts that I’m not meeting expectations.
I’d rather hide how incapable I am of caring for my child. I don’t want you to know that without others and the grace of God, Crosby would be severely injured or worse. I hoped to disguise these truths in a sugar coated post about mom guilt. But my husband, who provides feedback on my posts, called me out when he read my first draft. He knew I wasn’t being as vulnerable as I could or wanted to be. It felt like he was rubbing salt in the wounds of my inadequacies when really, he was just telling me to be earnest.
Then he said what I desperately needed to hear; “your body is failing, you are not”.
That sentence is my new mantra. Yes, it’s true that I can’t always take care of my son and that I rely on others to protect him. These are facts, not evidence of personal failure.
I only fail as a mother when I secede to my epilepsy. I may not be at my physical best but that can’t stop me from loving Crosby. My epilepsy can’t stop me from praying for him. It can’t stop me from researching the best type of sippy cup or car seat. I don’t have to let epilepsy dictate or diminish my identity as a mother. I have epilepsy, I am a mother.