Well, to say Motherhood is a dream come true is both accurate and an outright lie. There is so much love and adoration you could never fathom until you became a mother. The love, pride and joy that comes from raising children is beyond any other force in this world. My father once told me “Be kind to your mother. No one on this earth loves you more fiercely than your mother does, and no one in this world ever will. You will never know that kind of love until you become a mother yourself. Then you will understand and hopefully love and appreciate your mother more.”
He was right, as my dad often is. My child could be the worst human on this planet and I would still love them more fiercely than any other person on this earth has or ever will. But what people fail to talk about in regards to motherhood is that their is so much pain, depression, loneliness and self loathing that comes with it as well. But because we are mothers…. we don’t get to express those feeling or much time, if ANY, to heal those parts of us that get damaged in the journey of motherhood. There may be some of you who now worry you need to call child protective services or a looney bin for me. But the fact is- that being women…. we are resilient. We have been called and predestined to walk this path of Motherhood and God makes it possible to endure these things…
That does not mean it is easy to do, or that some of us don’t need a therapist, meds or both. That doesn’t mean there aren’t mother’s who snap and do things they regret (big or small). But we are put through so much as women and as mothers. Men will never know the painful bliss we live in as mother and women. It’s as simple as this…. Women/Mothers carry the burden of every single person in the family as well as her own… No one takes hers or shares in shouldering it. Some try… but often it feels like the balance of the load is being thrown off rather than our burdens lightened. I don’t say that to discourage others from helping when a woman or mother is drowning in her life… I say this to remind you that one outreach or check in does not lighten the load. It teases the burdened with the idea that someone sees them and is here to help… Just as they are ready to accept help and shift their load to be shared…. the shoulder is gone and the load tumbles to the ground waiting for the mother to pick it all up again as quickly as she can so others remain supported and can continue on in their lives.
There are incredible acts of mercy and God inspired moments when something is taken off the load and though it be small, yet the weight it removed is enormous! I experienced one of these moments this past week. For a little background. My husband has a strong and reliable job and he makes enough that I don’t HAVE to work (but I choose to or I would go crazy…), our bills are paid, our kids have what they need and we can survive… but without dental or medical insurance. We are what some call “The Working Poor”. We have what we need to get by, but if we were to pay for insurance it would cost half a paycheck each month or more than my car payment and car insurance together. We make too much to qualify for assistance, and not enough to afford the expense…. We have been told our spend down for state assistance would be nearly $5k/child/mo of coverage…. No, that’s not a joke or exaggeration… I would have to pay $15k/mo for my kids to be insured with the state because we make $5,000/yr too much…. Yes, I have double checked… Yes, I have spoken to a human and verified… In what world does that make sense? $5,000/12 months= almost $417. We make $400/mo too much for assistance yet they want to charge us $5k/mo we want coverage of PER CHILD. Even if it was for all 3 of my kids…. We won’t even have $5k worth of work done in a month for that to be worth it. Side note- we thankfully have found a solution that I hope will be financially doable for the 2021 year.
But! Back to the back story. We take our kids in and struggle with the outright doctor visit costs and labs or ER bills when broken bones have occurred. Forked out the money when stitches were needed… All at great cost to us and to those dear family members who were able to help. We try to give back as much as we can when we are able to, to pay it forward. With that in mind- our son had never made it to a dentist as his medicaid from birth ended at the age of 1 and dentists won’t see children until they are 1. There was obviously needed work and we did our best to stop things before they occurred or create good habits… But our son had a lot of dental issues. Wednesday night last week, he whined all night. I could not figure out why and he could not tell me what was bothering him… I wondered and assumed it was his teeth but he insisted he was not in pain. We roughed out the night with very little sleep, and in the morning he said his cheek hurt a little. I made a mental note and kept an eye on him.
He seemed fine. We picked up his sister from preschool at 11 and he was cheery and fine. We dropped some books off in the library book drop, I placed my voting ballot in the ballot drop off box and we went home.. About noon we made it in the house and he was mad that I would not hold him while I was getting chores done.. He sat down on the floor to scream and cry as toddlers do. I got his sister settled and distracted so I could do the much needed housework and my son was still crying with his face buried in his hands face down on the floor. I went to pick him up and calm him down. As I lifted him, his face was swollen and it looked like he had been bitten by a spider…What else could it be that made him swell so fast? I looked for bite marks or signs of a spider and had none. I looked in his mouth and his cheek was swollen but nothing else seemed inflamed. I provided him pain meds and noted it was in the same place he told me hurt this morning.
I tried to get the swelling down and had to forgo my housework to snuggle a very upset and in pain baby boy. In the evening at dinner, his face had not gone down. In fact it had gotten worse and spread to a larger surface on his face. I called his pediatricians after hours office and requested information/suggestions on what to do. I followed the suggestions, requested a blessing for my son from my father and had another sleepless night with a very upset and feverish boy. His fever told me it was an infection. I kept the meds rolling and snuggled him tirelessly all night monitoring his fever for dangerous levels. In the morning I called his pediatrician again with intentions of procuring an antibiotic prescription to start him on. I was told to take him to a dentist instead and let them prescribe him the meds… This stressed me out beyond repair. I felt guilty for the months we didn’t find a way to get him seen, for being frustrated with him that first night before symptoms arose at his whiney rolling night, and at the fact that I had no idea how to afford an antibiotic let alone a dentist visit that i also knew was important.
Every office I called either had no dentist in. It was a Friday and apparently the day most dentists don’t work? Who knew… not me. I finally got ahold of one office and they were able to squeeze us in within the hour. I took him in and they immediately went in on all the things he needed done and that they could do it Monday and would do all the work so we only had to do sedation once. Which makes sense right? Well yeah… if I had not just told them we didn’t have insurance and could not afford to do much…. I felt like they hadn’t heard me…. The hygienist said “We have payment plans we can offer and the only thing that has to be paid is the anesthesiologists bill. I felt okay about that as my parents had offered to help with what they could, though it wasn’t much. I went up to the front desk to get him scheduled and look at billing, about $3k of work. That was actually less than I was expecting. Now to talk payment plan…
Come to find out I had to pay the sedation AND HALF of the bill before they would put me on a payment plan… Now let me ask this…. do a lot of people have $1800 lying around for a rainy day? I mean those who can't afford insurance and typically barely make ends meet comfortably? I feel like the answer is no, but maybe I am crazy and we really are worse off than i thought… I left with my son scheduled any way and went on our way to try and brainstorm how to come up with the money over the weekend. I could rob a bank, or beg every person I knew for money, or use our rent and grocery money to pay for and try to figure out rent and food later…. After counseling with my dad, I came to the decision to call the office and ask them what it would cost to just do his tooth causing the infection and swelling. That would cost us around $650…. Well with my parents contribution we could maybe make that work and just eat like college students for 2 weeks. That was worth it! So we kept the appointment and made the adjustments to do 1 tooth. We could afford the $300/hr sedation and 1/2 the bill then pay on the remaining half with my parents help.
We showed up to the appointment and thank the Lord my husband was able to be there with me, because I hate the dentist and I hate child sedation. Our middle child had a horrible experience and we ended up in the ER twice for her due to her respiratory system struggling to be normal after her dental work. The dentist was so kind and calming. He told us he would come talk to us after he was sedated and let us know if that plan was going to work or if there was anything more serious going on. The anesthesiologist was very hands on. My husband took note of this and instantly began trying to get his phone recording. Now let me put it this way… In my opinion, doctors touch knees and shoulders and that’s normal. That’s a way to connect on a human level. They are taught that connection makes people calmer and hear and understand more. My husband saw it as inappropriate. I did not notice it and did not care until he told me… Then I felt uncomfortable and awkward. It’s not that hard to make me uncomfortable in inappropriate situations as I am a sexual assault survivor. So I’m not sure there really was anything wrong, but my husbands discomfort made me uncomfortable.
Anywho- back to my sweet boy. They put him under and took him back. We went to the waiting room and we waited. I sent Jake to the store in the same shopping lot to get some items for Mateo to eat when he decided he could. He after all hadn’t eaten in 4 days. A nibble here or there but nothing solid or filling. While he was gone the dentist came out and told me the crushing a defeating news. Yes the tooth we thought was in fact causing the infection. But his 4 front teeth were also causing massive gum swelling and needed to come out for his health and safety. my heart dropped. We just couldn’t do that… what would we do. The dentist said to me, “Now… if you are okay with this, I’d like to get his work done, pull the front ones too and put the crowns and spacers in that he needs. (in my head I’m panicking- ‘I can't do that! what am I going to do. I can't even take care of my son… I’m a failure of a mother.’) I will do all that for the cost of the one tooth. Think of it as an early Christmas present. Again, IF that’s okay with you….”
Uh what? Did I hear that right? He was going to do all $3k worth of work for the cost of the one tooth? I stammered and said, “Wait, are you sure? Like do all the work for the price of the tooth we planned to take out today? Are you sure?”
“Yes, IF you are okay with that?” “I mean… I am totally okay with that, if YOU are?… I don’t know what to say… THANK YOU!”
“Yeah, his other teeth are ticking time bombs so I want to take care of him. Okay, so that’s the plan! Give us about an hour, and we will bring you back to him to wait for him to wake up.”
As he walked back the tears that had been welling up behind my eyes spilled over… I couldn’t believe it. I texted Jake and told him the news, I messaged my parents and told them the news! I messaged my siblings who I had been asking for prayers from… I told them God hears and answers prayers and thanked them for their prayers. I even posted it to social media. My heart was bursting. I had felt so low and so defeated and I felt like I could not provide the basic thing my child needed. God heard my pleas and he provided a solution. An angel in the form of a dentist. God took something off my burden through the dentist’s kind heart. We paid $404 in total with no outstanding bill, and $300 of that was for the sedation.
My son was cared for and we were able to cover it. It made the worry, the self loathing and the burden lighter. Why is this so hard to do in normal life? I often beg and plead with my kids and husband to do more around the house. There are promises made and those promises are 90% of the time broken or fulfilled at 30% completion. I have expressed time and time again, if I had less housework demanding my attention our home would be more fun. If I didn’t have to clear a surface every time someone wanted to do a fun project- I would say yes more often. When they know I’m frustrated with the mess or have been to busy with work and kids events to do more, and see me breaking down and crying over my inability to complete my tasks and STILL they do not budge…. I feel invisible, unimportant, unloved and forgotten. I feel this way when a birthday or holiday dedicated to me is about me for 30 minutes then we are back on to how others need me to do everything for them…. I feel this when dear friends have to lie to me about a meeting to get me to come to a secret pamper session, why is this the only way I get time to relax or not wait on others? The answer… because I am a mother.
Mother’s hold the weight of the family. The weight of everyone’s pain, anger, stress and frustrations. The weight of the household chores, the weight of errands, the weight of preparing healthy and well rounded meals that no one will eat even though they love everything in them, the weight of losing themselves and their passions in the throws of life and loving others so deeply she doesn’t care for herself. The weight of wondering how badly she might smell because AGAIN, it’s been a week since she has had time alone to shower. The weight of holding in her own pain, her own anguish and her own frustrations so she can bolster, lift and spark joy in the lives of her children and spouse. Women… we are magnificent and touched by God to endure so much and still be left standing. To be able to thrive in such a harsh climate. But it’s all worth it because of that very love that by title and definition are true…. It’s UNCONDITIONAL.
Nothing gets in the way of our love. As I endured the crying, constant holding and headaches of a toddler in pain, and begged for him not to touch me or to stop crying just for a few minutes…. When he went to my husband I longed for his touch and to calm his heart and soul. When I am down, I remember that though I am often looked over, forgotten and an afterthought, I am necessary. I am needed, I am worthy and I am loved. That all my hardships and struggles in life are worth it for those moments where only I will do. I am the only one who can heal the pain or at least dull it. That my touch and my heart are the healing ointment to the ailment of my children. Remember your worth and purpose. Why? Because Mama, YOU are WORTH it. May you always know, even in your darkest days, that YOU are the light and warmth your children need and seek in THEIR dark times. Stay strong and don’t be ashamed if you need help to stay afloat. We all need a little help and hope. This week mine came from my higher power through a dentist. Years ago, mine came through my higher power and an amazing therapist. What ever your way of easing your burden, make sure it is healthy and safe. Your babies need you to save the day, Mama.