Parenting has its joys and challenges. Few things seem to be more challenging than watching your child be sick or hurt. You may want to take away their pain. You want them to be “all done” with treatments, or take them outside to play. It is a tough season!
There is really nothing I can say to make this easier for you, but I hope you feel encouraged knowing that you are not alone in this.
I want to encourage you with the word: EMBRACE.
Embrace the humanity. Perhaps you are baffled with the question of whether this is really happening or why it’s happening to you. The blunt truth is that life is full of good seasons and bad seasons. No one is exempt from that. You didn’t do anything wrong! It’s just life being life.
Embrace the love. Share what is happening with friends, family and acquaintances. Ask for help. Notice how they may reach out with a helping hand to pray for you, run errands for you, or bring you a meal. In a time when parenting has become an isolated matter between two people, it’s nice to be reminded that in tough times, the village still rises to the occasion to help bring up that child. You’re not alone. We’re in this together.
Embrace your feelings. I get it, you want to stay strong for your child or family. That doesn’t mean you have to be numb to the experience. Try to find the sweet spot where you can ride the waves of emotion while staying responsible to the needs of your family. Reach out to a counselor; it might be nice to have a separate space to process this experience.
Embrace the mental fog. Don’t expect yourself to remember or comprehend everything. Your thoughts are focused on your baby’s health. Give yourself some grace, reschedule important meetings, ask forgiveness where you messed up and move on.
Embrace yourself. You’re the best mommy or daddy for your child! No one can do it as well as you can! Don’t let anyone, including yourself tell you differently. The fact that you are at the hospital comforting your child whenever you can, trying to get her the help she needs to get better, speaks loudly about your wonderful parenting skills. Your child is blessed to have you!
Embrace your spouse. You are in this together. This is a time to build each other up and allow this to be a season to grow (even) closer together. Avoid blaming each other or micromanage each other’s parenting. Tough seasons can bring out the worst in us so give each other lots of grace.
Embrace boundaries. You see, this season is a time to focus on YOUR family and YOUR needs. You may typically be the one others come to with problems but now is a time to set limits on what others share with you so you can be present with your own situation.
Embrace new skills. We’re all imperfect parents. We don’t know how to treat every medical incident. That’s why we have doctors who do. Allow them to teach you how to help your child. Now, on a side note, you may get advice from other people on how you could have prevented what happened or how to help your child recover. This might make you feel angry or hurt. Remember they mean well and with that I want to encourage you to take the good and discard the rest. There are more important things to invest your energy in right now.
Embrace your faith. God didn’t do this to you. God is still sovereign and good. In fact God knows about suffering and is right there by your side. Any encouragement, hug, meal, act of service, medical treatment, or anything at all that has been helpful in this season is God working through people to show you his love.
Embrace life. Don’t let fear limit you moving forward. Yes, this happened and it wasn’t good. You may feel the urge to helicopter over your child to avoid future harm, but resist this as it might actually hurt them, too. Protect them but know that it's important to allow them to have fun and experience new things.
Dear mom and dad, keep up the good work! This season will end eventually. Life may be different once you come out of it but if you embrace this experience for all it’s worth, you may come out more resilient than before, and surprised by strength you didn’t know you had.
With love and respect,