My youngest son was diagnosed with asthma at six weeks old. When he was in preschool, constant sickness exacerbated his condition. We were vigilant with his breathing treatments. I did all I could to prevent him from being sick, but short of placing him in a protective bubble, I couldn’t keep him from catching one thing after another. The doctors ran tests and tried different medications. One medication they tried was specifically for asthma prevention.
A month or so went by, and my son grew more and more irritable. Sad. Almost depressed. We talked with him and prayed with him. We tried to figure out what was bothering him. He cried about everything. It hurt to see him so sad, but we couldn’t determine what was bothering him. He didn’t even know.
And then I remembered the new medication. I did some research and learned that depression was a potential side effect. I immediately called the doctor and discontinued it.
I still remember the mommy guilt I felt. My son was hurting, and I didn’t know how to help him. When I realized a medication was to blame, I felt guilty that I hadn’t read the side effects before I gave it to him. I felt guilty that it had taken me so long to figure out the source of his sadness. I felt guilty that he had suffered.
That’s not the only time I’ve felt that way. I’ve often felt like I’ve let my children down by not being the mom they needed me to be. I’ve felt angry at myself for missing things I should have caught. I’ve bemoaned my weaknesses and insufficiencies in not providing for or meeting my children’s needs at all times and in all places.
Mommy guilt. At some point in motherhood, we all will experience it. Your child may have an illness you were slow to detect. Your son might have a learning problem for years before you realize it. Your daughter might complain about other kids picking on her and you disregard it until she comes home in tears and afraid to go to school. Whatever the circumstances, we know that feeling of guilt when our children are hurt. We feel responsible. We can’t stop thinking of how bad the situation could have been. We vow to be more vigilant in the future.
Sometimes, if motherhood were a job, we would likely fire ourselves…
To read the rest of this modified excerpt from my new book, Sufficient Hope, visit Revive Our Hearts, where they are hosting a giveaway. Be sure to stop by and enter!