It started on Monday. Tom was working late and I was just starting to drift to sleep after putting Bub and Teebs to bed and doing my evening routine of chores when a shrill cry came from Bub's room. Every mother is used to shrill cries in the middle of the night, but this one was different. It was abrupt and panicked and echoed with thunders of fear coming from my Bub. I ran to his room in time to see him cupping fistfuls of vomit in each hand and fat, wailing tears burning down his cheeks.
Honestly, I have always wondered how I would handle this situation. What would I do when I had to intervene when a precious little baby was throwing up? Would I get sick too? Would I turn away and ask Tom to help? Would I panic? How could I possibly soothe a sick baby and tell them everything was fine when in that moment of vomit and terror and fumes of nauseousness nothing seems fine?
But when it actually happened and I actually had to deal with this exact situation I had dreaded since becoming a mother, something inside of me took over and I became the kind of mommy I'd always hoped I could be. Something took over and it was stronger and smarter and calmer than I ever have been and without hesitation I was on my knees at Bub's bedside, scooping him up, and promising him that everything was fine as more vomit fell from his trembling mouth. In that moment, I was the kind of mommy I'd always hoped I could be.
But it didn't stop there. It wasn't long before Bub, Teebs, Tom, me, and even my parents were battling the same stomach flu that had brought Bub to tears Monday night. And it wasn't kind. It was vicious and relentless and we are still struggling to be o.k.
But aside from the misery of seeing my babies hurting and the despair of being sick myself, there are amazing things I have learned this week. And in a small but powerful way, I feel just a little bit stronger.
I have learned that I have Mama Strength. I have learned that from the moment my babies were pulled from my body, in the vacant void of my stomach where a bulging baby once was, a tremendous Mama Strength began growing. It is a gift to mothers, and makes us amazing women in the thickest of moments when we are scared, shaking, and unsure.
It makes us able to pat the backs of terrified babies as they tremble over the toilet for the tenth time in one night. It gives us the calmness to say "don't worry, its alright" as a trail of vomit explodes onto the carpet and tiny feet stumble to the bathroom. It numbs every last drop of exhaustion in us and rolls us out of bed two, three, four, times a night when things are too quiet and temperatures just need to be checked one more time. Just to make sure everything is o.k. It holds our eyelids open when every flinching muscle inside of us says sleep but there is a steamy, sick baby finally asleep in our arms.
In what was arguably our most demanding week of parenting, I was stronger, smarter, and calmer than I have ever been. Than I ever knew I could possibly be. The Mama Strength brewing deep within me took over and let me be the mommy my babies needed me to be. And as the nightmares of this week begin to dissolve away I'm holding on to that strength and calmness for as long as I can and absolutely saturating myself in the love I've felt from my boys this week. The love that comes from being there in the moments they have so desperately needed me. The love that fuels the growth of my Mama Strength.
After Bub's long night of throwing up again and again, and begging me each time to help him and make it stop, I cleaned him up and tucked him into bed with a reassuring kiss and a loving "goodnight, baby." His heavy head sunk into his pillow but he rolled over just a little as I closed the door and said faintly "thank you, mommy." I know it was just Mama Strength, and I'm not really that strong, or that smart, and certainly not that calm, but I still feel, just a little bit, like I earned that "thank you."
We have big, big dreams of a better weekend. Starting with eating dinner tonight, something we haven't been able to do all week. It will be small and we will start out slowly, but it will be amazing. For five whole days I have been the kind of mommy I'd always hoped I could be, and while I never want me or my babies to ever go through this again, I wouldn't trade what I learned this week for anything. I've learned that I am capable, and in the thickest of moments when I am scared, shaking, and unsure, I have the Mama Strength within me to be stronger, smarter, and calmer than I have ever been.
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