Why don’t we talk about this more often? I think Baby Injuries are viewed as a “scary topic”. Mom guilt is a weird one, too. For some reason, it’s not very common to talk about when baby gets hurt, and how us moms have to deal. It’s so weird, because if you have kids, it’s happened to you. So let’s talk about it. Let’s keep it real and help each other deal with that crazy Mom Guilt when Baby gets hurt.
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Dealing With Mom Guilt When Baby Gets Hurt
I just went through this three months ago, and I still cringe. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It was an awful experience. It took weeks to get over it. Yeah… weeks.
I was in the kitchen preparing potato salad. My 14-month-old was toddling about behind me. He was less than 8 feet away. I could hear him talking and padding about, in his own little world, amusing himself.
I did the casual mom thing, glancing over my shoulder every few minutes to check on him. He’s a pretty easy-going kid and is easily amused.
And Then It Happened
In a matter of seconds, he’d climbed onto a plastic storage bin, only about 12-14 inches high. And tumbled right off. Face first. Onto our tiled floor. He was less then 8 feet from me and I couldn’t stop it from happening.
I saw the blood. I went into warrior mode. He’d landed on his chin, and I could see a small split in it (extremely common baby wound. I think a huge percentage of the human population has a matching chin scar).
He was also bleeding from his upper gums. That one made me a bit queasy. Mouth wounds are big bleeders and I had a terrible time trying to discern where the blood was coming from and what kind of injury we were dealing with.
My husband and I decided to take him to the emergency room to be safe. Holding a cold, wet towel to his little mouth, we managed to transport him to the ER. By this time we’d discovered small chips in his two front teeth and one tooth was askew.
Long story short, our son had his chin glued closed, got cleaned up and sent home. Nothing severe. I followed up with a dentist the next day and took him in for dental checkups every week until I received the “all-clear”.
None of the injuries were severe, his gums healed perfectly, and his teeth even straightened back out. There was no root damage or discoloration. Our son has totally forgotten about it all.
But I haven’t. Most certainly not.
It’s Going To Happen
It’s not easy for me to talk about this incident. Yes, it could have been a lot worse. Yes, he’s a boy and this is what happens. I’ve heard it all before. That doesn’t make it any easier or take away any of the guilt or anxiety that I had to work through.
For weeks after Kai’s big fall I was tied in knots. I followed him around the house in frenzied paranoia. He was 14 months old and stumbled around–a lot.
I gasped and freaked out every time during those weeks and I lived my days feeling like I was one gasp away from a heart attack or total meltdown.
I learned so much during the course of this event and I’m going to share everything I’ve learned with you. Will it cure it all? No. But it will hopefully encourage you.
Mom Guilt When Baby Gets Hurt
It will happen. Baby will get hurt. You’re going to feel like you failed. There’s no getting away from that. It’s because you love your child deeply and want only the very best for them.
But you’re only one person and you can’t stop everything.
It’s the consequence of being only human.
They’ll fall down, topple over, run into this or that, go thump, and sometimes they’ll get hurt. Just understand this one thing. You’re going to feel terribly.
Most people are so sweet and understanding and totally real about parenting. They’ll encourage you and even share their own stories about their kids to help you feel better. Some, not so much.
Some people will make you feel guilty, may judge you or criticize your parenting abilities. Do not fall for this. I’m not sure why they do it but they do. But there is nothing anyone can say that can change the truth.
You know you’re a good parent. You are constantly doing your best. I can’t promise you those people won’t make you cry. If they do, just be real and let yourself cry.
Then go find a good hugger with a more realistic and positive attitude. They’ll encourage you and remind you of the truth.
Accidents happen. You’re a great mom.
Allow Yourself To Work Through the Guilt
This takes time. Most of us don’t recover from watching our babies suffer like that at the blink of an eye. We have to deal with it and we have to deal with it in our way, in our time.
It’s healthy and normal to reason with yourself and try to shake yourself out of it and it’s something you should do.
But don’t try to escape the normal process of emotions. It wasn’t your fault but you’re mama. You feel responsible and it hurts.
You feel guilty even though you know there’s nothing you could have done differently. And guess what? That’s all okay. Allow yourself to just be honest.
Then, just let the days pass. Time is amazing. The guilt will start to fade away, covered by other sweet moments of you being your natural, heroic self. Everyone will just move on.
Allow yourself to deal with some anxiety, too. That’s only normal after dealing with the traumatic experience of your little one’s injury. You’ll feel up tight and paranoid about them hurting themselves again.
Just let yourself feel it, do your best to get through each day, remember to breathe, and this too shall pass.
Be Ready. It’s Going To Happen Again
For some of us, more than others. My child is a happy boy, but he loves to climb, explore, lift, throw, and hang on things. I am forever after him teaching him to be careful.
Caution is not a behavior he has learned yet and I’m doing my best to teach him. It’s a lot of work and I’m determined but I’m also only human. I can only shield him from so much.
After his mouth injury, Kai moved on pretty quickly. He was over it, which meant he was back to running and playing with baby-like abandon. Then he’d stumble and fall and inevitably bump his mouth, making his gums bleed.
I’d feel all those emotions surge back. My wise mother reminded me over and over again that he was going to bump his mouth again and it would bleed. It helped me feel like this was normal but it didn’t cure the anxiety.
That just had to fade away while he healed. And he healed, and the anxiety faded and that horrible incident is now a very unpleasant memory–no longer a reality.
Your Toddler Has Already Moved On. You Can Too
I am in no way condoning negligence in any form or fashion. The entire tone of this article is written with the understanding that we must always do our best, keep close watch over our children, and take measures to keep them from danger.
The reality of life is that we can do all those things and more–and our babies will still hurt themselves at times.
I’ve heard some pretty flippant responses to the tune of, “that’s how babies learn. It’s no big deal, they’ll just do it again.” And yes, I do agree. But I don’t feel casual about it. I’ll never be okay watching my child get hurt, especially on my watch.
It’s Just Part of Being A Mom
While that’s a fact, it’s also not healthy to continue heaping guilt upon ourselves and denying ourselves the right to heal, learn and move on. That’s not healthy and it’s not in the best interest of our children.
Kai has already forgotten about the incident. He doesn’t suffer and he has no lasting effects. It took me much longer to heal than it did Kai. I was pretty tore up about his first big injury. But I had to move on, and you can too.
It hurts–it really hurts. Watching our babies go through unpleasant things is never easy. But it’s part of life, and while we can’t escape the process of emotions and guilt we’ll have to work through, we sure can encourage ourselves that it gets better, it gets easier, and nothing lasts forever.
We’ve learned something new, we’ve been through something hard, and our children love us just like they always have.
Everything will eventually be okay. That’s what makes us heroic, fearless moms.
Thanks For Reading!
I hope you were encouraged and feel better about dealing with the Mom Guilt when Baby gets hurt. There are no easy answers, but there’s always encouragement.
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