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CHD Makes Me a Better Mom

Monday, May 07, 2012

By Christy Sillman

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m a mom. It’s not that I never thought I’d be a mother—it’s just that I never allowed myself to dream that far into the future. It’s a protective mechanism I’ve utilized since I was very young. I focused my energy on the present, and tried not to get too bogged down by the long-term future. It’s the result of growing up against all odds.

That’s all changed; now all I think about is the long-term future.

Since the birth of my son Noah, life tastes so much sweeter. I want to LIVE more than ever before.

I never knew love could feel this way. The feeling of his arms around my neck when we hug, the smile he saves just for me, and the way I solve any woe with a hug and kiss—it’s more than I’ve ever dreamt of.

Someone recently asked me where I get the motivation to face my CHD. It’s easy when the motivation is your life, and the people in it make life so worth living.

My journey to motherhood didn’t come without a price as I’ve described in past blogs. Obviously Noah was worth it all, but I wouldn’t risk it again; that wouldn’t be fair to Noah.

Being a mother with CHD isn’t easy. Motherhood itself is the HARDEST job there is. Now take away the necessary energy you need to manage a child, especially a toddler. I can’t even drink coffee! It’s a constant battle to muster up the energy to care for my son. There is no such thing as a sick day when you’re a mother, and being a mom with CHD, I need many sick days.

I’ve never felt my CHD more than I do now that I’m a mom. My soul wants much more than my body can deliver, and it makes me so sad when I can’t keep up with my son. He cries for me to chase him, swing him, kick soccer balls and participate in any other physical activity he thrives on—but after 30 minutes I’m beat. Noah could keep going all day.

Mentally I want to do so much. Physically, I can’t.

There is a secret, though. The challenges I face in being a mother is CHD ultimately make me a better mom.

I don’t sweat the small stuff. I RELISH every moment I get with him—even the tantrums I’m sometimes able to laugh off. I pounce on the opportunity of a “good day” and create adventures for my son. I’m a really good snuggler. I care so very much about making lasting memories in the tiniest of moments. I say “I love you” at least 100 times a day.

Motherhood is about doing the best you can within the limitations you’re given. The number one mommy rule is not to plan because it’ll never go as planned. All moms should strive to live in the moment and to appreciate every bump in the road. Luckily women with CHD are already familiar with this approach to life and so it seems we were born to be amazing moms.

Motherhood will find us, one way or another, and if that’s what we want. Happy Mother’s Day to all the human moms, furry moms, and moms-to-be in the future!


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