Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We, the parents

Our mind is a very funny organ. It plays tricks on us and molds and bends until the rest of our organs make peace with what is going on. Sometimes we convince ourselves of one thing and the next day of the exact opposite thing, with perfectly legitimate reasoning for either theory. On top of these typical mind games, parents have a mind of their own. Parents are fighters. People may or may not be born fighters, but as parents we all turn into fighters. We fight for our kids. We fight for us. We fight. It is something that our mind does at a very subconscious level. So much so that we do it with a rather natural flare and deem it to be the most natural and obvious behavior of our lives.

Normally, I am a realist. I see things as is. A little too much that way. I make conscious effort to not be in denial, mostly to prevent myself the heartbreak of coming back to reality by an external factor. I’d rather be brought to reality by my own self than something unexpected. So it was an atypical situation in our family when Siddharth was saying something, and I was in denial. For the last several months, Siddharth kept saying that Samaira’s apnea is getting worse. My instant and final reaction to his concern was absolute denial. I always dismissed him by saying that it isn’t apnea, it is congestion. That she is fine. I believed it too. Because I had convinced my mind and the rest of me that she didn’t have any issues. We finally did take her to a doctor and got her sleep study done. I was silently but surely and extremely nervous the day her results were going to arrive. I feared that the doctors would confirm her apnea and will recommend a surgery, which I absolutely did not want for Samaira. So I broke down as soon as the doctor confirmed my fear. In the doctor’s clinic. On our way out. In the parking lot. At work. Then back at home. I broke down multiple times and on multiple occasions. I hated that diagnosis. And over the next few days I did make peace with it and was ready for the surgery. I convinced myself that it will make life better for Sammy. That it is in her best interest. So it is the best thing to do. Then, Sammy spiked a fever two days before the surgery and that would have postponed her surgery. I broke down again thinking that her surgery won’t happen. Underneath all this, I couldn’t believe myself. It was almost unreal how I had gone from fearing her surgery to fearing her no-surgery within a week. My mind had totally convinced me of one way and then the other way. So darn crafty my mind is. Anyway, Sammy did recover from her illness and went through the surgery and was discharged the next day. The bottom line is, that Samaira did phenomenal. She was a trooper. She is acting like nothing happened and life is usual. We want to do what’s best for our kids. While we live in a non-ideal world, our definition of what is best for our kids also keeps changing.

Here is the thing I have realized over the past two or so years. We, as parents, do whatever it is that we have to do to make sure our babies are fine. So when parents fight for their kids’ well-being or survival, it is the most natural and pretty much the only thing parents can do. On somewhat of a side note, I do find it a little odd when people complement parents on being awesome & strong because they fight for their kid. I am normally the one to give benefit of doubt to people. I care more about the intent than about the impact. Normally. Not always. There are exceptions. But the point is that all parents are awesome & strong. Because we all go through the journey of fighting for our kids in our own little and big ways. It could mean fighting so the kids can keep up in school, or fighting with a bully at the park, or fighting with a stranger for an unjust comment, or fighting with the school system, or fighting with allergies, or fighting your child’s sadness, or fighting with an accident that injured your kid in big or small way, or fighting with a fever and cold and cough, or fighting with brain cancer, or fighting with so many other things that we have no control over. Really fighting with anything. We, the parents, fight all the time. We fight with various different things and people. We all fight for our kids. So we are all awesome, strong parents. Simple.

Here is another thing people fight for when they have a tiny tot absolutely and fully depending on them. Themselves. People fight for themselves. Or at least they should. If somebody asked me my biggest fear before I had Samaira, it was hands down losing people I love. What changed after I had my first baby? My biggest fear became losing people I love, including myself. I am somehow more aware of myself, my well-being, after being a mom. I want to lead a longer healthier life and lifestyle so I can be there to take care of my kids. I can’t imagine not being there for my babies when they need me. I fear losing myself.

So, when Heather Von St. James reached out to me regarding her story, I couldn’t help but realize the importance of our health. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma shortly after giving birth to her first baby. Heather was given 15 months to live. She is the living proof that miracles happen. It has been a few years and she has lived to tell the tale. I knew nothing about mesothelioma so I started reading up her blog: http://www.mesothelioma.com/. Mesothelioma is caused due to asbestos exposure and I learnt how ridiculously and absolutely pervasive its usage it. It is something that a lot of us get exposed to every single day. My journey to learn more about this condition, its causes, and its consequences has just begun. But the mom gene in me is going to strive to be well. I know we don’t control a lot of it. But there has to be something that we can control, right? We don’t control the consequences. But we control our actions. It is never too late to learn. It is never too late to raise awareness.

It is a new gene, we, the parents acquire. To fight. So let us.

These are some people I fight for


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