I was talking casually about my son to my (male) manager this morning and he told me that I was “one of those protective moms.” His tone wasn’t admiring or appreciative, the word “those” was kind of sneered. A million things crossed my mind to say back to him, instead I stood a little taller and replied “Yes, I’m one of those mom’s, I’m VERY protective of BJ.” I’m not sure when being “protective” of one’s child became a negative thing. In today’s society, with all of the things going on in the world, shouldn’t everyone be “protective of their innocent young children?
I will admit; I do err on the side of caution when it comes to BJ. I’m watchful, and I’m sure I over analyze a lot of things when it comes to him. But, what first time mother doesn’t? I didn’t get a chance to ease into mother hood like most women. Instead, I was thrown into it, much like being tossed into a freezing swimming pool. And with each passing day I learned the ropes of the NICU and how to care for my little guy. I became more confident in my abilities and became my child’s biggest advocate.
I cheer for BJ’s victories, no matter how big or small. Because those are victories I wasn’t always sure that we’d have. After all, nothing was for certain when he was born. We took things day by day those first few weeks. There’s nothing I take for granted when it comes to being a mom. No, I haven’t “gotten over” his prematurity. I don’t know that I ever will. I grieved the loss of my third trimester. I’ve picked apart my actions during my pregnancy, and wondered if things could have been done differently on my part that would have resulted in a longer pregnancy. Should I have gone walking in the mornings? Could I have done more? Were there signs I missed? I’ve gone through every emotion you can have in regards to having BJ at 24 weeks. And, at the end of the day, simply put, it still hurts.
I’ll be the mom that never misses a game, volunteers to be home room mom, and brags to my friends about what an amazing child I have. And I’m ok with it (no matter how irritating I’m sure it is). I’ve got friends and family who support my feelings and emotions. They cheer on BJ and surround us in positivity and encouragement. Sadly, I’ve also run into a couple of people who didn’t. I actually had a “friend” come to BJ’s first March of Dimes walk and leave it talking so negatively about it (on FACEBOOK of all places) that our relationship was damaged beyond repair. After all, if you can’t put yourself to the side long enough to celebrate how well BJ was doing for just a few hours… then you aren’t a person we need in our corner.
I’ve told people that you find out who your real friends are when you’re going through the NICU. Having a sick child takes all of your strength and focus. Putting one foot in front of the other some days is hard enough that at the end of the day you have nothing left to give to anyone else. True friends accept that, they continue to provide whatever your needs are without receiving anything in return they do things out of love… not recognition.
My manager’s “protective mom” comment wasn’t the first… and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It still takes me aback a little when it’s said. But, it’s a title I wear with honor. I’m a raging mama bear that will guard my son with all I have until he reaches a point that it’s no longer necessary. Being a mom is something I take seriously. It’s a full time 24/7 job and one that I cherish with all of my being. BJ is my heart and my world… who wouldn’t protect that?