You ponder the sleepless nights, the childish outbursts (yours AND the kids’), the emotional and financial drain, and the myriad of adjustments you’ve had to make to your life, and you wonder, “Is
parenting worth the sacrifice?”
The day my daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder is the day our lives changed forever. We were in the hospital at the time, our tiny girl hooked up to a feeding tube, when the doctor explained what we would be facing in the years to come.
Appointments, hospital stays, and numerous therapies loomed. One parent would need to stay home to manage this hectic schedule. It was going to be me.
My maternity leave was coming to an end, but I would not be returning to my job. More than a job, my chosen profession and passion. When this reality hit, I sat rocking my baby in my arms, grieving for my old life. A passing nurse peered in at a sobbing mother and soon a social worker arrived to talk to the woman in room 2C who was coming unraveled.
It seems selfish looking back at how devastated I was to be losing my career. Was it really a loss at all? My older child, my son, was thrilled to have his mummy at home. “I love that you drive me to school,” he told me one day. And the look of pride on his face when I came to volunteer in his classroom made me so happy. And my daughter has gained so much by having a parent at home full time – to encourage her, teach her, love her.
Doctors said our child may never walk or talk and warned us to expect medical issues beyond comprehension. But last summer I attended her Kindergarten graduation and watched through tears as this amazing child stood with her peers and said, “thank you” when she received her diploma. Certificate in hand she looked for me in the crowd and beamed.
This moment confirms that any perceived sacrifices, were never really sacrifices at all, but merely a shift in direction.