Today I felt like I was in battle. I drove home from Phoenix Children’s Hospital with my shoulders slumped, bumped and bruised, with nothing to show but wounds. Since I have two sons that are medically fragile and complex, I spend a lot of time advocating for my kids. Advocating is really a sugar coated word. I’m battling. Punching until my knuckles bleed- screaming until my voice is hoarse- throwing elbows that would make Christina Aguilera proud. I’m in the trenches daily.
My 11 month old son desperately needs his 5th and 6th brain surgeries, and he needs them urgently. We have had 6 ICU stays in the last 8 weeks. Anyone could imagine how much “advocating” I have had to do lately. The truth is, I am not combative. I am a very “Type B” person. This personality type has pros and cons but one of the good parts is many things roll off of my back easily. That is, until my child’s life is at stake. Call me crazy, but that scenario quickly transitions me to the Type A side.
We have been getting opinions from the top neurosurgeons in the country on how to move forward with Caleb. Every neurosurgeon has a different plan but there is one thing they all agree on- Caleb needs surgery immediately. He was discharged from the ICU last week with a plan to have the first surgery on Monday. I never got a call with surgery information so I began calling the neurosurgeon’s office, leaving message after message. After still receiving no communication today, I got in my car and drove to the hospital and walked into the clinic. They put me in a room for an hour and a half and bullied me. They belittled me, ignored me, left me crying, claimed there was no time on the surgery schedule for 2 weeks. I finally found a way to call the surgeon myself. When he heard what was happening, he was shocked and said Caleb needed to be put on the schedule immediately.
I won the battle. I was persistent, I didn’t give up, and I won. So why didn’t it feel that way?
I learned something valuable during my interactions with those nurses today. I recorded all of our conversations and listened back to make sure I was speaking respectfully, calmly and coming from a place of love, albeit I’m clearly emotional. I’m a reflection of Christ’s love no matter how tense the situation. The lesson I learned is this. When someone speaks to you in a hateful way, you feel hated. When they ignore your needs, you feel ignored. Whatever they project onto you can cling to your energy and now become part of your story.
I walked through my front door and felt I was a person that is hated, ignored, discarded, manipulated and patronized. When someone is simply having a bad day and chooses to provide bad service, it can alter your perception of yourself. It was the first time I fully understood that another person’s energy can become my energy.
It also made me realize I have the power to stop this cycle. If I encompassed the hatred that was put on me, how would my children feel? If I focus on how ignored I felt, who would I be ignoring?
Sometimes I walk into these battles with my shoulders back, head high and ready to fight for my babies. Yet even when it ends well for me, there is a price you pay to battle. Warriors are brave. They are fighting for other people, fighting for what is good. But they are never the same again. Soldiers suffer from physical and emotional scars that may never fully heal. They may be heroes, but they made a sacrifice.
Whether the battle was one or lost, there are pieces to be cleaned up, injuries that need to be tended to. There is new energy that is projected and pain as you look back at each punch, each shot, each blow. The pain haunts your dreams.
It may seem like an extreme analogy but if you have been awarded the title of Warrior Momma, you earned it for a reason. You have been through the thick of it. You have fought in many wars; some lost, some won. The battles have changed the way you perceive yourself.
The price you pay for being a warrior is heavy. War is not for the weak of heart. Your skin toughens through each battle but your heart doesn’t. Warriors are given honors and medals, and then pray for peace.