This is a blog for my daughter Scarlett. She was born with a complex congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. She is my little hero.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Heartmom Snob

I think I'm a snob. Because when I meet new parents who have healthly children who ~complain~ about the trials and tribulations of parenthood, I think to myself... you weakling.  I look down my nose at them condescendingly as if to say: You have no right whatsoever to complain about your child. You have no idea what it is like to watch your child be poked countlessly for IV placement, You have no idea what a real 'sleepless night' is because your child is in the ICU, You have no idea what it's like to feed your child through a tube, You have no idea what it's like to have a heartbaby. Stop complaining about your healthy baby.

Sometimes it makes me so angry to hear other moms complain. HOW DARE YOU complain about what a pain your child is? Do you have any idea what a miracle you have? Do you have any idea that there are mother's out there who will never get to celebrate their child's birthday because their child died as a result of complications from their heart defect? Do you have any clue whatsoever? 

How can you sit there and complain about changing diapers, or losing sleep because of a newborn, or that breastfeeding is 'too much work'. Try walking one day in my shoes. Try pumping exclusively for 13 months. Try inserting a nasal-gastric tube down your baby's nose, Try lugging around an oxygen tank, and a pulse-ox machine with you everywhere you take your baby. Try not being able to hold your baby for 12 hours after she's born because she's whisked away to the NICU.

Yes, I most definitely would have to say I'm a snob. Because I am. I do think I'm better than those mothers. I do think I have more patience. I do think I treasure life a lot more. I do think I count my blessings more than my prbblems. I do think I am grateful for the little things. More than the 'normal' parent.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side. Well, my grass is green. To someone else, I have the perfect life.  I especially think this with my other heartmom friends. To some heartmoms, my grass is greener. My child is not on any medications. My child is developmentally on track. My child is not on a feeding tube or oxygen. And most importantly, my child is alive.

But to other heartmoms, their grass is greener. I talk to some heartmoms and ask "Is your child considered totally repaired?", which means, "Does your child have to have any more surgeries?", and when they answer yes... meaning, no more surgeries, just annual or semi-annual cardiologist visits... I get a little jealous... (I think.. god, you're lucky)... and I get a little snobby (I think...p'sh, that's it? you're done? more worries?), but mostly I get a little sad that it's not fair that Scarlett is not done, and her journey has only begun. 

So to me, Heartmoms of babies with CHDs who are repaired early in life (TGA, TOF, VSD etc.) they have the lawn with the beautiful, plush, green and perfectly mowed grass that I envy, because my lawn has weeds, crab grass and ants.... But to moms of other more critical babies (HLHS, DORV, PA, etc), especially moms whose children also have chromosome abnormalities such as DiGeorge Syndrome, Smith Magenis Syndrome, Shone's Syndrome, or Down Syndrome... I have the perfect green lawn that is to be envied.

My daughter is walking, running, climbing, eating on her own, sleeping on her own, babbling and acting "normal". What they wouldn't give for some normalcy. A life for their toddler free from g-tubes, oxygen, vomiting, infections, and hospitalization. What about those mothers of children who need[ed] whole new hearts? Imagine the torture, pain and anxiety of knowing your child is in heart failure and nothing will save them except a new heart? Just imagine that stress.

Makes you want to count your blessings. and stop bemoaning the small stuff. Which brings me to the title of my post. Snob. Yes, I'm a snob. I know it's probably not right, but Yes, I do think a little less of people who can whine about the stresses of being a mother... when they have no idea what real stress is.  Last week, I heard someone say something about being stressed (caused by their baby)... and I said "Why, are they in the hospital?  to which they replied "no", and I said "Is everything okay? Do they have to have surgery?"  again I heard "no"... so I said "Then what the h*ll is so stressful?", because to me, everything else is trivial. Having your 8-day-old's chest cut open to save their life... THAT's stressful.  Handing your 7 month old baby over to the surgical team for a 7-hour, complicated second open-heart surgery...THAT's stressful.  

Measuring out syringes and feeding your baby through a tube and worrying about them pulling out their feeding tube? THAT'S stressful.  Worrying that your child might pull out their oxygen nasal cannula overnight and their oxygen saturation levels will take a dip and jumping everytime the pulse-ox alarm goes off?  THAT's stressful.

So compared to THAT, What do these people consider stressful? Because to me, it's not. It's just spoiled, selfish people complaining that they didn't get enought beauty rest. It's just ungrateful people [who probably shouldn't have had children in the first place] acting immature. Do I think I'm better than these people? You bet your sweet patotie I do. I treasure my children. I don't sweat the small stuff. I don't allow minor things to stress me out. and I always count my blessings not my problems. Life is to fragile, precious and SHORT to be negative and complain and to be jealous that the grass is always greener. Live for today. Live in the now, and always have an attitude of gratitude.


  1. I understand your frustration and I do feel bad for you all who have more critically ill children than mine. But my journey hasn't been that rose filled in fact it has been rather scary and will continue to be this way our cardiologist told us this is a lifelong journey, my son has TOF and will need more surgery so it kinda makes me mad that you would think any heart mom's journey is "easy". Its your child and no matter what the problem is from an ear infection to a heart condition it is awful to watch your child in pain.. thats all I am going to say..

  2. I actually want to thank you for this post. It really is a reminder to be grateful for small things, for me to quit complaining and as my BFF says "mom up". No apologies needed.

    Heart Hugs from fellow heart mommy.