Last week was tough for Little C. He came down with Salmonella poisoning, but we didn’t know what it was until the 5th day, when there was blood in his stools, and the PD told us it was a bacterial infection and took a culture test to confirm it. We knew it wasn’t any run-of-the-mill bug, because he would wake up in the middle of the night sobbing with excruciating stomach spasms, and his fever never went away. One night, I burst into tears while he was shrieking in pain because I didn’t know what else to do.
Last week was also when I was sick, running a fever with a bad cough. Last week was also when we were supposed to travel but we cancelled the trip. Last week was also when I had to ensure Squirky Book 2 materials were ready to be submitted to the publisher, give a three-hour lecture (when I barely had a voice) , and had to submit work to two clients.
I didn’t think I would get through last week. But in this frenzied, feverish situation, some thoughts came through:
I am a mother.
There has always be this part of me wondering if I love C. enough because I am an adoptive mother. Many people have asked me this: would I be doing more if little C. was my biological child? This has always made me feel like less of a mother. In the past, I usually answer honestly by saying that there’s no question of loving C because I have always loved kids, but I really wouldn’t know if I would be doing things differently because I don’t have a biological child. But last week, the answer came through. Last week, I just wanted to protect him and take the pain away from him and do everything I could to make him better. He is my son and I just wanted to take care of him well. I remember someone telling me that she doesn’t like to refer to herself as an “adoptive mum” because to her, when she parents, she is just a mother. And I finally know what she means.
A child needs more than a mother.
While I was overwhelmed with maternal selflessness, realistically, there was only so much I could do. I never felt so limited as a parent being sick, strapped for time and sleep-deprived. But I thank God that my husband is a loving, not-afraid-of-projectile-liquid-poop father who stood through it all like a rock (while doing a lot of disinfecting). Little C’s grandparents also helped to watch over him for a few hours here and there, giving us the time to deal with the other commitments. I could not have handled this alone. I’m so grateful Little C. is surrounded by love from other members of the family.
Things are much better now, and we’re on the mend. To better days ahead (and definitely, a better appreciation of such days).