This is something that has been on my mind off and or the last year and quite a bit in the last month. As a heart mom, I have gone through a wide range of emotions and stages these last 2 years. I've done my best to narrow these stages down.
The Mourning Stage: My heart mom life started out not being able to comprehend how my baby would be able to survive the surgery needed to save her life. I felt like every day leading up to that surgery was borrowed time. I was helpless so I cherished every minute with my baby girl and studied every one of her features. I did have a little hope that she would make it, but, yet, I was beginning to mourn.
The Survival Stage: Once Maggie made it through surgery, I was immediately in survival mode. I knew that something could still happen to my baby. I knew that she had a long road of recovery, and I was going to do everything in my power to keep her alive. There were many new things to learn and she required a lot more care than a healthy baby. This survival mode lasted for about 3 months.
The Mourning and Coping Stage: This time the mourning stage was not as severe but it definitely was there. Life had settled down a little bit. Maggie was easier to take care of, therefore, I had a lot more time to think about our new life… Our life as a heart family. This stage took several months. It took me quite some time to mourn the life that used to be. The life that I had planned on having. The life with healthy kids: carefree and simple. As I mourned the life that was not to be, I slowly began to come to grips with the life that God had planned for us… Life as a heart family.
The Happy and Content Stage: This stage was a long time in coming. It took many conversations and arguments with God. It took meeting two amazing heart moms who were just starting on their journeys. It took seeing a purpose for Maggie's life and Maggie's heart. It took hearing that I was called to give thanks for her special heart. It took many things, many events, many prayers. It took the work of the Lord.
The Happy and Mostly Normal Stage: This stage happens when I am busy living life without any heart stuff. This is when I forget that anything is wrong with Mag's heart. This is when she is full of energy and playing like any other kiddo. This doesn't last very long. Once in a while there are days that I make it all the way through without thinking about it, but very rarely. It usually creeps in at some point in the day. Right now, I am not there. Maggie's energy level reminds me every day of what is coming. Right now life is not normal.
The Content Stage is where I do my best to stay. However, there are times when I slip back in to the mourning stage in one form or another. I think that it is only natural to find myself there on certain days and sometimes weeks and months. It is really easy to stay in the happy and content stage when things are going smoothly and when there are no procedures or surgeries planned. However, it is extremely difficult to be happy and content when I know that in a few days I will once again hand my baby girl to nurses and doctors for a cardiac cath knowing that an open heart surgery will most likely follow. I wish she didn't have to go through this again. I wish I could make it all go away.
These are my stages. This is my life as a heart mom.