Nobody Warned Me About This Part of Motherhood
Nobody Warned Me
There are so many things in life I never got warnings about…this part of motherhood is one of them.
Being a mom is tough. You have to know all the answers and put on a brave face even when you feel anything but, because there’s always someone counting on you. As a mom, you’re the safe place when your child is scared, hurt or sad… you’re the one to fix their problems; But what about when you can’t?
Nobody prepared me for this part of motherhood. Nobody warned me that the hurts your child feels are only a tenth of the pain you feel as a mother; watching your Childs’ heart crumble feels as though your heart might stop. Nobody prepared me for the diagnosis my son received when he was five. I wasn’t prepared to be the mother to a child with Alopecia Areata. This condition is unpredictable and ever-changing . Nobody gave me information on how to process this news- my son was diagnosed with a life changing auto immune disorder.
My biggest concern, of course, is how do I keep giving him self-confidence? In a world full of people obsessed with their looks, body, and physical appearances, how do I help him gain control of a situation so out of our control? Will he be bullied for something that he has zero control over? I cried at work over my fears for his future. I argued with my mother, husband, my family, over my “what if” fears.
But then, something amazing happened… Noah told me he likes his spots! He still has patchy hair loss, but now I don’t care. I don’t worry every time he gets a cold that this will trigger an immune response and that he’ll lose more hair. I don’t worry constantly about his future. His simple statement of “I like my spots” has changed my life. And his. We’re doing it. We are somehow, giving him the confidence to accept and LOVE himself as he is! He’s happy, and for now; that’s enough.
In March, my son Noah made me so incredibly proud. Noah decided to sign up for the St. Baldricks event to shave his head and raise money for children with cancer. He raised over $600 dollars and shaved his head in support for those who lose their hair due to childhood cancer. He’s been there with hair loss, and he knows how it feels. I can’t even begin to describe my pride – pride that my son, who gets excited over tiny hair starting to grow in his spots, was willing to shave his new baby hairs in support of children who lose their hair to cancer.
There are a ton of things nobody told me about being a mom … nobody told me my heart could literally explode from happiness and pride. I didn’t realize my son had this much empathy. He amazes me, he helps me grow and become a stronger person. He is growing up right in front of my eyes. When I sit back and think of everything he’s going through, and how well he’s doing, my chest and throat get tight with emotion. He’s such a happy boy. I like to think that he’s happy because my husband and I are just such wonderful parents.
Being a mom, there are so many moments of ups and downs. So many days that are trying – so trying. Days I can’t wait to end, and others I want to bottle up and keep forever. Some days, I feel like I’m drowning and look to my husband as a life preserver; others, I feel like things are perfect. I almost forget there is a whole world around us.
Our family has been amazing through this diagnosis and such a great support system of strength for us, and for Noah. Noah’s become really interested in Ryan Shazier, a professional Football player for the Pittsburg Steelers, who also has Alopecia. He’s an amazing football player, who has recently overcome a serious back injury and still remains a positive influence for children like Noah. It’s knowing that others have walked through similar circumstances and overcome any obstacles that help us promote such a positive outlook for Noah.
Having a son with Alopecia has changed me. I don’t judge others based on appearance. My son helps me realize my own insecurities and he helps me grow. I don’t always have the answers for him, but I vow to find them. My husband and I are doing our best to raise him to be the best Noah he can be; I want him to be loving, kind, empathetic, compassionate, joyful, happy, and whole. As a mom, we all want this, it’s the ultimate goal. How do we get there?
This question keeps me up at night. It haunts me, taunts me, and looms in the depths. How do we get there? How do I accomplish my ultimate goal? There’s no manual on how to raise kids. I wish there was.
Nobody warned me of the emotional stress, exhaustion, and tirelessness I’d feel. Just as nobody warned me of the happiness, giddiness, joy, and satisfaction I’d feel after watching my son stick up for a child who was bullied for their looks. Nobody warned me how I’d want to throw up, cry, or run and hide when someone asks my son why his hair is the way it is. Nobody warned me.
The thing about warnings, though, is that they can take away from the moment. This is my son’s journey. Our journey. It’s fun, scary, sad, and stressful; It’s also incredibly beautiful. Nobody warns us about all these moments as a mom, and while sometimes, a warning might be nice, where’s the fun in life without surprise? So here I am, living my life, walking our journey, and trying to battle through it all, because my kids make life more exciting.