Dear Heart Mummy,
The journey you have just started is scary. At times you will question whether you are up to the challenge that has been presented to you. There is no manual to help you cope. There is no right or wrong way to get through the tough times.
The early days are overwhelming; there will be a whole host of abbreviations, long words and medical terms to try and get your head around. There will be echocardiograms, ECGs and meetings with numerous paediatricians and cardiologists.
It is easy to forget yourself in these early days. It is hard to give yourself time and space to process the vast amount of information you have been given. You need to take time to think about YOURSELF and how YOU will cope with this change in your life.
The truth is, no expectant Mummy is prepared to find out there is something ‘wrong’ with their child… and with a congenital heart defect affecting less than 1 out of 100 babies, you think your chances are slim. The brutal fact of the matter is though; your baby could be that 1%.
You will, without a doubt, recount every step of your pregnancy. You will probably try to lay the blame on yourself but, in the vast majority of cases, nothing you did (or didn’t) do could have changed the outcome.
Allow yourself to get angry, allow yourself to feel grief, allow yourself to express any emotion you feel… I promise you that it won’t make you seem any less a loving mother.
Regardless of the severity of the CHD, chances are you will have more contact with doctors, nurses and hospitals than you would ever like. But, remember they are there to help you. When we were told that Rainbow’s suspected ToF was ‘just’ a VSD… we were over the moon because it was expected that it would close by itself and cause her few, if no, problems. Our reality has been far from that. The cardiac liaison nurses, cardiologists and staff nurses have been like rocks to us. Without them, I don’t know where we would be.
Take each day as it comes; your journey as a heart Mummy won’t be a walk in the park but you will learn to accept the bad days just as you will rejoice in the good days… Every smile your heart baby gives you; every time your heart baby recognises your face; your smell; the gentle beat of your own heart you will find yourself smiling. You will smile because you know how challenging your journey is and how far you have come.
Heart Mummy… don’t beat yourself up because you have had a bad day and can’t stop crying; cry freely because tomorrow you will be ready to face another day… and that is the one thing that will prove to you how strong you really are.
All my love xxx