Not only is mom guilt real, it can hit you hard some days. I’ve adjusted to the guilt of not being a stay at home mom with my son. It’s probably best for the whole family that it didn’t work out and he has had wonderful experiences in daycare. This is about the guilt as you make decisions for your kids that they can not do. I’m sure many of you have had to do the same. It sucks!
About six weeks ago P was playing in his room. We had friends over and a couple of parents were in there. He loves to jump and he jumped over a quilt on his floor. He had built a fort/lounge area earlier in the day. Sobs were ringing from his room. This wasn’t his normal, I’ve fallen cry, it was a deep I’m hurt cry. After a few minutes of snuggles and lots of tears, he let me look him over. His front tooth was displaced. Crap!
I called the dentist first thing in the morning and he referred me to a pediatric dentist. Luckily, this new dentist could fit us in that day and help us assess the damage. This was just an ordinary fall, everything will be okay was the thought my husband and I had. Nope, X-Rays revealed P had broken the tooth. We scheduled a procedure to pop the tooth back in place. Yeah, I know, gross.
He had to have some sedatives and laughing gas, but the procedure went okay. We went back to normal and would have a follow up visit in a month. Over that month, his teeth became more gray and we knew that meant the teeth were dying. At the follow up it became apparent we had to make some decisions. Root canal or extract the teeth. Everything was pointing towards root canal for a bit.
Monday night we meant with the dentist and after more conversations we went with extraction. There are a number of reasons we chose extraction, but I didn’t want something similar to happen in six months and we have to pull them anyway. The financial side of a root canal with my kid didn’t make sense either. He loves to jump and I would be that over cautious helicopter mom when he wanted to try the simplest thing. He wouldn’t realize, I was trying to protect the investment in his teeth. Plus, why should that hold him back?
The last few days have been rough. I was really conflicted on if we were making the right decision for him. Then yesterday’s procedure happened. We gave him the sedatives as recommended and went to our appointment. P was okay with the laughing gas for a bit, then it changed. He was over it, went all rage against the gas mask. Sobbed and thrashed for 10-15 minutes. He was inconsolable. It was the worst to sit there and know he was scared. We tried everything we knew how to do to calm him down. I started singing a made up song with just his name and that seemed to soothe him. The poor dentist and the hygienist, they had to listen to me sing. That had to be torture for them.
We got him calmed down, well he cried himself to sleep, and the procedure was over pretty quick. Teeth removed. It was the right decision as we examined his teeth later, they were gray and looked terrible. I scooped him up and the snuggles began. I still felt wrong about putting him through that. It took me a bit yesterday to get used to his new gum line and his new smile. Then the real stuff set in.
He began asking questions about, “What if other kids make fun of me or don’t want to play with me because I look different?” Ahhh, buddy. I wanted to say those kids just suck, but that’s not how you handle it. My advice was to say, “Yes, I do look different.” If they persist, “Everyone loses their teeth.” He thought he looked like a zombie and that made him sad.
The guilt will fade in a few days as we all adjust. He’s at daycare right now and I’m nervous for how his day will go. As a parent, we have to make decisions for our kids and we don’t always know the lasting impact. We will do something as a family tonight that will be fun.
I received lots of positive thoughts and comments from other parents yesterday. It was really helpful. If you know a parent that is struggling listen to them and offer support. They don’t need or want judgement for their actions. Parenting is scary, but with support from others it’s easier.