Wednesday, November 25, 2009

all for love

Last week the girls and I went to get our H1N1 flu shots. And I cried.

No, not because of my own personal shot -- I'm a pro when it comes to needles and blood tests and the like. But my sweet little Joelle had me crying a river with her very stressful experience.

Luckily Malia went first out of the two of them -- she's always the brave one when it comes to things like's appointment, eye appointments, dentists, etc. Joelle had been totally fine leading up to the experience, but already after watching me get the very first needle, she was showing signs of nervousness. But after Malia's shot -- where she did a quiet little whimpering cry as the needle entered her arm -- Joelle was adament that she was NOT going to do it.

She started running away from our designated table, and I had to go after her and bring her back, trying to re-assure her that it was all going to be okay. But it was to no avail. She had already made up her mind that this was going to be an awful experience and she wanted no part of it. Once she started her freak-out, there was no stopping her. Me and 2 nurses had to physically hold her down, and even that was a struggle for us.

Joelle's reactions went from frustrated anger: "EVERYBODY! LET! GO! OF! ME!" to desperate fear: "MOMMY! DON'T LET THEM DO IT! DON'T LET THEM DO IT!"

Those pleas for me to help save her from this terrifying demise is what really did me in. It was clear to me that she knew I could stop all of this from happening if I just said the word. But despite her desperate begging, I didn't stop it. And I felt awful. My precious little girl was counting on her mother to protect her from this needle that she so obviously didn't want to get and I did nothing to help her. Hence, the tears. It's a terrible feeling when the decision you have made to try and protect your child causes them such panic and fear. When they are frantically pleading with you to keep this hurt from them...and you don't.

I held my daughter really close when it was all over and she collapsed with relief in my arms. I told her how proud I was of her. I explained to her that I was doing it to protect her because I loved her.

When all was screamed said and done, she recovered from the trauma very quickly -- quicker than I did -- and proudly showed off her band-aid to her grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles at the family dinner we had a mere 45 minutes later. And she was just as quick to let go of any grudge she may have been holding towards me during the unwanted event.

But I will not soon forget the way it made me feel to think that I was not protecting my daughter in the way she wanted me to. I will remember her desperate attempts to get me to change my mind and not force this upon her. I will remember the way it feels thinking that I was letting my daughter down in a big way. I will carry this feeling with me for a very long time.

(ps: I know there has been a lot of controversy over the H1N1 shot -- at least around here, and the purpose of this post is not to start any kind of debate about it. I am simply sharing an experience that could've happened just as easily getting any regular vaccination; the focus is not supposed to be on the fact that it was an H1N1 shot. I respect your decision about it; please respect mine)


Anonymous said...

I had that experience with my daughter and the flu shot a few years ago. The younger of our two children went first and stood there like a warrior and didn't even flinch. The oldest did not do so well. As we held her down she was screaming to not make her do it. Before she knew it we said, "It's done you can stop crying!" She looked around with huge sobs and admitted she hadn't felt a thing. She was fighting so hard she didn't even notice the injection! Unfortunately year after year we are replaying this scene over and over. Every year she admits that it didn't hurt as much as she feared. Why can't she remember that before the fight begins?

Kathy and Carl said...

That's a hard experience. We've had similar when we were preparing to come to Bolivia. It was hard to explain to the kids that though this experience would hurt, it would prevent future experiences (aka yellow fever!) from hurting even more. I told them sometimes we have to hurt a bit to gain even more.

Then I thought about it a bit more, and thought, huh, this is a life applicable lesson. A very hard one to experience though.

Joanna said...

Mommy guilt is the worse!! I still have a few that rise up to pull me down. Chalk it up for their own good and tell yourself you are a good mom!

TammyIsBlessed said...

This is nothing more than mommy guilt and it should be banished!!!

You made a decision about what was best for your child and you acted on it. She's just too young to understand.

But you know - isn't that exactly the same with God and us? We don't know what He's doing but we can count on His love. He will never let us down!

Try to look at it from that perspective, and banish the mommy guilt!