Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Zipper Incident

Today we're back with another round of Mombies Unite and Shaunacey's sharing one of her most (literally) scarring mom fails. It's one of those moments you can't read without your jaw tightening and your palms sweating because you know it could have been you. She bravely recounts her difficult experience with her daughter and shares what she learned so that when our weekly epic mom fails happen, we'll have some solid advice to refer back to.

Meet Shaunacey. Hailing from the epicenter of Canada (Ontario) and blogging over at Simply Shaunacey about style, mom stuff and lifestyle fun, Shaunacey is smart, witty and she likes stuff... writing stuff. Wine. Chocolate. Little people. Coffee. You know. Stuff.

I got to know Shaunacey through our mutual friend, the divine Deena from Shoes to Shiraz. I'm so glad I did because our kids are exactly the same age and we can commiserate over relate to a lot of the same day to day mom life struggles joys. Her background in social work means that she's my first number on speed dial text before I shake my children. Shaunacey is honest, brave and charming, but you can't hate her because she's also my partner in crime from the series What Moms Google. Am I a little biased? You'd better just read what she has to say and decide for yourself.

This mom business is tough. It's wrought with second-guesses, self-doubt and guilt and that's just on a regular day.

Accidents happen, we all know that, but when you're a mom and that accident involves your child and it's your fault, there's an additional level of guilt you didn't even comprehend was possible. 

Thankfully, looking back the accident I'm referring to was minor; however, it seemed quite catastrophic in the midst of my first-time-mom-panic mode and even reflecting back, the feelings I had during the ordeal are just as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

The zipper incident:

Mini-me was about 6 months old and we were getting ready to go for sushi (mmmmmmm sushi, I’d kill for a spicy salmon roll… sorry, focus). I had planned for mini-me to wear super cute 3-piece set – pants, long-sleeve tee and matching vest (and probably some kind of hairbow for good measure – these were the days before she dictated her everything hair).

I put the vest on her and did it up. It stopped short. 

She screamed. 

A scream unlike any other sound I had ever heard her make. It was a scream of pain, pure and excruciating pain. I knew what the sound meant the second it hit my ears. My heart immediately went to my throat and I felt a lump of nausea and panic in my stomach.

What happened? What had I done?

I was confused for about 2 seconds until I realized that at the exact moment I was zipping up the vest, her t-shirt came down and I had zipped up her skin IN the vest.

I had zipped her up. Literally.

At first, I was frantic. My baby was screaming and I panicked. It pains me to admit the following (and still brings a wave of nausea as I recall this stupid decision), but my initial reaction was to try unzip (if you ever find yourself in this situation DO NOT try and unzip). I was freaking out and she was freaking out and all I could do was try and get her out of there.

Every time I pulled down on the zipper she screamed. Her big beautiful blue eyes looked up at me as she choked on her tears and screams. I'm sure all she was thinking was 'why are you hurting me'. I realized I was making it worse. 

Clearly, unzipping wasn’t working, it was causing her more pain (which seems quite logical now, but remember, I was in a mommy panic mode).

I was home alone. Unsure what to do next. 

We were both crying hysterically so I decided to just calm us down and re-evaluate. I picked her up cuddled her to my chest and offered her some milk. She calmed as she drank but made a heart-wrenching whimpering sound. The kind you make only after calming down from such a horrible upset. 

So we had calmed things down BUT we still had a problem: she and the vest were one.

Then I had a thought “cut her out of it”. I dug out fabric scissors (don't even ask why my uncrafty self has fabric scissors, consider it a miracle) and cut the bottom of the zipper and pulled it apart.

She was free. 

Free. Although it looked as though she had her very own zipper on her chest.

She went back to her happy self quite quickly while I deteriorated rapidly.

I started crying, one of those horribly ugly and painful cries. The kind of cry that once it starts you can't stop. The kind of cry where your whole body is heaving with each and every sob. I kept replaying the whole scene. Why hadn't I been more careful? Why on earth did I try so hard to unzip? How could I have hurt my little girl?

I called Brent and bawled. I said I was a terrible mom and didn’t deserve to have our sweet girl in my care (looking back, a tad dramatic). He reassured me, she’s fine now, don’t worry about it.

Everytime I saw the mark I cried, for days, I just cried. I cried because I hurt my baby. No, it wasn’t intentional but it felt like crap. The guilt literally consumed me. Every retelling of the story had me in upset ending in tears.

It took a while to heal. Her physical injury healed much quicker than my emotional wound. Truth be told, she still has a scar to this day and I know, after all the feels recounting this, I do too.

I like to think that something comes out of things like this... so here's what I learned:

1.   Forgiveness of yourself and others

I make mistakes As moms, as humans, that’s just part of our makeup. Some will be worse than others. We need to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make AND be forgiving of others when they make mistakes because it's going to happen.
My sweet girl was so quick to forgive me and my husband, well he forgave me before I even finished telling him what happened. But me, I was not so kind to myself. It was an accident, I was sorry, I should have been more generous with forgiving myself.

2.   The love of a child is a gift, be careful with it

Children are so quick to forgive their caregivers because that love is unconditional. Mini-me could not distinguish that this was an accident, regardless how it happened, she loved me still. She had forgiven me before she was even out of the vest (I’m sure the breastfeeding played a hand in that).

I work with children who have been abused/neglected and the vast majority of the time they still love their caregivers just as before.
As parents, it is our obligation to be so careful with these people who love and trust us more than anything in this world.

I’m getting better at forgiving myself when I mess up and I try and be more forgiving of those around me. Most importantly, I realize how precious a gift it is to be so loved by a child.

Also, truth be told, to this day, every time I do up a zipper, I cringe as I carefully do it up.

Show this mombie some love in the comments and why not give her post a share? There's a mama out there who needs to know she's not alone.  

Need more Shaunacey in your spring season? Well YEAH! Find her on her blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

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