Handling Your Child’s Diagnosis

Dear mama,

If you’re here because your sweet baby has received a medical diagnosis I want you to know that you’re not alone. Here are four things that helped me through the first day we learned of our baby’s upcoming difficulties.

First, you probably jumped right into the world of research and skipped one of the most important steps to accepting your new life — grief. Sweet friend, please give yourself permission to cry. We tend to think I need to be strong now so we hold in the tears that bring us so much healing.  I know because I’ve been in your place. 

 In counting, my son has received at least 10 different diagnosis’ (some were incorrect). The first one we were given was Hydrocephalus. I had gone into my 22 week check up thinking all was well until I saw the ultrasound tech wipe tears from her eyes. Everything changed that day.

I left the office and called my husband’s work and asked him to come home early. Before leaving, I tried to eat a banana but it got all muddied and soggy from my weeping. I drove home weeping wondering what our sweet child’s life would be like. Of course, I imagined the worse (and so will you). 

Once home, my hubby held me close while I explained the issues. Our landlord showed up for some maintenance and Dalton kindly asked him to leave so we could have some privacy. We just received bad news about the baby, was his words. 

We called our parents, snuggled on the couch, and ate a gallon of ice cream together and watched tv. Such ordinary moments in an extraordinary day. 

And that’s what I want you to do first, mama. I want you to give yourself the permission and space to cry a little (or a lot). Weep into your husband’s arms. Weep over the phone to your mom. Weep on your bed while you beg God for answers. It’s okay to grieve the loss of normalcy. 

Then, I want you get yourself some ice cream or chocolates or a steamy bowl of macaroni and cheese. Whatever it is that brings you comfort (even a nap if that’s your thing) I want you to give yourself permission to enjoy. You’re life has just been flipped upside down and a little chocolate cake will help it feel a little more upright.

If you’ve taken the time to acknowledge your grief and find some small source of comfort now you can get on the internet. 

But don’t Google. Not now (and maybe not ever). Google displays the worst of the worst possible scenarios. When I researched Hydrocephalus for the first time I saw sweet children so distorted by their condition I became nauseous. Googling your child’s diagnosis will only lead to anxiety. 

Instead of Googling, I want you to go to Facebook and search for different support groups specific to your child’s anomalies. For me, I found an amazing group for parents with children who have Hydrocephalus. Later, when my water broke at 24 weeks, I found a support group meant to encourage and inform women who are dealing with PPROM. It was because of these support groups that I knew Uriah’s original doctors did not have his best interest at heart and we transferred to a new hospital and found the best treatment for him. 

Join these groups and ask all the questions. These amazing parents will welcome you with open arms because they have all been in your shoes! Ask parents how their children are doing developmentally and they’ll most likely surprise you with adorable pictures, milestone praises, and real life advice. 

Sweet mama, now that you’ve taken the time to cry a little cry, comfort your soul, and connect with real families I want you to read this amazing post by Jenna. She shares a story that perfectly sums up this amazing journey of medical complexities. 

I know you wish you weren’t on this journey. I understand because I’ve been there too. And I’m not promising everything will perfect; in fact, there will be more hard moments than you ever imagined possible. 

But, sweet friend, this challenge isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning of a beautiful new journey. And once you accept that (and give yourself a lot of grace along the way) I promise you’ll smile again. 

Until then, grieve, comfort, and reach out. And know that God is with you, sweet friend. He hasn’t forsaken you or walked away — He’s right there ready to walk you through this time. He loves you and your sweet family beyond words. 

Have you just received a diagnosis for your child? Mama, I am here for you if you need a listening ear or prayer request. Leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to connect!

Love, blessings, and coffee, 

Frannie

How a Hug Changed my Parenting

One day, if I’m ever so old and grey that younger folk ask for advice on mothering, I’ll make sure I remind them of one simple thing: hug your children. 

It’s simple, right? But for the first year I missed this. For whatever reason (tubes, medical equipment, low muscle strength, slight difficulty, fear, etc.) I always held Uriah faced away from me. We snuggled lots and lots so I never noticed what I was missing until, one day, I decided to hold him facing me. 

As I straddled his little legs over my waist something pure magic happened. His eye contact increased, his mimicking advanced, and he hugged me.  

I can’t really describe the cry-your-eyes-out-with-joy feelings that come when your baby purposefully shows affection to you for the first time but it is, without a doubt, one of the most wonderful moments you can have. 

And the hugs have only gotten better. It’s amazing the impact physical affection has on the intellectual, emotional, and physical development of our babies but it’s huge! Eye sight, language skills, social behaviors, and family affection all benefit from frequent connection. 

Now, I sit with Uriah facing me several times a day. These are the moments when we sing songs and nursery rhymes, practice our whistling and raspberry blowing, tickle each other, gives hugs, laugh, smile, and grow the trust and affection between mother and son. These moments are my absolute favorite of the day. 

And while I know our case was extreme I think that there are days when even ordinary, non-medically complex mamas forget to take the time to hug their kiddos. Some days we’re just trying to keep everyone fed and alive. 

But, sweet mama, next time you’re tempted to be frustrated or just keep busy, I hope you take a moment to look your little in the eye and give them a hug. It doesn’t need to be long (they probably won’t want to stay still for long anyway) but it does need to happen. 

And the results will be just as magical for you too — your little one’s love, behavior, connection, friendship, and possibly other developmental skills will only benefit. 

Tell me, how do you show affection to your littles? Is showing affection difficult for you or are you a natural born hugger? (I’m not 😉 ) Do you have any favorite nursery rhymes or songs you sing while cuddling? Leave me a comment below — I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

With love, blessings, and coffee, 

Frannie

Look Who Is Standing!

Sweet people … I can’t quite tell you the thrill and sob-filled joy and delight which accompanies watching your child overcome. This week, Uriah started standing. He’s initiating standing and supporting himself for seconds at a time. He still needs support but wow

Wow

I don’t think we can appreciate how much strength, balance, mental concentration, and work goes into growing up. Babies without delays roll over, crawl, stand, walk, and eat without any fuss; babies with delay require months (or years) of therapies, special equipment and exercises, occasional medications to strengthen or loosen muscles, personalized shoes and braces, and hours of repetitive play. 

These children are warriors! Hard-working, adventurous, striving little warriors eager to do life their way. 

And how exciting when we see their sweat, tears, and work pay off! 

Love from a very excited mama, 

Frannie

Inspiring my Motherhood

There are some days when my spirit, my energy, and my inspiration feel as uninspired as that lonely left sock without a mate who perpetually ends up in the bottom of the laundry bin. You know what I’m talking about, right? That’s motherhood for you — laundry unites us all. 😉

But I’m tired of feeling tired and lackluster about motherhood. The constant nag for freedom, less responsibility, or a little less whine is a drain on the soul — my lack of contentment and gratitude is killing my motherhood. 

Don’t misunderstand me … I’m all about mamas’ getting the rest (both physically and emotionally) they need. I’m not ditching the intentional rest I need in order to be a better wife, mother, and friend. 

But I am ditching the unthankfulness I’ve allowed to seep into my heart; goodbye discontentment and sour attitudes. I promise, I won’t miss you. 

Instead, I’m saying hello to being a more present woman.  Hello to inspiring the best mother, wife, and friend within me is my goal and choosing that route is inspiring itself!

Tell me about you — how do you inspire the best woman, wife, mother, and friend within you? What ways do you pursue being intentional in your life? Leave me a comment below or on my Instagram. I’d love to hear from you! 

Love, blessings, and coffee, 

Frannie

Peace Is a Gift God Wants to Give Your Home

It’s been such a long time since my thoughts found there way to this beloved space. Life, life has kept me busy and when I’m not busy I’m tired. (Mom life, am I right?)

At the moment I’m sitting beneath our covered porch listening to the pounding spring rain and thunder. I’ve got a bathrobe, freshly showered hair, and iced coffee on the scene while my men sleep soundly inside.

Life is so good. Marriage is so good. Motherhood is so good. God is so good.

But good doesn’t mean easy.

This season of life has me learning. Worry tends to bog me down these days; fear, what-ifs, and unknowns can change my moods from naturally cheerful to fretful and irritable.

What if I’m not feeding Uriah well enough (since we’re still using formula as he struggles to tolerate blended meals)? What if I’m not loving him enough? What if he needs more surgical repair and I’m not advocating hard enough? What if he gets sick again?

I’ve worn my emotions and mind to a thread wondering if I’m doing enough.

And like God often does, He led me to some wisdom exactly when I was ready for it. I was on the verge of breaking down into an unusual fit of tears and found a book with words that spoke amazing life and peace into my hurting soul:

When we release our children into the Father’s hands and acknowledge that He is in control of their lives and ours, both we and our children will have greater peace. -Stormie Omartian

Ah, isn’t that good? Sweet friend, wherever you are in life I hope you can pursue trusting God’s care and letting go of worry. Whether you are a new mom, a special needs mom, or an older mom with a way-ward child, this peace-filled trust is meant for you and your children.

I know trust isn’t easy. We like to control life (at least I do). I like being in charge of my little kingdom, I crave responsibility.

But I can’t control health. I can’t control insurnace approvals. I can’t even control milestones.

But I can trust that God is in control and I can enjoy the amazing peace filling my heart when I do.

The sweet thing is that peace is a gift God wants to give your family. Your Creator God longs to fill your home with peace that passes all understanding. A calm, restful attitude doesn’t have to come forced, wrestled into submission. It’s a gift, free to His people who choose to simply rest in God’s great love and power.

Here’s to hoping my worry-filled days can point you in a better direction. Here’s to wishing you may know the “blessed assurance” that Jesus will meet your needs.

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie