Question Into the Abyss #1: What do you do when things actually do fall behind?

I’ve been trying to write this post for about a month now. Each time, I edit furiously, and move things around, and change the framing to get a clearer angle. And each time, I find myself in the same place: without an ending.

Because I don’t actually  have an answer for the question I’m asking myself. I just don’t know. And not having an answer, a conclusion to my post, has left me paralyzed. So I haven’t posted anything at all.

And then I thought to myself that I shouldn’t let the perfect stand in the way of the good. There are so many things in parenting (and in life) that challenge us, where an answer to a question might not be clear. So, why not write this post that way – as an open question, sent out to the wider Raise a Mother universe?

In fact, why not do that on a regular basis, as a way to open up discussion and acknowledge that all of us have unanswerable questions in our lives – things that leave us searching for support and understanding. Isn’t that what Raise a Mother is all about?

So here goes, Question into the Abyss #1….

As you all know, here at Raise a Mother, we are all about celebrating the small victories and trying not to sweat the small stuff. #GoodEnough, indeed.

But sometimes important things actually do fall behind, in ways that matter. And then it’s harder to figure out what to tell yourself.

My son was born with his left ear not formed properly. This means that, without the use of a hearing aid, he has almost total hearing loss on one side. When he gets a bit older, he may be able to have plastic surgery to create an artificial ear, but it will be purely aesthetic. His hearing aid makes a big difference, and he can hear normally on his right side, but he won’t ever be able to fully recover his hearing.

For the first few months of my kiddo’s life, I struggled with enormous feelings of guilt. I had been quite sick with the flu about 12 weeks into my pregnancy, and was convinced that the fact that his ear hadn’t formed was my fault. After all, I was literally my son’s entire world before he was born, so how could it not be something I did?

Starting when he was 9 months old, we have been taking my son on a regular basis to Audio-Verbal Therapy sessions. We started at appointments every two weeks. It was a lot, but his hearing and language development was testing in the bottom of the normal range, and we wanted to be proactive.

After a few months, he had made significant progress, was testing in the mid-to-upper normal range, and our team was confident that we could spread out our AVT visits to once a month. We felt like we had finally turned a corner. I actually said (out loud) how great it was that our frequent user parking pass at the children’s hospital was going to last so much longer than before. And then….

And then the progress seemed to stall. Our little guy started clamming up at his sessions, remaining practically silent through three visits in a row. So now we’re back to appointments every two weeks — a recommendation made literally an hour after I had talked about the parking pass lasting longer.

Just like that, all of my guilt came roaring back into my head, because, of course, it never really went away. Just like that, I’m right back to asking what I’m doing wrong and what I could be doing better.

Our son is a bright and happy child. He is surrounded by loving family and friends. Aside from his speech, the rest of his development is going along on schedule. We are extremely fortunate to live in a city with excellent supports for children with hearing loss and their families, and a team of professionals that has consistently worked proactively to ensure that our son does not fall behind.

In my head, I know that we are doing all we can to support our kiddo. In my head, I know that his health and happiness is truly what matters. But it still breaks my heart to think about him falling behind in something as important as speaking.

So, here’s the question: How do I talk myself down from constantly worrying? What do I tell myself about how I’m doing as a parent when something big might be falling behind? What do you do when #GoodEnough really can’t cut it?

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