My son recently had an MRI… I share these words because before this event if I had read or heard these words I wouldn’t have had an understanding of the depth of emotional experience attached to this event. This is why it feels so important for me to document and share my experience of this event, both for my own processing and on the chance that this may allow another mother to feel more seen and less alone.
For a bit of background, my son sustained an injury to his shoulder during birth that has required continued treatment. Recently, upon receiving a second opinion regarding his care, an MRI was recommended as a means of determining whether or not surgery would be the recommended course of action. The standard for a child of his age is to receive deep sedation or anesthesia in order for the MRI to be successful…but (of course) I couldn’t take that at face value.
I did my research and discovered that a renowned hospital in a neighboring state had a program specifically designed for young children to be able to receive MRI procedures without the use of these sedatives. If you know me (which I think you do by now) you know that I don’t take decisions to medicate myself or my children lightly. The first nurse I spoke with said the chances would be too low for success, he wasn’t in the “desirable” age range for this to work and he would likely not be a candidate. I waited…I called back, I said I wanted to schedule an appointment and give this a try. I was met with no resistance and left the call with an appointment scheduled in three weeks time.
On the day of the appointment, he came down with a cold and a cough…my mind began to spin… would he really be able to sleep through this MRI now of all times, sick and coughing? The results were slim with him in full health, was I being silly, stupid even, for taking things to this extent when I could just have him sedated and perform the procedure at a prestigious facility only ten minutes from our home?
Then my period came, 5 days early… Why today?? Of all days?? I began to feel defeated. Was I trying to force something that wasn’t supposed to happen today? Were these signs to cancel the appointment and just give up? I flip flopped all day, trying to ground into what the right decision would be, which would hold the best outcome. It wasn’t until the very last moment when I happened to share the story with a coworker who listened, looked me dead in the eye and said, “No, you need to do this, go and do this. It’s going to work out.” I was jarred by her certainty but I didn’t question it. It was the message I needed to ground back down into myself, into my values, and say, “Yes, yes I do need to do this, this is important.”
And so I left, right then and there to pick up my son and to meet my sister, who would accompany us on this 2.5 hour journey. I gathered every wellness remedy and tincture I could think of for both myself and my son, packed us in the car and we were on our way. Some time later we arrived at the hospital with a very exhausted and sick child who had somehow refused to sleep the entire drive up after not having napped all day. But, we were met by the most wonderful staff we could have asked for, who were no less than joyful upon learning of his exhausted state. “Great!” they said, “this is going to make this so much easier for all of us!” They patiently and lovingly guided us through the whole process and it was clear they were passionate and knowledgeable about the pediatric population they worked with. They let us snuggle together and didn’t blink an eye when I had initially told them we snuggle to sleep and he doesn’t fall asleep independently in a crib. I set up the humidifier & did all my best natural remedies. We snuggled up, with l hos little face pressed into mine, I whispered stories into his ear, gently rubbing his forehead until he was fast asleep.
After his little sleeping body was tucked in nice and cozy and placed on the MRI machine, strapped in and ready to go I sat in my chair in the dark MRI room and meditated. Ive never meditated with my eyes open but I stared directly at the open space in the machine where I could see if his toes were wiggling and I breathed…
I breathed to release the tension in my body and to somehow clear the energy in the room. I repeated various mantras to him, to myself… you are safe, you are safe, you are held. I breathed in trust, I breathed out peace and love. I felt the depth of my fear, without resistance, just letting it move through me. I let the tears stream down my cheeks, let them dry there. I called on my ancestors, and felt them there in the room, holding my hands in the darkness, feeling their presence. I had visions of them in their most glorious forms, young, vibrant, beautiful. I flooded the room with light, first green loving energy poured from my heart to my son’s, then a red cloud of light engulfed the machine…then purple flooded in and finally white light. Without attachment I felt myself rejoicing and giving thanks for this procedure and its inevitable success. I let myself enter this version of reality while surrendering control, letting myself feel it fully.
Looking back, I see each perceived obstacle as a blessing. My son was sick and not sleeping so that he would be tired enough to sleep through the procedure. My period came early so that I could sit in the seat of my intuition, so that I could feel this situation deeply. It offered me an opportunity to move into the depths of this human experience with truth and trust as my guides. So that I could more readily call in these spiritual practices I’ve been building upon since my son’s birth. When we first entered the hospital, I was immediately brought back to the days shortly after his birth when we returned to the NICU during COVID. I could barely walk, I was incontinent, still bleeding post birth, alone, no visitors. Now, two years later I enter into a different hospital, still bleeding, but this time walking and with support. I can’t help but draw the parallels between these two times and the fact that they are almost exactly two years apart. This time, though, I know how to walk myself through. I know I’ll need to process this event, I’ll let the tears rise and fall as they may, I’ll release the tightness in my chest when it starts to burn, I’ll move, I’ll write, I’ll cry my way through. And I don’t know what’s next on this journey, rarely do we, but I TRUST I’ll move through whatever it brings.
I know now that through each new experience this life and motherhood brings, I can either retreat into denial and isolation with surface level telling of the facts… “My son had an MRI, but yea, he’s fine, we’re fine.” OR I can use it as an opportunity to experience the depth of human emotion, and feel gratitude for this alongside the pain. I can open my heart instead of closing it down, I can allow myself to be open and express my Truth in my vulnerability. I tell this story not because I think I’m the only mother whose child has required a medical test or procedure or that I think my experience is unique, but because I know I’m not, its not. Even though I experienced this event on my own, I feel an overwhelming connection with the thousands of mothers before me who have walked a similar path and the thousands that will after me. My desire to connect with other mothers on this journey has been rekindled, I feel it stronger than ever.
As mothers, we hold a lot. Most likely more than we even acknowledge to ourselves, let alone to each other. God forbid we come off as trying to make our lives seem harder than the other’s…But this is not why we tell our stories. Not for pity, or for martyrdom, but as a reclamation of our power. As a testament to the unwavering strength and fortitude that lies in each and every one of us. That is sometimes found when we are at our lowest, in the throws of our most painful experiences. Imagine a world where we each honored this place, not only in ourselves, but in each and every other? This is the world I envision. A community of women built upon authentic expression and true compassion. One that is rooted in deep reverence for the gut-wrenching beauty that is motherhood and the powerful places it awakens within us. This is the type of movement I’m here for. Join me here mamas, we’re all in this together, mothers past-present-future, all connected, weaving this web of support and love.
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