Becoming a mother has been the greatest experience I’ve known in my life. Looking down and seeing that second line finally appear on the stick changed my life forever. My heart filled with a joy that I never knew possible and a love that words cannot describe. In that one instant, life had more meaning because now, I was living for someone else.
As your pregnancy progresses and your doctor appointments become more involved, you begin to realize that while you’re gazing at the ultrasound screen trying to catch a glimpse of your sweet angel, your doctor is looking closely for any number of common disorders. For most, the news of a healthy baby follows each doctors’ visit: 10 fingers, 10 toes. But for some, they learn early on that their sweet baby is going to face adversity of some kind.
What Happens When the Baby Isn’t Perfect?
Recently, I have had the privilege of getting to know a mother who is pregnant with a child that has already had complications. One day, while dropping my son off at school, I learned that one of the mothers from my son’s class was currently being hospitalized for the duration of her pregnancy at only 26 weeks. Her sweet child has been diagnosed with spina bifida and following an in utero surgery to try to correct the abnormality, the worst happened. She began to leak amniotic fluid.
The doctors placed her on bed rest in the hospital for the duration of her pregnancy, however long that may be; the longer the better. She has now had to place everything in her life on hold. Family members assist in caring for her 4 year old daughter. She misses drop off and pick up at school, and Thanksgiving Feasts and Pow Wows, too. She is limited to hospital food every day of her pregnancy (no way to indulge in spontaneous cravings), and it’s all for her baby she’s yet to meet. She, too, has been forever changed by that second line that changed her from a person into a mother who is willing to do whatever it takes for the sake of her yet-to-be-born child.
What Can We Do?
Hearing her story is mesmerizing. As mothers, we too recall those precious months being pregnant and wondering how every little bite of food could possibly affect our unborn child. We can only imagine her scenario and thus, feel compelled to try to lift her spirits in any way possible.
Even though none of us had met her (she was in the hospital early on in the school year), the parents at my son’s school and I feel like we share in a little piece of her journey. As parents ourselves, we understand the sacrifice and worry she is enduring, and we decided to try to do something for her. One idea that we had is to take turns bringing her a scrumptious meal packed with nutrients to help her sustain pregnancy and support milk production.
At first we thought we might be bringing meals of the home cooked variety. But we were soon blown away by the support of two local restaurants who offered donated meals. Mondo Restaurant in Lakeview donated several meals that have all been hand crafted to meet the mother’s dietary needs. They are ready whenever we have a parent volunteer available to deliver them, and the staff has been overly accommodating.
Andy’s Bistro in Metairie generously donated a meal on my week to meet our new friend and bring a meal. The owner and executive chef both greeted me and spent time talking with me to understand her needs. The chef took notes and hand crafted a meal specifically for her (they threw in some cheesecake too… she is pregnant, after all). How amazing is that? It’s funny how one act of kindness can start a chain reaction of others.
So while we’re hopefully helping our new friend, I can’t help but feel like I have been inspired by the generosity of everyone involved in our efforts. It’s been a great way to boost my holiday cheer. I feel so honored to be in the company of so many truly amazing people: the restaurants who did not hesitate to offer their time and expertise along with the parents who recognized a need for someone they’d yet to meet, but felt compelled to support.
This is a real Christmas story. Recently, I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by people and businesses who inspire me to be a better person. That is what the season is all about: helping others and becoming better ourselves. Soon, our new friend will have her baby, and the baby will be welcomed into a village filled with support. He is destined to thrive in the midst of all those who are pulling for him.