Friday afternoon I loaded Chunkz into her heavy-duty jogging stroller to go for a walk with my friend, Traci. I’d decided to take the garbage out on the way so it was already waiting for me on the back patio. As I turned to pick up the trash, Chunkz’ stroller began to roll away from me.
In hindsight, I froze in complete shock, for a millisecond, as my heart sank to my stomach while I tried to process what was happening.
I thought we were on a flat surface.
I was wrong.
I lunged towards the stroller, but I was too late.
It tumbled down the two cement steps and landed on the front right side.
I had never witnessed something happen so quickly, yet painfully slow, in my entire life.
I unbuckled a startled Chunkz with lightening speed. She wasn’t immediately crying. I became nervous she’d been knocked out.
I looked at her face and she burst into tears.
Thank, God! She’s breathing!
I inspected her head and body for injuries before grasping her tightly to my chest. No blood, bumps, or scrapes, but there was a round red spot on the front right side of her head.
Had she hit the concrete? Or just bumped her head on the inside of the stroller?
I have never been so scared in my entire life.
My whole world flashed before me in an instant as I began to discuss with Traci if I should rush Chunkz to the Emergency Room.
Traci suggested urgent care. I told her I was sure she’d need a head Xray and they didn’t do those there so I would just take her to the ER, but I wasn’t going to call Dakota until I knew everything was ok. I didn’t want him to worry unnecessarily. I was beyond frazzled as I clutched my precious babe and tried to pick up the stroller while simultaneously fighting back my frightened tears.
Traci said she’d call the urgent care to confirm. I began to calm down and as I did, logic came back to me, so I did the most logical thing.
I called Dakota.
While Dakota and I usually have a running text convo when we’re apart, I’ve never once felt I needed to call him when he’s working. Immediately he asks if it’s an emergency to which I replied, “Yes. Well, kind of.”
I gave him a quick rundown of the incident and ended my nervous rant with “Should I take her to the ER or urgent care?”
He brought me back to step one and asked sensible questions about her demeanor and injury. There wasn’t a scrape, dust or blood. She likely bumped her head on the inside of the stroller during the fall. I didn’t realize until I was talking to him that when she was crying, it actually seemed to be more of a reaction to my own emotion than out of actual pain, and the crying didn’t even last more than 30 seconds.
I was still nervous I needed to take her in because it was nap time and she might have a concussion, but Dakota didn’t think it was necessary. And once I realized the only thing they’d likely do would be to knock her out to get a CT scan, I decided I didn’t want her to suffer anymore unnecessary trauma.
But most importantly, my gut instinct was telling me she was fine. (I’ve always been extremely empathetic, but mothering Autumn takes it to a new level. #MothersIntuition)
I decided to still go on our walk, and I’d just keep an eye out for any abnormal behavior.
Chunkz was smiling, laughing and being her usual wild lady self the rest of the day, sucking down a hearty 14 ounces at bedtime.
I was reaffirmed of two things during this experience.
- Accidents will happen. After the chaos, I inspected our patio, and it indeed, very slightly, slopes down in the center leading towards the steps. Most likely from the foundation settling. I felt foolish for not having noticed sooner as I recalled dozens of other times I’ve had Chunkz in her stroller with unlocked wheels. But I’m choosing to release any guilt. I know I’m an amazing, and
overlyattentive mother. The last thing I want to EVER do is to cause my daughter pain. I will definitely not make the same mistake twice. If I don’t have a good grip on her stroller, it will be locked. I hope others take the time to do the same and learn from my mistake, because $#!# happens. LOCK YOUR STROLLER WHEELS.
- Dakota is my partner and ally. In panic-mode, with emotions dancing between sadness, fear, embarrassment and beyond, I didn’t want to admit my
mistake accident#momfail to Dakota out of fear he’d mom-shame me. I was already mom-shaming me. Once I calmed down and could think rationally, I knew the right thing to do was to call him. He’s not only Autumn’s super awesome Daddy, but he is my chosen life partner, and that is a title that deserves respect. It would be wrong to make decisions about our child’s well-being without consulting him first. We’re a team, and that’s why we work. Obviously there’d be an exception if she needed an ambulance.
While it was a terrifying experience on my end, Chunkz was genuinely fine. I started laughing after the chaos at the idea she’d probably enjoyed it because it felt like a roller-coaster.
She really did seem to only cry because I was so terrified, and my fear scared her. She had no idea that Mommy wasn’t pushing her, or that she wasn’t supposed to be tipping over like a little teapot.
You could blame it on me being a new mom. You could blame it on me simply being careless. But I’m not blaming me at all.
Instead, I’m filled with gratitude.
I’m grateful she wasn’t injured.
I’m grateful she was strapped in.
I’m grateful she was in her sturdier stroller.
I’m grateful my friend was there to help me calm down.
I’m grateful Dakota and I communicate effectively.
In my journey to relearn the importance of self-love I often ask myself “how would I want Chunkz to react?” or “what would I want Chunkz to do?” I ask myself these questions, because loving my daughter is easy, it’s a bond beyond this world, so it’s easy to know what I would want her to do or say regarding self-love, and it almost always starts with gratitude. I wouldn’t want her to beat herself up over a genuine accident. I would want her to forgive herself for making a mistake, learn from it, and have gratitude for the experience, and it’s part in molding her to be the best version of herself.
So that’s what I am choosing to do. I am learning from my mistake and I am moving on, with gratitude.
Chunkz won’t remember this specific incident when she’s older, but over time, she will be watching, and learning, from my actions. Then modeling her own after them. Leading by example is the best form of teaching.
It’s fitting this happened Mother’s Day weekend, a time to reflect on the joys and trials of motherhood. After losing my mom when I was 18, I spent quite a few years dreading this day, wanting nothing more than to sleep through it, but now my heart is overflowing with love and happiness to be a Momma to such a precious angel. Of course I wish my Mom could’ve been here to celebrate with us, but I mostly wish she were here so I could thank her for being my mom. A lot more goes into this whole “mom” thing than I ever realized and I hope she knows how thankful I am for her unconditional love and sacrifices. I guess some moms are so good at their “job” they get to retire early.
I hope all of you Mommas had a fabulous Mother’s Day. And I hope my mom-fail helps you feel less alone in your own mishaps. We’re all doing the best we can. When we know better, we do better, and in the meantime, there’s chocolate.