Monday, September 30, 2013

Parenthood: Week 18 – Logic Vs. Emotions

We live our life balancing what we feel with what we know is logical. Often we react to a situation with an illogical feeling that doesn’t really make sense in a situation.

I’ve lived my life working to be in touch with my feelings and validating the feelings of the people in my life. If we are true to ourselves, we balance our ideas about the way that we should reasonably feel versus what we actually feel.

This is a very tricky thing to do because if you don’t validate your feelings, as crazy as they may seem then you get in a cycle of negative self-talk that only makes you feel like your reactions to the world, the basis for who you are is not important. At the same time we can’t let illogical feelings  petrify us and keep us from what we want to do in our lives.

I’ve gotten pretty good at striking this balance but today I really struggled as Ollie got his second round of immunization shots.

Ollie is truly blessed to live in a time in and in a country that expresses care of the youngest members of our society through immunizations. There are children all over the world that die of diseases and illnesses that Ollie will never have to face. Ollie will never know the horrors of rotavirus or the debilitating effects of polio. There is no reason for any parent to not embrace these immunizations with open arms and give thanks to the scientists behind these immunizations who have literally saved millions of children’s’ lives with their work.

Now here comes the illogical part: Witnessing your baby getting shots is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a parent.

During the first round of shots I was holding Ollie and I couldn’t bear to look. As the needle approached his thigh I looked away instinctually and to my surprise, Ollie barely made a sound.

Today was different.

By the time we got to the shots, Ollie was cranky and overtired. He was not a happy baby. When Ollie cries, it’s  horrible to hear but it’s worse since his tears ducts, which once upon a time did not produce tears, now produce large drops that make my heart ache.

He took the oral immunization well even though he was crying and now it was time for the shots. I was standing on the side of the table holding his torso. One nurse was standing beside me and the other nurse was standing on the opposite side of the table. Without fanfare, they both stuck a syringe in the thigh close to them, and this time, I couldn’t avoid seeing it.

The moment when the needles entered Ollie and he screamed in pain brought tears to my eyes and now hours later still makes me shudder.  Right after it happened, I told myself how grateful I should feel and somehow as I was trying to hold back tears, I managed to thank the nurses for their work.

President Obama said in an interview that the most difficult moment in his life was watching his daughter Sasha get a spinal tap when she had meningitis. Harder than anything he had ever done in life including the challenges of being President was this moment. A spinal tap is a far more gruesome thing to watch than getting a shot, but just like the immunizations, it’s something that we are lucky to have in our lives but is horrible to witness.

Logically we shouldn’t be so horrified about these things but we are, because when your child is in pain, even when if it’s for a good reasons, it gets to you. It touches something so deep insides of you, it’s almost beyond your control.  I don't think that this conflict in feelings versus logic when it comes to situations with Ollie will pass anytime soon.  It's probably going to get worse before it gets better. 

Yes, it's tough but that doesn't mean it's bad.  And don't forget the most wonderful things in life are based on feelings that logic cant come close to explaining.  Never has this been more true than the way that I feel about Ollie.     

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