If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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I know it seems like a common sense statement but I am continually amazed how the more big life events I experience the more I can relate to others.  Getting engaged, getting married, being a teacher, having a baby, being a mom, etc.  As these  things happen, I feel like I understand more of life.  This also means that as I learn more, the more I cringe when I think about things I’ve done that were insensitive and un-understanding.

When I worked at a women’s homeless shelter where we lived with undocumented women and children we always had a few pregnant women staying with us.  When they would go into labor we would take them to the emergency room, make sure they got checked in, then leave them with food and our phone number to call us once they were going to be discharged from the hospital or if there were any problems.  We were always super busy and short staffed so we probably couldn’t have stayed with them even if we wanted to but I can’t help but think about how alone and confused these women must have felt.  It’d be like putting me in France, pregnant, alone, homeless, no money, no insurance, language I don’t understand at all and just having to trust the medical staff during one of the most physically trying acts a woman can sustain.  Those poor women.  One woman told us how she had her baby by herself on her bed because the nurses weren’t responding to her calls.  Another young girl who was 19 told us that when she was released they told her they had given her a sterilization shot that lasted 3 months.  She had not consented. 

After going through labor, I cannot imagine what it must have been like for those women.  I really don’t think that we could have stayed with them but at least I could have been more sympathetic to what they went through.  Had I known then what I know now I would have also encouraged breastfeeding more, too.

Another thing that I am realizing now is how much I took my mom for granted.  She always worked 50-60 hour weeks and me and my dad still expected her to get all our food for us and to do all the cleaning.  Which she gladly did.  My mom loves cleaning so she always did it.  The food thing was harder.  We usually ate fast food or take out but she would cook sometimes.  Still even if it meant picking it up, we always expected my mom to bring food.  I remember how angry I would get at her if she came home without food.  Mostly because I was hungry and totally helpless.  I didn’t know how to make anything other than Ritz crackers with cream cheese and jam.

After becoming a wife and mother, I realize how hard it is to be the one that is entirely in charge of every meal and cleaning.  Kraft and I are trying to figure out how share these responsibilities more but with his schedule pretty erratic it makes sense that most of it fall to me, not to mention I don’t have a job.  I now understand this responsibility that my mom had on top of working overtime.  And she never complained.  She never told us that we should get off our duffs and learn how to help with the food.  She never told us that she was tired and needed us to help her.  She just took our complaints and our ingratitude. 

Sometimes I don’t give my mom the credit I should for being such a good mom.  Thanks mom. 

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