One of the hardest things about being a parent is the moments you face your childhood fears dead on. My whole life was riddled with fear, but one particular fear was consistently at the front of my mind: Foster Care.
My birth mom grew up in the system, and carried that fear to us. Daily we were told, "if you don't do _____, you will be put in foster care." Both my parents were abusers, which did not make living at home the best.
Going to the doctors was also really scary because it was usually met with conversations from the doctors about how much we were underweight or us lying about how much we had to eat because we were dirt poor and did not always have the money for food. We did not go to the doctors often, but when we did, I remember the pep talk.
"If you share ______ or say something stupid, they will report it and take you from your siblings."
In 2006, I was put into foster care. And in 2015, I took in 5 of my siblings to avoid us being separated. I was 24 years old, living in a one-bedroom, one bathroom, 500 square foot apartment. We lived there for about 9 months before moving into a 4 bedroom townhome. For 8 years, I was under consistent monitoring by social workers to ensure the kids were safe. It was a lot but it was worth it.
My husband and I had a miscarriage before we had our Harper. And when we had Harper 6 1/2 weeks early and spent 12 days in the NICU, I realized this consistent pressure to make sure she was meeting her daily feedings. It was daily and sometimes I even dreamt about her not getting enough or someone calling CPS on us. I was so disappointed when she had set backs but also felt terrified that somehow, someone would call CPS on us.
When she was released from the hospital, it felt strange. I am sure you felt this way too, the "we are breaking out of this joint and nobody is going to stop us..... right?"
When we got her home, I bought a baby scale and checked her daily. She dropped a few pounds when she got home and the nurse that visited for the first 2 weeks said that was normal. But even when we were cleared by the home nurse, had our first few appointments with the doctor, I still struggled with this fear.
Heck... I even struggled with this fear when Harper's doctor told us that she is 96 percentile for height and 93 percentile for weight. She's thriving, but mentally, I was still beating myself up. It's been 15 months and the fear of someone calling CPS on me is still there. Harper has been battling a cold and her doctor said she is doing well, but that fear of foster care will always be there. But another fear that I have... having our daughter put back in the hospital if she ever got that sick. It's terrifying!
So, friend, I know you've experienced this too. There is a fear that you have as you step into your daily life. Maybe the fear is not having enough food or money, or going back to the hospital, or even having another NICU journey. Whatever you are facing, I see you. I am so sorry you have had to walk around with that fear.
I'm here if you need a friend to talk it out with.
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