The Pain of Parenting

When my daughter was just a couple months old, my husband and I took her to see a geneticist at one of the top children’s hospitals in the country.  She had been born two months early with heart defects and other abnormalities, and while weeks of blood tests ruled out the basics, her doctors recommended further evaluation.  For hours the doctors and technicians positioned our naked, shivering, screaming infant as they took x-ray after x-ray, thirteen in total, imploring us to straighten her legs and hold her still on the hard table. In the end they found…nothing.  They suggested that she come back for more tests when she was older and we politely declined.

I will never forget the moment I shared with my husband as we stepped onto the elevator to leave those offices.  Looking down at my feet with my daughter held close to me, I whispered, “We’re never doing this again.  We’re never having more children.”  My weary husband replied, “I know.” After weeks and weeks of the most difficult days I will likely ever know, something broke in me that day.

Somehow time heals wounds and while it doesn’t make us forget, it somehow gives us hope.  As one by one my friends began to build their large families and as my love for my daughter grew exponentially, astounding me with its ability to take my breath away, we made the terrifying decision to try again.  We had no idea if our amazing eighteen month old, finally beginning to walk and having the most incredible little conversations with us, would someday be diagnosed with a genetic disorder.  We didn’t know if I would again suffer hyperemesis gravidarum or if I would be able to carry a child to term.  All we knew was that our love for our daughter was such a blessing that we could not pass up the chance to multiply it times two, to provide her with a sibling, to grow our family. One miscarriage, several weeks of bedrest, eight months and an emergency c-section later our second NICU baby arrived, somehow filling our lives with even more love just when we couldn’t believe it was possible.

This is the pain of parenting.  Love so intense that your heart nearly breaks.  Decisions that overwhelm.  Fear.  Anguish.  And yes…hope.

My daughter is growing and we are faced with another important decision for her medical future.  The weight falls nearly all on my shoulders and at times it threatens to crush me.  But this is what we accept when making the decision to fill our lives with the absolute joy of children.  We cannot have one without the other.

And in the end, we wouldn’t have it any other way…

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  • this is so true, the hard stuff is so hard that you think you are going to break and just when you are about to the wonderful love and strength and everything good heals you.

  • Amy, I love when you write! This is beautiful and says it so well! They are gorgeous and such a blessing! Couldn’t agree more, our twins turn 10 this weekend! And no, we were not able to have more. So we cherish every moment.

  • How is your eldest doing? Your kids look beautiful and healthy to me!

    I, too, had a painful pregnancy. The first I lost, and with Sara I had gestional diabetes and 6 months of TOTAL bed rest. (Hard for an ADHD person!)

    She is a blessing and a gift. I so understand where you are coming from. If I had been 10 years younger when we had Sara, I’m sure we would have had a number 2 also!

    Best of luck – and thanks for sharing.

  • ps: You know we love your tweets and your writing! 🙂

  • I can relate. We had to put ours under the light in a chamber to break down his bilirubin and it was awful. I didn’t want to do it. I constantly pray to get all my kids’ pain and sorrow so they don’t have to suffer.

  • I feel every word you are saying in my core and know the emotions you describe so well. I have 3 beautiful boys from 5 pregnancies. Like you said, in the end, we wouldn’t have it any other way… this is a beautiful post.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Momoir Project and Stacey Nerdin, Billy Gorilly . Billy Gorilly said: RT @ResourcefulMom The Pain of Parenting […]

  • Suz

    So true… But, they are worth it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • I couldn’t help cry reading your post Amy.

  • I can so relate… a very true and thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Oh sweetheart. Beautifully written. I’m here if you need ANYTHING, okay? Anything at all!

  • Amy this really hit home with me. I lost my 2nd daughter to SIDS and eventually felt strong enough to have another baby. But my last three weren’t easy. My youngest was born early, was on oxygen. Since then we’ve seen a number of specialists and dealt with the issues. We are very grateful that he is remarkably healthy compared to what could have been. The love that we have for our children will always continue to make us strong enough to get through everything!

  • Saying a prayer for your daughter and your family. Sending a hug for you!

  • Thanks for sharing. We have one child and I have said those exact words…..parenting is so painful, and joyful at the same time.


  • Beautiful! May your children continue to grow healthy!

  • you are wonderful parents.
    parenting is truly so hard, nothing out there could be more challenging.

    How did that happen – I could barely take care of myself and now we are responsible for two little wonders

  • {{{{HUGS}}}} I have had to make super hard decisions with my son lately as well and you are right, utter heartbreak is what you feel at times. I was amazed at the outpouring of love and support from my online community as well as offline friends and family and that love and support truly helped me get thru the recent crisis for us. I know that you are part of the same wonderful online community and everyone is here for you as much as you need it!

  • […] and a half years ago I wrote about the pain of parenting, opting to keep the details of the medical decision private and write instead about the […]