I was based in Pune at that time. It was the year 2003, and my infant son was just 7 months old. My husband and I used to go out often. I always had the baby strapped to me or to my husband in a baby sling when I went out. That day, we were climbing down the steps of our apartment complex to reach the ground floor of the building when my leg slipped just before the ground level.
I missed three steps and fell face forward. I tried to break the fall and injured my knee yet could not stop my son’s head from hitting the ground with force. Like a motion picture, this happened in a split second. My husband who was just a couple of paces ahead of me came running and freed the wailing baby from my arms.
It was clear that the baby was in severe pain. He was crying loudly, and his face had turned yellow. It was a Sunday evening. I was numb and panicky. We rushed back to our house. We called the pediatrician, an easygoing young doctor who I always felt comfortable with. His calm voice over the phone really helped compared to my alarmed state of mind. He told me that I had to monitor the baby all night. I had to watch for convulsions, lack of consciousness or excessive vomiting and in these events rush him to emergency. I was asked to stay through the night, watch him, try to put him to bed and prescribed a painkiller. Hubby and I kept vigil the entire night. My little son was in obvious pain and kept whimpering through the night. Father-in-law suggested a homeopathy medication that we gave him.
It was among the worst nights of my life. Terrible thoughts plagued my mind. What if brain damage had happened? What if some permanent problem surfaced? What if he lost his life? What if… I kept replaying in my mind how the situation had happened. I kept changing the end every single time. I was so disturbed. And, the guilt was killing me. It was because of my “mistake” somehow that this had transpired. Try as I might, I could not put it out of my mind.
Luckily none of the horrible symptoms like convulsions, unconsciousness etc. happened. But, the baby was in pain and barely took in some water in the night. In the morning, we went to the pediatrician for checkup. He felt that there might be minor fracture in the skull. But, he assured us that since the baby was only 7 months old and his skull bones had still not closed, that the fracture should get okay on its own. He reassured me that the baby seemed to be reacting normally, and he did not think that there was any likely brain swelling or trouble. We were asked to get a CT scan done. And, CT scan did show a fracture in the skull but no other problem. Luckily, with painkillers the baby was okay in a few days. That one night was harrowing and every time I remember it, I have shivers.
What stood out in the whole incident was the calm with which my husband and the pediatrician dealt with the situation. Not even once, even when we were really depressed did hubby point a finger at me or curse me for being careless. He treated it as an accident that it was. Believe me it is commendable to not lay a blame on someone when the times are so testing. It was only later when I spoke to some lady friends that some of them casually remarked that I should have been less careless. I wonder if they even realized how much they hurt me with that statement. As a parent, I try to do my best. Yet accidents can and will happen!
Don’t you feel that parents are the most judged lot today? Everyone has an opinion about our parenting methods. Some are brutally cruel and critical in voicing it too. All I would say is show a bit of empathy, sensitivity and humanity before you shoot your mouth off. You never know when you are hitting a raw nerve somewhere.
Rachna Parmar is an avid blogger, a passionate cook, fitness enthusiast, loving wife, and mom to two feisty sons and a Labrador! She is also a Freelance Content Writer and an entrepreneur. She co-owns her startup, Tranquil Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Reach her at http://rachnaparmar.com or @rachnaparmar her twitter handle.