I never understood how someone could leave an infant in a locked car, until last year.
When I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child I was in shock. The pregnancy was unexpected and extremely stressful. It wasn't until the end of the pregnancy that I was able to embrace being a new mom again. Honestly, I just wasn't sure I could handle having four children. I was outnumbered and always feeling scatterbrained and what happened a few days after her birth didn't reassure me one bit.
After quick delivery, I was feeling better than I had with any of my previous children. I stayed overnight in the hospital for one night and decided I was ready to go home. I had never had so much energy after childbirth, I felt like I was doing great.
I think that was my first mistake.
I took my newborn daughter home and continued on with life as if I hadn't just delivered a baby. The day after we came home from the hospital I was in Publix doing my favorite thing "coupon hunting". You see, in the months before my daughters birth, I had discovered two new loves: couponing and blogging. I would stay up until 2-3 am every night working on deals and blogging about them.
When my daughter was born this lifestyle didn't end because she was waking up every few hours so I would blog while I nursed. I think I was functioning on an adrenaline rush. Maybe something crazy was going on with my hormones, but I was unusually hyper and didn't want to sleep.
My parents came to visit when Anna was a week old. We had a wonderful time, and my mom (who had also gotten into couponing) helped me work on some deals, clip coupons, and get organized. One day, after getting all of our coupons ready we decided to head to Walgreens to snag a few deals; and we took my newborn with us.
Now before I continue on let me say this: It has taken me almost two years to get to the point where I could forgive myself for what happened, and it is extremely embarrassing to me as a mother. I hope that by sharing this it will help other new moms.
When we pulled into Walgreens we were on a mission. We weren't there to shop, we just wanted to grab our freebies and head home. We searched the store and found that most of the things we wanted were not in stock so we headed out. That's when it hit me...
We had Anna with us.
Only she wasn't with us. She was in the van.
Alone, and crying.
I rushed to the van, afraid. Afraid she was hurt, afraid someone had already called the cops, afraid the world was about to know what a horrible mom I was.
I opened the door and quickly pulled her from her seat. I got into the back seat with her, and feed her as I sobbed, My mom was in shock, she couldn't believe what had just happened.
After that, I was sure I wasn't fit to be a mother of four. I held on to that guilt for quite some time.
The thing I have come to realize since that day is that:
- Moms aren't perfect. We make mistakes...lots of them.
- It's easy to forget about a sleeping baby in the van when you accustomed to riding with 3 noisy kids all the time.
- After you have a baby it is important to take time to rest, no matter how good you think you feel. I was dead tired and didn't even know it. The following week I was like a Zombie, literally. I look back on the month after her birth and I'm, not sure how we survived it.
I will never condone leaving a baby in the car, even for a minute but I now have a better understanding of how it happens and praise God it was October and not July. I feel horrible for every mother who has made the same mistake I did, with deadly consequences.
Take care of yourselves, new mommies.... by doing so you're taking care of your precious baby as well.