What Having a Sick Child Taught Me About Being a Mother


We. Are. All. The. Same.

We want our kids to thrive, to be happy, to be healthy. We all make different choices about how our kids are born, how we feed them, how much screen time they have, where they go to school, but at the end of the day, our goals as parents are the same. We really just want the best for them.

I was barely keeping it together.

My second son has been sick a lot. He was diagnosed with fluid in his inner ears as an infant, failed a hearing test, and eventually underwent surgery for drainage and tube placement. As we prepared for surgery, I was a wreck, and on the morning of the procedure, I was barely keeping it together.  

When I left my son with the doctors as he drifted off to sleep, I was in shock. As his procedure, was in motion, I just had to sit with my husband in the waiting room. As I looked around the room, my gaze met another mom’s. She was teary-eyed, just like me. She too was waiting while her baby was having surgery. She offered me a little smile saying, “It will be okay,” and I returned the smile. I heard her speak to her partner in a different language. Perhaps she wasn’t from here or she didn’t speak English, but we were the same: two moms anxiously waiting for our children to make it out of surgery. I will never know the details of her circumstances that day, but we connected. And it was comforting.  

My son did extremely well in surgery, although he had a tough road ahead. After his tubes were placed, he had 13 ear infections in 4 months!  He began having recurrent fevers and eventually went back to the operating room for further tests under anesthesia and to have his adenoids removed.  

In His Recovery Period.

In his recovery period after the second surgery, my older son suddenly got sick.  He was rushed to the pediatrician and eventually admitted to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital for problems with his left kidney. He was very ill and was kept in the hospital for three days. Meanwhile, my younger son was still at home with fevers.  I couldn’t deal. I put on this strong front in the hospital, but I was dying inside. Both of my boys! Both of my babies!

We were admitted to our hospital room late at night. My husband had gone home to be with our little guy, and I tried to settle in. I didn’t sleep a wink that night. The monitors, the alarms, my son, my other son— there was no way I could rest.

The next morning, I was met with a smile and a cup of coffee from our suitemate. I had not met her in the night. She handed me the coffee and said, “Mom to mom, this coffee’s better than downstairs!” She had been there six weeks with her child and was making her own coffee in the room. I smiled. It was such a nice gesture. We were the same. Two moms staying with their sick children, hoping and praying for them to get better.

I share these two stories because they illustrate two things.  

First, there is still kindness in this world.

And second, we parents are all connected by our love for our children.

So put your parenting differences behind you and embrace another mom who may be struggling. Support her. Love her. We are all the same.


Editor’s note: This post was originally published on September 7, 2017 and was lightly edited prior to republishing.

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Kelly migrated to San Francisco in 2009 after living in Chicago, Florida, and growing up in Texas. She is happy now to call the Bay Area her home. She is a licensed Physician Assistant and previously worked in OBGYN and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. With the support of her husband and college sweetheart, Rob, she took a break from medicine to do something more creative! In addition to running San Francisco Moms Blog, Kelly is mommy to Mr. Gavin and Mr. Byron. She is happy to be the princess of the house! When she is not working or chasing her boys, she loves cooking, college football, and spending time and traveling with her family.


  1. This is so beautiful, Kelly. It is such a reflection of your positivity that you can find such uplifting moments during what must have been such a difficult time for you and your family. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I can identify- my son was born with enlarged adenoids and could never sleep more than 20 minutes at a time- I slept with him all the time because he would stop breathing during the night and I would have to shake him to breathe. At age two they decided to remove the adenoids, and I was terrified, I was a mess. There were no other parents waiting in the room at the time like it was for you- but a few players from the Buffalo Bills were visiting that day (it was Nov. 24th) and they and their wives were coming around and giving the parents support and later gave the recovering children presents (early Christmas gifts). A wife of one of the players told me she went through the same thing with their son and was a devoted and scared as I was. I knew then- I wasn’t alone and felt so much better about my love for my son. It really helped me see- we all are really the same and want the same for our children. Your not alone!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I feel like the more we share, the more we can join together and lift each other up in difficult times. Hope things are much better for your little guy!

  3. Our children our blessing from God make us the mothers we are. They truly are our shining STARS….
    “Confession of A Child”
    As we laided in bed and cuddled, I rubbed my 11yr old daughter hands and shoulders because they were aching due to her  polyarticular arthrisis. She also suffers from Sickle Cell Disease. We talked about how the following day would be sunny and I wanted to take her for walk if she woke up feeling ok. ” No Mommy” she said ” I dont like going outside anymore”. Heartbroken by her words and knowing why she said them i held my baby tighter and said ” Lovebugger these diseases dont defy you as a child , you going outside” with a playful laugh she put her hands over my mouth and said “just listen how I feel”.I laughed,”girl dont cover my mouth” and i listened to how she felt because her expressing herself about what or how her illnesses effects her has always been important to me.” I dont like going outside at first it was my sickle cell disease that kept me from swimming on hot days i always had a pain crisis. If the weather changed while at school or out playing i went into crisis. Now it arthrisis ,i cant even go to school anymore. My hands always swollen and i cant even walk. Im afraid to go outside , she said, what if i start having pain from my sickle cell or arthrisis. I worry less about having crisis when im inside.I cant even do splits no more. I cant run around and play tag with Mya or Mia.I dont like going outside anymore. I start walking somewhere and go into pain then what?” “Then im gone pick you up and carry you because i got you” i said ,as i tickled her. We laughed and held each other tighter as i kissed her forehead and said” Goodnight Lovebugger its gone be ok.
    My 11yr old child is who makes me stronger. She’s my angel. She been here before. I call her My Wonder Women. With all she goes through and the pain she suffers from she still smiles she still worries about others. SHE STILL KEEPS HER HEAD HELD HIGH. A TRUE WARRIOR. MY WARRIOR. MY HERO SHE TRULY IS!!!


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