As there has been quite a bit in the media recently about button batteries and the dangers surrounding them, I felt it was important to share our story and journey. Having read numerous posts in the past few days I am appalled at some of the comments being made. In a world where we continue to tear people down, it’s important to realise any negative thing you may have to say could tip a person over the edge.
For most of the words that are being said about people not being good parents, that they should watch their children better or that they don’t deserve kids etc. are so hurtful and in cases often can’t even compare to the internal dialogue a mother feels after an event like this. It should be a time for us to rally around the people that are hurting and build them up by providing love and support in what is already a tumultuous time.
Even now, almost 18 months after our Button Battery mishap, I get emotional. I choke up inside, feel my chest tighten and relive that day.
I don’t think it will ever be something I get over and the guilt I live with everyday is at times so difficult to cope with. We have a beautiful, happy, bubbly three and half year old, and I feel so guilty when she drives me up the wall sometimes. I feel so guilty for getting mad at her and getting upset at her, knowing all the things that could have happened if our button battery incident ended differently.
About 18 months ago our youngest daughter swallowed a small button battery.
The spare button batteries lived on the top of our fridge because I was lucky enough to be aware of the danger of these to young children.That fateful day my hubby and I had been cleaning and I left the snaplock bag that had the three button batteries in it on the bench for a minute… Our eldest daughter was playing with children from next door and Bella was playing on and off with them whilst in view from our kitchen. I can’t even remember leaving the bench or turning my back for a moment. When I turned around I saw my baby on the floor with the snaplock bag in her hand and her gulping/swallowing something… I ran over to her and instinctively I knew.
I knew how many batteries had been in the bag and one was missing. Immediately, I was hysterical. I had read somewhere that if your child swallows a battery that most often they don’t survive. I was uncontrollably crying telling my husband we needed to get to the hospital now! I don’t think my husband fully understood the severity of the situation and my reaction until he googled and read how serious it was. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on his face, him trying to be calm for me and to not show how scared he was too.
I kept asking her, ‘Bella did you eat one of those? Did you swallow the battery? Where is the battery?’
It was so hard trying to get answers from our 2 year old, she kept saying yes then no, not wanting to get into trouble.The car ride to the hospital felt like the longest time, she kept licking her lips and playing with her tongue and every so often her saliva would bubble and scare us even more, so I of course in my heightened dramatic state imagined the acid from the battery eating away at her oesophagus.
When we arrived at the hospital she was admitted for x-rays almost straight away. As I was pregnant at the time my husband went in and held her for the x-ray… Again it felt like the longest wait. The doctor called me in and there was my little girl sitting in a hospital bed scared, not knowing what was going on. The x-ray showed she had swallowed the battery… But it had moved past her esophagus and was in her tummy. The doctor informed us that she would just pass it normally in her stools in the coming few days and everything would be fine. She did pass the battery the next day thankfully and is just as healthy as she always has been, we were one of the lucky ones…
This event in our lives was the icing on the cake that sent me into a downward spiral. I was diagnosed with high levels of depression and anxiety and struggled to get through most days.
I’m sure this was also fueled by my pregnancy hormones. I could not stop beating myself up over “what could have been” and how it was all my fault. How I was such a terrible mother, wife, daughter and friend. It took me a while to seek the courage to ask for help. The first GP I saw just palmed me off as soon as he could. He gave me a referral to speak to someone and wiped his hands of me. I contacted the business and was advised that it was almost $200 a session, twice a week…. Seriously? Does anyone have a $400 spare a week to see a counsellor?
I spoke to my midwife next who recommended a lovely lady that comes to you at home with little to no out of pocket expense. I had to go back to the GP to get a new referral written up to see her.
The doctor I saw this time was amazing. He sat with me for over an hour, talking about mental health issues, how asking for help was OK and that I wasn’t a failure or failing at life. He gave me hope. I was not just a number to him, I was a real person with real feelings. I saw the counsellor in my home over the space of a year. It helped a lot, having someone to confide in that was detached from our situation. Also coming from a space of not wanting to feel this way and to no longer being pregnant and enduring crazy pregnant hormones.
This is one of the most honest and scary things I’ve ever shared, but hopefully in doing so it can help someone somewhere.
I finally feel free, the clouds have lifted and I can see the sun shine again. There are things in our lives that affect us all the time. It’s how we deal with them and pick ourselves up that makes us stronger, better people.
It is OK to ask for help.
It is OK to get a second opinion and it’s OK to be sad and need help to get through the difficult days.
I have never been one to ask for or accept help, or really talk about my problems, I’m the one that is always trying to help everyone else. Living through this experience has made me realise that talking and letting people in is essential for growth. It’s not OK to keep everything bottled up inside.
With everything that has been over the news, The Project, Choice and social media websites the past few days, I am reminded just how lucky we are! We had an accident that happened in a split second and our daughter swallowed a battery. This moment has forever changed our lives. We are so fortunate to know the incident happened and know that we needed to get to the hospital. I remember now looking back, through the tears and the phone calls to my dad and our friend who is an emergency nurse that I made her drink water. For whatever reason I made her drink, I wonder now is this what saved her life? Was it this small instinctive thing that allows her to still be present in our lives? Or the fact that I just kept praying for a miracle, to the angels and to my grandparents that have passed to keep our baby safe. I’m sure they all played a part in keeping her safe.
We are so incredibly lucky to have our beautiful, happy, healthy thriving 3 1/2 year old daughter in our lives, and I will forever be grateful that she is here still lighting up our world and grateful to have everyone that has helped me to get through these tough times even when I tried to push them away.
Have you ever experienced mumma guilt or anxiety? Share your story below.
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