My life as a mom on crutches…by Rachel Schickowski

Rachel SI have a great husband, a spunky toddler son and a job I love. All the things you hope for as a little girl. They were things I was not sure I would get since I am different. I was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congentia and it mainly affected my hands and legs – I use crutches to walk.  With bent joints and weak muscles, I can’t do all the things that everyone does and I spent a lot of time as a kid having surgeries and therapy. There are days when I want to be different, but who doesn’t?  I have my pity party moments when I wish I could trade in my body now and not have to wait until heaven. However, once I became a mom I found myself longing for a strong body more often. It started the day my son was born. My husband was standing in our hospital room rocking him.  Later I watched a nurse effortlessly pick him up and carry him across the room. When we left the hospital my husband secured our precious baby in the carseat, grabbed handle and walked toward the car. These things are awesome. I’d give anything to do them. Coming home from the hospital was scary. I had my whole life to figure out how to do things but I had no time to figure out the best way to care for my son. He was here and screaming in his swing. My husband was my rock for the first few weeks. He changed a lot of diapers and let me slowly find my way. I know there were times when he was frustrated and felt alone in this baby adventure. I felt like I was failing as a mom and a wife and tore me up. Things changed as I had more time alone with my son. No one was around to rescue me and I had to figure it out.  I avoided onesies with 200 snaps. I stuck him in the stroller when I wanted to go to another room.  I cried with him when I was struggling with his diapers and he was impatient. As my son turns 3, conflicting emotions flood my mind. I am sad that he has become big so fast. I am also excited to get my life back. Right now I can’t go places with him alone. I need help carrying him. When I see a mom carrying a baby on her hip or pushing a shopping cart with her child riding along, I fight off pangs of jealousy. I am scared to play outside with him alone since he now runs fast and often forgets that the street is dangerous. I knew the early years would be hard. I also knew it would be worth it. These struggles have changed my heart. They taught me to find joy in asking for help. Most importantly it has been a daily reminder that we are never given more than we can handle. 

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