Ep. 30: You Are Exactly What Your Child Needs




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Our fierce love for our children is our superpower—it’s what makes us just what they need! But love can also be a double-edged sword of joy and agony.

Listen to this episode to find out how my son’s neurosurgeon reacted when I showed him a homemade cervical collar—a medical device to protect his spine from compression, an extremely dangerous complication.

Love can push us out of our comfort zone and have us attempting the seemingly impossible—whether that is in the form of advocating for our children, or simply choosing to get out of bed.

We are enough. Our love for our children is enough.


My Thoughts

I’ll never forget walking out of the hospital that day.

I was on cloud 9.

One of the top pediatric neurosurgeons in the country had cleared my homemade cervical collar.

Not only did he assure me it was safe for Kimball to use, but he also gushed in praise for the little invention.

“Could life get any more triumphant and blissful than this? Will I ever be able to top this event?”, I thought to myself.

I buckled Kimball into his car seat, who was sporting his cushy and comfortable collar, and climbed into my own seat.

As I drove the 30 minutes home from the hospital, I relished in the fierce emotions of pride mingled with protectiveness and reflected on rollercoaster that had proceeded it.

A few months before that day, I had found myself in that same medical office receiving one of the most crushing news of my life: Kimball’s cervical spine was in fact not safe as another neurosurgeon had erroneously told us at the previous appointment.

The vertebrae in his spine were soft and incapable of protecting his spinal cord.

He was in danger of compression at any given moment.

He would need to go back to wearing his dreaded cervical collar.

The plastic one.

The huge one.

The one Kimball, Juston, and I detested.

My mind had reeled with this new and shocking news.

Memories of strapping our infant son into the collar in all its miserable and restricting glory were suddenly vivid in my mind.

And in a moment of desperation and defense for our lifestyle and our sweet son, I had fought the doctor. I had asked for exceptions, for alternatives, for any way to avoid going back to the collar.

But he was adamant—to protect Kimball from paralysis and death, he was back onto cervical spine precautions. He needed a larger size made from the previous supplier immediately. He was to wear it day and night.

I had wallowed.

I had grieved.

And I researched, grasping for an alternative. Any alternative.

One night as I was praying—a habit learned from childhood—I had a different request than usual. Although I was accustomed to asking for peace and strength to accept the current struggle, this time I asked for something different.

I asked for a solution.

I wanted that seemingly non-existent alternative so badly it hurt.

An image appeared in my head before I even rose from my knees. I saw a miniature Boppy nursing pillow in a donut shape.

The moment felt significant.

I will never forget it.

You can call the moment of clarity what you will: the determination of a parent, the answer of the universe, or a listening God.

Regardless of the source, I knew I had to try to conjure this little contraption up.

The next day I set to work.

I pulled out my beloved sewing machine. I traced a circle onto a piece of fabric. After sewing the form, I filled it with pieces of memory foam from an old pillow we had lying around.

When Kimball awoke from his nap, I excitedly and somewhat skeptically tried it on him.

And it worked!

My final and hugely daunting hurtle had been that meeting with Dr. B to get the collar approved.

My fear that he would chastise me for not taking my son’s safety seriously had made me sick while waiting for our turn.

And yet, here I was, driving home feeling the victory so deeply and so completely.

So, what was that?

What had inspired me to try and try and try again to find an alternative to what I knew would make my son miserable? What motivated me to spend hours hunched over my sewing machine creating collar after collar in search of the perfect version?

It was love.

It was love!

The love I have for Kimball made me exactly what he needed.

The neurosurgeon was doing his job to keep Kimball alive. I was doing my job to keep him alive and happy. Alive and developing. Alive and thriving.

It’s our love for our children that make us exactly who our children need. And it is manifested in countless ways!

It’s love that motivates us to pile our children and their medical gear into the car for an appointment.

It’s our love that emanates from our embrace as we cradle our suffering children and give them the comfort they need.

It’s our unconditional love that gives our children a beautiful life despite huge challenges.

This is what makes us equal to the seemingly impossible tasks asked of us.

Our love motivates us to make efforts when any effort at all is overwhelming.

Our love is so powerful, and it is exactly what our children need! And it’s our superpower. But it can also be our proverbial kryptonite because it’s also this love that causes worry, pain, and grief.

It’s this same love that is a punch in the gut when watching our children suffer. It’s this same love that ends our world when our child dies. It’s this same love that keeps us up at night, wondering if we’ll ever be enough.

But we are.

We are enough.

You are enough.

Our love is what makes us enough.


Episode Comments

colleen lawrence

Jan 14 2021, 8:44pm

You are so wonderful Madeline. I loved you the first moment I met you at the Homestead Resort family reunion. I love hearing how things are going with Kimball and your feelings all along the way.
Take care of YOU too, when you get a chance.

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Ep. 119: Your Child’s Medical Team | How to Push Back, Ask Questions, and Build Your Dream Team w/ Dr. Kelly Fradin, MD https://d3ctxlq1ktw2nl.cloudfront.net/staging/2023-2-23/319744619-22050-1-1e2071eee4df4.m4a


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