I’ve always found that the best way to rid the mind and soul of the bone-crushing weight of mom-guilt is to set your dirty little secret free. Free yourself from the responsibility of keeping that shame bottled up inside. Tell the world what you did that makes you CRINGE and then be done with it; just move the hell on.
Well today, I’m doing myself a solid and getting my own personal mom-guilt story off my chest.
It’s an embarrassing tale to tell and it remains one of the few things I’ve done in my parenting career that really made me feel like a crap mom. So far, I’ve repressed the memory to the point that I almost tricked myself into forgetting about it; until, that is, a recent email alert jogged my memory…
A little while back, Cells for Life contacted me about a possible collaboration. Was I familiar with the company and their services? OH GAWD. Yes. I was familiar with the company; it was the umbilical cord blood* harvesting company that I had used for my first son back in 2014.
Note that I said my first son there. Not both my sons. Not my second son.
Ugh – and here’s where the guilt part comes in…
Now, in my defense, anyone who has two kids knows that the level of preparation for the birth of baby no. 1 FAR exceeds that of baby no.2.
I mean, my first son’s nursery was complete weeks before my due date. My second son didn’t have a room to call his own until he was 4 months old. My hospital bag was at the front door from week 32 of my first pregnancy; for my second, I literally packed the night before. And it makes sense! Of course it’s more difficult to prep for baby no.2 when your time and energy is being all but consumed by baby no.1…
With that in mind, I guess it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that cord blood banking for Rebel Baby 2.0 totally slipped my foggy pregnant brain until the moment I waddled myself into the hospital for my scheduled c-section appointment.
Of course, the person in the revolving door segment in front of me was wielding a bright red beer-cooler-looking-thing. A quick glance down at the bag confirmed it: he worked for Cells for Life and he was carrying the bag that transfers the cord blood samples from your birthing room to their lab in Toronto General Hospital…
GODDAMNIT! HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN? HOW COULD I HAVE BLANKED SO HARD ON SOMETHING SO IMPORTANT?
I spent the better part of my 4 hour wait in a pre-op room (emergency c-sections take priority over scheduled ones so I got bumped down the list) Googling facts about cord blood.
Q: “Can I order a stem-cell kit the day of a scheduled c-section?”
A: Maybe. Some hospitals are stocked with a handful of “Emergency Kits”. Ask a staff member.
I ask one of the kind nurses attending to me about these elusive “Emergency Kits”. She checks.
She returns. They’re fresh out of kits and I’m shit out of luck.
Crap. Moving on.
Q: “Can one sibling’s cord blood sample be compatible for other siblings?”
A: Full siblings have a 25% chance of being a full match and a 50% chance of being a partial match, which puts chances for compatibility (either full or partial) at 75%.**
Hmm ok well that’s actually a bit of a relief.
Q: “Do you actually lose brain cells when pregnant?”
A: No, but recent studies HAVE revealed that the architecture of women’s brains change strikingly during pregnancy, in ways that last for at least 2 years.***
Ok. Thank God. This is a scientific problem. I’m not just a terrible mom – my brain is legitimately not working properly right now.
To be honest, for the first time ever, my frantic Googling was actually able to set my mind at ease (a bit) before I was wheeled into the O.R.. What was done was done – what was forgotten was forgotten, and I had to do my best to put all that behind me so I could greet my newest cherub with nothing but pure love and joy.
In order for you to understand why this specific bout of forgetfulness stung so much, you’ll need a little background.
Cord blood is known to save lives. It is routinely used to treat more than eighty diseases. Collecting and storing cord blood in a private bank ensures that you’ll have direct access to a perfect match for your kid should you ever need it (knock on wood that you DON’T).****
The kicker is that the process is recommended especially for children of mixed-race couples (apparently it is harder to find a match in this scenario) as well as for children who are born into families that have a history of disease that can be treated by cord blood stem cells.
My kids check both of those boxes.
Not only are my spawn a huge cultural mix (Jamaican/Trinidadian + Polish/Macedonian), but my sister is a survivor of childhood leukemia: one of the diseases that can be treated with cord blood stem cells.
See, for me, this whole thing hits a little too close to home. To this day, I feel like the guilt is justified, but I have also come to accept that the time to worry about it has ended. What’s done is done and now it’s time to move on.
Phew! That feels really good actually.
And now, for my final act of absolution, I’ve teamed up with my new friends at Cells for Life to give you access to their potentially life-saving service (with a sweet RM discount). Unfortunately, scientific technology this epic does not come with a small price tag, but with all of the known benefits, we wanted to make it more accessible for as many people as possible.
To save $150 on your initial processing fee, simply follow THIS LINK and use REBELMAMA as your “coupon code” at the bottom of the page.
(Valid through August 31, 2017!)
Happy harvesting and may we all live mom-guilt-free forever and ever, Amen.
*”Cord blood is the blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta immediately after your baby is born. It can be collected, stored and used at any time during your baby’s lifetime to treat a wide variety of diseases and medical conditions.” – via www.cellsforlife.com
**W.E. Paul, Fundamental Immunology, 7th edition, 2013, Chapter 21 – The Major Histocompatibility Complex and Its Proteins.
***via Science Mag
****via Cells For Life