I remember when my son was several months old my husband and I took him on a trip to Florida. Personally I was thrilled to finally be out of the house and not wearing my Mrs. Roper MooMoo and actually feeling the sun on my face. Suffice it to say the airplane trip was horrendous- he cried the entire time and when we finally got to our hotel I felt like this trip was a huge mistake. The good news was that we had a great dinner and an even better stroll on the beach and the trip was beginning to look up. The next morning while we were getting ready for the beach I put my infant son smack in the middle of the bed and proceeded to get dressed. Even though my kid had never attempted to roll over or move- he would lay like a lox for hours- I kept checking to make sure he was in the same position. And he was- until in a split second I turned around and somehow- ON HIS VERY FIRST TRY EVER he rolled off the bed and onto the floor and he shrieked so loudly I thought I would never be able to unhear those screams.
IN THOSE MOMENTS AFTER MY SON’S ACCIDENT…
I FELT LIKE A FAILURE. I FELT LIKE I SHOULD BE STRIPPED OF MY PARENTIAL RIGHTS. I FELT LIKE I HAD HURT MY BABY. I FELT LIKE A HORRIBLE MOTHER.
And 11 years later when I look at him and I think back to how awful I felt and how guilty I felt – I can only imagine if that experience was made public and I had the whole world judging me as Eva Amurri does at this very moment.
For those of you who don’t know-Eva Amurri Martino Is Battling Guilt and Depression After a Night Nurse Dropped Her Son and Cracked His Skull. And the truth is- what happened to her- could happen to ANY OF US MOTHERS. Her story really hit home for me and I wanted Dr. Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, who is an expert on subjects related to parenting, teens, communication, love, family and lifestyle to weigh in on all the judgement that is being hurled at Ms. Amurri.
“I think it’s really cruel and judgemental and I’m really sorry on a larger level that people are being cruel, ” says Dr. Greenberg. “Eva has already been struggling because she is likely traumatized by this experience and these kinds of things can happen to the best of us. Unfortunately accidents happen.”
Here’s the thing; part of the backlash in my opinion stems from the fact that she is privileged and had the luxury of employing a baby nurse, notes Dr. Greenberg. Any of us who have given birth all know from our days of raising babies – that having help is a wonderful thing when you are exhausted- as a new mother having a baby nurse or help of any kind with your infant offers you the opportunity to sleep and be more functional during the day. If a baby has well rested people taking care of him, the might even be better off.
This is an accident, Dr. Greenberg points out, it could happen to anyone.
“I think what is so sad is that Eva should be getting support and love during this time. If she were a middle class woman and had her mother staying with her for two weeks post partum and her mom accidentally dropped her infant- would she be getting this kind of backlash?” asks Dr. Greenberg. “I think this backlash is about privilege. She was using her privilege to get help for her and her baby so that she could be emotionally and physically capable of tending to her toddler and her infant. Accidents will happen!”
Dr. Greenberg recalls that when her now twenty something daughter was little she got scratched on her face by a Dog and a good friend said this about it: “Your scars and the things that happen to you as long as they don’t kill you they become a part of your tapestry and your life. They become a part of your life story.” Dr. Greenberg adds, now this experience is giving Eva her more anxiety and stress but hopefully in the long run it will give her empathy and a new perspective.
So what should Eva- or any new mother for that matter- who finds herself in such a situation do post accident to heal and try to move on? Dr. Greeneberg offers these tips.
#1 She needs to see a therapist for the PTSD the thing about PTSD is The earlier you treat it the less likely it is get worse.
“If you don’t get treatment for the event and as a mom you are very anxious and depressed, your kid will feel it, ” says Dr. Greenberg. “And you don’t want get to raise a hyper vigilant kid and transfer the anxiety. And you also don’t want to see yourself as a bad mother. As soon as you can you should treat your PTSD and talk to someone objective.”
#2 Remember that you can’t prevent this from happening. maybe the nurse was lulling the baby to sleep. She didn’t leave the baby with a 13 yr, she left the baby with a well referenced baby nurse . We get into car accidents and we don’t blame people we try to soothe them.
#3 Give a Voice to your feelings. This is the most important thing a mother like Eva can do– gd knows what she is thinking. Her thoughts can affect her behavior, if she thinks she is a bad mother she can feel very anxious and it can affect her mothering skills. She should talk to as many people as she can who have had accidents to know that she is not alone!
#4 I don’t think it is a good idea to give up childcare. Now she is depressed and anxious and things will happen bc when you are depressed and anxious the baby will feel it. There is nothing wrong with getting help-it takes a village to raise a child!