Liz Mannegren is a 26-year-old mommy blogger who runs a website called “MommyMannegren.”
Last week, she detailed what she described as an “anniversary that’s painful to remember.” According to the Facebook post, when Liz’s now 3-year-old son was just a 1 year old, she accidentally fractured his skull.
As she revealed, the day it happened started out like any other:
Full of Cheerios, teething toys, and lazy, morning feeds on the couch. I carried my son across the living room towards the kitchen, same as I had done a thousand times before, same as I would do a thousand times after.
Liz admitted what happened next was something she couldn’t possibly foresee, but she still blames herself for not preventing it from happening.
While walking across the room with her son in her arms, he quickly threw his head backward, starting a series of unfortunate events. She explained:
With all the strength and speed of a tiny acrobat, my son flipped backwards out of my arms and onto the floor. In mere seconds, a perfectly normal day turned into an absolute nightmare.
Liz and her husband quickly rushed the little boy to the emergency room. As time passed, Liz couldn’t help but get angry at herself for not being able to keep her son out of harm’s way.
One of the nurses who was tending to Liz’s little boy saw every emotion Liz was wearing on her face. The woman attempted to do what she could to not only make the little boy feel better, but to make Liz feel better, too.
The mom wrote:
The nurse assured us that they saw this all this time. “I dropped my baby once,” she said with a sympathetic smile, “except I dropped my baby on a concrete parking lot.”
That nurse had taken one look at me and seen the crushing weight of mom-guilt I was struggling to carry. While there was some small measure of comfort found in the fact that I wasn’t the first mom to drop her child, it didn’t relieve the feelings of failure that washed over me.
The guilt only got worse when the doctor told them their son had suffered a fractured skull.
There wasn’t anything that anyone could say that would have made the anger she felt toward herself subside. Her son was relying on her to keep him safe and she “failed” to do so. It admittedly made her feel like the “world’s worst mother.”
However, following her son’s full recovery, Liz is now able to look at the traumatizing experience and learn something from it. She explained:
Motherhood is full of difficult lessons, and this one felt especially tough.
Try as we might, we cannot protect our children from everything. There will be days when we fall short. Days when our feelings of failure and guilt thrive on imperfect moments. Days when life is difficult and complicated. Days when we feel unworthy and broken. Days when our kisses aren’t strong enough to rub away the pains and hurts our children carry.
Today we might feel like a failure-of-a-mother, but we are more than our bad days.
Liz now knows that, unfortunately, accidents happen, and it’s those accidents that help people remember that life is precious and short. Those accidents are what help people remember to “soak up each and every snuggle, each breath, and each precious laugh.”
As Liz writes, motherhood isn’t defined by one action:
I look at myself and see a woman who failed to grab her son in time. My son looks at me and sees “mom” — the one who comforts and holds him when he falls.
So to all the mothers struggling with a miserable day of your own, and to the mothers fighting feelings of inadequacy and inescapable mom-guilt — you are MORE than today.
Liz hopes that by sharing her story, she is reminding other mothers that while today may be “horrible,” that doesn’t make them a “horrible” mother.