48 hours after coming home with her newborn, Arwen thought she nearly killed him. As sleep deprivation was increasing, and in her weary-eyed stupor, she accidentally left the space heater on at maximum heat in the baby’s room. By the time she realized what happened, the temperature in the room was over 100 degrees and her son was lethargic and barely responsive.
The guilt was overwhelming and the doubts began to creep into her mind that she was not fit for motherhood. That same guilt would return a few years later when her youngest child – who was only a few weeks old – was pulled off the countertop by the toddler when she left the room for a brief moment to get dinner started.
In this episode, Arwen recalls the times when she thought she had nearly killed both of her newborn children and reminds us all that babies are resilient, accidents will happen, and that parents need to go easy on themselves. Feeling unprepared does not mean you are unfit for the challenges ahead in life.
Overcomer Playlist Recommendation
Pearls of Wisdom
- Parents need to go easy on themselves when accidents happen.
- Have faith that God has given you the tools that you need to succeed.
- Don’t dwell on what could go wrong, focus your energy on the positive and not the negative.
Tweetables“Take one step of faith today and you'll be one step closer to your destiny tomorrow.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “God's not going to reveal to you the whole path, just the next step.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “The overwhelming majority of things that we worry about, they never come to pass.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet “Today is the only day you've been given. That is the one chance to do whatever is going to be done today. Click To Tweet “Go be brilliant, talented, and do it unapologetically.” - @LIFEwithArwen Click To Tweet
- She Handled It, So Can You!: An Inspiring and Empowering Financial Guide for Women
- She Handled It Episode 8
- Joyce Meyer – Battlefield of the Mind
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Connect with Arwen Becker
Arwen Becker: I want to draw back on episode 8, where Amber Villhauer, she gave me one of her songs after the fact and it's by First Aid Kit is the name of the band and it's called My Silver Lining. And I have fallen in love with this song. And it's great because it's kind of been a different feel than a lot of the songs that I have in that playlist, but I want to read you some of the lyrics and you can see why she picked it and gave it to me.
So, the song starts out, I don't want to wait anymore. I'm tired of looking for answers. Take me someplace where there's music and there's laughter. I don't know if I'm scared of dying, but I'm scared of living too fast, too slow. Regret, remorse, hold on, oh, no, I've got to go. There's no starting over. There's no new beginning, time races on. Just got to keep on keeping on. Got to keep on going, looking straight out on the road. Can't worry about what's behind you or what's coming for you further up the road. Try not to hold on to what is gone. Try to do right what is wrong. I try to keep on keeping on. Yeah, just keep on keeping on. Woo! It is such a great song.
So, everybody has a completely different way of raising children's, parenting, all that kind of good stuff, and especially when it comes to raising infants, you're going to hear a lot of different ways that people do things. So, I can recall the day that Randy and I were bringing Ashton home from the birthing center where he was born and it was always our intention from the beginning, that he was going to be sleeping in his own room in a crib. And really, the main reason for me is because over the years, I've had pretty significant sleep battles with insomnia and just general sleep anxiety. And so, I knew that if I had him sleeping in my room, it would just cause a huge problem as if you're not sleep deprived enough.
So, I remember the first night that he slept alone in his room, our first full night that we were at home together. We woke up in the morning, I don't know the morning, maybe the third night feeding or something like that, it was about 6 a.m. and he had certainly been fed a few times throughout the night, but woke up in the morning and he was actually pretty cold. And it was just because we hadn't recognized that the thermostat drops itself down because we'd like to sleep colder and so, we had to figure out how to keep more consistent temperature in the room. And so, what Randy did, he just bought a little space heater, we put that in his room so he would have more consistent temperature when it dropped.
So, on day two, I woke up in the middle of the night to nurse him. Wait, let's scratch that. He woke me up in the middle of the night to nurse him. And so, the first thing that I did is I walked in there and I turned the space heater on high to warm up the room, so I would be more comfortable as I was nursing him. And so, I finished nursing him, put him back in his crib and my completely sleep deprived self, exhausted self went back to bed for another couple of hours. I was awoken probably about three hours later to Randy frantically coming in and going, “Oh my god, you need to come in here. The heater was left on all night. It's got to be like 105 degrees in his room.”
And so, I ran into Ashton's room and I realized that we bought a heater that didn't have any sort of automatic shutoff so in my dazed and sleep-deprived stupor, I turned it on max heat and that's all it did, it just kept pumping heat into his little room. And so, by the time I’d gotten in there, Randy had already stripped him completely down, he was totally naked. And I was so sure I nearly killed my son. And so, as I pulled him out of the crib, he was sweating, he was completely lethargic, just not even really that responsive. And the guilt that I felt in that moment was so overwhelming.
I just sat there and sobbed. And I guess I just thought how in the world am I fit to do this job when on day two, I nearly fried my son? Then, fast forward, two more years and Easton, our youngest, was three weeks old. And at the time, we were living in a house that had one of those really big island kitchens and what we would often do is we would put his little blanket in the middle of it and we'd lay him down and he would just be sleeping there as we were preparing dinner.
So, I had begun to kind of pull out the basic things to prepare dinner. And Easton was asleep on his stomach on this little blanket and Randy called, he said, “Hey, honey, can you go turn the barbecue on? I'm going to be home in a few.” So, I turned away from Easton, he was super cozy, just sleeping on the middle of this island. And I headed outside, about 20 feet away and that's where the barbecue was, just outside the kitchen window. So, it probably took me about 30 seconds to get there and then, about another, maybe 20 or 30 seconds to ignite all the burners and then I turned back inside the house.
And the moment that my feet crossed over the threshold of the door from the outside to the inside, I heard a sound that absolutely made my heart drop. And it seemed as though in that brief instant, I could feel like all the air being sucked out of the kitchen and into the lungs of my brand new 3-week-old baby. He hadn't rolled off the counter. Babies at three weeks, they can't roll, but when I got to the other side of the kitchen island, I saw this adorable blonde-haired, blue-eyed toddler staring at the infant that he had just pulled off the counter onto the hardwood 36 inches below.
He had heard something on the counter, couldn't see what was up on the counter, but he was just tall enough to kind of feel around or reach his arm up on top of the kitchen island to grab the edge of Easton’s blanket and pull him on to the hardwood. And in another instant, I had that exact same wave of guilt and disbelief that I had nearly killed my child. And as these ear-piercing screams, oh god, it was so awful. These screams that left Easton’s mouth after he sucked every ounce of air in that room into those lungs of his and Ashton just was like staring at him completely dazed and confused as to what the heck just happened, I was instantly back to that day two years before, where I thought I nearly killed Ashton.
And so, I, of course, frantically picked up the phone, I called our family doctor who was thankfully very level headed and reminded me of a couple of things, babies are resilient, so maybe that was to make me feel a little bit better. There's a reason why they have these soft, unfused skulls. I mean, it's so they can be pliable and they can go through the birth canal. And so, she's telling me these things to try and make me feel a little bit better for what I had just done to my kid. And then, of course, walking me through, this is what I want you to do, keep watch on him. If there's any change in his behavior or nursing, then I want you to take him to the hospital, but if he continues to act relatively normal and he's nursing fine, then he should be fine.
And I felt that it was a good idea to be a little more responsible. So, I also called my midwife, the one who had delivered him just a couple weeks before and she suggested that I take him to a cranial specialist in Seattle that specializes in infant children. So, I scheduled this appointment for him, for Easton to go in the next day, took him to this really kind gentleman who sat my little teeny infant on the scary steel medical table and he just touched him and he caressed his head and he did these cranial adjustments on his skull and his neck. It barely looked like he was doing anything. And then, he gave me these reassuring words, “He'll be just fine”.
And of course, to this day, both of those kids, Ashton and Easton, tease me that any of the major issues they have, is because I nearly fried one and I caused the blunt force trauma basically on the other one, although the youngest one does enjoy also teasing his older brother since he was the one who actually pulled the blanket, you know what I'm saying? But there have been so many times that I have said to myself under my breath, I'm not capable of doing this or I’ve thought it. I mean, have you ever felt that way over the course of your life where you felt like the job that was in front of you, you were not designed to do?
I don't have the skills, I don't have the training, I don't have the talent to do this job well, I'm not the right person for it, I can't start a new company. And for heaven's sakes, I can't frickin raise children into functioning adults. And that's the kind of doubt that we all feel. If we had all the answers and we wouldn't feel doubt nor would we have to take any sort of step of faith to believe that we were even capable, when we couldn't see how we were supposed to accomplish it. Start the business that you've dreamed of, leave the job that you hate and do what you're called to do, have that conversation that you know that you need to have. Take one step of faith today and you'll be one step closer to your destiny tomorrow.
So, through the craziness, what I learned with those two major scary experiences as a new mom is number one, you have to trust that God's going to give you the people and the tools to do the job that's been laid out in front of you. God's not going to reveal to you the whole path, just the next step. Sometimes you'll do it right and sometimes you'll learn. Secondly, go easy on yourself when you fail, my goodness, we all do it and that's how we learn. And then, number three, please don't spend a lot of mental energy thinking about all the things that could have gone wrong or could go wrong.
I found myself at a lot of times raising three boys. So, any of you moms out there that are putting up a hand going, Ooh, ooh, but for lots of boys, yeah, boys are crazy and especially when they're younger, that I don't know how accurate the stat is, but I think I've read throughout the years that that young boys have 50% more energy when they're pretty young than girls do, that's why my husband and I always get so irritated when we'd see the families out having dinner and their little daughters are sitting there playing Polly Pocket at the table and being so just good and mindful.
And our kids are running around the table, they’re underneath the table, they're banging their head against the bottom of the table intentionally, screaming and tackling one another, doing all those kind of things, but I just can remember some of those moments where I'd be at the playground and I'd start to see one of my kids climb part of the structure that was not the designed part to be climbed, like the cover that goes over the main parts of the play structure, some of you moms, somebody is out there, you're really hearing what I'm talking about.
And so, I had to just at times, turn the brain off because you can get to that point where you could think about all the things that could go wrong or what happens when you find your toddler on the outside of a two-story staircase above the marble floor that they could just fall back on, there's traffic, there's all sorts of things. Not to mention when your oldest child in their early 20s takes the middle teen when they're like 13, 40-foot cliff jumping with all his big buddies. Those were the days, like I don't want to know and I just can't think about, dear God.
The overwhelming majority of things that we worry about, they never come to pass. And what happens is it zaps our mental energy to deal with what's in front of us. So, I want you to focus on today, that's the only day that you have been given, this, today is the only day you've been given. That is the one chance to do whatever is going to be done today. And it's the only chance that you've been promised, don't waste it on worrying about tomorrow or worse yet, on the things that you didn't do right in the past, you're a strong woman, you got this.
A piece of financial wisdom? Be willing to take a job that pays less if you're truly doing something that you're passionate about and you can also see clearly that there is an opportunity for future growth. Growing into what you're called to do is worth way more than an extra thousand dollars a year. So, don't base your decisions only on the amount of money that you're going to make or sell your soul into something you're not truly passionate about.
A book I would recommend, a favorite author of mine is Joyce Meyer and it's Battlefield of the Mind. And Joyce is in her late 70s now and still an absolute powerhouse speaker, writer, I think she's written over 100 books, which just is unbelievable. She's like this strong grandmother that you've always needed and maybe never had. And this book is about how to realign our thoughts and then our body and life will follow because the biggest challenge that you're facing is between your two ears, not anything external. And I am the first to raise my hand to say that is my biggest area of battle.
And then a quote, famously long one that I just love. And I know so many of you out there love this one, too, by Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fears are that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Go be brilliant, talented, and do it unapologetically.
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