What It's Like To Be A 'Medical Mama'

by Kimberly Minor
A 'medical mama' lying down in a hospital bed, holding her sick child on her belly.
Kimberly Schreiber

Have you ever been so tired that the taste of cheap coffee seems like a blessing? Have you, looking into the mirror, not been able to remember the last time you showered or even brushed your hair? Have you ever cried in a doctor’s office, finally letting go of all that stress you’ve been carrying so long?

The medical mama has.

She’s held her child as they’ve screamed in pain from an IV or a catheter. She has comforted her baby through the metal rails of a hospital crib. She has found a way to smile in the face of a child who has endured more medical interventions than the average grown man.

When it comes to medical jargon, she has the vocabulary of a tenured doctor. She has spent the few moments she has to herself researching her child’s condition. She is tired, but not weak. She has broken down, but still keeps pushing. She has every detail of her baby’s life memorized, and unfortunately, that life has been full of more than just milestones.

Oh, but the milestones. Maybe they’re few and far between, but they are the moments you will see such ease in that mama. She will recant the details perfectly, as she’s played out the moments over and over in her mind. She has a thousand videos and pictures of her baby to prove they are perfectly made, even if their diagnosis says otherwise.

You have to understand, the medical mom sees things a bit differently than the average mom. They get to believe in magic, in miracles, and in prayer because they have given birth to the proof it’s real. Regardless of what anyone could ever tell her, she has watched her child break every rule and negative expectation. Her baby is heaven-made.

The florescent hospital lights and multiple cords have become the landscape of her motherhood. The sound of beeping machines is the soundtrack. She has become defined by the hard edges of hospital walls and the notches in medicine syringes.

She has used every bit of patience on her child and their needs, so she appears to be short-tempered and lacking social skills. Her days are full of chatting with therapists or other medical moms, as they are the support system that keeps her standing. Her child speaks to her in their own special language, and no one will advocate for that baby like she will.

She is a medical mama, and she’s proud of that fact, but no one will ever understand it unless they’ve lived it.