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Using My Son's Bravery to Find Strength

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Some people say babies can’t be brave because they don’t understand what is going on. I beg to differ. Babies and small children going through big battles are the bravest of the brave.

When my son was born with a complex birth defect, I felt like my world was falling apart. I knew what his condition entailed. I knew what he was going to have to go through and it terrified me. I wanted to just sit and cry. I felt like everything was out of my control. I couldn’t take it away, I couldn’t make him better and it broke my heart.

But then I realized I couldn’t fall apart because he needed me. He was the one having major surgery. He was the one getting all the procedures, blood work and IVs. He is a little baby and he is so brave for everything, so I knew I could find the strength to keep it together for him. He taught me how to do that.

On the day of his surgery, I remember crying and feeling like I couldn’t breathe as I walked alongside his crib while nurses wheeled my son to pre-op. But not him. He met everyone with happy, cheerful smiles despite all these strangers coming in, poking and prodding him. He stayed brave the whole time.

Even as I handed him over to the surgical team, he looked at me with a smile on his sweet little face. That face let me know that he was going to be OK and I was going to be OK. If he was the one having such a major operation and continued to be such a brave boy, I knew I could be strong for him.

It doesn’t matter if children understand what battles they face or not, the fact that they’re facing them is enough to know they are brave.

My little boy taught me that no matter what battles you’re going through in life, you can get through them. You just have to believe that you can be brave.

Originally published: April 20, 2018
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