I Left My Child When She Needed Me – LB Post 14

After going through open heart surgery, LB's mother is faced with an unexpected challenge: leaving her. Read her moving story here

Just when I thought letting them take her away was the hardest part, I was hit with another curve ball.

To say the day of her surgery was exhausting, would be lacking in description.

It was draining, tiresome, depleting, strenuous, debilitating – are there any more good synonyms for exhausting that I missed?

That day was so much more than I could ever describe, but the worst was over.

or so I thought…

Because J and I are familiar with the reality of hospital stays, we knew that we would not be staying the night with LB for at least the first few nights. She was pretty much sedated and the PICU nurses were very on-top of her care.

Plus, knowing how little sleep you get in the hospital rooms (with nurses and doctors coming in and out all through the night, the constant beeping of machines, the jolt of fear that sits you straight up when you hear any noise, and the simple fact that there is no where to sleep even remotely comfortable) helped us make this decision.

Walking back to the waiting area after we saw LB, for the first time since her open heart surgery, I was hit with how tired I really was.

Once I stepped over the threshold of her door, and out of her hospital room, a wave of exhaustion set in. My body felt heavy, like I was just now feeling the burdens of the day.

We went in knowing we wouldn’t stay, but suddenly the idea of leaving her had my insides twisted up in pain.

I felt like I was abandoning my baby in her time of need.

I made a promise to all my kids when I was pregnant: I will never abandon them.

I grew up with people walking in and out of my life – not knowing who to trust to be there – but I told myself that my children would never have to feel that. Because I would be different.

But, in that moment, I felt the lowest I have ever felt in my life. I was just like all of them. I was leaving her.


In a hospital bed.

With people who didn’t really know her.

They didn’t love her like I did.

They couldn’t care for her like I would.

She would feel alone. scared. abandoned.


… or so I thought.

That’s all I could think over and over again.

As I stood with our family in the hallway, I could hardly talk.

The robot facade I had been putting on all day broke. I couldn’t hold it together any longer. Every emotion I had felt, every fear, every pain that I had bottled up exploded in that moment.

It intensified my feelings and made walking to the elevator seem impossible.

I managed to slowly reign in my emotions, allowing myself to get in the elevator and break down silently inside – instead of being the emotional wreck that I was just moments before.

Although, the tears kept falling. That I couldn’t control.

Our family talked on the long ride down the elevator & walk to the car – trying to help distract and comfort me, but I can’t remember if I joined in or not. I just know I blacked out again – my body’s way of handling these emotions.

I don’t know why I fell the need to censor myself around people, especially people I love. But I do, I feel like I have to be strong – even though strength is the last thing I feel in these moments, I have to at least try.

Or, that’s at least what my brain thinks it has to do… put on a good front. And, sometimes, I am able to pull it off well.

But, this time, it was just too much.

They talked and I cried.

All the way to the car. All the way to the hotel. And all the way to bed.

I felt like the worst mother in the world – and in that moment, I believed I was.



  1. Rachelle says:

    My heart hurts for you. I think it’s important our children know how strong we are too, but also important for them to know we are human. Tears are good for the soul. You are an amazing Mother. I am keeping you all in my prayers xx

    • Ashley says:

      Thank you so much, Rachelle! I agree, it is important to let our children know that we are all human. Thank you for reminding me of that! <3

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