Alexandra Benson – It Takes a Village
Alex is a wife and a mother of two toddler girls living just north of Atlanta, Georgia. She has a background in non-profit work and currently serves on the board for The Children’s Heart Foundation - GA Chapter. She enjoys event planning, crafting, and spontaneous dance parties. She blogs in honor of CHD Awareness Week and the work the American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation do together.
My name is Alex and I am the mom of two toddler girls, the youngest of which is our heart warrior. Our Edith was born with complete heart block and a ventricular septal defect and today is pacemaker dependent. You can follow her story on Facebook: Edith's Heart Journey.
It takes a village. No, really, it takes a village. I've never seen this widespread proverb be more applicable than when our world was rocked with the news of a broken heart. When your child is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, the world that you've previously known suddenly changes. Your priorities shift and your focus quickly becomes entangled around the life of your unborn or young child. It can become hard to know what you want outside of the walls of a doctor's office or a hospital room and it can become even harder to know what you need.
That's when that village becomes incredibly important. It is so essential to surround yourself and your family with people that can be good community. Those are the people that can listen when the emotions are overflowing and you just need a good cry. They're the ones that share in the weight of the burdens of your heart, meet your physical needs when you're unable or unavailable and are understanding when your lifestyle may not look like it used to.
Maybe you're the friend or loved one who is watching as a mother or father cares for their child. If that's you, be their village. Pick up their groceries or write them a kind note. Take them dinner. If they have other children, offer to care for them during hospital stays and doctor visits. Please, don't stop inviting us to your events and gatherings; we may not always be able to come, but we crave the feeling of normalcy and inclusion. And remember, life with congenital heart disease doesn't end after surgery. The days can be long and the journey's not short; it's a lifetime of appointments, medications, and the looming possibility of more procedures. It's true that we don't often know what we want or need, but I think that all of us can agree that we desire to feel supported and are appreciative of any encouragement.
There is beauty in the voyage and for us, a lot of that is found in our village.