Have you ever fallen while holding your baby?

Have you ever fallen while holding your baby?

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Last month, I fell while carrying the baby. Just as we got to our car, I tripped into the bushes.

I never knew how hard parking lot vegetation is. Those low green ferns may look soft, but they're incredibly tough – as if they've absorbed the constant exhaust fumes into their twiggy little branches.

As I fell, every one of those twiggy branches scraped me, relentlessly. I lay still for a moment, catching my breath. William was in my arms, screaming, and Anna and Clara were teetering above me, shocked.

"I'm okay," I told the girls, though the whole left side of my body hurt. "And so is William."

Actually, William – despite his screaming – was better than okay. He had nary a scratch. My body had enveloped his like a firm wraparound cushion.

I am completely nonathletic, so intensely uncoordinated that I bump into walls even when I'm not tired. My muscle tone is equivalent to that of a stuffed snake. I can't catch a floating feather, let alone a ball.

So how did I do that?

Answer: I didn't. It just happened.

Forty-three years ago, my own mother dropped me. (Actually, she one-upped me here in every way, as mothers tend to do. She was carrying not only me, but my twin sister. We were about half the age of William, so twice as vulnerable. And there were not just two trembling older siblings to reassure after the fall, but three.) Carrying us to the car, my mother tripped forward, down her cement steps. As clenching onto us would have put us in danger, her body did its own smart thing, gently letting us roll away onto the grass. My mother took the impact of the cement in her teeth, knocking them out.

Five years ago, my best friend fell while carrying her two-week-old. The baby didn't even touch the ground; my friend's knees absorbed the entire impact of the fall.

It seems that the mother's body, on autopilot, will generally protect the child over itself – becoming shield or spear, buffer or raft or parachute – whatever is needed. (And I'm sure that fathers' bodies, by the way, do the same).

Kind of a cool thought for a dreary Friday, isn't it? (At least, it's dreary in my neck of the woods.)

Have you ever fallen while holding your baby? Did your body automatically protect your little one?

Image: Stock.xchng.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

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