When In A Crisis…

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Back in the days when I was a flight attendant, in one of my flights (Beirut – Bahrain), about 1 hour 30 minutes into the flight, and while doing the usual tour of the cabin, I noticed an old man -sitting next to his sleeping son. He was looking at my direction with a blank face. I smiled but he didn’t smile back. I smiled again and again… he didn’t smile back! In normal days I would have just rushed back to the galley, mumbling about how rude it is not to smile back at people who smile at you! But not that day. Something made me approach the old man and ask him if he needed anything. And guess what?!… yes he didn’t answer me… Again! he just kept looking at the same direction without even blinking. A gentle nudge was all he needed to fall back in his seat and make me realize that something was wrong! He was still breathing but not responsive. I remember this very very well; I was probably 22years old then. I remember how  with my one free hand, woke  his son sleeping next to him, (the other hand was holding him tight), and asked him to run to the nearest available crew member and ask them to come. I remember taking a deep breath and screening my brain to look for the right drill that I should follow. I remember clearing his airway, checking his breathing, and  pulse. Everything was fine. But still the man wasn’t responding! My colleague, who was called by the old man’s son, made an announcement asking if there was any doctor onboard …. Of course there was none!

At that instant the old man’s breathing became very weak, as did his pulse, and in the blink of a eye, I was with another one of my colleagues performing a CPR to the body now laying on the floor, against the bulkhead! The captain was informed and we were about to divert and land in Kuwait… the only thing is… my colleague and I had to perform that CPR for the next 30 minutes or so, until we land safely into Kuwait International Airport, and the old man goes into the care of a doctor who would either save him or pronounce him… yes that’s right, pronounce him DEAD! Can you imagine what that means? A human being’s life was in our hands! Can you imagine the pressure? The panic? The shaky hands? the sweat dripping from our heads? Our exceedingly fast heartbeats that we were almost certain could be heard from distance? Yet and in the middle of all that, I knew what I had to do and I was doing it!

 

We were supposed to take turns with another pair of fellow crew members, and just seconds before I moved my hands to make space for the person replacing me, the almost cold body underneath my hands jumped… his eyes were open and the breathing was back! Just like in a movie! and before I knew it, the man sat upright a little confused but absolutely aware of what had happened to him! He was crying, holding our hands and hugging us! We saved his life! Can you believe it! Yes, he was awake, breathing, and alive! Before we even landed in Kuwait (Which we did anyways, so that he can receive the medical care he needed!).

 

This was the first time in my whole life, I deal with a real crisis! A matter of life or death! The first time in my life, my actions had a huge impact on someone else’s life! A weight on my shoulder that I never ever thought I would be able to carry, it never even occurred to me that something like that might cross my path.

 

When we face a crisis, some of us freeze, some other people panic, and very few might respond calmly and efficiently. The only thing is that you don’t really know to which group you will belong until you actually face the crisis! and even then you still can’t be sure how you will react to the next one, because each crisis is different, and each one provokes a different reaction.

 

It is very scary, knowing that sometime, somewhere, you will face a situation where you might just freeze. You might not know what to do or how to react! You might have no help, no guidance, no advices! The consequences might be fatal! Someone might never forgive you for what you did, or what you didn’t do actually! You might lose someone very dear to you. Someone might die, someone might get fired, someone might lose all their life savings… etc!! And all that is based on how you will react…. Scary isn’t it? So how do we prepare ourselves? How to be certain that when that dreaded time comes, we will  be ready? This really scares me…. How can I make sure that in every critical situation, I’ll be able to do what I did years ago, and save someone’s life, preform the drill correctly? Will I even remember the drill? Yes, I believe in God and I believe that everything is written somewhere up there, but I still worry! Sometimes I practice … Yes, I do! In my mind I play multiple scenarios, I give myself a chance to explore all the options ……..  What I will do, what I might do, and what I shouldn’t do! You see, it is like a software that I programmed in my brain, every time with a different scenario, so that when something actually does happen, I can be familiar with it! I’ll remember how I dealt with it, how I solved the situation, what worked and what didn’t.

 

Have you ever faced a crisis? and how did you deal with it? Do you ever think of training yourself so you can be almost sure you’ll do the right thing? Maybe we all should? What do you think?

 

Ouiam

What’s On Her Mind….: My New-Mom Crisis

  

  

  Welcome to a new feature series here on Chanel Mama, that will run through the next few months! “What’s On Her Mind” is a special feature just for moms, where other moms will share their good old-fashioned words of wisdom! Since I became a mother, I became so curious to know how do other mamas do it. Although I read all the books and done all the research, it never helped me as much as the advice of another fellow mama! I always find myself loving to hear about other parents’ experiences and taking ideas and inspiration from everything I hear. So why not share these bits and pieces of “Mommy wisdom” with all of you! We will be hearing all sorts of stories, from the simple to the complex, the serious to the silly… So I hope you enjoy! 
The very first featured mama, is one of my very good friends: Maria. A mom to a beautiful little girl. I always love to hear what she has to say and I was thrilled when she accepted to share with us her “Words of Wisdom!”

My New-Mom Crisis 

 

After the first weeks or months of baby oblivion, there comes a time when new moms arise from the fog and wonder, what happened!? Who am I? A mom…will it ever be about me again? Just for a day?

 

Becoming a mom is an incredible blessing that fills life with a wholehearted joy unbeknownst to former pre-mom self. However, life is forever changed in a big way.

 

Most people will tell new moms that they need to make time to take care of themselves. But how do we really do that without making sacrifices when it comes to our child’s care? Its not like you can take two hours, and boom! You have now taken care of your physical, social, emotional, and intellectual needs for the next month. How can we possibly fulfill our needs when we are responsible for another human being who can’t do anything without our help (for more than a few minutes any way)? What a huge responsibility. 

 

I remember my crisis moment, when I couldn’t just focus on the baby anymore. I needed a change, a diversion, something. So I took my 8-month old daughter to the UAE so that I could explore career opportunities. We moved out of our apartment in Bahrain and into suitcases bound for a hotel in Abu Dhabi. I met with recruiters and went on job interviews. It felt great to be out alone…to wear a suit and heels and converse with professionals. However after a month or so I realized I would not find a work situation that would allow me to still give my daughter the time and attention I felt she needed and that I wanted to give her at that age. So that adventure was over. We moved back to Bahrain. 

 

Instead of thinking about jobs, I decided to start a volunteer group. I got in touch with local charities that needed volunteers and formed a group of like-minded people on social media. I could now contribute my time and talents to worthy causes on a schedule that I dictate. I was meeting other like-minded adults, addressing important issues, learning about the local culture, and helping people in need. Volunteering helped filled that void I felt by leaving the workforce. 

 

I’m still working to find better ways to get in my regular workouts and always looking for mom life hacks. I still have days when I just want to cry because I can’t take the screaming anymore. Sometimes I have doubts that I am making the right decisions and doing the right thing for my family. But no matter what we are actually doing in our lives, we will still have those days. We just make the best decisions we can for the time being. As our situation changes, we reassess and adjust. 

 

I’m very blessed to be a mom, to have the opportunity to volunteer, and the luxury to stay home with my daughter. I’m lucky to have the choice to do what I feel is best for my family, and not be forced into a situation by circumstances. 

 

I just want other moms to know that its completely normal to go through mini-crisis during motherhood, especially in the early days. There are so many new choices many of us have to make as moms, to work or to stay at home with our children, to hire a babysitter or not, and if so, how often. How much “me” time do we need to maintain our sanity, and how best to use it. No one can tell us what’s right for us and our families. It’s something we have to figure out on our own, and sometimes by trial and error. I’m sure you can think of a bunch of awesome people, who are doing great things, and who you respect. And I bet they all had very different moms and upbringings. There is no one formula for being a great mom or that guarantees a successful upbringing of your child. 

 

So what have you learned about your new-mom self? What have you incorporated into your life as mom to ensure you are meeting your needs, and how have you done that? I would love to learn from you.
Thank you!