I experienced something that none of us wants to experience. The whole sad event happened 22 years ago.
I am on maternity leave with my firstborn son, whom I wanted very much. I was overjoyed with anticipation. A beautiful boy was born and he was named Dominik. A rare name at the time, because he too was a rare gift to me.
My little boy was a year and a half old, and of course he was already walking. But he was very clever for his age, he could do things that children can do at the age of three. I felt even then that he would be very smart, gifted and talented.
One day, it was bitterly cold and snowy, and we lived in a house where it didn’t get too hot. We are both warmly dressed, but I get up anyway and go make him some tea to warm him up. My son will be with me in a little while in the tiny kitchen where you can just turn around.
The water is boiling, so I pour a large mug of tea that is on the line. That’s what my son tells me “mommy cake”, which means: mom, I want chocolate. Well, he wants chocolate, okay.
From the line, I turn to the fridge, which is right behind me, and take out a chocolate bar. When I turn back, the chocolate immediately falls from my hand. My little boy stands staring at me frozen in obvious shock and I scream “What is wrong with you, what happened, why are you like a statue, for God’s sake please speak…!”
When I look at the line, everything is clear to me.
I can’t even describe the hell that followed.
A one-year-old boy scalded by boiling water, fighting for his life. Of course, the panic that gripped me took its toll. I call an ambulance, in the meantime I shower my son with cold water, which, as I later find out, is the biggest mistake, because the body receives another shock.
My son looks at me like a stranger all the time, he doesn’t react to anything at all.
The ambulance reports life-threatening burns. A helicopter is immediately called and immediate transport to a hospital in another city. I am informed by the hospital that anything can happen in the next 24 hours and I should be ready. The boiling water ended up on the face and on the chest where the little heart is.
Should I be ready??? For God’s sake, how can one prepare for this????
I stay awake all night, clutching his tiny slippers and praying to God not to take him away from me. God, he is only a year old… I am accompanied by feelings of failure and remorse. So she is the truth. It only takes a second and your child is teetering on the edge of life and death. I tried so hard to be responsible and careful that I had to find out that being careful is never enough.
He hadn’t reached the line yet, so I didn’t even think about it. The realization that he was about to reach it was the cruelest thing. Predict, predict and predict again, I already know that much more than before.
What we experienced the following year can only be imagined by those who actually experienced it.
The son was in artificial sleep for 14 days. Visits were prohibited. My heart was bleeding, I cried day after day and kept blaming myself. The thought of my longed-for baby dying after a year was terrifying.
When his condition was stabilized after 14 days, a skin graft plastic surgery was performed. After three weeks I can finally see my little boy. Unfortunately, there is another shock. My own child looks at me like a stranger. He doesn’t know me. I’m falling again and mentally I feel like I can’t take it anymore. Due to the artificial sleep, it is said to be normal, and he will gradually forget. And then comes the annual hell.
There are a lot of children crying in the burn ward, the nights are terrible, I have nothing to draw strength from. In one room, a little girl of about two years old, who sat in a pot of boiling water, is crying. I’ve never experienced so much crying and pain and I feel like I’ll end up somewhere in a madhouse or on tranquilizers.
The excruciating pain continues for a long time. My little boy keeps crying. He is learning to walk again because the skin has been taken from his legs and his legs are so terribly thin and weak. He wears an elastic suit to help heal the scars and to prevent him from touching the operated parts. I have to keep massaging his scars with my own hands and endure his crying. Pain with every bandage and the command “You must hold him tight and hold on”.
It’s so terribly difficult to write about all of this that I can’t go on any longer. The son then had a panic attack of white coats for several years.
Today he is already 23 years old and he is a smart guy who made it to college. I am very proud of the person he is. I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams how much pain he must have endured. But because he was so tiny, he doesn’t really remember anything. I have two more sons, and if I fear anything, it’s boiling water, a hot oven, and the strange feeling that one of my children is going to die. The shock has remained with me to this day.
In conclusion, I would like to say that no one has ever accused me of negligence. This tragedy punished me the most and it couldn’t have been more. Even though I know that everyone considers me to be a perhaps too careful and responsible mother, the reproach will remain with me forever.
With this article, I also want to thank my son that he never even hinted to me that it was my fault, that maybe I failed as a mother… And for this I am most grateful in the world. But his scars will remind me of it forever.
I would like to publish his photo here, just a portrait, but I am 1000 percent sure that he would not agree and I have to respect that.
Of course, I know that there are cases where similar tragedies actually occur due to parental negligence, whether due to alcohol, drugs or other reasons.
It never occurred to me that I would write about my experience somewhere publicly. I am asking for all responsible mothers not to be judged if something like this happened to them too. There is no greater punishment than the sight of your scarred child.
To all children who have experienced a similar event: forgive, it is very important. To me, all these children are unreal heroes.
Unfortunately, there are many similar sad stories. None of us are infallible. If you have the same regret as I do, read the experiences of other mothers at Popálky.cz and you will understand that you don’t have to feel guilty, even though I know how hard it is to forgive yourself.