An Unnamed Stage of Fear after the Loss a Baby
Am I regressing? I did slack in my relaxation techniques over the summer?
I am starting to feel anxious for my living children’s safety on a daily basis. The thought of losing another child is never far from my mind and thus all activities, outings, even simple things are peppered with worry.
If my newborn sleeps longer than normal, I lay in bed worrying about SIDS. We recently visited a farm and my two year old daughter rode a horse and I nervously stood by fretting about the animal bucking. I’m anxious about drowning at bath time and during swim lessons, choking at meals, being hit by a car as we cross the street.
This I feel is the tangible reality, the daily stress of living life after the loss of a child. I have known a sorrow so great that my new-self is terrified of it happening again.
With Zachary, we were told the odds of his condition were like being hit by lightning – I could be wrong, but aren’t the stats of being struck a second time significantly lower? Then I start to wonder, how unlucky am I?
Maybe this is a new stage of grief – an unnamed stage beyond the stages. I do recall telling myself right after Zachary died that I can’t become one of those super paranoid clingy moms because of what I‘ve been through. Yet somehow I ended up here without knowing the steps I took to find this place.
Am I the only one feeling this way?
I have relented the “why” questions of my son’s passing, but now my mind is fixated on the “what if’s.” What if something happens to my daughter? To my newborn? To my husband? This worry progresses onwards with all the important people in my life.
How do I transform this ‘new normal’ into a life lived not in fear but in peace and hope and acceptance?
This may sound like I am asking a hypothetical question – but I’m not.
How do I live life without this fear?
Does anyone have it figured out?
These questions circling in my head make me wonder about the many people out there who have also lost a child or children. Is anyone asking them how they are doing? How they are coping?
It has been two years since my son’s death and possibly for some people two years is a long time. It doesn’t feel long for me. There are the rare individuals who continue to ask how I am doing in relation to Zachary – whom I appreciate beyond words could ever express – but for the most part, my son is a person seldom discussed. This saddens me in the quiet moments where my ache for him bubbles out between washing the dishes, running errands and making art.
No matter the span of time that passes, I believe that us touched by such loss will continue to think of and mourn for our absent children.
The difference is: we begin to do this in silent ways. I encourage anyone who knows someone who has lost a baby, even if it was years ago, to ask that person how things have been for them in regards to their loss. You likely will aid in their healing.
For me, I will ponder this unnamed fear. I hope for a revelation to calm my own nerves and encourage others but for now all I can say is this:
I will be hoping for hope, piecing together peace and accepting (for now) that acceptance of fear is still slightly beyond my reach.