Dealing with death as a parent
You think you know how you deal with life’s unexpected tragedies, especially after experiencing infertility. The pain is now familiar and somehow easier to swallow. Yet once you actually become pregnant and have a child, the stakes are even higher. The sense that you could lose it all at any moment becomes that much more unbearable.
My followers will know how hard it was for us to conceive and the toll the stress took on me while I carried to term. While talking to a co-worker, discussing the loss of a young man who died tragically in a car accident, the topic of how different death feels as a parent came up.
For any new parent the sheer thought of death in your family is even more devastating than the loss of anything or anyone. The thoughts creep quickly, flashing in your mind of what could possibly happen. Images of how and the aftermath are all so overwhelmingly uncontrollable and yet accepted with the feeling that you will have better instincts and the ability to protect your young.
I once read an article on the subject. The writer proposed that these feelings were not something to shy away from but to embrace. Once you do, you will apparently have better coping mechanisms in place should something actually happen. Reading this, I felt a sense of acceptance and confusion. Logical me agrees with the thought, yet I also only want to enjoy and think about each and every magical moment and nothing more, ever. Anything else would be unimaginable, but it is not!
Why can’t we stop these images and thoughts from happening? Do we really want to if it enables us for better protection and to be able to protect our little ones? With all things, there is good and bad and no matter what we must experience them. That is the meaning of life, is it not? To experience all its miracles and tragedies, the Ying and Yang’s of the world.
Back to this moment, I had disclosed to her that only recently, without breaking down, have I been able to catch myself smiling for no reason, with utter happiness and in peace with my life. Finally, I am able to enjoy this feeling, without realizing I am doing so. Before, after having TJ, once I did realize I was doing this, I would stop myself and end up breaking down crying, thinking it could all be taken away from me in an instant. Remembering how, for so many years, I desperately longed for my child, to be a parent and then once our miracle happened being so scared to lose him I could barely breathe. Even describing this to her, writing this, makes me choke up.
Since becoming pregnant, we have experienced significant loses in our family and among close friends. Those close to me know how emotional I am, always crying at commercials and feeling so intensely for others. I’ve always felt how badly one must feel in those circumstances, leading me to feel sad for them, so much so I would cry and if an unemotional person was close they would be wondering why.
Now I find myself somewhat distant from those feelings in the same situations. Not sure why, but perhaps it’s because there is something now in the world that means so much more to me than anything else. I still feel sympathy and cry more easily than most but I am hardened to some situations. I am more and more affected by those feelings surrounding our son and the struggle to have him, as well as my sympathy for others experiencing the same.
We must embrace our good fortunes and blessings while preparing for the worst to come in order to survive. This is what I took from that article I read. It confused me because it’s hard to accomplish such balance so easily in life. While these thoughts may come naturally and we should embrace them, you cannot dwell on such negativity as to not be too consumed by it. How do you do this, you ask? In my opinion, it’s a matter of understanding that it is a normal part of who we are now. Letting it go as easily and naturally as it comes to mind and accepting it, doesn’t really mean anything at all but a peace of mind. You are changing as you grow.
In short, all of life’s experiences change you, but what matters most is how you handle them, even with all the fears of being a parent.