There are literally a million things that are so difficult about losing a child. In many ways, having a living child already saved my life in the days, weeks, and months after Madison was born asleep. Because of Reeves, I had to get out of bed, plan and prepare food, and bathe. He made me smile and laugh much sooner than I would have otherwise. He made me remember what it was like to be alive, and in his own way encouraged me to embrace the new version of myself that I became.
My style of parenting however, changed a lot after losing a child…..
I kept Reeves a lot closer than I did before. Even though in my mind, I knew that life could not be so cruel as to take two of my children, I felt incomplete and frantic when he wasn’t close by. Imagine attachment parenting to the extreme! To this day, I still have a very difficult time being completely alone.
My fuse got a whole lot shorter. I prided myself on being a very calm and patient Mom. I didn’t want a yelling household and I tried really hard to peacefully parent. While I didn’t always hit the mark, I felt close. After Madison, not so much. I found myself getting angry quick and over things that didn’t really matter. I realize this was a manifestation of the grief, but it still made for some really difficult times and a lot of guilt on my part. I will note that acknowledging and beginning treatment for anxiety helped IMMENSELY with this – you can read this post for more details on that part of my journey.
My GAF broke. Just so you don’t have to google it, it means Give A F***. You want popcorn for dinner? – Go for it. Is this the 6th hour in a row of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Let’s go for 7. In the beginning it’s about survival. I am sure to Reeves it was like an extended holiday (and boy was it hard to break some of those habits once we started regrouping!). I can remember throwing clothes on Reeves and I sometimes around 3:30 in the afternoon so my husband wouldn’t come home and find us still in our PJs. True story.
It is true what they say about bereaved parents, they do not recover after the loss of a child but regenerate. I think this applies to me as an individual and as a Mom. The entire experience changed me and all I can do is continue to learn, grow and hopefully find grace.
With love and light,