Parenting in general is hard, but without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Parenting after loss just raises the anxiety levels to defcon 1. The simplest and tiniest thing can make you worry like there is no tomorrow. It wasn’t until this weekend that I’ve realised how crazy anxious I get about certain situations.
As a parent you are always going to worry about your child, thats just how it is. You worry about them eating right, you take extra care with things so they are ok and so on and so on. Parenting after the loss of a child just sends your anxiety levels to a whole new universe. You sadly just have to ride it out and try I suppose to find ways to deal with it better. Now I know that is easier said than done and I still haven’t found a good way to deal with how anxious I can get about things.
So this weekend Emily and I took Roo for a night away in Manchester as we went to the Baby & Toddler Show at EventCity. We decided to stay a few miles away in a countryside spa so that it would be quite and hopefully allow Roo to settle down ok for the night. He did and was a little champ but the real issue arose on the Sunday Morning.
The so called Mini-Beast From the East hit overnight. It had snowed on off all day but we weren’t really bothered by it. Now Sunday morning comes with A Roo 5:55AM wake up. So after an hour I thought I’d assess the Beasts damage but I could tell from our small window. I ran up to the car as we needed a few bits. Wow that was it, I left out of the back door to the car park and it was like I was on an expedition to the North Pole with David Attenbourgh. Wind blowing the snow everywhere, just white for all to see. I’ve not seen snow drifts round a car before but there it was. Now I’m getting worried, anxious about our day ahead. How was I going to get the car safely down to road, this hotel is up a bendy sloped road. All that was running through my head was me spinning off in an action movie style crash but crashing with my wife and rainbow baby son in the car. Right now I just wanted to batten down the hatches and camp out at the hotel. In my head all I can see is the worst thing happening and that is losing my son and my wife. I’ve already gone through the unthinkable and lost Poppy. Knowing how wrong things can suddenly go just means that I can’t think the same way I used to about things. No matter how crazy i make the situation out to be.
I feel awful and heartbroken that I couldn’t protect Poppy from the pain she suffered. Now all I want to do is project Roo but now all I seem to do is raise my anxiety levels and i go over the top about things. Now after calming down and actually thinking things through I slow came away from the idea of hunkering down in the hotel for another night. Emily as always was amazing and really does help me to see how crazy my worrying can be sometimes. Now she gets the worry over Roo as he is so special to us. But she also knows that I can really go overboard with it, i can take it the the extreme and at times just need my head banging against a wall.
I have no idea why I can suddenly worry over certain things, maybe that Sunday morning it was just it being our first night away from home. The fear of not being able to get Roo home hit me. We never got to take Poppy home and I think that must have played some part in my anxiety. It was a big deal while we were in hospital after Roo was born. Writing this down, that anxiety sounds realistic after losing a child. Now the fear of being snowed in and spinning my car sounds a little crazy.
All it took was talking the issue out with Emily and just assessing things as they come rather than having my mind picture all the worst case situations. Walking through the issue and just saying we can see how it is and decided our safest plan stopped me worrying. Feeling in control of the situation was nice and I think some of the anxiety you get parenting after loss does come from the out of control situation you had previously. I just feel like an idiot at times with how crazy my anxiety can be. I know parenting after a loss was going to be hard but at times I can just seem to be over worrying about things that when you sit down and talk them through can be sorted and aren’t that bigger deal.
The ripples of losing Poppy still surface and they are always going to be around. The truth is that parenting after loss can be and is a very anxious thing. But I think the best thing I can do is rather than say something outlandish that is driven by my fear; is just to talk it through with someone. Mainly my wife as she gets it all she gets the worry I’m going through because she is too.
It is so easy for someone to say not to worry but until you lose a child you can’t really get into the head space of a parent looking after a rainbow baby. Worrying is part and parcel of being a parent but sadly parenting after loss just takes it to a whole new level.
Having lost Poppy I know that despite all the statistics things can go wrong and it doesn’t matter who you are. That just means that there are going to be times when I worry and I over complicate situations because I’ve jumped to the worse case already, I slowly need to find away to deal with it. I don’t want to be the crazy over protective parent with Roo. I want him to go out and learn that when you fall you just need to get up again and dust yourself down. I know that it is going to hard to do that. I worry about him being ok for the rest of his life. I stilll feel like someone is going to come round and take him back. I’m not used to bringing my baby home.
Safe to say we got home safely from the baby show and I’m now chilling on bed while Emily, Roo and Holly are asleep. The worst didn’t happen and I need to try to not get so crazy worried about things, I know that is easy to say and I know I’ll worry about Roo. I feel so strongly that I need to keep him safe where I failed Poppy. Now I know deep deep down I didn’t fail Poppy, it was out of my control but I’m her Daddy. I should have protected her because that’s what parents do and I couldn’t. This is the heartbreaking reality of parenting after loss, the anxiety, the over complication of events because it is still so painful and heartbreaking that you’ve got a baby missing
Two people massively help my anxiety and worry:
My amazing wife
And this awesome dude