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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

parenting after loss > Anxiety over other kids

I have always carried health anxiety for myself, which transferred over to worry about my kids health. Then my baby died from birth defects and I don't know how to climb out of this. The bad and scary thing happened to us and now I know we really are susceptible. That we aren't protected. That things can and do happen. I figure my other kids will not have perfect health; they already do have things we are watching or aware of. I just don't know how to get out from the down spiral of the worst possible scenario. That I'm going to have another sick or dying child. That I'll be further alienated from the rest of the world. That I'll lose whatever sanity I have. I worry all the time. I know I am missing out on being present and it's not fair to my kids. But I'm always scared. And I feel as if I'm just buying time til the next disaster, and if I just focus on something bad happen I won't be blindsided like last time. I know this all sounds mentally unsound. But recognizing that doesn't stop me from the anxiety. Sometimes I wonder, is this all their is?
June 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElaina
My family called that feeling of worry and dread "waiting for the other shoe to drop." I was always expecting a life and death crisis, in a life and death crisis or recovering from a life and death crisis. For years. Sometimes it was life, sometimes it was death. After a long while though, in addition to expecting, being in or recovering from a crisis, I became okay. I became either okay or going to be okay. I lost most of the fear of "I cannot do this." Because I could. Hating it, maybe, crying usually and lots of complaining always! I was fortunate, because though loved ones died, I did not lose any of my other children. Came close, but it all worked out okay. I found that nothing in life was ever as bad as I anticipated after my daughter died. As bad as things could get, that was the worst.

Fear and worry are not all of life. Balance does come back. I found it a fragile balance, but still enough to know that sometimes, life was good.

I wish that for you, too, Elaina. Peace.
June 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
Elaina, this is all normal. It helped me to know this! I had massive anxiety after losing Shelby.... that I was going to die, that my living children were going to die, my husband was going to die. My head would play out all these terrible scenarios and I would have to imagine how I would cope. Eventually only counselling and time eased these thoughts and worries. I'm more than 4 years out from our loss now (with 2 rainbow sons
and an older daughter) and although my head sometimes tries to go down that anxious path of "what if" I am usually able to redirect it before it gets carried away. There are techniques you can learn to help with this so if you don't have a counsellor maybe consider finding one who can help? it's exhausting to try and manage these thoughts every day otherwise.

It helped me so much to know I wasn't alone in the way I was thinking after we lost Shelby so I hope you know so many of us feel the same way. x
July 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum