I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 10 months processing the trauma of losing Brady. Weekly appointments with a therapist, grief support groups, grief hours, journaling, and, of course, blogging. Losing a child is a horrific, unnatural kind of loss. Even if I you haven’t experienced it yourself, I probably don’t have to tell you this. What I have started to realize is that I haven’t scratched the surface of processing some of the other traumas I’ve experienced. The fact that a significant date is looming, less than 2 months away, is making this all the more clear.
I know it’s completely normal to focus on the biggest trauma first, so what I’m doing isn’t weird. When your child dies, it’s really hard to see past that trauma to examine anything else. It also doesn’t mean those other traumas aren’t bubbling right underneath the surface. Getting so sick with HELLP syndrome would have been traumatic itself, without our extra-traumatic end result. Sure, I’m alive (and “lucky” in that sense), but there’s a lot of fear when I think about the possibilities of this happening again.
My case was severe. It happened super fast. It occurred very early in my pregnancy. I’m grateful that I was in the hospital and under the care of competent physicians when I got critically sick. If it were to happen again, what if I’m not that “lucky”? This class of pregnancy-related complications tend to be more common in first pregnancies, but occasionally, things actually get worse in subsequent pregnancies. What if I’m one of those people?
The problem is that there is no way of knowing what camp you fall into without rolling the dice and trying again. One of my mom friends compared pregnancy after loss to the definition of insanity – doing the same thing and expecting a different result. We do have one little thing to do differently. We’ll have baby aspirin in our pocket this time. That’s been shown to reduce the risk of recurrence in some cases, but there are no guarantees. I can’t help but fear that I’m one of the ones it won’t help.
I know these fears are all completely normal. There are potentially lives on the line, so it would probably be less normal if I wasn’t afraid. I know that there’s no magic cure to this fear. There will always be extra fear associated with pregnancies for me. Even if we were to get a “successful” one under our belts, the fear will remain. My therapist asked me this week if the fear is bad enough to prevent me from wanting to try again, and so far, it’s not. I still have a little bit of hope on reserve. I’m hopeful that we can have a better result the next time, or the answer to that question would be “yes.”