Time has helped to heal, writing has helped get my emotions out of my spinning head, Jesus has brought me peace, but my heart will forever ache, and my brain has been impacted. I think I will always feel broken, different, changed. To those that have followed my journey, I have been very transparent about my broken heart, but I am not sure if I have fully expressed in the recent years the impact of the tragedy of loss of a child has had on facets of my life that you may not think about.
I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as I imagine most of my fellow mommas and daddies in loss do, and I am sure it impacts us all in our own unique ways. It haunted me hourly at first, and has slowly over time lessened. I thought with the lessening, the haunting and impacts on my brain would eventually go away. It has not. When it comes in a wave, the water rushes over me, I panic. I try hard to get to the surface, and as soon as I do, I run from the water, wanting to leave it quickly. The sensation of that feeling is so unsettling. For me, it is not just sadness, but often irrational fear. In just the past few weeks I am learning I need to sit with it, grab a floatie, and calmly ride the waves. I need to understand it. I need to process the panic and fear for what it is, instead of retreating. Running from it has not helped to heal my brain patterns. I started counseling again to help me process much of this, and I haven't even dove deep in to these issues yet there, but just the act of getting help has made me more introspective about my feelings.
The week before Koen's death, I didn't feel quite right. I made multiple calls to the on-call doctors that week, and it was just believed that what I was experiencing was typical. But it was not typical for pregnancy, what I was feeling was Koen dying inside of me. The guilt of that. The weight of that. The what if's. If I don't feel well now in my normal life, I panic, and become knowingly irrational. God bless Kevin and my care provider, both of whom are incredibly patient with me. I sat with that panic this month, instead of escaping it as quick as possible. I have finally put together some of the pieces of my brain wiring. My PTSD has me needing to immediately determine the cause of my ailments, delaying that determination, for me, means death. And because my body is no longer a home for a baby, in my brain it means my death. Leaving my boys motherless is more than my panicked brain can bear and it leaves me spiraling.
This feels incredibly raw to share, I think I am more comfortable sharing my broken heart, than my mental broken-ness. But tragic loss not only breaks your heart, but parts of your brain as well. My prayer is that facing this fear head on and having a greater understanding will help me to rewire the paths my brain takes when those waves come roaring at me. I want to stop fighting the waves, and self-talk my way on to a floatie, ride them until they calm and the hope filled rainbow appears.
(Thanks to my dear friend, B, for sharing this "Waves" meme this week and giving me the visual I needed).
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I am Jackie.