As I get ready to give birth to my second man-child, my spirit has been racked with emotion. Heavy waves of emotion. Tears. Feelings of having lost and failed my oldest son before he had even truly began his life. “He’s only two and I lost him!” Was the hopeless feeling that I couldn’t shake. Where did this awful feeling come from? It started last week with a horrible dream about him passing on. In the dream, my husband and I were already aware that he was “leaving” so it was as if we were prepared for it. The day finally comes, and I remember holding my son in my arms telling him “It’s okay. You be a good boy” as if he was going on a trip. He hugged me back with not a look of fear on his face but finality. As whomever led him by the hand and they suddenly are out of the scene, was the point where I LOST it! I cried harder than I ever could, my body shaking from the sobs. I held onto something to keep me from falling as the realization that my son was gone hit my very soul, I was DONE! I woke up in bed, my son in the middle, my husband snoring loudly on the opposite side of him. I just gazed at the sleeping toddler, happy that it was truly just a dream but then just as suddenly, tears welled up in my eyes. Then a tear rolled down my face. My breathing became labored. And more tears followed until I realized I was sobbing- in silence. I didn’t want to wake my husband and worry him so I cried hard- in silence. Scenes that I could remember from the dream played back in my mind as I tried to figure out, trying to make sense of what happened to my son. I cried because I lost him, but I assumed it was death, but maybe it wasnt? Maybe, he was pulling away from me and I lost him as a little boy who is now becoming his own little man? Was he unhappy with me as his mother? These questions made me cry harder, especially the latter. Was I doing a good job of being mother to my son? I give him hugs and kisses everyday, we both do, but as a mother was I doing enough? More tears.
I eventually got up and headed to my prayer space to help alleviate me of this awful feeling of unaccomplishment and sorrow. I prayed heavily to God for peace and asked Him why was I feeling this way and to help me get past it. Throughout that day, I kept my mind off the dream as much as possible by putting up a veneer of smiles for my son and husband, but every so often my mind would drift back to the dream- the point where my son is being led away- and tears would well up. I quickly thought of anything but that and the tears stopped building. I didn’t want to distress my family by my distressed nature. That was the least I could do, I thought.
The next morning(in the wee hours before dawn), as I laid in bed, not being able to go back to sleep (cuz, you know pregnancy robs a woman of many comforts), the thoughts of hopelessness and inadequacy found their way back into my brain. I laid there stewing in negativity, trying to abstractly dissect my emotions. Was I just sleep deprived or was the new pregnancy creating fantastical dreams as it sometimes did? ” No, I’m not worthless.” “Yes, you are. You can’t even bring yourself to take your son outside to the playground.” “But, I’m so tired. My body is not able to keep up with his energy.” And scenarios of me falling asleep on the couch while he’s glued to the television watching the same movie or show popped into my brain. Was I stunting his development by using the television as a “teacher”? Was I neglecting his person by using the Pixar characters of Moana, Nemo, Dory, Lightening McQueen as “babysitters”? What kind of child was he going to grow up to be if he was “ruined” at 2 years old? I felt my chest getting tight and got up to go pray. When I got to my space, I bawled hard and silently of course, and asked God again to alleviate my feelings of pain. Now this became pain, not inadequacy, not worthlessness, but actual pain.
I petitioned Him, pleading Him for help to stop feeling like this, to stop agreeing with myself that I was a horrible mother. As I prayed hard, I felt some peace and went to lay back down putting on my spiritual Spotify playlist aptly titled “Lift Me Up”. Eventually I was lulled back to slumber. All that day, I was in the clear and I thanked God for hearing my prayers.
Fast forward a couple of days later, my husband and I decided to play his new game he received in the mail. It was the Sims 4 which we used to love to play. We made our avatars as closely related to us as possible(because we are corny like that). My husband noticed that they had added a feature of genetics for couples where you can put the two of you together and create an offspring. The idea was so cute and fascinating, until my husband activated it and the little boy who popped up on my television screen was a splitting image of our human son. We were able to choose his demeanor which was playful (He’s like this in real life too) and dress him up, his toddler laugh was a mirror, and the avatar was his splitting image. Tears, heavy and ready to burst forth behind my glasses. My chest felt tight and my lip began to quiver. I WAS A MESS!! My husband saw the look of anguish on my face and I just told him “I’m pregnant, it happens” but he didn’t believe me. I just told him to leave me alone. I went to bed and actually had no problems sleeping, but I had developed a slight aversion to the fun loving game because my husband and I were providing a better life by simulation than in real life, this was my thought process- I’ve failed.
I ended up receiving a phone call one day from my best friend and told him how I had been feeling due to the dream( I never went into its details). My best friend and I are both empathic and are learning about dreams and discerning their content. He told me straight up “you don’t want your children to have the childhood you had”. Simple? Yes. But I didn’t even consider that. It’s funny how it takes someone else to help you sort your items. He also said that if he had kids he probably would feel the same way. That most parents that want best for their kids feel this way. I was feeling anxieties that I was screwing up before I even got a chance to screw up. I was studying my son to see if I had scarred him in any way and he showed no signs, so why was I buggin’? Because it’s what and how I do unfortunately.
Fast forward again to last night and my hsuband and I are buidling our ideal Sims 4 home. It was fun decorating the rooms and making decisions ( in real life this would cause me huge headache and I would walk away). When my husband announced we were finished and I saw the ideal room for own son, tears again! I saw him sitting in that room having fun and I lost it!! My husband saw the distress and my ever quivering bottom lip and embraced me in a hug. And I hugged him tightly. He reassured me that we would reach that goal of homeowners one day, and that our son was happy no matter what I thought. While I processing what my husband said, I felt arms hugging my leg and it was my son. That hug let me know that he was okay, but that he also felt my emotion. It’s truly powerful the bond between mother and child. And then he looked at me and made a funny face which lightened my mood, substantially.
So as I write this, I’ve come to the understanding that because being #introvertedlyhuman, beating ourselves up is a requirement in order to interpret our reality. We can’t just take things for face value, we have to dissect it, evaluate it, and sometimes stew in our negative “reality” before we come to the actual realization. It’s a tedious process but it’s how introverts think- by overthinking.
I haven’t broken my son, nor have I failed him. Nor will I break or fail my next son. But what I come to realize is that how a person was raised can affect their thinking process when they become a parent. My home life was stressful growing up(my parents constantly broke up and reconciled and I became the “adult” figure to my 3 younger siblings, which I didn’t want to be) and it taught me that I never wanted my adult life to mimic those days. I want the best for my boys and sometimes there will be days when we can’t give them what we dream, but we can give them the hope that they need in order for them to get that dream fulfilled. It will be okay!
Matt 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow…”
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything…let your requests be known to God”
Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in how he should go…he will not depart from it”