Over the course of (almost) five years, in having become a mother and engaging myself in more parenting and mother related social circles – I’ve seen a lot of sad news of young babies and children passing away.
My first instinct upon seeing this news or even mention of it – was a sudden sadness and petrification – quickly followed by a relief that ‘at least it wasn’t me’.
I would read the posts, the articles and check how the children died to see if there is possibly ANYTHING that I am missing – to prevent the same from happening to me.
Fortunately (and unfortunately) – few of the stories I read were the result of ignorance, neglect or abuse. Things that are common sense and which most people have covered. Most of the time – shit just happened. Shit – that can happen to anyone, anywhere – even me. This disturbed me. Because I wanted to be in control. But there were stories of children and babies who died in their own beds. Babies and children who died co-sleeping. Babies and children who have died from vaccines. Babies and children who have died from diseases vaccines are supposed to prevent. There are many more examples. For myself, I was looking for ‘the right answer’. All the ‘right things to do’ that would eliminate my child possibly dying. But there was no ‘right answer’. There were no foolproof ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ that would absolutely guarantee the survival of my child.
I worked myself up to the brink of a panic attack.
I sat myself down, because I knew this can’t go on. I can’t live on the edge, constantly watching out and monitoring every single things my child does or eats.
On a rational level I understood that – shit happens. That you can take all the precautions you want, things can still go wrong. I understood that the only way to prevent my child from ever dying, was to never have birthed him in the first place. Death is inevitable.
I stopped and looked at it all again. What is the point?
Am I being careless somewhere and this is how it’s showing up to me, through paranoia?
I looked at how I approach things. No, I’m not being careless. I could even tune down on the control and monitoring and have a bit more ‘careless’ in the mix.
So what’s the point. Why am I so hooked on this?
Judgment. Fear. Failure.
Aha – now I was getting somewhere.
I didn’t want to be ‘that mom who lost her child’. ‘That mom whose child died’. In my (subconscious) eyes, that translated into being a failed mom. That ‘I must have done something wrong’. The ultimate humiliation and embarrassment. That people would judge me, pity me and never trust me with anything again. As mentioned on our Principles page, one of the principles we apply is that of ‘as within, so without’. This also translates into ‘how I treat others is how I treat myself’ and vice versa. ‘How I see others is how I see myself’, ‘How I think others see me is how I see myself’.
As Within, so Without
Whatever I participate in inside myself, I create outside of myself. The world as it exists in its totality is the manifestation of our collective current and past acceptances and allowances. I live that which I want to see in the world, and I use the world as a mirror to see what exists in me.
So I took this experience and brought it back to myself.
I got startled.
Am I really that judgmental of myself and others? I looked back at the times I went and read up on the whole story of how a baby or child died. Yes, yes I was. My assumption, every single time, had been that ‘they must have done something wrong’. They must have done something wrong, and if I can find out what it was I can make sure I never do what they did. And as I shared earlier in this post, most of the time – the mother didn’t. When we make decisions for our children, we don’t make them out of complete certainty. We’re relying on our education, and everyone’s education varies. What one person understands under vaccines, sleeping, food, health, education, age-appropriateness, ‘danger’,… differs. Some of it emotional based, others on information. We may call it an ‘educated choice’ — but we have to be honest, they’re educated guesses. We can refer to studies and information published by others – but within ourselves, we can’t honestly say that we KNOW FOR A FACT how these things operate in their full multidimensional manifestation and interaction with everything else that exists. Even if your child suffered negative results from something – you may be inclined to say that ‘you know for a fact’ – but at the same time you can’t explain exactly WHY the same thing doesn’t negatively affect every single other child. And here I’m not referring to obvious things like ‘give your child food, water, shelter and interaction’. I’m talking about all those other things we get into heated debates about and that stir up much controversy.
Truth is, there’s very little we know ‘for fact’ – and many things we take ‘for fact’ that change or get overturned as time goes by. On a deep level, we know this. We know that we don’t know lol. But we find some kind of solace in pretending that we do. That we know what’s right. That we know we’re good people who do all the right things. The more fervently we fight to prove this righteousness, the stronger we are about our opinions and attack others for theirs, the more we’re actually showing ourselves how insecure we are about ourselves. We so goddamn hard want to be right, because we fear our own judgment, backlash, guilt and self-hatred if we were to find out that we were wrong.
Underneath all the fear of losing my child and seeing other people lose their child – what was poisoning my body and soul was the fear of losing my self-definition. The fear that, if my child dies = it invalidates my entire existence. That I’m not good enough, not worthy, inadequate, incapable, untrustworthy. What I fear the most in my child dying is myself and the experiences I will conjure up to destroy myself.