When I was pregnant and we found out that my pregnancy was high risk and that Luna Bell as probably going to have some challenges when she was born, I went into survival mode. I was only about keeping myself and my baby safe. I didn’t want certain people around me or things or noises or stresses around me, for fear that it would in any way put me into labor early or in any way put my baby at risk. When she was born and did have challenges, more than I could have ever imagined, those four months she was in the hospital made me toughen up more than I ever thought I could.
But with that toughening, and the fear of what was happening with my baby girl, I put a wall up around me. It was high and made of concrete and reenforced with rebar made of fear, helplessness, exhaustion and anger. And I started to push everyone away. I didn’t reach out for the help and support I really needed, and I felt a loneliness that I didn’t even realize until many months had gone by. This wasn’t anyone’s fault, I didn’t feel this way because of anything anyone did, it was because of my old habit of hiding myself away and trying to deal with my stress, anxiety, pain and fear all on my own. I tried to let Kevin in as much as I could, mostly because we were both going through the same thing, the same trauma, and the same insane schedules and lack of sleep. We were the only ones that really understood and it felt like he was the only one I could be real with.
I think that my anger at god, the universe, my age, the guy who cut me off in traffic, hardened me. I became resentful and jealous and wanted everyone around me to feel the depth of the pain I was feeling. It thought it would have lifted once Luna Bell came home, but I think it intensified when I had to go back to work. I was resentful of Kevin having his best friend near by and every moment he spent with him away from me and the baby and I was sad that I didn’t have my closest friends nearby.
Over the past two years much has happened to change me. Becoming a mother, working full time and feeling like I’m abandoning my daughter everyday, the intense way Luna Bell came into the world and how challenging her first two years were and on top of all of that COVID for the past year. I wish I would have spent more time being grateful for everything that was good, instead on focusing so much energy on the negative. And it was that realization that prompted me to focus on the good in this new year. The expectation that the preverbal shoe will drop has to be set aside, because it’s an exhausting way to live.
I also realized that when I expect to be disappointed by someone, that is a great way to ensure disappointment to come my way. So I’m trying to be trusting again, and not look for the worst in people or imagine the worst, because that is typically when the worst comes around. I’m trying to break habits of sometimes self imposed anxiety and the same fight over and over and I’m trying to be grateful for the amazing things I have in this life. Amazing boyfriend, superhero daughter, good job, friends I love more than anything and an amazing extended family.
There are still people and things that I don’t want near me or my family, and for good reason, but I’m no longer letting these people who don’t matter live rent free in my head. In true Scorpio fashion, I will ruin them if they hurt my family, but until then, I don’t give them any of my valuable time thinking about them.
I still feel guilt when I leave every morning to go to work, and I miss Luna Bell every minute of the day and feel like I’m missing out on all the good stuff. And I feel like I could always be doing more or better as a mother, but I know she’s safe with her dad and that he is taking really good care of her and that she will be ok.
This year, I’m not going to let fear get the best of me. I’m going to live every moment with appreciation for what I have, who I have in my life, and how lucky I am to still have everyone I love still with me. Over this past year, we’ve all been scared of the destructive path that COVID has taken across so many lives. A year later and over 500,000 families are dealing with the tragic, unnecessary loss of someone they loved dearly. If this past year has taught us anything, it should be to live life to the fullest, hold those we love close and believe in the science! So as we get vaccinated (I’ve had my two doses!) and the world starts to open up a little bit at a time, maybe we’ll look at things with different eyes. That dinner out for the first time in a year will be a little more special, the first time you see friends or family you haven’t seen in a year will be even sweeter than all the other times you’ve seen them before. And when there is finally a concert to go to, I know that I will dance harder and clap and scream louder than ever before, because of everything we missed due to a pandemic and for everyone that didn’t make it out the other side to see things go back to a little more normal.
The sun is starting to break through the clouds that have been so heavy and dark for the past couple of years. Breathing is getting easier and saying what I really need is getting easier too. I’m starting to trust again; not just others, but myself too. I’m starting to find my confidence and trust in it so that I can make the changes I need to make to do what is best for my family.
Nothing is every perfect, or the way you think it will be, or how you want it to be, but I think that letting go of the fear and believing in yourself and your instincts and your heart will get you a lot closer to the way you want things to be. I’m trying to take this to heart everyday and live in hope and love and not fear anymore. My daughter and boyfriend are healthy and safe and here. My daughter grows stronger and bigger every day and continues to amaze me with how far she’s come. For those of you in the beginning of a NICU stay with your new baby or the struggles that come with finally bringing them home and figuring out how their issues, no matter how small, figure into everyday life, I can tell you there is light at the end of the scary, dark, sometimes very long tunnel. My little girl is proof of that. My family has struggled and been through the worst of it, but here we are; together, stronger, and full of love. No more room for fear, no more room for doubt or anger this year. I choose a new attitude.