Start: Right Here, Right Now

by Fawn Rechkemmer on January 13, 2014

Mommy and Jemma

When I was given the prompt of “start” to use this month, many things went through my mind. But, the one that sticks with me the most is the emotions I will be going through this month. After a horrible nightmare that my family went through a year ago, this month has brought with it many unsettling and scary emotions. So, I am going to use that word, start, to go through the emotions of a mother who went through a traumatic experience… and how to heal from it. I promise they won’t all be sad and “down”. This is just the start of my journey.

At the start of the year I was starting to panic. I can not fathom the thought of seeing my baby in the hospital again. I can’t even think about what it would be like if she became ill. I have flashbacks of her on the ventilator, of her receiving CPR, of the horrible day we nearly lost her.

People say “just get over it” or “she is healthy so why are you so upset?”. Let me be the one to tell you this… you NEVER get over a physician telling you that your child may not live. You never get over seeing your baby die in front of you. It doesn’t happen. So, as much as I want to get over it, that isn’t going to happen. Telling me how unhealthy it is to remember her that way only helps me to hide those feelings more. That is why I was getting more and more anxious and depressed at the start of the year.

I was starting to feel stress from other people not understanding my feelings, and using that to fuel any fear and anxiety I was having about Jemma. I could feel my blood pressure rise. I could sense my anger becoming more erratic. My moods were a mess. I was a mess. I felt bad for how I was acting but felt unable to stop it.

I was starting to feel out of control. I need control, and as a mother that is something I feel is a constant struggle. But, with Jemma, it was completely stripped from me last year and I need to feel I have some control again. I was letting the fear control me. I was reaching for any way I can gain control over her health.

I was not starting this year off right. Despite how much my mind was telling me to let the past be in the past, my heart wanted to remind me how scary our situation was and how I can’t go through it again. With every sneeze, every cough, I worried about Jemma. Would she end up back in the hospital? Could I really live through that situation again?

Believe me, I know it is completely irrational to think that just because it is now January that things with her will change. I know that it isn’t some special thing that only happens in January. But, with each January day, I can pinpoint something that happened last year on that day that forever changed my life.

So, I started this year in fear. I started this year with anxiety. I started this year feeling desperate and worried. I need to start to think about the baby in front of me, not the one from a year ago. Jemma is a healthy 2 year old little girl with more attitude than I can usually handle. She has permanent lung damage but the truth is that she doesn’t know it and it isn’t slowing her down. I need to start seeing what is right here, right now… and I will share more about that next week.

Stefany Thode is our MOWB Blogger of the Month. Read more from Stefany every Monday in January here at MOWB and on her blog To Be Thode and website Macaroni Kids St. Peters.

Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout January 13, 2014 at 6:06 am

Stefany, congrats on joining us as Miss January. I’m so excited to get to know you. Your ordeal with your daughter sounds terrifying. My son just wandered into the parking lot at church today, totally not paying attention, and my heart beat heard for a solid hour. I can’t imagine if anything had actually happened.

Shana Norris January 14, 2014 at 9:00 am

Stefany, thanks for sharing your brave words with us.

My daughter had a near-death experience back in 2004 when she was 10. She’s 19 now but I STILL remember exactly how it felt to sit by her side in the children’s hospital and to have doctors tell me that she might never get better. We spent three weeks in Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, then another six weeks at the Rehabilitation Institute. It was indeed a nightmare.

Less than a year later, my nephew ended up in the same hospital with sepsis that stemmed from strep throat. He coded … it was awful.

Between those two things, I was a nervous, anxiety-ridden wreck by the time my second daughter was born in March, 2005. I was so scared something would happen to her while still being worried about my oldest daughter. I think a lot of people didn’t get it, but they hadn’t been where I’d been …

Hang in there – the experience you’ve had – that worst nightmare – will always color every aspect of your parenting, but it DOES get easier and it will fade into the background as time goes by.

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