Fatalistic

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm not sure how many of you know that I would have an older brother. Philip died when he was 18 months old. My Mom had a very traumatic delivery, in which the umbilical cord was wrapped around my brother's neck. Unfortunately this was not known and when the doctor failed to arrive, the nurse refused to let my Mom push, physically closing her legs. Every second that the birth was delayed caused irreparable damage to my brother. In an effort to cover his own behind, the doctor told my Mom that she had a hereditary disease and that she should abort every child to follow {as a healthy baby would refute his diagnosis}.

Philip suffered brain damage and had terrible seizures, and for his short life traveled much of the country as my parents sought out specialists of the disease only to have them waiver from confirming the diagnosis. When he died my parents only consolation for the future was that there was no mention of the disease on the autopsy, the closest that they ever got to confirmation. As a result, my brother and myself were my Mom's miracles. For several years she thought she could never have children again. The decision to get pregnant after Philip's death and subsequent instruction to abort was a nightmare for my Mom up until the moment I was delivered. She didn't know if they had bet the farm on the wrong hand, that the diagnosis was false.

Growing up I always felt that I lived in my brother's shadow. And as a child {err, even teenager}, my mind could not comprehend how my Mom hadn't gotten over it. In the time since Isaac, I've near about been in tears several times at the thought of my insensitivity. To me 18 months meant he was a barely here, to my Mom . . . those 18 months was his life, encapsulated in a term far less than anticipated.

I was very resentful of this brother I never knew. To say that I was a sheltered child with an over-protective mother is laughable. Those words do not even convey my childhood and teenage years. If I had a penny {literally penny} for every time I was not allowed to do something, or in rare cases allowed to but knew what a wreck my Mom was in allowing me, I would honestly be rich. I just never understood. There was no way for me to.

Entering motherhood has obviously shaken my entire world upside down. In any aspect that I am able to reflect on my perception has been skewed. I empathize more than I previously felt possible. Tony and I watch the news before bed most every night . . . now resulting in tears at least once a week, as I listen to horror stories of children {4 month old run over, 7 week old homicide of blunt force trauma to the abdomen} to adults, just grieving for them or their parents.

I am truly my Mother's daughter now. Most every day occurrences makes me stop and think twice. I pause for the extra kiss {even when irritated, which has been lately} and slobber my baby cheeks with them as well. I think a lot now about Tony dying, myself dying or Isaac dying. It's very morbid and extremely unlike me. In regards to Tony, I think of my reaction, the coping. In terms of myself, I think of how life would go on and in terms of Isaac I think of ways to protect him.

Even the simple act of visiting AJ in Wisconsin was not without these fatalistic thoughts. In traveling across the border I had to cross the lift bridge in Stilwater. Being that the 35W bridge collapse was only 2 years ago and that there have been several mishaps on this bridge resulting in death, it's no wonder that I am uneasy crossing bridges . . . but knowing that my baby is strapped into a device meant to save him in a vehicle that would surely sink? The thought nearly has me hyperventilating sitting at my desk now!

And so I did what anyone would, I floored it across until we were safe again.

18 comments:

Dee said...

I dont like crossing bridges either. Literally and figuratively.

Great post. Its amazing what being a mother does.

hopeful #1 said...

That feeling has to be like none other. I bet you are even more grateful for your mom now that you have become a mother and can understand what it's like... growing up sure sheads light on the things your parents did for you, doesn't it!?!!?

Thanks for sharing all of this! I know that it's completely life changing and I love to hear how you continue to adapt.

Lisa said...

Leah, I am so sorry about your older brother. And, I can only imagine how being a mother now has changed your perception of the circumstances and your mom's. I, too, feel so blessed that I sometimes find myself waiting for the bottom to drop out - for the tragedy in our lives to overtake us. But, I continue to be grateful for every single blessing, love my husband and unborn child everyday, and pray for God to watch over us. So, while it may be somewhat morbid, I can totally relate to your thoughts.

Meredith said...

I can totally relate Leah. My mom lost a baby at birth prior to me under scarily similar circumstances, and I never understood (until recently) why she was STILL sad on what would have been my older sister's birthday. I remember thinking to myself, "Hundreds of women have miscarriages and lost babies...and you don't see them still so sad about it."

I had no idea. And I feel so badly about it now.

julie said...

Wow, what a story. But it is amazing the thoughts that come your way when you become a mother. You are responsible for someone else now, so what if something happens to you? I have thought that a couple of times just in the last 10 days. I am glad I am not the only one.

Sarah Denley said...

Oh gosh, Leah, so sorry about your brother. I am TERRIFIED about something happening to Ann Peyton. I actually just posted on my blog about it the other day. I don't know becoming a Momma is so scary, sometimes. My mom had multiple miscarriages and a stillbirth before me and were also very overprotective. It doesn't sound like they were to the extent your mom was, but it was a definite part of my childhood. I remember calling and begging my dad to let me jump on a friends trampoline every time i went to that friend's house. I promised i would just jump, no flips. He always sad no, and I never disobeyed. But it wasn't easy! I understand so much better now that I'm a mommy!

Anita said...

I know how much of a wreck I am when Joe rides his motorcycle and forgets to call me when he's arrived somewhere. I am always terrified that he's lying in a ditch somewhere, a victim of an unfortunate accident because someone failed to see/hear him on his bike. I can't even imagine what motherhood (someday) will do to this gut reaction.

Q, La, and Gooner said...

Oh wow, I am sorry about your brother.I at times am overcome with worry, but God knows what he is doing and we have little control in some areas.I trust that my husband will be safe on the road every day to work and that my baby continues to breathe! I prefer to leave their lives in that hands of the creator.

Stephanie said...

I got a few fatalistic thoughts after getting married in regards to myself or Jason dying and what would happen afterward. I can't imagine how bad I would be after becoming a mother. Cherish each moment!

Julia said...

wow, what a story about Philip. I can't imagine your mother's heartache and I'm glad you can empathize with her now after being a mom.

I think irrationally a lot, too, imagining bridges collapsing or people I love getting into car accidents, etc. There is absolutely no reason behind this negative way of thinking for me except that I have a flair for the dramatic side:) And I'm a worrier, go figure.

AJ said...

And don't forget to roll down the window a bit when you cross the lift bridge, either!

Amber said...

Thanks for sharing. I have a brother who has special needs and I have always felt like I've lived in his shadow. Thanks for always being so honest!

Sassy and Classy Southern Mrs. said...

Your post always make me think about the bigger things in life and not the small petty things that I worry about. You always say exactly what I need to hear. Thanks for sharing.

Katie said...

I now know too, how my mother felt. I wonder how any child could talk back to their parent now after everything they went through.

I also have those horrible thoughts. Glad to know I'm not alone. It would be nice if they would go away though.

Wanderluster said...

I'm so sorry to hear what your mom went through, Leah. I too had trouble understanding the things my mom did or said, that is until I became a mom myself. And I know that the day will come when my daughter will say hurtful, insensitive things to me but I will keep my hurt feelings inside and love her just the same and pray that someday that she will be lucky enough to become a mother herself.

I think about death more than ever now, too. Part of being a mom ;)

Rachel said...

I know what you mean, even though I didn't have my mom lose a child, I often wondered how just a few weeks with a child could really feel that long... every SECOND you are a mom is incredible. The thought of losing him after one night with him was incomprehensible.

I'm sorry for your moms sake that you are only now understanding what your mom felt, but I'm glad for your sake you can sympathize more with her.

Shannon said...

What a sad and moving story. I can't imagine going through what your mother, or any who has lost a child, has to go through. And I don't even have any kiddos yet! But I'm a natural worrier and I have a tendency to imagine horrible things happening. I guess a positive outcome is that you have a little more awareness of how life is fleeting. Excellent post!

Leah said...

Awww. This post made me sad. Now that I'm a mother, I can't imagine losing even one day with my child. What a touching story about your family.

 

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