Terror. Pure, unadulterated terror at the thought of the direction life might be taking. There is no other way to describe how a parent feels when they think they might be losing their child.
I’m one of the lucky ones; my little girl came back.
It was just a simple febrile seizure, they said. They’re very common in little ones my daughter’s age. They strike suddenly, are terrifying for a few moments, and then are gone without a trace: no permanent damage, no reason to fear a repeat. For us it happened last Friday; she was back to her normal self an hour or two later. But nearly an entire week later, and I am still not there.
How do you overcome what it does to a momma’s heart when she’s felt her one-year-old go stiff and then completely limp in her arms? How do you move on after watching your precious baby’s little lips turn blue? How do you reject the fear that lingers around your heart after calling your first born’s name over and over again with no response? Part of me fears that you don’t, and I’m sure that’s partially true.
Everyone said that having a baby changes you, and everyone was certainly correct. What most are fortunate enough to not know is that losing or almost losing your baby changes you, too. I loved her with all my heart last Thursday and told her so fifty times a day; today that love is double what it was then, and I tell her so a hundred times a day. After a tragedy or a “near miss,” you hug your little one a little tighter, rock a little extra, and put off chores just a little longer in the name of playtime and books and snuggles. Seeing the latest photo posted to Instagram or checking how many likes your most recent Facebook update generated become cares of the past. You maybe even lose patience a little less and find that never going to the bathroom alone isn’t such a bad thing after all.These are all good responses and changes that I can live with and even welcome.
But the waking up multiple times each night just to check on her and make sure she’s a comfortable temperature? The need to frantically call her name when she falls asleep in her car seat because what if she’s not just sleeping? The twice daily (at least) temperature checks even though I know she hasn’t had a fever in days? The fear that we’re not really out of the woods yet or that we’ll just be sucked right back into the darkness? It’s these changes and more that I hope are temporary.
And I’m not hoping that they pass just because they’re exhausting and make me feel like a crazy helicopter mom. I hope they pass because I know that, as a Daughter of the King, I was created for more than fear and worry. I am no longer a slave but an heir (Galatians 4:7). I was not given a spirit of fear but of power (2 Timothy 1:7). And, above all, if I can’t trust our Father with my girl, do I really think I can do any better?
My head knows these truths, and my heart once knew them, too. The trouble is that my heart seems to have temporary amnesia. The worry and the fear are still there; they’re still my current reality.
But I’m not alone, even in the fears, and I know that His hand will guide me through this, too. Just like He had my baby in His arms in her scariest moment, He’ll not drop me in my most frightened.