Someone I spoke to about Lenny’s death before Bhai died shared with me some of her journey with IVF. One of the comments she made which stuck with me is that we have so little control over the whole of fertility, pregnancy and childbirth.
We can’t “hard work” our way through it.
This lack of control is something I have really felt since Lenny died. It felt like the ultimate example of how unpredictable life (and death) can be. A perfect pregnancy, I even happened to have a positioning scan at 38 weeks which showed his growth etc was perfect, an easy labour. He was born and then he died. No one in that room thought he was going to die. I’ve checked. Were they all really that great at having a poker face or did no one call it!? – no one thought it would happen. And no they didn’t miss any signals or signs – we have had numerous reports confirming exactly what we thought. Lenny died in an unpredictable tragic accident and everyone did everything they possibly could to save him.
In the early weeks and months after Lenny died I struggled with anxiety, particularly around death. I was preoccupied that loved ones could die. I couldn’t bare being apart from Roy. I felt a heightened sense of worry when driving or cycling. A really unlikely tragic event happened to us – what else could be around the corner? I don’t really know when this faded but it did.
When I was pregnant with Bhai I was obviously more anxious than I was with Lenny – I just knew too much. But, I wasn’t preoccupied with dread and terror and I increasingly grew in confidence. At each appointment everything was going perfectly well. Then suddenly we lost him. Unexpectedly. Out of the blue. All the medics assured and reassured and triple assured that it was nothing we did. Also there was nothing that they could do at 18 weeks. No control. And whilst we still don’t know the cause what we do know is this is completely independent of Lenny’s death.
I can’t hard work my way out of this. I followed every bit of guidance, I have a good diet, I’m a healthy weight, I don’t drink or smoke etc etc etc. Like sooooo many women I did everything I was told. But we have no control over this. I don’t have any medical conditions which we need to treat. This is another lightning bolt. A slightly less rare lightning bolt but a lightning bolt nevertheless.
During my Social Work Masters a lecturer described how uncertainty is what causes stress. It’s so true. We tend to manage this stress by trying to limit this uncertainty but since our boys died I really wonder – when there is so much randomness – how much choice or control do we really have? We tend to simplify everything down to cause and effect, it makes things simpler. When good things happen to us we justify it by saying we deserve it and when shit things happen we often look to attribute blame. I am horrified by the number of people who have suggested that I am somehow to blame for my sons’ deaths or that this is a higher beings ‘will,’ – one a side note to the ‘everything happens for a reason’ crew – you wouldn’t say that if it were your kids who were dead ffs.
I’ve noticed how difficult people find it to even fathom Lenny’s death. How can something so rare and tragic happen out of the blue? A few people wanted to be angry at the medics but we explained they did nothing wrong. People just find it so hard to accept that awful things just…… happen. I get it! He’s my son and for what it’s worth I will never accept it. It is harder to fathom that his brother has also died – two random shit events. We just can’t rationalise everything.
What do we do now though with the knowledge that random bad things happen to (reasonably good) people? My brother has a theory that so many unlikely bad things keep happening that a frozen poo could fall from a plane and become embedded in my head. He made me do a small chuckle about this on one of my worst days of my life. The chance of that happening seems ridiculous but then when you consider what has actually happened it seems way less ridiculous or even likely.
I don’t feel the same level of anxiety as I did when Lenny died. Maybe I’m just more accustomed to terrible things happening for no reason. Or maybe I’ve slowly become more accepting of my lack of control?
I can’t keeping looking up for the frozen plane poo because I might miss things that are right in front of me. I have to live my life with all the uncertainty and risks. At the end of the day if the frozen plane poo does get me I’m n going to feel any better about it because I saw or predicted it would happen. If anything I would wish I soaked up everything I could before the plane poo was embedded in my head. So ….. I can’t keep checking the sky. I’ve got a life to live, one day at a time (sometimes one second at the moment) but I won’t be living it in fear.