Monthly Archives: May 2010

(seemingly) #1 way to begin to heal from the loss of a child

I just saw a news story that John Travolta and Kelly Preston are having a baby. They lost their teenage son a year ago or so. Given their ages (she is 47 and he is 56) I think it is a pretty good guess that they were quite done adding to their family before they lost their son.

Now – a lot of my exposure to families losing children are neuroblastoma families and since it strikes so young, a great percentage of these families were in the middle of building their families and would have had another child or two or three regardless.

However, it has really struck me just how many families who lose a child and were previously done adding to their family make adding a new child (either naturally or through adoption) a part of their healing process.

Let me say right now I am not passing any judgment on any personal decision such as this, I am only examining it.

After Nathan and Julia we thought that we were likely done but maybe not. New Years Eve (day) 2004 we decided to have another child. Nathan was in remission and it seemed the thing to do. I would say his illness and possible death did factor into the equation; but not significantly.

So – after Nathan died, I would say that there WAS an emotional or biological urge in me to have another baby. It seemed like a bright spot, like a hopeful thing to do, like a distraction almost. However, the practical part of me knew that we were done having babies. Having a baby was not the right thing for my marriage, for my body, for my emotional well-being and general life plan. It was tempting though. It seemed like one of those things that if it “just happened” would work out but to me that seemed irresponsible. Kind of like a child who knows they shouldn’t do something and yet they really want to and so they do it and there are some consequences but they get what they want and the trouble blows over.

I can only imagine the basket case I would be as a pregnant mom and mom of a newborn. First, there are all the things that can go wrong in pregnancy and there is SIDS and then a whole ‘nother kid to worry if every fever or dark circles under the eyes indicate cancer. (Lauren has a very low-grade fever today and is tired and I am imagining a cancer diagnosis and going off to New York….my mind just goes there)

So – it is definitely not the right thing for us, but I am just surprised at how many people it DOES seem to be the right thing for. I have to wonder if I missed out on an easier grief road or something. I mean, if everyone is doing it maybe there is something to it. I guess I will never know.

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