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Sudden loss of toddler & new pregnancy

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Dear Ms. Davis-Floyd, 


We lost our cherished toddler, Isabelle, in May of 2011 very suddenly due to a virus that had reached her brain which led to viral meningoencephalitis (brain swelling due to infection).  It has shocked our foundation in every way.  We have done some things to channel our grief, which you can find on www.bubblesforisabelle.com or Bubbles for Isabelle on Facebook, but it doesn't take away the pain or the colossal loss.


We are not religious and I'm hard pressed to accept this "happened for a reason."  Learning that life isn't fair and that sometimes bad things happen to good people is a hard lesson, but we're trying to make sense of it.  Right now, we are a few weeks from welcoming a new baby to the family, a little girl.  We also have a son, Sebastian 23 months, who is a bright ray of sunshine even in our darkest days.  


In these days leading up to the birth of our third child, I'm absolutely wracked with anxiety & sadness about entering into a new chapter without our daughter Isabelle.  The baby, who by all standards is perfectly healthy, is measuring on the small side (hovering around the 10%).  Isabelle was 7lbs13oz and Sebastian was 7lb7oz - so why is she small?  I am at my wits end with worry, that perhaps there is something wrong.  I think - I hope - I am making a big deal out of nothing, but I feel my capacity to handle any more "bad news" is null.  I can't outlive another child or handle having a high needs child - I'm admittedly weak right now.  When the tragedy that "happens to other people" happens to you, you suddenly latch on (despite your best efforts not to) every horrible news story involving senseless & unfair deaths, every child you pass with some kind of deficiency, every story you've heard of a child born with a rare disorder they never picked up prenatal, etc...  Just so worried.  Could grief cause a low birth weight?  I can't find any solid evidence of such...


Gahh, what I wouldn't give to go back to blissful ignorance.  


Any words of encouragement or thoughts would be appreciated. 


Thank you.

post #2 of 2

I apologize for not responding sooner! I simply was not aware that you had written.


I feel in my heart and soul your pain over the sudden loss of your daughter, and I realize how deeply afraid you must be re the outcome of this new pregnancy.


My best suggestion is that you talk, and talk a lot, to the baby in your womb, or if he or she has already been born, talk a lot to your newborn baby. Tell him or her absolutely everything about what you are feeling and what you are afraid of--babies can hear you and can understand.


Suspend any disbelief you may have re how much the baby will understand, and explain everything to your baby, all the while making sure that you let this new baby know how very welcome he or she is in your lives, how very much you want to hold and nurture him/her, how thrilled you are that he/she is coming into your life. 


Say those affirming things over and over to your baby, and continue to explain the massive grief you feel over the loss of the baby who would have been his/her sibling. Assure your new baby that it will take hard work to fully incorporate and then transcend that grief, and that you, your new baby's father, and your new baby will do that work together, as a team!  Let your new baby know that you will never lie to him/her, that you will always tell the truth, and that that truth will include the massive love you feel for her or him as well as the massive grief that you already feel.  Tell your new baby that's it's a package that comes all together, and that together you will sort it out and you will find your way back to happiness through the love that you feel for this new life! Tell him that you wish he could have known his sister, yet that she will be his spirit guide, his personal angel, throughout his life (but only say that if you really believe it--again, never lie to your child!)


All my best wishes to you through the grief we share around the loss of our daughters!  

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