Sometimes, at nights mostly, as I put Matthew to sleep, I still find myself pained by the thought of losing my baby. I say “still find myself” because this is a fear I’m supposed to have worked through. But it still returns, every now and then, when I’m not careful with wandering thoughts, or when I’m feeling weak and vulnerable.
I wonder if other parents feel the same, or if this is just a reflection of my morbid fascination with death.
The truth is that since Matthew was born, I had been grappling with this irrational fear of losing this most treasured piece of my heart. And I knew this would happen. This was one of the many reasons why I didn’t want kids – knowing that for the rest of my life, I would be gripped in this kind of paranoia.
Back when he was an infant, I was the typical mother checking to make sure he was breathing when he was asleep, etc. Inside, I was just fighting a losing battle with Fear… and getting all caught up with the thought of him being taken away. What would I do? He was just a baby. It is my duty and responsibility to protect him, at the very least.
The entire notion of us being merely his earthly and adoptive parents to this child that rightfully belongs to God, just melts away in the face of such thoughts.
It was a real spiritual battle for me, to be honest.
I would pray every night for the recognition that Matthew is God’s child, not mine… and as I was doing that, another voice would creep in to plant the thought, “so can I take him away from you?” It wasn’t God’s voice.
Still, try as I might, I couldn’t say to God, “If it is Your will, then yes.” I felt that was the correct response, and I knew God wasn’t intending to do that, but perhaps all He really wanted was for me to surrender to Him and in the process, be surrendering my fear to Him, but I simply couldn’t say “Yes”. That thought alone was way too frightening.
At the same time, the other unrelenting voice just continues to bait me:
“If you have faith, you know you will get through it fine even if you lose your child right?” – Yes, I suppose eventually I would recover and life would go on, but I can’t imagine that.
“I will show you that you will recover by putting you to that test.” – NO WAY.
Again, let me repeat: this is not the voice of God. Even knowing that, it caused me real anxiety and just got me all mixed up inside.
It came to a point where attending a Landings retreat, I found that I couldn’t even praise and worship anymore. How could I sing songs of surrendering to God and trusting Him when I was doing all I could to avoid facing the question of whether I could surrender my son back to Him? (I know a young couple who went through a lot with their child and who found peace when they surrendered. God didn’t take their child, but the important thing is, they did find peace in that act.)
Then came time for reconciliation at the retreat. I broke down (I did not expect that to happen, but it revealed to me just how much fear I was living in) as I told the priest that I couldn’t trust God anymore because it felt like He was just waiting around the corner to reclaim my child.
The priest told me this: “The more afraid you are, the more it will happen.”
Thank you Father, this is something I don’t want to hear!
Then he went on to say: Just keep praying. Tell God, “I know this child belongs to You, not me. But since you have allowed us to be his parents here on earth, then give us the grace to be good parents, to raise him up the way You intend.”
Honestly, this is not a new intention. But hearing the words spoken by the priest and making a commitment to pray that, has brought me unexpected consolation.
Of course I still have fears of losing Matthew. There would be so much to miss. There would be so much pain to live with forever. Even now, writing this, I feel myself wanting to cry. My heart will forever be broken. But I want to face this fear and acknowledge that it is nothing more than paranoia, because what will be, will be. There is nothing I can do about it.
But God, please hear my repeated prayer. I pray for the grace to be a good mother, and for Augz to be a good father. I thank You for the gift of this son, and I thank You for allowing me to be his mother. And since You have allowed us to be his parents, please don’t take him from us, but instead, grant us the graces we need to be good parents who will love Matthew the wayYou want him to be loved, that he may grow up to be the man You want him to be, a good and just person… a really good person. Thank You, Father.