An Unnamed Stage of Fear after the Loss a Baby

A baby-boy gift from my sweet grandmother.

Am I regressing? I did slack in my relaxation techniques over the summer?

I am starting to feel anxious for my living children’s safety on a daily basis. The thought of losing another child is never far from my mind and thus all activities, outings, even simple things are peppered with worry.

If my newborn sleeps longer than normal, I lay in bed worrying about SIDS. We recently visited a farm and my two year old daughter rode a horse and I nervously stood by fretting about the animal bucking. I’m anxious about drowning at bath time and during swim lessons, choking at meals, being hit by a car as we cross the street.

This I feel is the tangible reality, the daily stress of living life after the loss of a child. I have known a sorrow so great that my new-self is terrified of it happening again.

With Zachary, we were told the odds of his condition were like being hit by lightning – I could be wrong, but aren’t the stats of being struck a second time significantly lower? Then I start to wonder, how unlucky am I?

Maybe this is a new stage of grief – an unnamed stage beyond the stages. I do recall telling myself right after Zachary died that I can’t become one of those super paranoid clingy moms because of what I‘ve been through. Yet somehow I ended up here without knowing the steps I took to find this place.

Am I the only one feeling this way?

I have relented the “why” questions of my son’s passing, but now my mind is fixated on the “what if’s.” What if something happens to my daughter? To my newborn? To my husband? This worry progresses onwards with all the important people in my life.

How do I transform this ‘new normal’ into a life lived not in fear but in peace and hope and acceptance?

This may sound like I am asking a hypothetical question – but I’m not.

How do I live life without this fear?

Does anyone have it figured out?

These questions circling in my head make me wonder about the many people out there who have also lost a child or children. Is anyone asking them how they are doing? How they are coping?

It has been two years since my son’s death and possibly for some people two years is a long time. It doesn’t feel long for me. There are the rare individuals who continue to ask how I am doing in relation to Zachary – whom I appreciate beyond words could ever express – but for the most part, my son is a person seldom discussed. This saddens me in the quiet moments where my ache for him bubbles out between washing the dishes, running errands and making art.

No matter the span of time that passes, I believe that us touched by such loss will continue to think of and mourn for our absent children.

The difference is: we begin to do this in silent ways. I encourage anyone who knows someone who has lost a baby, even if it was years ago, to ask that person how things have been for them in regards to their loss. You likely will aid in their healing.

For me, I will ponder this unnamed fear. I hope for a revelation to calm my own nerves and encourage others but for now all I can say is this:

I will be hoping for hope, piecing together peace and accepting (for now) that acceptance of fear is still slightly beyond my reach.

Love always.


  1. Cheryl
    Aug 30, 2012

    I remember this feeling so well and there are days I still feel it, lingering in the background, as we move thru a life that is what it is, without our little ones. Our kids are grown now but for the longest time, the fear was there. Fear that one of them would fall down the stairs or get hit by a car. Fears most mothers have at some point but for me, I would straight to that scary place of “if one dies, this is what we’d do”. Never a thought that they would survive but that they would automatically die. As they got older, I realized it wasn’t a fear that I needed to keep carrying and let go of it one day. As they have left our cozy nest, one at a time, I keep hope in my heart that all the things we taught them they will live by and trust they will do their best. But the fear still creeps up, especially when I hear of another family’s loss.

    You will spend time in this spot and then one day, you’ll figure out how to manage it, so you can live and breathe without the constant worry that something will happen to the children you now have in your arms. It will happen, in time.

    Thinking of you!


    • Alexis Marie
      Aug 31, 2012

      Thanks Cheryl! I appreciate your comment very much! You are exactly right in saying that we who have lost a child worry in terms of life and death. I don’t worry about my kids being hurt – I worry about them dying. Every scenario immediately brings me to that place of anxiety.

      Thank you for this observation. It is a revelation to me. I hope to others as well.

      It is also nice to hear that you eventually came to a point and were able to just let it go. That is sort of how I came upon healing. I did work intentionally towards that end on a daily basis but I did not realize the moment i arrived there. One day I simply startled myself and thought, “oh! This is what I had been searching for.”

      I really appreciate your words and comforts. They sound like the wisdom of experience. Thank you for reading Wanted Chosen Planned. I hope we connect again.

      Love and best wishes always,

      Alexis Marie

  2. Nicky
    Aug 30, 2012

    I came across this post by fluke, but I so relate. I lost my son just over 3 years ago and so deply understand where you are coming from. I feel for you and wish I knew any answers, but just know you are not alone….

    • Alexis Marie
      Sep 7, 2012

      Thanks for commenting,Nicky. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in these worries. I have not figured out any answers but am going to post on this topic again soon and try to hash things out a bit more. Thanks for your empathy! It is greatly appreciated.

  3. Becky
    Sep 6, 2012

    I have not lost a child so I do not pretend I know what its like but I have dealt with fear and anxiety for a big part of my life. Going to bed at night with all the “what if’s” to the point I’m crying over nothing but my thoughts, and then waking up the next day with depression and having to physically tell myself that nothing is wrong, and to think happy thoughts. A friend got wind of what I was doing and told me to make a list. A list of the gifts in my life. These gifts are everyday things in your life that even for one second put a smile on your face and maybe make you just go “wow”…
    1. my coffee smelling candle
    2.helping a little girl count to 100
    3 the beautiful shadows the tree outside my window makes
    4. the rainbow pattern in a bubble as your washing dishes
    5.melted peanut butter on your toast
    6. A little girl calling an ostrich and really big Duck
    … write all your gifts down and read it often. Soon you will be looking everywhere for just one more thing to write on your list…
    7.Hugs from friends
    8. smell of a rose
    9. making a friend laugh
    … It’s just, in all the sadness we have to train ourselves to see the good, Because it is so much easier to hold on to see bad things then to see the good. I don’t want to miss out on the beauty of the things around because they are gifts. In that moment when the world is flying by this small thing that nobody but me has notice has been given to me as a gift and i will treasure it.
    I recommended the book “one thousand gifts” by Ann Voskamp. that’s where I learn to start my list of gifts. I hope this can help you too.

    • Alexis Marie
      Sep 10, 2012

      Thank you so much for sharing, Becky! I’ve actually had someone give me that book recently. It is so important to notice the small beauties of life and be grateful. If this type of mindset becomes habit, I could see how an individual’s outlook could be transformed.

  4. Amber
    Jan 20, 2013

    Hi Alexis Marie. I too am a mother of an angel. My beautiful daughter Lily was born back in April 2011. She was with us for four days before she left us. She was born with an intestinal defect that we were unaware of. We were so blindsided and it was just absolutely devastating. I have been forever changed by her.

    I found out that I was pregnant again last December (2011) and it was such a long road. I worried about EVERYTHING. Luckily I have an amazing doctor who has been so patient and understanding. I was allowed to go in if I had any worries and just needed to hear Jack’s heart beating. Our son was born back in July and I thought that once he was born and that I knew that he was okay, that all of my worrying would go away. Boy was I wrong. I could not sleep most of those first nights because I was so fearful that something was going to go wrong in his sleep. I would just and hold him and break down and cry, so happy to have him, but so fearful that it was all too good to be true and that I was going to lose him too. I could not bear the thought of losing another child.

    He is just shy of 6 months now and I still, every night before I go to bed, place my hand on him while he is sleeping and pray for his health, safety, and well-being. I wish there was something I could say to say that this fear goes away, but it hasn’t yet for me and I don’t think that it ever will. I do find a lot of peace though in knowing that he is a very lucky little boy because he has a very special guardian angel watching over him that most little boys do not.

    I’m sorry that I do not have any suggestions to give you. I guess part of it is that I am trying to figure it all out myself too. Please know that you and him are thought of. <3

    • Alexis Marie
      Jan 27, 2013

      I truly appreciate your comment, Amber. Thank you for sharing about your precious Lily. I am so saddened to hear your story but at the same time, I feel a special kindred spirit with you (two souls on a similar journey) and am grateful that you have another child to love.
      As you have said, I agree that these worries about losing another child seem to linger on. My baby is just over 7 months now and I have simply come to accept my fear – because really what else is there to do? We can be thankful for each day we have with our children, care for them, protect them and love them as best we can, but then let our hearts give up the struggle for control.
      Control is an illusion and a vice. I have found great joy in celebrating the small things and being present in the moment.
      Much love to you and your family. Please keep in touch! There is strength in togetherness and shared experience.

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