I’ve always been an anxious person.
In college, I used to hate the first day of class when the professor would go over the syllabus for the semester. I would see all the work that had to be done over the next few months and panic because I felt it all had to be done the next day.
My anxiety would ramp up before every doctor appointment. I was always afraid that I was dying. I was terrified they would find something wrong with me, even if it was just a physical, or mention I needed something involving needles.
Prior to starting fertility treatments, I had never even had bloodwork done because I would panic at the mention of having blood taken.
Anxiety and I have had a longstanding relationship way before I lost my son but it exponentially increased after.
Immediately after Asher died, I developed social anxiety. I hated leaving my house.
When I did, it usually involved seeing a pregnant woman or hearing a baby cry, which always led to tears streaming down my face.
I hated going to social events because I was afraid people would bring up Asher and cause me to break down or that they wouldn’t mention Asher at all and cause me to be angry at them for their lack of acknowledgment.
I was emotionally on edge for months and the anxiety of having a breakdown in public was too much so I withdrew for a while.
Eventually, that dissipated and I was able to venture out into society without anxiety.
When our dog was bit by a spider and needed to be taken to the emergency vet only 9 months after Asher died, I immediately panicked that we were going to be told he was dying. I thought for sure that would be the last night I would have my furry security blanket.
After conceiving not one but two siblings for Asher (thanks to fertility treatments), the following 37 weeks and 2 days were filled with intense anxiety. I was terrified that each day would be my last day with these babies.
My biggest source of anxiety during my pregnancy after loss was that I would die and never be able to raise living children.
At one point I had watched the Sex and City episode where Samantha is diagnosed with breast cancer and I worked myself into a panic that I could have it too.
Every little symptom I experienced convinced me that I was unknowingly dying and that I would never get to have these babies.
When my daughters were born healthy, every concern about their health prompted a visit to the pediatrician.
My daughter had a rash. I told myself she was fine, babies get rashes. She didn’t need to go to the doctor.
Two minutes later, I convinced myself that she could have some life threatening rash due to an allergic reaction from one drop of her sister’s amoxicillin and I was on the phone to the doctor making an appointment.
Anxiety and I have never been strangers. It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Prior to losing Asher, it was predominantly focused on myself; my fear of not getting my work done, my fear of doctors and needles, my fear of dying.
Losing Asher not only amplified my anxiety in regards to me, but also to my loved ones.
Going from having a living, active baby in my belly to giving birth to an unmoving, dead one showed me that I could lose anyone at any moment.
Anything can go from happy to sad in an instant.
Anyone can go from healthy to dead – just like that.
Losing a child doesn’t give you a free pass from suffering for the rest of your life (like it should).
I’ve seen loss families lose multiple children.
I’ve seen loss families struggle to conceive after loss.
I’ve seen loss families have a child after loss with medical complexities.
I’ve seen loss families lose additional family members.
I’ve seen life deal out blow after blow to people who should be exempt from any more pain. If awful things have happened to them after losing a child, who is to say that it won’t happen to me?
Because of that…
I will continue to spiral when one of my daughter’s is sick.
I will continue to overanalyze every symptom I experience.
I will continue to fear when my husband isn’t well.
I will continue to panic when my parents tell me they are having a procedure done.
When you’ve already lived one of your worst nightmares and watched others live through multiple nightmares, you know that it can happen again.
And for that reason, anxiety will always be a constant companion in my life.
Amy Lied is a wife and a mother to her son, Asher, who was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017 and twin daughters. Before losing Asher, she suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. She has documented her journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project , an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. She hopes to help others by sharing her journey as she continues to navigate the bumpy road that is life after loss.