Coronavirus has taught me a lot in these past few months. Mostly of resilience, of my ability to conquer my grief driven anxiety, and of finding out just how I want my life to look like.
My adult anxiety walks hand in hand with loss. I won’t lie to you and say that as a child, I never knew anxiety.
On the contrary, I often had a hard time with my lack of control. As a self-titled nomad, I had to learn to adapt and to trust in my parents that they knew the right moves to make.
Often, I would demand exact, detailed conversations on what I should expect out of a day.
As I grew, I gained more confidence in my abilities and shed the anxious security blanket that I brought with me when we moved to another country and left most everything else behind.
As an adult, I never knew anxiety until I knew loss. This terrible idea swept through my mind when I realized the gravity of my situation after I had my second miscarriage.
The idea that I was solely responsible for this little life. I was in charge of safely bringing this child into the world. And I failed. My body failed.
My need for control, understanding that the trust I placed within myself to care and protect and bring to life a new being was not misplaced, coupled with out of control hormones brought me to my knees with anxiety.
I remember how loud my head became with racing thoughts that had no end, that could not be tamed with logic alone.
If I am honest again, the anxiety that found me in adulthood after loss never indeed left my side.
I worked through the thoughts, practiced ceding my need for control, and never let my fear stop me, but the anxiety remained something I always begrudgingly worked through.
Then came corona.
All notions of control were lost again. In its rubble, my once in control feelings of wading through grief with little support from close family became highlighted.
All of a sudden, I felt even more alone than I ever knew possible. My only help that was within reach failed to acknowledge my son, failed to mourn him, or support me while I grieved.
Time and time again, I would try and be open with them with what I was working through.
Time and time again, I was left forcing myself to pretend that it didn’t hurt me that they behaved as if he never existed.
Like a child learning through trial and error, I kept reaching my hand towards the stove to test its temperature and be shocked once more to be burned.
Yet, no matter the degree of the damage, no matter the blisters that formed, I would brace myself and try again—searching without success for support.
Acknowledgment of my son, at the very least, would have felt like a victory.
In a world where isolation is vital, one can’t help but feel lonesome. When my grief-stricken panic hit within quarantine, I couldn’t help but try one last time to be seen and heard.
In reaching out, I found that support in the way I desired would never be realized.
Simply trying again to seek out an understanding, sympathetic ear would not change the end result.
Then came the fallout. Panic. Fear. Knowing that I have (in my mind) failed three times as a mother, most recently to my stillborn son.
I was unable to protect them, to carry them to the finish line. I lost them. How can I trust that I can keep my living children safe at this time?
How can I do this knowing I have no support (close by)?
Am I truly capable of being in charge of these little ones and their safety in a time where I am surrounded by headlines of rising death tolls and overrun hospitals?
Am I capable of wading through my feelings of grief while being a whole person who functions in a time where everything feels out of control?
With these questions as my companions being left unchecked, I decided to take a few moments to learn what I wanted my life to look like.
Do I want to live on an island of my own making, surrounded by the deep waters of emotional isolation?
I was aware that the losses were not my fault, yet the guilt lingered.
I chose to face my feelings head-on, to confront the inaccuracies that I placed on my shoulders by finding fault and blaming.
Also, I worked to find ways to feel better within my grief, knowing that it would be nice to have more supportive shoulders to lean on, but that would never be so as long as I maintained the structures of my life.
So, I decided to make massive changes.
With a possible move on the horizon, closer to support systems that have been tried and true and a decision to open myself up more to girlfriends who stand with me void of judgments, I found breathing came more easily.
My grief still feels as it always has, ever-changing, and needing different things with each breath.
Yet, there is some relief that comes from cutting away useless expectations of people who are unable to support the emotional toll that child loss can bring.
There is a lightness that comes when you know that you can be free to grieve without the fear of being told to move on, asked to pretend that your child never existed, or just being able to say his name aloud, Lennon.
If corona never happened, I may have come upon these realizations still. Yet the fear and confusion of the times that we were all plunged into just months ago sped up the process to either demand more or changed the rules in grief.
It’s hard as a loss mom (or a mom in general, I suppose) to figure out what YOU need for your well being.
Often we make sure everyone else around us thrives before we check in on ourselves.
This unforgiving time has forced me to remember that my grief, my mental well being, my heart, and the people I choose to share it with – matter.
No one wants to feel lonely, especially when you’re not alone.
Morgan McLaverty, a world traveler that has taken roots in southern New Jersey where her husband Sean was born and raised. Now, a stay at home mother, she cares for her three living boys; Gavin Cole(5), Rowan Grey(3) and Holden Nash (1). She also is a mother to Lennon Rhys. Lennon was born still at thirty one weeks and five days. His loss spurred on a need in Morgan to write her feelings, share her grief and help others in the process. She hopes her words will help shed the silence and taboo nature of discussing pregnancy and child loss.