It only took a moment: On heartbreak

A few weeks back, I lost Wee Girl. We were at a busy playground, a vast, sprawling place with lots of sand and things to climb on, and plenty of places for a child to get lost in. My mother was looking after Little Man, and I, ostensibly, was chasing Wee Girl around. Except that I took my eyes off her, to grab the pram and in those few moments she was gone. I had expected her to be climbing up the tower to whizz down the larger slide; it’s where she was heading, and she’s usually a creature of habit. But she wasn’t there.

I suddenly felt very cold as I raced around, searching for the flash of pink from the top she was wearing, scanning the park to see if I could spot her, because she had to be there somewhere, had to be. Only I couldn’t see her anywhere, and I began to panic, thinking that she might have left the park, and how the FUCK could I have been so stupid as to have let her out of my sight?

Of course, she was fine. She’d doubled back and gone to the swings at the other end of the park, near my mum and her little brother. But those few minutes of cold, helpless terror have stayed with me.

What if she had left the park? What if she’d got lost? A pre-verbal child cannot ask for help, cannot call her parents to tell them where she is. She has no concept of police (for all that I know), or stranger danger.

What if, what if, what if.

People talk a lot about the pain of childbirth, the exhaustion of those early sleepless nights (which, for some parents of children with autism, can go on until the child is six or more). But it seems like no one ever talks about how it opens you up to extremes of pain you would never have thought possible before.

The diagnosis you never expected to hear. The first time they fall off the sofa or out of bed. The miscarriage, with its skull-splitting headaches, which leaves you unable to do anything other than slump on the sofa, empty and numb. That split-instant in a busy playground or beach when you realise you can’t see your child.

What if. What if. What if.

We had Wee Girl’s two-year check up two days after the bleeding started and our visit to the EPU. I heard the first officical mention of autism with a calm facade plastered on my face, nodding and responding in all the right places, while all the time I had a pounding headache and my lower back was aching because I was losing my baby.

Sometimes things get better. I didn’t lose her in the playground – she was there, all the time, even if I didn’t know exactly where she was. And I no longer want to weep over the baby I might have had before Little Man, my tiny inbetweener, even if I do sometimes wonder what might have been, who that tiny bundle of cells might have turned out to be.

And most importantly, Wee Girl’s diagnosis is not the horror I thought it was at first. Being pre-verbal doesn’t stop her from being funny, or cheeky. She’s still able to show affection and make me laugh with her antics, and I wouldn’t change her for the world.

So yes, having children does open you up to worlds of unimaginable pain, but it also opens you up to moments of sheer joy and a love like you’ve never felt before.

Best of Worst
Super Busy Mum

About allpastmidnight

Hi, I'm Alison, I am a mid-thirties mum to two children, Little Man and Wee Girl. Wee Girl is pre-verbal and has autism, while Little Man is the sort of happy chatty little guy who gets into everything and sings at the top of his lungs — until the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger and he goes silent. I am cynical, sweary, and a bit disorganised, and I blog about parenting, ASD, food and just about anything else I can think of. Feel free to follow me on any of my social media. I can also be contacted by email at allpastmidnight [at] outlook [dot] com.
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11 Responses to It only took a moment: On heartbreak

  1. Beautiful articulate blog. Scary thoughts, and yes parenting takes us to some dark places, but there is for those lucky ones, light at the end of the tunnel x x MMT

  2. Totally agree with your post. Man, there have been some tough times with my kids, especially with all the hospital appointments for my two youngest, but all they have to do is smile at me and I know that every appointment and every heartbreaking moment is totally worth it.

  3. Helen Gandy says:

    What a beautiful post, you had me engrossed. I felt your fear, that cold, clammy feeling that comes over you. So scary. Being a parent is such a journey full of twists and turns. Thanks for linking a great post up to the #bestandworst. Hope to see you again next week!

    • Aw, thank you Helen. It was pretty terrifying all right, even though I knew logically that she was almost certainly fine, there’s still that little niggle of doubt. I’ve learnt my lesson though, and will be keeping a much closer eye on her when we’re in busy playgrouns in future.

  4. MummyTravels says:

    What a beautiful post – I’ve had that moment on heart-stopping terror that she’d vanished too, and a few other downs that only come with being a parent. But the ups that go alongside are so worth it #bestandworst

  5. John Adams says:

    I can’t say I’ve expereinced the things you have, but having children defo opens you up to moments of upset and joy. Well done on dealing with the lost child scenario. I haven’t yet experienced this. I guess it’s a matter of time! #MMWBH

    • I suspect it will happen to every parent at some point or other (or something similar). Even if it’s just falling off a piece of playground equipment, and your heart flips up in your chest. All part of being a parent. Thanks for visiting.

  6. Pingback: Reasons to be Cheerful #4 | All Past Midnight

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