Life with Fear and Paranoia

I wasn't always the person I am now.

I used to be pretty fearless, and I don't recall being very paranoid.

Then, I had a baby. I read about SIDS. Then, I experienced SIDS.

You may be saying, "She left out the pregnancy. The pregnancy didn't scare her?" Oddly enough, no. I realize now that I was completely naive in my pregnancy with Ayden.....totally innocent. Honestly, I think my mindset was, "As long as I take my prenatal vitamins, everything will be fine." I wasn't worried about miscarriage (I didn't fit the "mold"....well, my son didn't fit the "mold" either....we're proof that "molds" are overrated), I didn't even know what incompetent cervix was. Stillbirth? Does that happen anymore? Pre-eclampsia - my blood pressure is always fine, and I haven't had any swelling. All other possible complications - my response was, "I'm too young for that." These were my naive thoughts.

I've made it to 15 weeks and 2 days with baby #2, and I have lived in fear and paranoia with each passing day. I research any possible thing that could go wrong, and I read story after horrifying story as a way of "preparing myself" for the worst. Because really....I've lived the much worse could it get? Every twinge, every move I make, every choice I make to eat or drink anything (the worst imaginable thing being a Diet Coke, which worries me because of caffeine - caffeine scares me, and I know it isn't a big deal!!! Do you see how paranoid I am?!) I wake up each morning expecting that day to be the day this child is taken from me just like Ayden was. How do I ever leave this child unattended once he/she is born? How do I ever trust this child with anyone else ever again? How do I let go of the fear and just trust?

I operate on the "if" mindset now. "If" I make it this far in my pregnancy. "If" this child is born. "If" God allows us to keep this child. "If" this child reaches 6 months old. No more "when" thoughts.

Losing Ayden ripped so much from me. I feel like I'm never going to live life as I used to. I know I won't look at things through the same perspective...ever again. I don't want our future children to see me as someone who is jaded....hanging on to one event that devastated me and brought my world crashing down....unable to move past that moment. But, I don't know how not to be that person right now. With time, I know things will change, but it's hard to see past all of it right now.

I'm not a big picture person anymore. I used to be able to look at the big picture and see the scope of everything. I can't see past tomorrow....and seeing tomorrow is stretching it. Another result of losing Ayden. Our "big picture" with Ayden was ripped apart, and we were forced to live minute to to day. So now, I focus on getting through the day and waiting to see what is in store for the next day.....with no expectations at all.

I feel like I'm trying, but if I'm honest with myself, I know I'm not trying hard enough. April 27 is staring me in the face....coming much too soon. Sooner than I thought it would. I don't know how to handle that day. I want to do something special, but I don't want a big "to-do" either. I don't want people to think less of me if I don't make his birthday a huge deal. I know they wouldn't, but still....the thought runs through my mind. And what if no one remembers his birthday? How do I handle that? It's all so hard....and I don't know how to take it all in. I don't want to be told how to spend that be told what we should do. But I don't want to approach that day as a day to just "get through" because it most certainly is not that kind of day. I want to celebrate Ayden and the life that he lived and continues to live. I want to celebrate his joy, his happiness, his big personality, and all that he IS to us and the many people his life has touched. But I don't like that I have to spend his birthday without him. And that one single thought is what is making this so hard.

Jeremy and I celebrated our nephew's first birthday this past weekend. It was great to see Wesley reach this milestone, and I was so happy to be able to share it with him. It was hard, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything. It's hard not to wallow in the fact that we will never have that with Ayden. I tried to push those thoughts out of my mind as I watched Wesley with his cake...opening toys....waddling around. I won't get any of it with Ayden. As soon as those thoughts enter my mind, I remind myself that I won't get any of it HERE......but I will celebrate with him one day. That one little reminder is enough to take the edge off.....just a little. Don't get me wrong....99%o of the time, the "what ifs" and the "whys" take center stage. That one little glimmer of hope helps, though.

I pray that God will continue to see us through. He has brought us a long way already....even though we stumble along most days. Not knowing what the future holds is what scares me the most. I can hope that this new child is going to be with us for a loooooong time, but I'm not promised that. I'm not promised that I won't ever go through this again (although I beg and plead with God every single day to please not put me through this again). We aren't promised all the good and pleasing things. We are only promised that God will never leave us or forsake us (even when we feel like He has completely abandoned us.). I'm still working on believing that 100%, but I do know it's true.

Please pray that the fear and paranoia begin to subside as my pregnancy (God-willing) continues to progress. Selfishly, I pray that the coming months and weeks go by so incredibly quickly that we'll be in the short rows before we know it. I want to find peace again; I feel it slooowly creeping back in from time to time, so I know it's a realistic goal. It's just going to take time. And I hope God gives us a lot of time.....the three(four) of us. I could ask you to pray for all sorts of things, but if those things are not God's will....there's no point. So, all I can ask is that you pray for God's will for us to be granted....whatever it may be.

Thank you all for your encouragement, kind words, and prayers. You have no idea how much of a comfort you have been. I wish I could thank you all personally for the help you have been throughout all of this. Please know that we read every comment and email, and we appreciate your thoughts and prayers so much. Thank you for remembering Ayden for continuing to check in just to see his beautiful face. And thank you for the little things like saying his name, telling us you told Ayden's story, sharing that you thought of Ayden today and smiled, or just including him by saying "the four of you." You all mean so much to us, and we have been so blessed by you.



  1. I don't know you, I just found your blog one time and keep coming back, and I know very little about grief, but my heart breaks for you everyday. This link is about marriage, but I think it pertains to so much more than that. Fear and paranoia especially. I just felt there were a few phrases in this that might help you. It is christian based, Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy. I am praying for you and your family of 4. Maybe I am out of line....I don't know for sure. Grief is so hard. Just give it a glance if you have a minute.

  2. I wish that I could say the 'right' thing to ease your anxiety, but I'm not sure what those words are. Just know that I'm thinking of you and praying for your family. Try to think positive and cherish your pregnancy milestones (as I'm sure that you will). I can't wait to hear if it's a boy or girl. =)

    Lots of hugs!


  3. Yes, his birthday is coming up soon. I thought of that just yesterday actually. I PRAY that day isn't too hard on ya'll. I know it will be, but I'll pray it isn't TOO hard. Hang in there and congrats again on the new little one set to arrive soon!

  4. Lindsay, I don't know you personally, but have been reading your blog, weeping with you and rejoicing with you. Those cardboard testimonies were powerful...we are not defined by our circumstances...God is far to great for that. Anyway today, reading your post led me to this prayer...I have scripture verses and prayers written on an index card in my purse and many times when I feel anxious I pull it out and just read and soon, after surrendering all to saviour my god, I feel my breath come more steady. Here is one prayer: Lord, help me to remember that in my moments of desperation and fear, You are in control. help me to fight the temptation to worry our doubt your provision. Grant me peace to endure with grace, all that you allow into my life and help me to believe your promises. fill me with your peace and love today...In Jesus name

  5. Lindsey, I just wanted to let you know that there is hope for you to be the person you want to be! My mom lost my little brother to SIDS when I was only 19 months old. I can't say that I remember what she went through those first few years. She still cries when she tells his story, and on his birthday, Mother's Day and the day that he was taken back to Heaven. I don't think those things ever get easier. But as a child, I never felt anything else was different with her, and as an adult I've come to understand (well, empathize) with the pain she has dealt with. I think you will also find a way to make sure your future children feel just as loved as Ayden and that their Mommy is the same Mommy that loved their big brother. I am so glad you have such a wonderful support system that surrounds you. Thank you for sharing Ayden's story with all of us. Best wishes to you.

  6. Lindsay, thank you for sharing your thoughts & feeling so very openly.

    I do live in a world of fear with you. My husband & I lost our first son, Taylor, at 25 weeks into the pregnancy. He was stillborn on December 13, 2006. It was the worst day of my life. I then became pregnant again in late April 2007 only to loose that baby as well at 6 weeks. I thought God hated me. I could not understand why God would not let me have a baby, me...who was a good, loving person. Being a mom was all I had ever wanted & that dream was ripped from me two times. It took another 8 months for me to become pregnant again. From the very first day, I was paranoid that I would wake up bleeding or that something else would go wrong. I had to have injections in my belly twice a day every day of my pregnancy to maintain my son's life. I called the Dr over every little thing. I lived in a world of panic until about 30 weeks, when I finally started relaxing & enjoying my pregnancy. I love being pregnant & am ready to do it again, but even though my son is now 16 months old, I suspect that I will again live in a world of fear that something will happen.

    Once my son was born, I was again living in a world that something would happen to him. We had a monitor that detected his breathing or lack of breathing. Every time it went off, I ran to his room only to find that he had wriggled his way to the very edge of the crib and off the sensor. I was terrified to let him sleep on his tummy. I was constantly flipping him back onto his back until he was a good 8 months old. We used the monitor until he was 1 year old (way beyond the companies recommendations) because of my fear. I still run to his room at every little cough, sneeze, and sound to make sure he is OK.

    I think your fear is normal. Someone who has not lost a child may not understand and might think you are crazy, but you are not. You are a wonderful mom to 2 babies now and your fear & paranoia is your only way of loving them right now. The trick is not to let your fear & paranoia completely take over your life. Enjoy your pregnancy and your new baby when he/she arrives. Cherish each moment (as I know you will do), but at the same time do what you must do to feel comfortable even if that means being a bit "over-protective". I know I am!

  7. Hello,

    I haven been following your story but have never commented. I keep meaning too. I wanted to share something but it seems a little silly. At Sear's, in the photo department they have frames they sell. In all these frames is a picture of a little boy. He looks just like your angel. I kid you not. Each month we go in there I see it and think of your cutie.

    You are in our thoughts. It is hard to be pregnant again after a loss. I wish there were magic words to help you not worry. I would share them if there were.

  8. I have to confess I have lived in a lot of fear since you lost Ayden. And then Matt's cousin lost their 11 year old son. And I have found comfort in Psalm 139. No matter what we could do or where our children are, it is already written in God's book of Life when they will go home. I do not welcome that thought, but it is the only thing that I find comfort in. I pray you will find comfort there too. We are still praying for you both and this precious life within you.

  9. Lindsay -

    I'm a stranger on the other side of the country. I was led to your blog through Patrice Williams blog and I check in frequently to see how you are doing. I have never experienced pain or sorrow in the same way that you have but I did want to share soemthing after your post today.

    A dear friend of mine lost her 6 month old son, Trevor, to leukemia a few years ago. It was something that they, unlike you and Jeremy, were able to "prepare" for if that is even possible in such a situation, but it was still devastating to them. There are two days every year that are especially difficult as you can imagine, his birthday and the day that he became an angel.

    Several months after Trevor died, we all decided to join Team in Training in Trevors honor and compete in the Wildflower triathlon. The triathlon fell one week after what would have been the anniversary of his passing. His mom and dad knew they could not deal with that day without their friends and we all went to Trevor's gravesite and brought him wildflowers. His two sisters hand painted beautiful tin buckets with handprints and flowers for us to place all the flowers in.

    For his birthday each year, the family prefers to do something with just the immediate family - they go to Disneyland. It is a way for them to experience some joy on such a difficult day because who can't help but smile in the happiest place on earth.

    I know that your circumstances are different, but I had an idea that might help ease the pain and difficulty of that day. Perhaps you could invite those you are close to and comfortable with to Ayden's garden on that day. Encourage each person to bring a new plant or some flowers to add to his special spot, and everyone could help to plant them in his honor.

    Maybe this is too much and would involve too many people...but I know that for my friends, it was being surrounded by family and friends and the beauty of all those wildflowers, that allowed them to smile among the tears on that day.

    Prayers and blessings to you, Jeremy, and the little one growing inside you...

  10. I do pray for you. Ayden was and still is a treasure, a true gem, just as this new baby will be. The feelings you have are completely normal so don't ever feel that you need to justify your feelings.

  11. Your post today brought many things into perspective for those of us who haven't been where you are. Know that you are not alone in feeling fear and paranoia, although in a different way. Many of us who keep up with your posts and know of Ayden's story, are so excited about your new addition, and in the same token, feel a sense of fear along with you. Not only has Ayden touched our lives with his sweet smile and his story, but you and Jeremy have as well, with your constant faith in Christ to uphold you and see you through each new day. I pray that you will continue to do well with your pregnancy and that the days ahead will go by quickly for you. I pray that God will release you of the fear and paranoia that you are feeling and give you a sense of comfort and peace that only He can give. We live in the same town, and may never meet, yet I feel that I've known you, Jeremy and Ayden a lifetime. May God continue to bless you each and every day.

  12. Lindsay
    This post made me cry. I don't know why except I wish I could do something for you. I wish I could say something that would take the hurt away. But I know I can't. I will never know completely how you and Jeremy feel...I can only know how I would feel if it happened to me...I think. I have been praying that God would quickly give you guys a new little one. Not to replace Ayden because no one or thing will ever replace Ayden...but to give Ayden a little brother and that you guys can continue building your family. The four of you. I'm so excited for the new little Jones. He/She has awesome parents who will take such good care of him/her and remind him/her of his/her big brother. I will never forget Ayden, even though I never got to meet him. If there's anything at all that you guys need please let me know. Love you all!

  13. I too am changed by the death of my beautiful child. I live in fear of my children ever being out of my sight. When my 17 year old gets in her car, I fear. When my kids go out to play, I fear. If my husband and I go out to dinner, I fear. I fear because I am certain that I can never live through the death of a child again. I wonder at times if I'm going to survive this tragedy and yet somehow, I do.

  14. I was also changed, first by my first miscarriage, and then by losing Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander, and the miscarriages that came inbetween and after. Life with Bobby and Maya now is always touched by fear. But God provides. God will see us through...

    Praying and sending loving thoughts...

  15. The fear and paranoia change who you are and how you see others. One more bitter sweet part of grief.

    I've learned to recognize "the look" in other's eyes, the same look I see when I look in the mirror. No words are needed, you know that you've encountered a fellow journeyer (sp), one whose soul is wounded and aged by "experience."

    I've learned to step back, give space, when I witness "strange" behaviour. Usually there is a story, a rational reason, for the bizarre. The quick anger, the unreasonable need for control, the tears from nowhere, the inappropriate laughter....those are all coping mechanisms, how we get from one moment to the next.

    And eventually you stop feeling the need to explain or justify out loud why you feel and act the way you have every reason to be the way that you are.

    Walk in my shoes, I'll take a few steps in yours, the world will be a better place for our shared understanding. I've begun to be a forgiveness freak, it is a strange experience when you grow up living by social standards and judgements, but now I get it, peoples' behaviour is the result of the journey they are walking.

    How I wish mine was the fantasy I used to believe in, the one that I see the smiling faces enjoy, carefree. But, look past them to the worn, wrinkled faces, the ones whose eyes twinkle and sparkle with some kind of magic. Those are the eyes that will be ours.

    We will keep plodding, we will keep getting bruised and broken, but our knowledge of the truth will outpace all of that with time and the twinkling eyes will be ours,and they will shine the love and peace of God. They will be our testimony to the grace that has allowed us to continue and find the joy despite the brokeness (fear and paranoia).

    You are a wonderful mother, your growing babe is blessed to have you as a mother. Keep forgiving, keep believing, keep trusting, keep being You.

  16. Pregnancy after loss is a tough thing. You worry and just hope and pray that everything will be ok.

  17. Lindsay, you are strong whether you believe it or not. God provides you strength and I see it. I will pray for you to have peace as April approaches. Nate and I are more than willing to pray with you if you want. We love you, Jeremy and Lindsay!

  18. Just keep trusting God, Lindsay. He will take care of all of your paranoia. :) Big hugs! I, too. lived a life of being totally naive. I'm 41 now, mom of 8, 5 are special needs children from China. I've seen more than I needed to but been so blessed by knowing more, too. The more you know to be educated, the better you can make things and more wisdom God is sharing with you. I think of you and Ayden often. And looking forward to meeting him somedays - when it's my time to go Home.

  19. I followed another til I came to your blog. I am reading what you have to say with a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. Thank you for sharing Ayden's story. I hope that telling it relieves some of the hurt. I pray that our #4 is happy and healthy. I pray that with his/her birth you too will be healthy in heart and mind. Ayden will always be a part of your heart and however you chose to celebrate each and everyone of his birthdays is the right way.
    God bless you, your husband and baby #2. Ayden will watch over you.

  20. I followed another til I came to your blog. I am reading what you have to say with a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. Thank you for sharing Ayden's story. I hope that telling it relieves some of the hurt. I pray that our #4 is happy and healthy. I pray that with his/her birth you too will be healthy in heart and mind. Ayden will always be a part of your heart and however you chose to celebrate each and everyone of his birthdays is the right way.
    God bless you, your husband and baby #2. Ayden will watch over you.

  21. As you already know I lost my daughter last year at birth. Her and Ayden were actually close in age. She would have been 9 months on March 29th.

    Anywho, I am MUCH more fearful and anxious now. It is really bad but I try to stay focused on the good and God.

    Great post!