As we approach the new year I can't help but look back on 2012 and reflect on all of the things I learned. This was a HUGE year for growth and overcoming obstacles and I am happy to say that I made it!
March 13th 2012 I lost my baby girl to SIDS. To say it was devastating is an understatement. For months I was in denial. I knew it happened, but I couldn't believe it. I cried every morning on my way to work and every night on my way home. I tried reading SIDS forums and relating to other parents who had lost their children to SIDS but it was no good, I still felt completely alone. I didn't want to bring Mike down with me because he was so excited for the new baby so I just held it all in and kept it to myself. I worried about the new baby and whether or not I would love him as much as I loved Olivia or if he would just be a replacement. I felt hopeless. One day, I decided that it was just too much; I needed to talk to someone. I found a counselor through my works program and started meeting with her weekly. It was one of the best things I could have done for myself. I learned that it's okay to let myself cry...especially in front of Mike. It was okay for me to go through Olivia's things if that's what helped me say goodbye, and it was important to include Mike. What I didn't realize was that he missed her just as much as I did. Sometimes you need a place to go where someone will let you talk and let all of your emotions out. I was surprised at how much better I felt after each session.
Because of Olivia's death I found that there needs to be more SIDS awareness. The people who were watching Olivia had never heard of SIDS. They didn't know to keep pillows and blankets out of the crib and had no idea that a baby could suffocate at 11 months. Even those who have knowledge about keeping blankets out of the crib are told that 6 months is a golden age and that after that you're in the safe zone. That's not true. They are also trying to find other causes of SIDS since parents can do everything right and still lose their baby, but they don't have enough money for research. Every bit they make goes towards those doing the research. There needs to be more awareness, so I have made it a goal this year to get the word out.
The last thing that I learned from Olivia's passing (and my other 3 relatives who passed this year) is how short our time with our loved ones can be. Being a single mom, I had no choice but to work. I missed out on so many opportunities with Olivia and so many precious moments by doing so. I was so focused on my new job and doing everything I could to get to the top so I could give her every thing she wanted. What I didn't realize is that she HAD everything she wanted. Obviously we need to work to survive and there are necessities that we need, but working overtime and on weekends for extra material things is worthless in the end. You will never get back those moments you could have had with those you love. I have learned to appreciate every little thing, and I know that I'm going to be an even better Mom to Jet because of it.
As if losing a child and being pregnant in the same year wasn't enough, I also got engaged and moved in with my fiance. I can't really complain about any of that because for the most part it's been pretty easy; we know each other well and he's strong where I'm weak and I'm strong where he's weak. I did have to work on delegating and sharing tasks which is huge because I'm such a control freak but I learned that I CAN trust someone to get it done. My past has been full of broken promises and disappointment, but Mike has never let me down. Especially throughout the pregnancy and now as a Father. I am so lucky to have him and I hope that in 2013 I can express it more. (should be easier without all the crazy hormones)
The most important thing I learned is not to get too caught up with tons of goals and planning out every little detail in life. When it comes down to it, there are only so many things you can control and it's a waste of time to stress and worry. What really matters in the end is being surrounded by those you love and those who love you back. 'Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured' - Gordon B. Hinkley
Best wishes for all of you in the New Year!