Dear Crissy

Someone’s baby

On our way home last night, after picking Evan up from my parents’  house, my husband and I had a brief exchange about a recent tragedy in our area. Three teenagers, two of them siblings, were killed in a car crash on Friday night.

In the darkness, with the radio barely audible and waves of yellow light from passing cars illuminating us briefly, our conversation was peppered with words including, “sad”, “terrible”, and “unimaginable.”

There was a time when I could discuss loss without feeling like the air was being sucked out of me. Since becoming a mother, when I hear about a death, any death, I am rendered weak. I feel a lump in my throat, and one singular thought pervades.

That was someone’s baby.

I could drop to the floor, and cry, and become lost in that thought if I let myself. I am convinced that as we bond with our children, a switch is turned on inside us that was perhaps inaccessible before. Turning on that switch allows us to have an immense, deep, all-consuming love for our child, but it also activates a unique vulnerability, and compassion for others.

I knew that having a baby would bring me closer to my own family, but I didn’t realize how much more connected I would feel with humanity as a whole. I’ll say it — motherhood turned me into a complete sap.

I find it almost impossible to watch the news now. Stories of child abuse and neglect, young men in war who fell victim to a road side bombings, violent crimes and unexpected tragedies are just too much for me to hear. Everything comes back to that one thought, and it just won’t leave my mind.

No matter what, no matter how life may have shaped a person for the good or bad, he or she, and each of us, was once someone’s sweet, perfect, precious baby.

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52 Comments

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  1. Roxanne — February 24, 2011 @ 10:04 am (#)

    I can relate to this. I found the same thing after having my daughter. I can’t watch certain movies, or hear about the news stories either. I always think, what if that were Caitlyn and then lose my mind.

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  2. Karen — February 24, 2011 @ 10:04 am (#)

    I agree, Crissy. I haven’t watched the news on TV in more than 15 years because I just can’t. I get so emotional over the deaths reported by the newscasters–mostly because all they seem to care about is that it is “NEWS”. Well, it isn’t just news when someone dies–it is a family torn apart, lives shattered, the end of someone who was dear to their friends and family. And the reporters just continue to stick a microphone in the faces of these grieving people for the sake of “getting a scoop.” I just can’t bear to see how they uncaringly intrude on people at their most vulnerable. It was someone’s child, no matter how old they were.

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  3. Shelby — February 24, 2011 @ 10:11 am (#)

    I can totally relate to your feelings. I am a very emotional person, but ever since becoming a mother to 2 absolutely amazing boys – I lose it every time I hear about kids being abused or anything similar. Just recently I was watching Dr. Phil and saw the “Hot Sauce” mom on there, I had to change the channel because I just couldn’t hold it together. They showed her making the child swish hot sauce in his mouth and then take a cold shower, you could hear the heart piercing screams – it was horrible. He is only 7 years old!! I was a mess, a basket case over how this little boy was treated. I really dont know how I would react if anything ever happened to my boys, a mothers love is unlike any other.

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  4. Alanna — February 24, 2011 @ 10:15 am (#)

    I am the same exact way. I cry at everything and I certainly don’t need to know the person to start hysterically crying about their death. It breaks my heart. I had a little girl 15 months ago today and if anything were to ever happen to her, I would be lifeless, without a doubt. I don’t see how people go on. This recent story had me in complete tears – sobbing that I couldn’t even repeat it to my husband without sobbing again!

    http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/pilot-delays-takeoff-dying-year-olds-grandfather/story?id=12611342

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  5. Adrienne — February 24, 2011 @ 10:20 am (#)

    I agree. it is impossible to describe that feeling to someone who doesn’t have a child too. I think that it is one of those things though that holds the world together.

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  6. Deb — February 24, 2011 @ 10:27 am (#)

    i agree. having a child ignites a love that we never knew existed. But it also opens us up to so much fear and pain.

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  7. Maybelline @ Naturalmente Mamá — February 24, 2011 @ 10:41 am (#)

    I could’t have said better!.. I agree 100%

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  8. Kim Ashworth — February 24, 2011 @ 10:46 am (#)

    I completely agree with you and feel 10000000% the same way!!

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  9. Linda B — February 24, 2011 @ 10:49 am (#)

    yes i get these feelings all the time. and i dont watch news. it pains me to read these online! so you arent alone!

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  10. Melanie Somnitz — February 24, 2011 @ 10:50 am (#)

    My best friend was killed 3 weeks after our college graduation. She was hit by a 4 time offending drunk driver. I have this memory of her mother’s cries that still (it will be 15 years in May) rings through my ears saying, “my baby” while draping her body across the casket. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I pray to God nightly for protection over my children. I am with you, there is no greater loss than that of a child.

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    • Crissy — February 24th, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

      Melanie, I had a friend from high school who was killed by a repeat offender drunk driver as well. It was absolutely terrible, but I really think the gravity of her passing sunk in even deeper for me after I had a child.

  11. Jennae @ Green Your Decor — February 24, 2011 @ 10:53 am (#)

    I understand completely what you mean. My daughter was born not even a month before Hurricane Katrina, and I would literally break down in tears at the sight of children suffering — particularly beautiful little brown babies who looked like my own. Motherhood absolutely unleashed in me a kind of empathy that I never knew existed.

    Reply

    • Crissy — February 24th, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

      Jennae, I know exactly what you mean about seeing children that remind you of your own. I have a particular soft spot for little boys, too.

  12. Amanda — February 24, 2011 @ 10:54 am (#)

    I feel that way too. Two months ago a cousin of mine was killed in a car accident. He was 18, we were close. All I could keep thinking was he’ll never get to ___. The things his mom will never get to experience with him. It was one of the most terrible things I’ve had to go through. In February his daughter was born, she’ll never get to meet her daddy. It is absolutely tragic.

    Reply

    • Crissy — February 24th, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

      Amanda, that is just terribly sad, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.

  13. Kim at Coffee Pot Chronicles — February 24, 2011 @ 10:55 am (#)

    Not just mothers feel this way. I get upset and feel so bad for the parents of these families when something so tragic happens. I often ask, “Why? Why did these young lives have to be taken so soon?” Death is a part of life, we all know that. But when the lives of someone young is cut short, it’s like a part of you dies. I may not know the teens who died but I am still hurting over their loss. There’s that big “What if?” that comes into play but it’s a what if that will never be answered.

    I know it’s different between a child and a spouse, but I know that each day my husband leaves for work something could happen. Losing him would be nothing short of devastating. I imagine if I had a child I would be devastated as well.

    Three lives gone that should not be gone in the first place. So incredibly sad.

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  14. Elizabeth H. — February 24, 2011 @ 10:55 am (#)

    Yep, I completely relate. Our daughter is not yet 1 and now, I can hardly stand to watch the news. I’ll read the headlines just to stay abreast of what’s going on in the world, but anything beyond that depresses me. The world suddenly seemed so much more depraved the moment I had someone innocent and vulnerable to protect. It breaks my heart and makes me want to cry!

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  15. Kimberly Ghilarducci — February 24, 2011 @ 10:58 am (#)

    I think too much of thoughts like this, and it saddens me & makes me scared! Mostly at night when I’m in bed… I think about diseases my family or I could get, people dying, child abuse, torture, etc…and it really gets to me. I know it sounds strange, but I think you get it.

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you are beautiful. hope to see you soon!