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As I mentioned in my previous post, I want to delve further into the fears we have as parents and specifically our fears related to death of our child.
So much of what we’re told to do as parents is based on fear rather than facts. Take SIDS for example. When can you stop worrying about SIDS? There’s no easy answer to that question. Many sources suggest 1 year but we stopped worrying around the 1-2 month mark.
There are tons of theories out there as to what causes SIDS but no one actually knows why SIDS happens. Despite there being no known causes, there are very strong recommendations out there as to how to prevent SIDS.
Take co-sleeping as an example. The Public Health Agency of Canada states that co-sleeping increases the risk of SIDS. However, the World Health Organization actually says that co-sleeping can help to prevent SIDS.
This is just one example of conflicting information. So how are we supposed to make decisions to keep our children safe (and alive) if there’s no accurate information to rely on?
For our family, we broke many of the rules (based on North American standards). We had Hailey in our bed for the first month. When she went in her crib we covered her with a blanket – she hated to be swaddled. We also put her on her tummy – she seemed to sleep much better.
So what gave us the courage to go against the advice and recommendations of all of the experts out there? What gave us the courage to stop worrying about SIDS?
We chose to face our fears.
We chose to figure out exactly what we were afraid of rather than trying to worry about whether we were doing things right since there’s absolutely no evidence of what those “right things” actually are.
The first step we took, and it’s what I’m recommending as a starting point, is a discussion about our beliefs in the afterlife.
This was actually a very interesting conversation to have because my husband and I were raised in households with 2 very different belief systems. I was raised in a Christian household and my husband was raised in a household that pretty much ignored religion or beliefs in anything that could not be proven as factual.
The conversation we had actually wasn’t based on religious beliefs at all. Instead, the discussion centred around very basic core beliefs.
We came to the conclusion that both of us believed that there was something more after death and that it would be good.
That’s is pretty much what our conversation boiled down to. There was no question in our minds that this was true. There is something new that we will experience after we leave this planet and that it will be a good experience.
What that will ultimately look like (whether it’s heaven in the religious sense, or not) doesn’t matter. We probably will never know the details until we die ourselves so why bother trying to figure them out now.
We were comfortable with the conclusion that only good things would come from dying.
So what we realized from our fears related to our baby and the possibility that she could die on us, either by SIDS or another cause, is that we weren’t actually fearful of what would happen to Hailey.
We knew that even if she were to die, she would be ok.
That was a really interesting conclusion for us because it made us realize that our fears were more related to ourselves, specifically fear of failure and fear of judgement.
I’ll delve into these a bit further in the next post.
I will leave it at that for the moment. If you are worried or feeling fearful about SIDS (or the possibility of your child dying) I would encourage you to start by reflecting on your beliefs in the afterlife.
And if you don’t believe in the afterlife or are unsure, that’s ok. You’ll still get a better sense of what your fears are actually about.
I would love to hear any conclusions that you come up with so feel free to post them in the comments section below.