The fear of someone you love getting hurt or killed can be paralyzing after stillbirth, miscarriage or any kind of baby loss. Recently my son, my baby born after stillbirth, was hurt while riding his bike.
In this episode I’m talking through what happened and how I handled it to show you how you can handle this, too.
Trauma and your nervous system responding in overdrive doesn’t mean you can’t deal with whatever happens in your life. You can learn what you need to do to be aware of what’s happening and use your toolbox to manage it before, during and after.
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Music by ZingDog on Pond5
Have you ever wished you could just have someone on call to help you through your day, to help you with your grief, to help you with your goals and staying motivated? Well, that’s what I have for you. I have my summer coaching program. It’s super flexible. It is called Peace in My Pocket, and what it is is when you sign up, I’m gonna help you get on this free walkie-talkie app and you get to reach out to me whenever you want, and I will answer you in a reasonable amount of time.
But what this does is, Anytime something’s coming up, have you ever, A lot of times my clients will be like, well, three days ago I had this thing and it was kind of hard, but now like, I don’t know. It’s not that big a deal. I want you to be able to reach me in the moment when you’re dealing with stuff, or on Monday mornings when you just need to kick in the pants.
Anything you need a life coach, a grief coach for, this is what peace in my pocket is. It’s gonna be really fun. I think it’s a fun way to get to know each other and to get to talk back and forth. If you wanna sign up, go in the show notes, click on the link, or just go to smooth stones coaching.com/peace and you’ll find all the details there and you’ll be able to sign up.
It is only $97 for the entire summer, and if you’ve been thinking about it, go ahead and do it. This is just, it’s a no-brainer. Your life is just better when you have a life coach. Everybody needs a life coach. Unfortunately, I can’t coach everyone, so spots will run out. So go and do it. This is your push.
If you want me in your ear, whenever you need me on call, go and do it. Whether you’ve worked with me before or you’ve been thinking about it, this is a great way to start and see how you like coaching. Now I today is gonna be a little bit different than some of my other episodes. I am just gonna tell you something that happened to me and my family.
I’m gonna talk you through it and everything I talk you through, I want you to think about yourself and your life and things that have come up for you. I will also be giving you the tools that I used in this situation that helped me to manage it and process it. And now I am like 10 days. 10 days about out from it.
And I am feeling pretty good. And that’s the great thing when you have the tools, when you know how to manage your mind, your emotions, your nervous system, you can process through things and really just. Take care of yourself and take care of what you need to, and then be able to move on. It’s gonna give you freedom.
It’s gonna give you peace, it’s gonna give you confidence. Something I see a lot with my clients is they are just afraid. They’re afraid of feeling bad. They’re afraid of something happening. They are afraid of so many things in their life, and you cannot be who you wanna be when you’re afraid of everything.
Once you learn how to do this, you are gonna feel so much better about yourself and your life. Now, when I do these episodes with no script or a very minimal script, I always think, oh, this will be quick. I’ll just talk through it and it’ll be quick, and it always ends up being longer. So I am gonna shorten this story, unfortunately, on the podcast, I just can’t.
Put everything out there. I wanna keep these episodes manageable for you and your busy life. But if you want more, like I said, come and coach with me. You can do piece of my pocket, you can do, um, regular one-on-one coaching. That is still an option too, but we get to share a lot more and do a lot more when we work together.
What happened was, well, let me start at the beginning. Actually. Lauren was still born nine years ago. A few months after she died. I was pregnant again and spent my whole first year of grief, uh, just. Also being pregnant again, basically, and ended up having this living little boy, and he has given me a run for my money.
I’ve talked about him before. I love him so much, but he is one of those fearless kids that is into everything and just cannot leave anything alone like he’s always got. Something sharp or something dangerous or he’s climbing things. He, he’s just an adventurous, busy boy. And so I know with him that I am gonna get those phone calls that every mother worries about.
I’ve gotten the calls from the school, I’ve gotten calls from friends. Uh, We’ve, you know, my, my girls that I had first, not a broken bone, not a stitch. I’ve never had a broken bone or a stitch. And here he comes and we’ve already had all of the above. So the other day he went with, uh, our neighbor who’s a little bit older.
They went up the mountain. We are so grateful. We live in a place that. Kids can just get on their bikes, go out in the hills and ride around, and they have a great time. And I always try to be really careful and remind him, wear your helmet and let me know where you are and make sure you know you have some way to communicate.
If something happens, we can come and help you. So he went with this friend and a little while later, well, I’ll back up again. I really have to manage my fear around him and his bike because he again, loves the bike, is fast, is busy. He likes to do all kinds of things and has some great friends who take him on adventures.
But for me to let him go, I really have to manage my own fear and my anxiety, and I have to choose what’s most important to me. And his safety is very, very important. But it’s also really important to me that he learns to take risks, that he gets to be independent, that he gets to live the life that we live in a small, rural town for.
And so daily, I need to choose that. That I say, you know, I look at what’s going on and I choose that, and I try to minimize those risks, right? By having kind of some safety things in place. But I also have to know that with letting him live his life, there are probably going to be some bumps and bruises, and we have definitely experienced that.
So this time he said, I’m going to, my friend, we’re going up the mountain. He got this new mountain bike for his birthday and he is loving it. Of course not. Too much longer after he left, I did get a phone call from my friend who is the mom of the kid he was with, and I just knew, I knew it was one of those phone calls and I answered the phone and we got the little small talk outta the way and she said, you know, I’ve got your son.
He’s hurt his chin and he’s gonna need stitches. And so we hang up. She’s bringing him down the mountain. I call my pediatrician because of course it’s always like five o’clock and need to get him in for after hours. I’m calling around just trying to see where we’re gonna take him and. Then he comes home and he has a cloth on his chin, and he seems to be doing okay, but I personally do not like blood and injuries and things like that.
And so he had this thing on his chin. My friend had said, he’s gonna need stitches. It’s pretty bad. And so I just took that and went. We got in the car. Um, we drove, it actually takes like an hour to get to the pediatrician from where we live, but they’re amazing and they’re worth it, and it’s better than going to the local er, which was our only option because you’re gonna sit there and wait anyways.
So we go to the pediatrician and he takes one look at it and kind of pokes around and says, this is. Not something I can handle in our office. It is very involved. He started talking about, um, that we might need surgery, that he might need to be put asleep, that he might have broken his jaw, that he had injured not only the outside of his chin, but it had gone all the way through into his mouth, into his gums.
So all of this time, I am taking deep breaths. I am just doing one step at a time. What do I need to do? How do I need to take care of this? I trust my friend. I know she’s got him, and I trust her assessment, and as I’m driving, I’m just. Doing the best I can to get there quickly, but safely, we’re not speeding or anything.
We’re just, we’re getting there. We’re comforting him. Um, luckily my older daughter was able to come and kind of sit in the backseat with him while I drove, so I’m just taking lots of deep breaths and trying not to overreact, trying to stay calm. Just kind of matter of fact, this is not our first rodeo.
We’ve done this before with these kind of after hours trips to the pediatrician, and we’re just doing that when we do get there and and see kind of the damage and everything that’s going on, and the pediatrician starts telling us these. This news, I, of course was a little bit like, ugh. Now, okay, so we’ve gotta go over to the ER at the big hospital.
Um, I know that it’s a great hospital. I trust that hospital. I know they’ll have specialists, but also. It’s a little scary. Like now we’re thinking, now I’m like, okay, you can’t eat and you can’t have anything to drink because we might need to do surgery and I need to call my husband and have him come and be there, uh, cuz he had gotten off of work.
And so just again, going through the steps of what do we need to do and how can we comfort my son and keep him calm. And also do what we need to do. I also know that going to the ER anywhere could be, I mean, anything could happen and it could take a really long time. There could be, you know, a lot of interesting things coming in the doors at the er.
But luckily we were able to get in, get settled, and they got us into a room pretty quickly. So I am still at this point just. Taking lots of deep breaths, grounding myself, which is kind of looking around, seeing what I can see, touch, taste, smell, really focusing on. My son and making sure he’s okay. And I think this is a superpower that moms have even in these situations that often you can do things that you didn’t think you could do, um, and be a little more calm, um, in the face of a little bit of craziness.
So we continue in to the hospital, and finally the ER doctor gets there and takes a look at it and says, you know, he thinks that the jaw isn’t broken. He thinks they can fix him up there in the er. Um, we just have to wait. And he was gonna consult with a specialist. So again, we had to wait for the specialist.
And the specialist wanted to do all the work. Um, he had to get like a ear, nose and throat doctor who specialized in facial trauma. And so we wait and wait and wait. And at this point it’s getting really, really late and. I will, I’m trying to make a long story short, but the waiting is hard. We’re, we’re in there, you know, we’ve got the little tv.
My son is being a trooper. Like I will give him just all the praise for being really, really brave and patient because he hadn’t eaten since lunch and we’re pushing like nine, 10 o’clock at night. Um, you know, they say it won’t be that long. Of course it is that long. They even started putting kind of some numbing stuff on him.
But we know that he’s gonna have to get shots, um, around his face to numb him. And the other time we did stitches. They had this special stuff that they don’t have to do shots at all. They just, it takes a long time. They have to leave it on. And it numbs them deep enough that they didn’t need to do shots at all.
So he wasn’t scared of stitches because he didn’t have to do shots. Well, we know we’re gonna have to do it this time. And we wait and we wait, and we wait. And he’s. There’s blood and there’s, you know, it’s like bits and pieces are sticking now and it’s is a pretty severe, um, Injury and what had happened.
We finally got this story. We kind of had bits and pieces of the story from his point of view. He had said that he hit, there was like a cutoff tree branch and he had run into it. Um, when we talked to our friends later, they had said what happened was there was a hill going down and there was a sharp turn at the bottom, and he didn’t realize there was a sharp turn and was just going like full speed down the hill.
And ran into a branch and actually broke it off with his face. And I haven’t gone up to see, I kind of wanna go see where it was, but I don’t even know if my son remembers like exactly what happened. But he did get knocked off his bike. Um, he did get hit in the face and I’m just so grateful it wasn’t higher.
If it was his nose or his eye, um, this could have been much worse. And, I don’t think it’s other people should ever talk you out of or minimize what’s happened to you. But for me, I just, I really was grateful and that really was helpful. That’s something that I use in my toolbox is being grateful, noticing the small blessings, even in traumatic situations.
So back to where we were, we. We’re waiting. We’re waiting. He finally comes in. Well, this doctor has to look at everything. It’s kind of painful for him to look at everything and poke at everything and really assess the situation. And you know, he says, we can do this. We’re gonna get it going. Well, they had put the topical numbing on the outside of his mouth of his chin, but they did not put any on the inside and.
They ended up having to do a lot of shots on the inside of his mouth, and he was screaming. Sorry guys. I’m just gonna say what it was. Um, he was screaming, he was crying, he was yelling like, are you done? Um, please stop. And I, again, do not like needles, do not like blood, do not like injuries. So I’m holding his hands and like trying to hold his head and just telling him, just, just hang in there.
Just hang in there. Don’t move. Try not to talk, try not to move. He’s almost done and he kept saying, are you done? Are you done? And the doctor kept saying, just one more minute. Like, just a couple more minutes. A couple more minutes, a few more. And it was really rough. Um, it’s a little emotional right now.
It was, yeah. It, it’s one of the hardest things as a mom of a living kid. I still watch them in pain and know that like all you can do is be there for them. Right? And he wanted me. He didn’t want his dad usually His dad is better at stuff like this. He’s like a rock in these situations. But he wanted to hold my hand.
He wanted me to be there with him. And so I just put my head down and held his hand and kind of put my hand on his head and just, Kept trying to reassure him and keep him going through that. And that’s another tip I wanna give you. You can minimize the input. So in my case, like I don’t wanna look at it, I don’t wanna see it, I just wanna put my head down.
And I did have to look at it a little bit more than I, I planned to during the whole night. But at that point it was just like, put my head down, take lots of deep breaths. Put my hands on him and keep reassuring him and talking to him and doing what I can. So that helped me stay calm enough to be able to help him.
We finally got the shots over with, as everyone knows, that’s usually like the worst part, but we continued going on and he had to clean out the injury and then start doing stitches, and we ended up doing. Almost an hour worth of stitches. He had to do like two layers in his chin. He had to do inside the mouth.
He had a cut on his lip. Um, and again, we’re pushing, I don’t know, like 10:00 PM and we put our kids to bed early, like seven o’clock. So this was a long, long time. And he was so brave. My son was so brave. He really, once the shots were over, um, it got a lot better. But there was, it was really hard. I’m gonna tell you a little bit of the other things I did as we’re doing this, and even as he’s doing the stitches and as I’m just still holding his hand and trying to help him stay still and be comfortable and, and all of those things.
We’ve all been through trauma, we’ve been through the death of our babies. We’ve all got stuff in our past. But when I talk about trauma and how I deal with trauma, um, this is more of like, you are functional. You’re, you’re doing pretty good, and these things come up where you feel like overwhelmed. You might even have like small panic attacks, I guess, but it’s not like an overwhelming thing.
You feel overall healthy, like mentally healthy, but you have this anxiety and some trauma that is within your body, and this just means like your nervous system overreacts to things or you feel like you can’t control how you react to some things. Some people would say they get triggered, right? Like something happens and you feel this just like zing inside your body and it’s overwhelming.
Okay. So I am a life coach. I am not a therapist. I’m not a psychiatrist. I don’t diagnose like disorders, but I’m just gonna share what I know about me and my situation and what I see a lot in my clients who, again, are doing well and functioning. But for me, the trauma I’ve been through as a mother is the stillbirth of my daughter.
I even think this little boy’s pregnancy was basically, uh, nine months of. Intense fear and nervous system, overreaction. And then when we lost river, um, that was pretty traumatic. I did bleed out. So river is the baby I lost at 14 weeks was a mis miscarriage. We had a D N C and I did. Um, bleed out and wake up in the hospital and have a lot of things kind of happen to me in the right after that, and, um, was quite traumatic and then went on to have a really high risk pregnancy.
So I would say that I, I have dealt with a lot of fear around my children. Um, and so that to me is somewhat traumatic, but I don’t label it like, I don’t, I say traumatized, like I have experienced trauma or I would say I’m traumatized kind of in a lighter way. Um, but definitely have been through some things that when something like this happens, um, I definitely feel it.
So to me, what trauma feels like is it’s like, Like I said, like a zinging in my body. Like you can feel this energy and it goes like from my legs up to my head and back down and in and out, up and down, right? And it’s just there. It’s like electricity to me. And I think something that really helps if you get in this situation and you feel like you’re being triggered or you’re feeling anxiety or trauma, um, just feel it.
I mean, really it is an energy and it moves. And it ebbs and it flows, and it comes and it goes, but it’s like a tingling or it’s like, um, you know, maybe you feel a little bit in shock. Maybe your head is a little bit cloudy, maybe your fingers are tingling. There’s, there’s lots of ways it manifests, but I want you to just feel it, like take a breath and feel it.
We’re so afraid to feel these things and we feel like. This is more powerful than us, but you are more powerful than your trauma. 100%. Okay. This is just sensations and nerves and things going off in your body and it’s okay, right? It’s okay to just feel it and let it move through. And even after, so after all of that happened and I took kind of a day to recover, even when I talk about it sometimes now, and it’s getting better, cuz like I said, it’s been like nine or 10 days.
But even when I would think about things, it, it brings up that reaction, but I know what it is. And that’s what you need to do, is you need to recognize these things and say, oh, that’s just trauma, or that’s just my nervous system freaking out. Like, that’s okay. And it just takes so much power away if you just.
Name it, recognize it and let it be there and don’t try to fight it. I’ll cut to the rest of the story. We got him all stitched up, we got everything cleaned up. We kind of got all our instructions and we headed home. Um, it was very, very late. We hadn’t eaten. We tried to get him something to eat that he could eat when his mouth is like not doing so good.
And so we got the food, we got in the car, we got home. Of course. It does take time to recover, and that’s really important too. If you’ve been through something, it’s okay that it takes time to recover. It’s okay that you are just like, you’re on this adrenaline high and your nervous system is just going, going, going.
Then you come down off of that. That is also part of the process and that is not a problem. If you feel like you need a whole day to just kind of curl up and rest and recharge, do that. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with it. Just do what’s essential. Let the rest go. It’s gonna be fine. I think another thing that happened to me with this situation is when I would think about this happening again, because as I sat there in the er, I just kept thinking, He loves his bike.
He loves doing these things. He, he just, he, this is his life. Like I know this is not gonna be the last time I see the inside of the er. For sure with this kid. And so I think that was kind of part of what really was setting off my nervous system was when I would think about the future and that I was gonna be here again.
And how much, maybe worse it could be. And how much more blood or, or bone sticking out. I don’t know. I wasn’t really imagining the specifics, but I, I definitely could see my brain going there where I was like, This is gonna happen again and again and how am I gonna deal with it? Because this is like not fun at all.
But again, I just gotta give myself so much compassion. I can see that I’m doing that. I can see that I’m creating worry for myself. I can see that it’s not super useful, but I can also. Just love my brain for what it’s doing and love myself. And like I said, that was kind of like in the days after, anytime I would think about what happened, anytime I would think about it happening again.
Like he right now is just like I am trying to keep him down, which is really hard, like, Keep him calm so that his face can completely heal and we don’t split it open again. And it’s just so hard. And so I have to just let him be like, let him be who he is. Obviously try my best to keep him safe, but you can’t keep that kid down.
And so I need to just. Manage my own self so that he can live his life, right? Because I want him to live his life. I want him to enjoy it. And I think, like I said before, I think there’s so much value in kids taking risks and having freedom and making their own choices, and. There’s sometimes consequences to that, but I’d rather do that than like keep him at home in a padded room where he could never get hurt.
I’m gonna finish this up with a few tips on grounding yourself, but because I don’t want it to get too long, but here’s the thing. This bike accident happened. It wasn’t unforeseeable. Um, when we got him this mountain bike, oh my gosh, he was so excited. He was so excited to go with these friends and they’re a little bit older and better, and I knew that he probably would crash at some point and he did, and it was scary and there it was hard.
And there was a lot of emotions and a lot of energy, and it was emotionally exhausting. But you know what? I’m here. I’m smiling, I’m talking to you about it. I just let those waves come through. I just take care of it. I know it. I love it. I love me. I love him. Right. I’m gonna give myself so much grace, and that’s what I want for you.
There are so many of you listening that really get down on yourself because you get triggered, because you worry about your kids because you know, um, have the sweetest friend on Instagram who. Who had a car accident and that was the, the cause of her baby’s death. And that is really hard for her to even get in a car.
Like I understand there are a lot of things going on. You’ve been through a lot of things, but I want you to know that you can heal. Your body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to, and you have to work with it instead of against it. Stop hating yourself for feeling this way. Stop hating your body for reacting this way.
It’s trying to protect you, but it’s your job to tell it that it’s safe, right? It’s your job to let it freak out a little bit, but not let it freak out a lot, right? Just keep reminding yourself that this is all okay and you’re gonna be okay, and you’re gonna handle it. Just don’t blame yourself and don’t ever use thought work to say that you shouldn’t feel how you’re feeling.
What happens in our nervous system is a lot of times out of our control in some ways, but in our control in other ways. You still have your brain, your higher brain. You still can think about your thinking. You can think about your body. You can think about how you’re feeling, and this is true even when you’re traumatized.
So I want you to really just be super compassionate and also take some ownership if you are finding that you are letting trauma run your life again, not like clinical diagnosed trauma that needs different treatment, but, but just, I don’t wanna say day-to-day trauma, but. Just remember that you have a lot more control than you think you do.
You are not a victim. You just need to learn about it, learn about yourself, and learn what works for you. Now I’m gonna give you a few tips that will help you in the moment and afterwards. So these are really, um, Pretty simple to do, and I know that they work because I’ve used them myself. So feel your feet on the ground and relax your jaw.
This is something I have to remind myself all the time to do, but if you’re in a situation that’s like, this is when trauma’s right in your face, okay? Put your feet on the ground. Do it right now. Feel your feet on the ground, press them down, relax your jaw. When you do those two things, you can’t help but notice.
And if you’re doing it with me, the rest of your body in between relaxes, it’s really cool. Okay, so try that then get in touch with your senses. What do you feel, see, smell, taste like? What is going on around you? Look out the window. Take deep breaths in and out, and focus on your breath. Go really deep into your lungs.
Put your hand on your chest and your stomach, and feel the air move in and out, and your lungs and your chest go up and down. Right when you focus on your breath, it quiets the rest of your mind and it calms your nervous system. The next tip is move your body, walk, stretch, shake, dance, let the trauma move through you.
So loosen up instead of tightening up. Cause when we tighten up, it just makes everything stronger. It’s like when you, when you put your finger on the end of the hose right, it’s gonna make everything just stronger and faster. But I think even, you know, pacing is something that. Maybe we think isn’t healthy, right?
If you’re worried and you’re pacing, you always see in movies, like in the hospital when somebody will be pacing, that’s a good thing to do. Like that is your body doing what it needs to do to take care of your nervous system. So whatever works for you. If you need to put on your favorite song and dance around whatever the situation, just move your body because trauma is in your body.
You gotta get it out in your body. Another one I love to do is to pray or meditate. So whatever your beliefs are, um, you use this so you may not feel in control, but the universe always has your back. So put your trust in it to hold you up, and that’s really important to me. I have a lot of faith. I believe that we have a father in heaven who loves us and wants to help us, and that he knows more than I know.
And so I can pray and focus my mind on kind of giving it to God and, and knowing that he’s gonna bless my son, who you know when you feel helpless to take away this pain, you can pray for the people that you care about. And then the last one is, remind yourself that this is your body doing what it’s supposed to do.
It is powerful. Use your body and know that this won’t last forever. If you allow it to move through you, you have to feel it, and it’s okay to feel it. I think this is something so many people do. They’re so afraid of these un uncomfortable emotions and these un uncomfortable sensations in your body that.
We’ll do anything we can to get away from it, whether that’s using substances, using distractions, all of those things. But you gotta just let it move through you. Okay. I got a quote from Fred Rogers. He said, anything that’s human is mentionable and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable when we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.
The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone. And that’s what I want for you. I wanted to just walk you through this experience that brought up a lot for me, but I hope that as you listen to me talk, you’re like, does it sound like maybe it was that big of a deal?
Um, she sounds pretty cheery right now, but I’m telling you the reason I can sit here and talk about it is because. I was able to use all these tools to process it and to give myself some time and to just not be upset that I’m upset and to just handle it, and it wasn’t perfect, like it was not fun. I’m telling you, it was scary and there was like a lot of stuff going on.
I’m here and I’m fine, and I want you to know that you will be fine too. And even better than fine. So just like Mr. Rogers said, the people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone. I want you to know that you’re not alone and that I am here to help you. I can help you with this podcast.
I can help you even more if you come work with me in coaching. Whatever you’ve got going on, whatever triggers, whatever fears you have about your living kids. Whatever you’re struggling with in your grief right now, let me help you. All you need to do is go in the show notes, come to a connection call. I will tell you all about my program, and we will create a custom fit for you to be able to feel confident and to be able to feel peace in your life and in your future.
Your future is going to be amazing. Your trauma is not gonna dictate your future. You are. I’ll see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby’s death was somehow your fault? Go tostones coaching.com and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.