I'm Pregnant After Losing a Child to Cancer

Julie Ryan Evans

Kathy Kathy Glow finally had everything she wanted -- a loving husband, four sons, a beautiful home, and their whole lives ahead of them. Then one day her 5-year-old son Joey had a seizure, a seizure that turned out to be the result of brain cancer. That cancer killed him about 14 months later.

As she helped him battle his illness and in the months since Joey died, her whole world has changed. She writes a blog called Kissing the Frog, with a poignant tagline, "... what life is really like after all your dreams come true ..." Some of her dreams have been shattered, others shifted, and now, unexpectedly, a new dream has come about -- that of the life ahead for the baby she and her husband are expecting this coming June.

When she first found out she was pregnant, she was shocked ... and terrified, both because of her age (she's 40) and because of what could happen even if he's seemingly healthy when he's born.

I worry that there will be something wrong with the baby, and I fear that I am not strong enough to go through such heartache again so soon. I fear that the baby will have something wrong with him, or as happened with Joey, he'll be perfect and normal and then one day that will all change.

Friends and family have offered support and kind sentiments that "it was meant to be," that perhaps Joey had a hand in it. But she doesn't quite believe that's true. It's hard to believe in things that are meant to be when you've lost a child. How can that ever be meant to be?

Physically, this pregnancy has been similar to her others, but emotionally it's been much more difficult. 

I find that I am not as excited because of how nervous I am about the health of the baby. I am also very sad about the fact that he will never know Joey. I know people who have lost a sibling before they were born or when they were babies, and they speak of the person as if they were a stranger, which really, they are. And that hurts me to know that Joey will be a stranger to this brother. There won't even be any pictures of these two together.

But she will make sure the new brother knows all about Joey and how he loved to laugh and have fun, and so much more.

I will tell him that Joey was a wonderful big brother. He was never jealous of any new siblings, rather so proud and always wanted to help and play with his baby brothers. He loved life, and he was constantly busy and wanted to try everything. He was happy and always tried to look on the bright side of things. I will also tell him that Joey changed my approach to life, too. He showed me that if you really want to do something, you should go for it, because in the very least, you might have a lot of fun doing it! 

She said losing Joey has changed her approach to parenting in a variety of ways.

I am definitely more paranoid about EVERYTHING! Every little ache or pain one of my boys has I am afraid they have cancer, or every time they won't eat their vegetables or they eat too much red dye #40, I am afraid they will get some other disease.

But she says it also made her a better parent in some ways. 

I am so much more willing to stop and do the little things like cuddle or read books or build a super cool train track. I am more on top of things they need or want to do, and I am more patient and less apt to blow up over typical kid things like tantrums or mishaps.

So as she prepares a nursery and gets ready to meet her new son -- her fifth son -- she keeps dreaming because she knows that when dreams come true, they are amazing, beautiful gifts to be cherished while they last, because too often they're gone all too soon.


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