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Pregnancy and Tragic News

by Jane Wangersky | December 20th, 2012 | Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I experienced one of those permanent changes that a woman doesn’t really know about until it’s hit her. While watching TV, I saw news footage of a refugee woman — I don’t even remember where she was from, or what disaster had driven her from her home, at this distance — sitting in the rain, holding her baby and trying to shield it. Suddenly I had a strong, almost physical reaction. A baby in need — what if that were mine?

The same thing happened shortly afterward, when a small boy disappeared from a city not far from ours. What if that ever happened to my child? It was unlikely — but it had been unlikely to happen to that boy too, and his parents had probably never expected to have to deal with such a loss.

This is one more of the ways pregnancy changes your life forever. The feeling lost its intensity over the years, but it’s never gone away. I may no longer feel sick to my stomach or find my heart racing when I hear of something terrible happening to a child, but — if only just for a moment — I picture one of mine in that child’s place, and I think of what his/her mother must be going through.

Yes, it’s a lifelong vulnerability you’ve acquired. But ultimately, it’s also a strength — not so much for you as for your children and the larger community. That feeling is what makes you protect your kids without even thinking what the consequences may be for yourself. It intensifies your care for other people’s children, and it draws you closer to other parents. So in the end, it makes our world stronger and more loving.

No doubt, for many pregnant women in many different places, the news of last Friday’s school shooting brought the first shock of this feeling. This isn’t the time to try to put it in any kind of positive light. Instead, let’s do what we can for each other. In a world where things like this can happen, everyone should have someone to turn to — you can be that person for your children and others.

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