When Ian was two months old, I had probably one of the most emotional and horrifying moments of my life. Not many know about it, although I do choose to share the story with people on occasion.
I never knew the Post Partum experience would be so difficult. On top of depression, I felt my brain had vanished, and left absolute inability to function on a day-to-day basis. I felt friends pushing away, but really, I was the one doing it. I just felt “off” for no particular reason, 24 hours of every day.
One lazy morning, I strapped Ian into his carseat for a trip to the café to visit Daddy, and then we were going to head to the store for some groceries. On the way to the café, Ian fell asleep. I brought him into the café, visited with Aaron for a while, and then Ian and I headed out the back door to the car.
I set his seat down next to the car, pulled out my keys, threw my purse over to the passenger seat, and got in.
As I started the car, I had a sickening feeling that I was forgetting something. Seatbelt! Buckled myself in, looked over, purse and wallet were all ready to go, so I put the car in reverse and backed out. As the car moved backward, I heard a scraping sound. It sounded much like a coffee cup being dragged on the ground, so I figured I’d see what it was after I backed out. As I turned and pulled forward down the alley, I looked in my rearview mirror.
Then, I had one of the most significant out-of-body experiences I’ve had in my life.
Twenty feet behind me, I saw a carseat. It was tipped on its side, twenty feet away from the place it started. In it, my child. The car lurched forward as I jumped out and yanked up the emergency brake.
I ran and found my sweet boy, sound asleep, tucked in comfortably under his warm green blanket.
What followed was an idiotic decision to go to the store anyway, then head home. I didn’t tell Aaron right away, yet that should have been the first place I ran. I headed home after the store, and a few family members were working on a backyard project at my house. I told them what had just happened, and they simply stood there in shock. I ended up leaving Ian with them, and going to the café to get a hug from Aaron and tell him what happened.
Honestly, I didn’t tell people for a while. The shock and embarrassment would have been too much to handle. But as the months and years have passed, I realized that the embarrassment was 1) out of pride, and 2) because I never heard any other moms sharing stories like this.
To be honest, as alone as I felt, I knew I wasn’t REALLY alone. And I want people to know these things happen to even the most caring, devoted moms. I’ve heard countless stories about kids falling off the bed or the kitchen counter, being left unbuckled in the car, etc. I often respond with, “Yeah, well at least you didn’t almost hit your kid with your car.” (To which Aaron responds, “Well, you kind of DID actually.”)
Years later, I also had the realization that Ian and I weren’t alone in that alley. Yes, there were plenty of people at the Laundromat, on the streets, and in local shops and offices, but none of them even knew what had happened.
We were both surrounded by an army of angels. Angels who knew Ian’s mom needed a little help. I have this image in my head of their strong hands protecting his head, singing to him to stay asleep, and guiding the carseat perfectly so he would emerge without a single scratch on his frail body. How else would my kid have survived being dragged 20 feet on its side by a car? *Shivers*
Here’s Ian at two months. Yeah, he looks a little chunky here. But when I saw him in his carseat in the middle of an empty alley, he looked kinda small. 🙂