A fear a mother has for her child is a fear like no other. One that can choke us and consume us if we let it. As someone who has to have control of everything, who plans everything out well in advance, I have surprised myself with how well I feel I've handled the unknown. This is not something with my personality I've anticipated being able to do, but I still fear the panic that sneaks in at times will win.
Some days that very worst scenerio that what the doctors are seeing on my son's heart could be the tumor that spontaneously and rapidly grows and stops his little heart before he ever has a chance to make it out here and face the surgery that could save him consumes me in the icy grip of fear.
The other majority of the days I feel hope and confidence all will be well. As of four weeks ago the "mass/suspected tumor" was still very small and not interfering in the functioning of his heart. Daily I feel his little movements that tell me he is in there still going strong. I cling to the hope that it is the other type of tumor that will start regressing with the third trimester and eventually in his youth disappear. Or if it's not that he will continue to thrive in utero and once he is born he can face surgery and/or treatment and we will all move on from this with a healthy baby boy that thrives in life.
But even as I face my own fear and my own hope I am not alone in this. In just the four weeks since we've been faced with this unknown, I have connected with three others that face similar unknowns (high risk pregnancy with twins in which one or both could be lost quickly, cystic fibrosis, and developing kidney concern on an ultrasound) that fill them with fear and hope for either their unborn child or their recently diagnosed newborn. Another faces the unknown of her ten year old's niece's second relapse with cancer.
Here's what I learned. There are so many scenerios that can threaten our precious children. Just knowing that in general can scare the hell out of any parent. Facing that scenario can turn our world upside down. I have seen some amazingly strong mothers (and fathers) face situations we all pray is never ours, and their hope is an extraordinary light that keeps the darkness of fear from consuming them and those around them.
The thing I've learned from watching them is we can have our fear, we can voice our fear, we can confront our fear, but we cannot let our fear consume our hope. It is what will see us through; it is what will see our children through. Our hope is our greatest strength.