Living life knowing the worst CAN happen


This is the cake I made for Conor’s Granny’s birthday. She loves both cake and chocolate so this was sure to be a hit. It’s a fat-less sponge but don’t for one minute think it’s healthy. It is filled with and covered with loads of chocolate buttercream.  It’s a little tricky rolling the sponge into its “swiss roll” shape. Fortunately the chocolate buttercream frosting covers all the cracks. I shaped it to look like a festive log. This Conor’s granny is both a reader and taster of Cakes for Conor!!

I live my new life knowing the worst CAN happen. The worst is far more than just a few cracks in a cake. I have become a worrier. I know from talking to other bereaved parents that I am not alone with my new anxieties. If a baby can die suddenly at the end of a perfect pregnancy anything can happen. Doctors refer to Conor’s death as like an accident meaning it could happen out of the blue to anyone. I think of it more like a lightning strike.  Accidents can and do happen and lightning can strike twice.

Since Conor’s death I have become more acutely aware of health issues in both me and my loved ones. In the space of a year I buried my son and my dear dad. I do not want to lose anyone else and I don’t want people to lose me. I am one of 5 mothers I know who in the weeks after our babies’ deaths were investigated for breast cancer. Fortunately we all got the all clear. Our breasts were probably just reacting to our bodies no longer being pregnant. We had each responded to all the new lumps and bumps with a heightened state of anxiety. I know of two dads who were investigated for possible heart attacks. Thankfully they too were fine. I have not become a hypercondriac but I take any new signs or symptoms seriously because I now know that the worst CAN happen. Once I start to worry it is only someone in a medical role who can reassure me that all is fine. Being told to stop worrying by well wishers only adds fuel to my anxieties.

Friends of mine who have had pregnancies after the loss of a child have experienced  huge anxiety. They too know that the worst CAN happen. People congratulate them and tell them to stop worrying as this pregnancy will be fine. They know that there are no guarantees. People talk about the odds of something happening again. They gain no comfort in odds knowing that someone has to be the one in however many.  Every trip to the maternity hospital takes them back to their bad news day. Thankfully maternity hospitals don’t just unhelpfully tell them to stop worrying but recognise their anxieties and their extra need for reassurance.


I hope that one day my worries will lessen. I hope that one day I’ll stop visualising the police knocking on my door any day Conor’s Daddy is late home. In the meantime I’m finding ways to give my poor anxious mind a break for a while. I am trying meditation (I’m still a bit of a cynical novice) and gentle distraction (reading and of course baking). Now where’s my next recipe…..

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This is the recipe I used. I spotted a link to it over Christmas. I think it works well all year round. It’s already very sweet so don’t even think about swapping dark chocolate for milk chocolate.