The Mighty Logo

I'm Not the Woman I Was Before My Son's Accident

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

All families have stories. Our little man, Christian, gave us a story that redefined our family and me as a mother. Or so it seemed.

When he was 11 months old, he fell into a pool and drowned. He died and came back to life a different boy from the one I gave birth to. He is now 7. His life looks very different than what I dreamed for him. But it is also full of patience and beauty and lessons beyond my what I could ever dream as well.

I was just talking to my best friend the other day, and I’ve said it before — I used to look at pictures of myself before his accident and envy the woman in those pictures. I used to want to be her again. I used to think she was so lucky to be in such oblivion of what was to come. That woman was so untouched by the magnitude of life-altering tragedy. She was so lucky. And she was so stupidly happy, yet so very far away from who I am now.

I thought.

I told my best friend I used to feel that way, but now I look at that woman and I am finally at a point where I can say I am her again. Happy and back to where I feel like I’m her again. There’s no longer a separation of before and after or who I was then and who I am now. And I was proud to say it. I am her again.

I thought.

But after thinking about it, I’m not sure that’s true because I’m not sure I want to be her anymore. I would have given anything to be her for a lot of years. But I think I like this version of me a little better. I’m as happy as she was. Maybe even happier. But I’m far more confident. I’m stronger. I’m more reasonable. And I’m more grateful. I’m more aware. I’m aware of what I could lose in a second and I’m aware of how many miracles happen every single day.

It’s a hypersensitivity. It’s an acute awareness that there is so much beauty in this world, in the little tiny moments you miss otherwise, in breathing patterns, crooked smiles, late-night stretches, pizza and brownies on Saturday nights, and the calm and silence of normalcy. It’s all so beautiful. And maybe the girl in those pictures didn’t realize that.

Christian came back a different boy, I came back a different woman.

I am not that girl in the pictures anymore.

I’m better.

Shauna and her son, Christian

Follow this journey on Christian’s Journey.

Originally published: December 18, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home