When Someone is Missing

August 25, 2017 at 11:08 pm

My husband really dislikes the dreaded words that I sometimes say:

“I keep looking around for the other kid.”

He usually promptly responds with something like, “They’re all here.”

Sometimes it feels like there really is an invisible child among us, but when I turn to include the other kid in my head count, no one is there… at least no one I can see with my physical eyes. Occasionally, I even get a bit panicked in that split second between looking for the missing kid and realizing… no, I really only have five. After I gave birth to my 5th baby, the feeling mostly went away. The “invisible other kid” wasn’t around so much. But for the past couple of weeks, the feeling has been almost constant. It’s actually becoming kind of oppressive.

Invisible child

At first I wasn’t going to tell anyone, especially not my husband. I was just going to keep it to myself. But it has gotten kind of crazy out of hand. Tonight I couldn’t contain it any longer. I let out a massive sigh, grabbed my head with my hands, and moaned, “I can’t make it stop… I keep looking for the missing kid… augh!”

After confessing this, I felt like I might burst into tears with exasperation. I don’t know what to make of it. When we found out that our 5th baby was a girl and not the boy I had been expecting, I wondered a lot if I had invented the unborn son I was waiting for. I often wonder if I’m just delusional. I wonder if it’s just part of me being mentally ill. I wonder if it doesn’t matter how many kids I have… if I’ll just keep having delusions about missing children. If you’ve been reading my blog for long then you know how much I have flipped and flopped and gone around in circles about whether I was done having kids.

I’m a full-time mom of five kids already. I am homeschooling. Some days I feel like there’s no way I could possibly do any more. Today was one of those days. Cranky toddlers have a way of making some days feel like torture. I love my children. All of them. They’re all incredible in their own ways. I wish I had more time and energy to give each of them the attention they crave. But I’m spread pretty thin as it is. On the other hand, if it really is time for us to meet this boy, it doesn’t make much sense to put it off. I’m not getting any younger.

A prebirth experience (PBE) is a spiritual experience or dream or vision of a child not-yet-born. My friend Sarah Hinze has been studying them for decades. I have had several, and all of them resulted in the birth of the child I had previously seen in dreams and visions. I had some powerful spiritual experiences guiding me to have my first two children. I saw my third child in a vivid dream five years before he was actually born. With my fourth baby, I had several intense experiences and dreams. With my fifth baby, I had an experience I haven’t felt like I could share with anyone besides my husband. With my (possibly imaginary) unborn son, I have had too many to count. These experiences are the only thing keeping me from brushing aside my impressions as just mental illness or delusions. Every PBE I have had in the past has be validated by an actual child’s appearance. So maybe I can trust that this “missing child” isn’t just a figment of my imagination? Maybe. I’m not totally convinced just yet.

I’m also afraid. What if I have another girl? I mean, I love my girls, but… this particular boy has been hanging around for a very long time. What if he’s born with birth defects, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or any number of other challenges? I really don’t think I could handle the stress of a special needs child. These very fears rolled around my brain for quite a while as I lay awake in bed this morning.

So yeah. Not really sure what I’m trying to accomplish with this post. I just needed to process all of this, and writing is usually how I do it best. I guess I’m also kind of hoping that someone else will have some insight or personal experiences to shed some light on what I’m going through.

Have you felt the “missing kid” sensation? What did you make of it? Did it ever go away? I’d appreciate your comments, thoughts, and experiences so much.

You can hear more about my unborn son in my Splitting the Sky interview: