When you first get pregnant, people everywhere tell you about how wonderful it is to be a mother. Sometimes the advice is solicited and sometimes it’s not. I had a complete stranger once come up to me in a department store and stroke my belly with a big, proud smile on her face. It was as if she was just radiating joy from her hand to my womb. It was freaky.
No matter much people tried to convey the joys of motherhood to me, I really couldn’t appreciate it until I went through it myself. Even then, I’d say that it took a couple of weeks to really find the “joy” through all of the exhaustion. The thing I wish people really would have taken the time to explain, is how damn afraid you become once you’ve entered the life stage called Motherhood.
As soon as you are about 1 minute pregnant until about 15 weeks, you worry. You fear miscarriage. Sometimes in that window of time you may also have blood work done to identify early signs of fetal abnormality. Then, you worry about whether or not your baby will have Downs Syndrome, Spina bifida or something else. When I was 17 weeks pregnant, I got a phone call that our baby tested positive for Trisomy 18, a rare and usually fatal disease. I got on WebMD immediately. It was a huge mistake to do that. My fear became horribly overwhelming and luckily we found out a couple of weeks later that the test result was a false positive. I still worried.
Only one very wise friend and mother of two was able to put it in perspective for me. She said, “You will never stop worrying. First you worry that your baby will make the first trimester. Then you worry that your baby will be born premature. After that, you hope that it will be healthy. Then, once it’s born, you worry if it has some big birthmark that no one saw on the ultra sound or that once he gets his driver’s license, he won’t get in an accident.”
The fears range from reasonable to totally irrational. And, she was right. It doesn’t matter if you have a boy or a girl.
Since the day I peed on a stick and saw the plus sign staring back at me, I haven’t stopped worrying.
When your baby doesn’t develop as fast as the other babies that age, you worry.
When your baby starts to crawl, you worry he’ll stick his finger in an electrical socket.
When he finally starts to walk, you worry he will fall.
When he learns to eat solid foods, you worry he will choke.
When he is big enough to go to school, you worry he’ll hang with the right crowd.
When he goes on a date, you worry that he’ll meet a nice person that loves them.
When he goes away to college, you worry he’ll make the right choices.
Worry. Worry. Worry.
It’s enough to worry yourself into the funny farm, or at least into an ulcer.
But, I suppose you can’t worry forever, can you? At some point, you may have to trust that this little human that you have brought into the world was raised by someone who has some sense about them (minus all the worry) and that everything will turn out fine.
Letting your guard down is the hard part. I work on it every day. I keep telling myself that my children’s lives will pass me by if I spend more time worrying than I do enjoying them growing up.
It’s easier said than done.
- Couple’s baby joy after spending £54k on IVF treatment (mirror.co.uk)
- Susan Kane: The Lucky One: I’m Pregnant But My Best Friend Miscarried (huffingtonpost.com)
- Down’s syndrome blood check could end invasive test (dailymail.co.uk)