Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My true companion

An old friend called the other day and revealed a happy secret: she’s six and a half weeks pregnant!

And understandably, after years of yearning, months of trying and a recent miscarriage, she’s nervous.

She has her seven-week ultrasound on Friday. “Once I get through that I think I’ll feel a lot less worried about everything,” she confided.

Bless her dear, wee naïve soul.

She doesn’t yet know, of course, that the worry she feels now won’t go away at the seven week ultrasound, or at the end of the first trimester, and certainly not with the arrival of a beautiful, healthy baby. She doesn’t yet know that worry, an occasional visitor for most people without children, becomes a constant companion once you become a parent.

If there is one single aspect of parenthood that I was completely unprepared for, that I simply could not fathom, it is, hands down, the constant worry.

The early days of my pregnancy were a blur of anxiety. Every trip to the washroom was an ordeal involving baited breath and prayers. I counted down the days until I finished my first trimester so I could “stop worrying.”

Three months into my pregnancy I started counting the days until I figured my growing baby would be viable if worse came to worse. Twenty-six weeks? Twenty-seven? Thirty?

When Graham finally arrived, in addition to being stricken by thoughts of SIDS and RSV, I faced the very real prospect that he was disabled. The worry I lived with during those early days was so intense and so pervasive that even now my heart constricts and my eyes well at the mere thought of it.

That particular fear was unfounded, praise God. Graham is happy, healthy and full of beans. A more gorgeous, blessed child has never been born. He eats and sleeps like a champ, rarely gets so much as a cold and appears to be, in my humble opinion, a bone fide genius.

And yet I still worry.

I worry about childhood illness and predators and things that go bump in the night. I worry about him being bullied and crossing the street and swimming at the lake and getting his driver’s license. I worry that I never should have taken him for his first flight. I worry about him marrying the wrong person and never finding a job he enjoys and having to face the depression that tends to run in my family.

I lie awake at night sometimes and as sleep eludes me, a sense of unease about my good fortune creeps into my bones. I have done nothing to deserve the abundance who sleeps, so heavily and damp and peaceably, in the next room. Can I really be allowed to enjoy his continued robust health? Surely there will be a reckoning, won’t there?

Just please let it be mine and not his.

Things look different in the light of day, of course. I do not spend my days fussing and fretting. My friends and family would never characterize me as a worrier.

But I am.

It’s been more than three years since I first saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test and since then my worry has become just like an old shoe, worn and comfortable and so much a part of my life that, just like my son, I can’t remember when it wasn’t there.

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81 comments:

chelle said...

wow ... you are so right, it never stops ... worry worry .. add a little guilt and you have motherhood.

Sass E-mum said...

Ha ha. Made me chuckle. I rolled from one worry point to the next from the moment I knew I was pregnant till... nope, I've not stopped either.

Scans - can't live with 'em etc etc.

HRH said...

Amen! This is exactly how it is. Who knew I would enjoy worrying this much?

tricki_nicki said...

I don't realize until I'm done reading your posts that I'm holding my breath! I love your writing - and everything you said here is so, so true. Simply lovely.

Stephanie said...

I could not possibly relate to this post any more. Every single word was so well written and is how I feel every day. And my daughter is only 15 months old. The worry is still there. I used to let it consume me. More than anything, I just want to do right by her and of course, never let her out of my sight :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love meeting new blogger friends!

Krystyn said...

I totally know what you are talking about, and I've said the same thing to friends. The worry NEVER ends...it's just a matter of it you let it consume you or not. And, of course, you have to chose which battles will worry your or not.

And, I've been told, we will continue to worry even after they are off and married and having kids of their own! Yikes!

Truer words were never spoken.

Momma Mary said...

You said it. The worries about pregnancy just morph into different things, crazy things, normal things. Or, just EVERYTHING!

MamaGeek said...

The ONLY time I stop worrying is to yield to all the incessant guilt pains!

A-men.

Abbie said...

OH my gosh, I SO get this. It's one of those things where growing up yourself you think 'I will totally let my child do that', but then once the time comes to loosen the reins a little, THATS when you understand everything your parents went through. I cringe at the thought of simply letting her walk to the neighbors house alone some day. *sigh* vicious, vicious cycle I tell you.

Amy said...

Ditto.

Well said.

Laura said...

The worry never stops...but neither do the laughs, cuddles and pride.

Momma said...

Oh, isn't that the truth!? My kids are in their 20s and still I worry, though with less intensity now than when they were little.

It's part of parenthood. Your friend will learn...oh, will she ever....

Peace - D

sky girl said...

It's part of being a Mom. But I can understand your friend to some degree too. :)

IRISHKAT said...

It is the best and worst of motherhood. You luv them to pieces and worry till you are grey and then you luv them even more!

Mandy said...

You're like me... I worry constantly. It's where my grey hair and the need for hair dye came from!

jakelliesmom said...

You mean it's not just me?

painted maypole said...

it's like that saying... that by having children you resign yourself to always living life with your heart outside of your body... running around in that other person

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Yep, you're right.

Maureen said...

Exactly! I constantly worry and my daughter is 17. Now it's worry over driving, parties, relationships, everything really.

And it all started the day I found out I was pregnant for the second time (the first I lost at 14 weeks).

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I hope she really has an amazing pregnancy. I'm happy for your friend. Your right.. it is a lifetime of worry- but only because we LOVE THEM SO MUCH!

Jen said...

7 week ultrasound?!!!!

Around here, you can't even be seen by a doctor until weeks 12-14.

Best wishes to your friend.

Tracey said...

You sure hit that nail on the head, hon...

Emy5 said...

You are so right. The minute the baby is born and you take on responsibilty for another human being you experience a new kind of worry, one that never goes away. That is part of LOVE!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Me too. My oldest is 23, and . . . me too.

Family Adventure said...

You tell the truth, my friend. It never, ever ends. But you get used to it...

Heidi

InTheFastLane said...

And according to my mom, it never does end, Even when they marry the right people and have beautiful children of their own, then there is even more to worry about.

Karen said...

You're so right. And I used to think that once we managed to get them grown and out of the house the worrying stopped. More and more I'm learning that it doesn't. It NEVER stops.

Jenifer said...

It really does come with the territory.

The Boyds Family said...

Best wishes to your friend.

Yep, I think that worrying may be a job requirement once you have kids.

Elaine A. said...

I worry too, that's just part of our Mommy-wiring, I believe. However, I always try to have faith that things will be fine...hopefully. ; )

angie said...

So beautifully written and thought out. And congrats to your friend.....

Beth said...

I think you took the feeling, words and heart out of every mother and put it to page, very well. You are so articulate. A great post.

Thanks for the blog visit. I've been put to shame, of course I know who the DMD is - but alas, this is my first comment :)

Dawn said...

I think the worrying becomes a permanent part of life once you become a mother.

April said...

My own mother never hid her worry, and I worried that I'd end up just like her! I'm not quite as bad, but inwardly, sometimes I worry that I don't worry enough! Now that's raising worry to an art form :)

zoeyjane said...

totally true. i'm happy i was such a worrying before i got pregnant with my daughter - it wasn't culture shock at all.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Yep. Worry is definitely in the Mom job description. It's in the fine print "Must be able to cope with lifetime of worry".

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I know exactly what you mean! You want to talk about WORRY? My daughter is one year away from junior high? I need a cocktail just thinking about it! :)

Great post!

Stomper Girl said...

So true. And I checked my knickers for blood EVERY time I went to the toilet when I was pregnant. Both times.

David said...

Dan is away at his grade 8 grad trip to Ottawa. The longest he has been away from home.
I have not slept 4 hours the past 2 nights.
Worry never goes away.

Mental P Mama said...

Well said mama, well said.

Gnightgirl said...

My son is 22, and just returned from Iraq. I worried through his teen years. Worried through bootcamp. Gnashed my teeth, of course, when he was in Iraq. He is home now, on leave.

The "kid" has been in situations I can't wrap my head around, and now that he's home, I still fret that he'll get in a car accident, sleep late and miss an appointment, or leave the house hungry.

It never goes away.

oda41143 Missy said...

My theory is that children are on a mission to worry us to death before they are even conceived.

Anonymous said...

My son is 21 and I still worry every day. Nice post and I will be thinking of your friend.

Mara
http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

My son is 21 and I still worry every day. Nice post and I will be thinking of your friend.

Mara
http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

Mary said...

You nailed this post!
So so true!
Along with the worrying that I never had before I was pregnant, is the knowing of what a miracle every single life is. Sure, I never took my life or anyone else's life for granted. But after growing a baby for 9 months and now watching him healthy and thriving, he's a miracle. As are you, me and everyone else that breathes on this earth!

Jobthingy said...

its amazing how these little creatures can make us worry so much. when i found out about Speedys brain tumor at 28 weeks pregnant i was a wreck right thru til she was born. then came surgery, seizures, CP diagnoses and everything else we have gone thru. and to look at her now, she blows my mind at just how far she has come. from a baby with a 50/50 survival rate during surgery, to one that should not walk or talk now to the one that runs and doesnt shut up. here is to our babies, they stress us out but life wouldnt be the same without them

Brittany said...

You're right! Completely right! There's always something to worry about. I just rest in knowing that it's not in my hands and that God knows what's best for my children! He is in charge and that is that.

Thanks for sharing! :)

OHmommy said...

Amen.

The Walsh's said...

Oh how I love your blog, but this had to be the most I've related so far. From the time I found I was pregnant at 5 1/2 weeks, until the time Lincoln was born at 24 weeks, I worried. And I knew that something was wrong from the start. I have a grand total of 7 ER visits under my belt during that 5 1/2 months...3 of which were during the last 3 days. I swore to the nurses and doctor that I was going into labor and alas, I was sent home.

The sad part is, you're right. We'll worry until we die about children. The fabulous part is, we have something to worry about. I wouldn't give up this anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach for anything in the world!

Kimmylyn said...

A to the Men. Seriously, the worrying ages me daily.

Shannon said...

So incredibly true - what a fantastic post! I age every day worrying about my three.

Jaina said...

Beautifully written. Graham is lucky to have such a wonderful mom. :)

anglophilefootballfanatic said...

You and I read a lot of the same people & we both have 05 boys. I felt like I had to come by & say hello.

Worry NEVER goes away. It's part of motherhood.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

So flippin' true. I have never stopped worrying and my mom assures me that I never will. It just gets harder because you have less and less control.

Kami said...

Wow, you really hit a home run with this post Kelly! So true and at some point it just becomes normal to worry doesn't it?

I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Tranny Head said...

I just keep passing ONE worry milestone and then moving to the next! I mean - first I was freaking out about miscarriage/downs/disabilities. Then he was born and it was SIDS. Now it's autism. And yet I know he's perfectly healthy, but I can't help myself. It never ends!

McMommy said...

You have put into words what my heart feels every.single.day.

A couple of my friends are pregnant with their firsts...and you are so right...they just can't fathom what is ahead.

Nancy said...

Indeed, it is all true.

I still worry about my "babies" who are 20 and 22 ... and we, as parents always will.

Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to meeting you at BlogHer!

Cheffie-Mom said...

My children are 14 and 23 and I still worry! But the worry is well worth it!! I don't think I've ever met a mom that didn't worry! (:

Lisa said...

How true, how true. Never did I understand why my Mom slept on the couch while we were out with the phone next to her ear. Now I do.

kristi said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have another blog too, but it isn't on my home page.

It is:
www.crazyintx-kristi.blogspot.com

Hope to see you again!

ewe are here said...

It never stops; it's just there, there worry, the little nagging worries.

Parenting is hard stuff.

Cecily R said...

This is something I struggle with like you wouldn't believe. It's nice to know other people do the same things...you put it into words so well.

kgirl said...

You said it. I just try to make sure that the worry, the fear, doesn't get in the way of the enjoyment.

www.startswithanx.com said...

The only thing I worry about is seeing two pink lines.

Lisa said...

Oh my goodness--you summed up being a mom, perfectly! It's so hard not to worry and you always think, well after this stage it will get better but there are just more worries....

Thanks so much for visiting my blog :)

Yours is fab!

david mcmahon said...

Don't worry. Be aware. Be immersed in enjoyment.

Only worry when you really have to.

Trust me. I'm a parent too!!

All up, a wonderful post.

womaninawindow said...

I found the worry lessen right about the time my two were in school full-time. I still worry, but only in fits and starts, otherwise, I revel in it all.

kittenpie said...

Absolutely. I am there all over again with the "could he make it yet?" worry, and keepiong on with all the attendign worries of having a little girl ot in the world who will one day be a teenager, and then a grown woman. i doubt it stops at the grave, frankly. Ghosts must all be parents.

Indy said...

So true. You are in training when you are pregnant. The worry doesn't go away. It just changes and evolves.

jennifer, playgroups are no place for children said...

I remember in those early days of my first pregnancy with those same thoughts...if I just make it until...

It's true that the worry never goes away, at times I can keep it at arms length, other times it invades my every thought.

caramama said...

We will now worry for the rest of our lives. It's so true. And I'm not considered a worrier either. But I am when it comes to my child.

CamiKaos said...

perfectly said.

Angie said...

And after just finishing a book where his very accomplished, intelligent young teenager becomes an addict, I realized the worry will NEVER GO AWAY.

KEEP BELIEVING

Jo Beaufoix said...

This is so true DMDiva, I worry so much now I have my girls because they are just so precious and perfect and vulnerable. They're worth the worry though. I suppose that is the price we pay for being lucky enough to be parents. :D

Jenera said...

You hit it all on the head perfectly.

I'm pregnant again after losing a pregnancy back in December. So not only do I still worry about my toddler, I'm freaking out about this pregnancy. Then I freak out if I did a good enough job with my first kid to justify having another-even though it's a bit late on that one.

It's no wonder we all go gray after having kids.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Brilliant writing and wonderful post. I hope your friend has a wonderful, healthy (yet normally worrisome) pregnancy. I think I was even more on edge for my last baby . The Hubby had done "the procedure" and I lived in constant fear that this child I was looking forward to wouldn't make it and there would be no others after her. Now the worries are focused on her 20 year old brother. It never ends. *sigh*

iheartchocolate said...

The worry intensifies when they are old enough to cause harm to themselves! My oldest is 17 and I worried about random things all her life...now that she is old enough to put herself in danger (driving, strangers..) it is even worse. I still worry about SIDS with my yougest two, who are 1 and 2 years old! I have monitors in their rooms still. I worry about every single possible thing that could ever go wrong, it is pretty consuming. Worry is my middle name. My mother and husband routinely talk me down when I am in a tizzy, but it never leaves me.

Kia said...

WOW! How very, very VERY true! And at each stage, we naively think that we couldn't possibly worry any more. But we do. On the next stage. And the one after that. And so on.

lattemommy said...

So true, so true. I swear, if that knot in my stomach ever went away, I wouldn't know what to do.

Karen MEG said...

Congrats to your friend.

I've always been a worrier, but having kids made the previous version seem a neophyte!

That's parenthood for you.

Great post.