You don’t know worry until you have a child. Let me preface with, I have always been a worrier. When I was little (we’re talking like five here) I would sit up on Christmas Eve, unable to sleep. Sure, I was excited that it was Christmas, but mostly I was worried about coal. I would mentally run through every bad thing I had done over the year.
I would say life is a stress layer cake. As you get older, you get more and more layers to worry about. When I was in high school, I obsessed over finals. I would look at my parents and think “they have it so easy, they don’t have to take a Geometry test tomorrow.” Later, I got a job and a dog. I worried about him digging up the yard, getting sick, or just generally being unhappy. I thought this was the epitome of worry. Boy was I wrong.
When I got pregnant, I worried constantly. I always had a thought in the back of my head, most of them were completely ridiculous. What if my baby has a tail? What if I accidently eat fish? I don’t really know how one could accidently eat fish, but I have never claimed to be rational. Then there were also real concerns about whether my baby would be healthy, or why I wasn’t feeling much movement that day. However, all of this worry was for not and I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Then the worry multiplied.
As a new mom, I worried about everything. Literally, everything. What if my baby has SIDS? Why did he cough? Is he blinking enough? What if I can’t keep him on his back to sleep? Will he ever get teeth? Then come the toddler years. What if he actually a baby ninja and round house kicks the cord to his monitor into his hands, wraps it around his neck, and strangles himself? What if he isn’t eating enough? Is he talking enough?
Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly worry anymore, it happened. I got pregnant again. You would think it would be easier this time around. You would be wrong. Somehow the second time around I worried more. Would I love this baby? How would my toddler adjust? Why wasn’t I as sick as last time? What if I accidently eat fish?
My pregnancy ended after what seemed like an eternity when I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and the worry started all over again. In fact, she was a more challenging baby than my son so I found that I worried more. Why was she crying? Was she getting enough to eat? What was I doing wrong? Why does she only sleep during the day? Why wasn’t this easier the second time around?
I have come to accept that I will not have a worry free, restful night sleep ever again in my life. My worries I have today will be replaced with new worries, both rational and not so rational. Will they be happy? Are they dating a good person? Are they too popular? Are they popular enough? What if she gets pregnant and accidently eats fish? However, I have realized that I would not trade these nights of restless sleep for anything in the world. I look at my perfect children and I know, they are worth the worry.