I broke down crying in the pediatricians office last week. Luckily, we have a wonderful pediatrician, one who listened as I expressed my concerns. She didn’t brush me off or get impatient. She made sure I felt good before she left the exam room. She also reassured me by saying that my postpartum hormones are pretty much at their peak right now so all this turmoil I’m feeling will settle down.
So maybe that’s it. Maybe its just hormones. Or the fact that only one out of every ten meals I eat is actually a proper meal with something akin to nutritional balance. Or the fact that even though my baby is really a very good sleeper (the best yet!) I’m still just tired. Regardless of what’s causing it, the problem is that I’m terrified.
I have everything I’ve ever wanted in life and I’m absolutely fucking terrified. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m waiting for something to go terribly, horribly wrong.
I have a daughter. A beautiful daughter. My Marleigh. She is sweet and smart and strong and I’m so in love with her I don’t know what to do with myself. I tell her a million times a day how beautiful she is. How sweet she is. How adored she is. I coordinate her little outfits with her little headbands and I love every second of it. I tote her around, an extension of my body. I feel kind of odd when I’m not holding her, even though I wanted a break. I worry. I worry about her getting sick. I worry about SIDS. I worry that even though she’s only 12 weeks old I’m somehow managing to ruin her already. By telling her how beautiful she is am I somehow programming her subconscious to believe that her worth lies in her beauty? Will she go to college seeking approval from people based on her appearance? No. Of course that won’t happen because she’s not allowed to go to college. Ever. Because BOYS. But seriously, I want her to feel strong, capable, confident and incredibly beautiful. I hope that everyone she meets loves her even a fraction as much as her brothers do.
Marleigh’s brothers. My boys. My heart swells just thinking about them. They are so full of energy and life. They are a thousand words on top of countless noises. They run, jump, climb, balance and crash. They adore their sister and live for the moment she smiles at them. They smother her with kisses and sing to her when she cries. They are the lights of my life, my first loves. Their big ideas and sticky fingers make me feel young and old, all at the same time. I worry that I’m not giving them enough these days. I worry that I’m not taking enough pictures of them or playing enough Candyland. I worry about being too strict and then I follow that up with worrying that I’m not teaching them all the right things: manners, compassion, perseverance and how to enjoy life. I worry that I’m doing it all wrong.
I worry about kidnappings, car wrecks, freak accidents and vaccines. I worry about tornadoes and fluoridated water. I worry about having everyone I hold most dear ripped away from me. I worry that worrying about these things makes me a weak person and a poor mother.
I look at my bright, healthy, happy children and feel utterly undeserving. But, my god, I love them so much it hurts.
I want to wrap this post up into some neat, tidy life lesson. I want to tell you that I felt all these things and then somehow, with great strength of character and a brilliant epiphany, I overcame and am a better person today. Stronger. That I didn’t lie in bed the other night hiding tears because it’s so fucking scary loving people this much. That I didn’t think about deleting that last sentence because it sounds angsty and borderline stalkerish.
For better or worse all I have to offer you, and myself, is honesty. Murky, complicated and incredibly unflattering honesty.
But that’s a start, right?