Worry

Sometimes I worry that I don’t worry enough. Every now and then, someone will comment on my generally-relaxed attitude towards motherhood, intending for it to be a compliment, but I never really know whether it should be. I tell them it might be a twin mom thing (there’s two right out of the gate, who has time for first-time motherhood paranoia?) or that it might be a preemie mom thing (when your kid’s had two brain surgeries before she even reached her due date, you learn to let the little things go), but sometimes I wonder if it’s really just an “I’m too scared to think about it” thing.

When I was pregnant, I wasn’t worried at all. In fact, I was so whatever about the whole thing that I kind of want to go back and throttle my naive, pregnant self. I got pregnant with two babies on the first try, like it was nothing. I got terribly sick soon after and could barely move from the couch, but hey, that’s twins, right? Did anyone ever really ENJOY gestating two humans simultaneously? I knew right away that being pregnant wouldn’t be easy, but it never crossed my mind that anything would actually go wrong. People give birth to healthy, happy babies all the time, why concern myself with things that probably wouldn’t even happen?

My mom was worried. I was walking around too much, she said.  My purse was too heavy. Careful on the stairs!  Drink filtered water, use organic skin cream, don’t eat deli meat!  But I was pregnant, not dying, so I rolled my eyes and went for extra-long walks and kept carrying my extra-large purse (though I did skip the deli meat). And I held firm to my belief that there was no use worrying about all the awful outcomes when the awful outcomes are so rare.

And then, well, we got an awful outcome.

Maybe I’d been wrong?  Maybe I should have worried more, taken all the extra ‘what-if’ precautions? If I had spent more time lying down than walking around, putting all that extra pressure on the weak cervix I didn’t know I had, would I have stayed pregnant longer?  If my purse had been lighter, if I’d eaten salad instead of the awful Taco Bell burritos I craved during the height of my first-trimester food aversions, if I’d been more diligent with my prenatal vitamins…would it have all ended differently?

Sometimes, someone will say something about Madeleine. Her head is oddly shaped, she makes funny movements that could be seizure-like, she’s still so small and light and she struggles with different textures in her food. And I look at her and think, how could any of that matter when she is so bright and funny and agile and sociable and gorgeous? When she’s doing all the stuff that her brother is doing? Why worry about her head possibly being a weird shape, or her every-now-and-then funny movements when the odds are that it’s totally nothing?

But I know why. We should be worried because the odds haven’t been on our side. Bad things may not happen very often, but they do happen, and they have happened to us.  Better to be concerned unnecessarily, better to be overly thorough, than to miss something important. Nobody wants to drop the ball.

Well, I hate the ball.  I hate that I don’t get to assume that everything’s fine, because chances are that something, at some point, is still going to go wrong.  And until then, we just wait.

And worry.  Or not.

maddiechristmasdress

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7 thoughts on “Worry

  1. I often say that I’m “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” My 23 weeker is doing fantastic – and we are so thankful. But, every single doctor tells us “well, he is at very high risk of potential problems.” So, I worry. What if I miss “it?” So, he’s plugged in with therapy, Early Intervention, and specialists, etc. I figure if all of these people are on our team, then I can let go just a little and enjoy the good times! Your kids are adorable and clearly happy – keep up the good work!

    • It’s a hard balance to strike! You want to enjoy it all and celebrate all the amazing things, but exactly – what if you miss “it”? The other day I was speaking to Madeleine’s neonatologist, and she mentioned (not even trying to be a downer) that perhaps the reason we haven’t seen any major problems is because she hasn’t yet had to rely on the part of her brain that is damaged. Oh, right, of course. A sobering thought. But at the same time, perhaps not! So we wait. I’m certainly not complaining that Madeleine is doing well (we are so thankful, as you are!), but it’s a unique situation to be in where you’re just waiting to see if something bad is going to happen. But you are right, it helps to know have lots of people looking out for our little ones.

  2. As a mama of a four-year-old former micro miracle, I can tell you that the worry never goes away. You just learn how to handle it better. My son complained about a tummy ache last week and I immediately had my stethoscope out listening to his bowel sounds, assessed his last BM, and was monitoring his intake…oh and put the grandparents on alert of a possible trip to the ER. He had NEC and two major bowel surgeries so my worries aren’t unfounded but I realize they are extravagant.

    I say if you are able to relax then I’m proud and envious of you. My sons pediatrician tells me every visit that my son WAS sick but isn’t sick now. He’s constantly reminding me that the best thing we can do for his development is to raise him as a typical and well child.

    I’ve spent plenty of time looking for the “something” and the “what ifs.” Unfortunately we know just like you that the other shoe does tend to drop and bad things happen. BUT, we lived through six months in the NICU and so did you! I am constantly reminding myself that if we survived that, we can survive anything. I think your focus on the fact that no matter what, you will love your children, is the right attitude. Focus on that…live and thrive on that. And the rest seems to matter less. Also keep in mind that statistics are just statistics. They aren’t proof of what will be. Your children are alive. You already have proof that miracles happen beyond what the numbers say.

    • Honestly, if either of my two had had NEC and two major bowel surgeries, I’d be whipping out the stethoscope for tummy aches too! NEC was one of my big, scary fears during our NICU stay – it kept me up at night. I’m so sorry you had to go through that! (But wow, is your son ever a fighter!!!!)

      But, you’re right. They were sick, they aren’t sick now. We made it through some awful stuff, and came out on the other side. Statistics don’t tell the whole story (of even a large part of it!). I guess you just have to keep on doing the best you can do, and deal with bad stuff if (when?) it shows up.

  3. I often watch and learn with my 33 weeker. I know he was born earlier than your twins but if he did anything funny I’d watch and then talk to my Peds about it. But I focused on the things he could do. At this point he is pretty much caught up and acts completely like a normal 2 year old should. Crazy, loving and unreasonable! As a mother you have a right to worry but you also have a right to not worry as much. At least you have identified quirks and if there is something up then bring it up. You got this mama!

    • Thanks, Dina. I’m afraid of dealing with age two, but then I try to think, well, if we end up with two crazy, loving, unreasonable two-year-olds, then we got pretty lucky, right?! And I do try to remember that worrying isn’t gestation-specific – even if they’d been overdue, I’m sure I’d still be wringing my hands thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong just life everyone else. We all just want the best life ever for our kids, so I guess the worrying goes along with the territory! Congratulations on your awesome, crazy two year old!

      • Thank you so much! It was a journey but he did strange little things too like tremble his fist. But he grew out of it and is now doing two year old things including talking and taking off his diaper. They will be fine and it’s totally normal to worry. I still do all the time!

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