Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The paranoia of motherhood

I always thought I was a rational person, at least most of the time. However, I came to appreciate the fact that motherhood has made me quite fearful and paranoid with respect to the well being of my kids. I thought I could blame my early symptoms on the pregnancy hormone changes, but unlike my weight they have not receded much even after the "9 months up, 9 months down" period.

It all started with the fear of miscarriage in the first trimester, the never ending expectation of an unexpected bleeding. In my case, I did actually miscarry my first pregnancy, but it was discovered with a sonogram at 10 weeks. Hence my anxiety during my subsequent pregnancy over the first ultrasound appointment. As uneventful as my first pregnancy was, I was still in a state of constant dread of something going wrong. The second pregnancy was more difficult, and the anxiety was exacerbated. Spotting, possibility of twins, early contractions and pre-term labor scares... but my imagination was even more fertile than real life itself.

Then came the fear of giving birth and the well being of the child. The sleepless nights at the hospital under extensive medication for my cesarean made me paranoid about whether he was eating enough or breathing at all times. I even had my husband wake up the baby because I was worried he was sleeping too long. Hearing for his breath became an obsession from day one, and a cause of many sleepless nights through the first year. That is how I discovered my otosclerosis problem, I could hear or not his breathing depending on what ear I had on the pillow. Only afterward did it occur to me that I could not always hear the rain either...

As the first year of my second child comes to a close, the paranoia about autism creeps in once again, regardless of the milestones the baby has accomplished ahead of the curve... the lingering feeling that something might go wrong is always there and so I worry. I know there are many more years ahead and many more fears and paranoia... grade school, the teenage years, independence. Most of the issues are things I cannot control, all I can do is prepare my children for what they might encounter in life. And hopefully without passing on my worries to them, at least not in a debilitating way.

When my first child was born my brother asked my grandfather, who is in his mid nineties, whether now that his kids have grandchildren does he worry less about them. The question was pondered on for less than a minute before he shook his head and said no. I hope I have as many years to worry about my children...

1 comment:

  1. Although I don't have kids, I empathize with your anxiety. Already, I worry that I worry too much about them! Seems like this kind of thing is quite normal.