one of the biggest adjustments to motherhood, i think, is the flood of emotions. that's not to say round-the-clock feedings and sleeping in 2 hour intervals through the night is a walk in the park, BUT. the surge of emotions that just sort of hit you, instantly, is hard to sort out and balance.
there's of course, the good side of things. love, happiness, excitement, thrill, pride, optimism, etc etc - these are thing things that make motherhood a daily awe-inspiring thing. but there's also an ugly side. exhaustion, stress, jealousy (of your husband at times, of family and friends who seem to be "more together" at parenting than you, of your mother in law holding your baby), panic, worry, guilt, and on and on it goes. but the worst of all? constant, amplified, irrational fear.
maybe this makes me pessimistic, or dispositionally malcontent, or just straight up f'ed up, but on a daily basis - i consider the idea that my baby could die. before you go thinking i'm some sort of crazy person (though, honestly....if you're a mother i have a feeling you already know you can relate), let me elaborate. while my child's age lands within the first 6 months of his life, he is a prime contender for SIDS. no, he wasn't a preemie, no i didn't smoke when i was pregnant, so the odds are lower for him...but ya know, i've heard horror stories of seemingly healthy kids succumbing to SIDS unexpectedly. this makes me compulsively check on him when he's napping, or when i wake up in the middle of the night i use it as an opportunity to feel his chest rise and fall to make sure he is still breathing. and at times, when i'm climbing the stairs to see if he's comfortably snoozing in his crib, a split-second picture of stumbling on the most terrible situation flashes through my mind. why? hmm, i tend to blame it on pre-coping. i suppose my mind thinks it's best to walk through the scenario ahead of time so on the off chance this happened to my sweet baby i won't walk out of the nursery post-disaster discovery and into my closet to find suitable material to fashion a noose for myself.
(i know this post is terribly depressing, but i'm going somewhere. promise.)
but lately? my fears go beyond the slight possibility of SIDS. i blame it on the reading of My Sister's Keeper, and then randomly stumbling on people's stories of similar situations. i have this crazy, all-consuming, irrational fear of my child getting cancer. i can't even imagine the horror of this. when i read someone else's experience i cry, uncontrollably, about it. the disease itself, while terrible, requires some harsh treatments that a poor little person should never have to endure. so his childhood would consist of traumatizing procedures, and the possibility of him ever having a future would be iffy at best. my heart goes out to every mother who has ever or will ever have to go through this. and while my mind imagines the unthinkable, i cap it off with a silent prayer that my little man will NEVER have to go through it. i just can't even fathom seeing your little baby for the first time, falling so instantly in love, completely oblivious to the fact that years down the road he will be fighting hard for his life. i suppose that's how all of life is. but it just doesn't seem fair that something so cruel can happen to a little innocent person, and the parents who love him more than life.
truly....i now know that loosing your child, no matter which way, is the worst possible thing that could ever happen to a mother.