Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mommy Brain

I don't know what happens to brains of women when we become pregnant. For my entire life before children I never once worried that something unimaginable would happen to myself or anyone that I loved. After reading the recent blog of my friend, Michele, where she has exhibited classic case of survivors guilt after the birth of twins. The worry over if her joy brings pain to someone else. I immediately understood. When I found out I was expecting CJ, I worried about telling her. I knew they wanted children so badly. I was so afraid that me getting to have another child would cause her pain. Of course she was overjoyed for me but I knew she wished it for her life as well. When I sent an email full of photos of my smiling happy children only to discover Nicholas had arrived the next day and not survived I was terrified of the pain it would cause her. But she wouldn't let me stop sending her photos. I knew she was happy for me but I still worried about the emotional impact. Ultimately we want the best for everyone.
She wonders in the same entry when it is considered a "success." Is it after the risk of SIDS, college, etc. The worries aren't limited to preemie babies in the NICU. My full term children I was terrified for weeks after I brought them home. WC wouldn't sleep well on his back so occasionally I'd put him to nap on his stomach then I'd sit there and watch him breathe the entire time he was asleep. Once I had to urinate so bad but I wouldn't move until my mom arrived and made her watch him breathe. I was only slightly less psychotic w/ the second one (luckily he slept on his back wonderfully). For the first time in my life I was utterly convinced because I loved this "thing" so much it would have to be taken away from me. For whatever reason I figured I didn't deserve something so wonderful.  Why is that? I began to contemplate these feelings that I am sure that all mother's have- whether or not they admit it. Unfortunately I've come to conclusion that the worry never goes away. Ever. Now we can't allow these irrational fears to rule forefront of our minds- we'd never be able to function. A friend recently confided to me that she was scared that a car would leave the road and drive through her daughters bedroom located on the front corner of the house. It isn't that she lives on a busy, main or particularly curvy/ hilly road. In fact the sheer physical mechanics of it would seem it highly improbable that could happen. Unless someone was intentionally aiming for it. Still the thought entered her mind one night as she lay down to sleep. You can imagine that it took a while to fall asleep with that thought bouncing around in the ole head. So, if you make through pregnancy and bring home a baby the worry doesn't stop it just changes to what you're worried about. An infant who can't move you worry about SIDS, developmental milestones, breast or bottle, cloth or disposable, co-sleep or not, gas or a serious intestinal issue. Then they start in with the mobility- rolling over & scooting. You've gotten used to leaving them on the couch or bed for a min to run and get something & you hear a thud- child on floor. Again new set of worries- both rational & irrational. I worry with every illness it's something far more serious and work hard to find the balance between over and under reacting.  As soon as you have one set figured out along come some new ones. As far as I can tell this pattern pretty much repeats itself for the rest of your life. I've learned from my MIL (mom of 4 kids) that graduation doesn't stop the worry. And the only thing your child getting married accomplishes is bringing a son/daughter in law into the picture to worry about. And then there's the grandchildren.
So, if you're taking this journey through parenthood with me- congratulations we will be crazy until the day we die.

No comments: