I remember watching my Mother when I was a child. She worried constantly. She worried so much, I wondered whether she was ever happy.
She worried about everything. She became anxious over any little thing.
Mainly, she worried about us.
It was something I never understood about her. In truth, it used to make me mad.
I’d watch her worry, watch her face drop as she approached uncomfortable situations. I’d see her eyes glaze, her hands shake. I thought she was weak.
Only now, can I appreciate why she felt the way she did. Only now, can I admit that I was wrong.
Now that I’m a Mother, I fully understand the pain she felt. I can see that her worry didn’t make her weak, it was a strength of her love for us. It was because we meant so much.
As a teen, I must have been my Mother’s worst nightmare. There was a cockiness and over-confidence to me that even makes me feel anxious now. Everything was an adventure to me, I never saw danger, never contemplated peril. Threat did not exist. My Mother’s warnings were never absorbed. Actually, I don’t think I ever even listened.
I’d walk the dog along country paths, completely isolated from anyone or any safe zone at night. I’d climb out of Windows, run across roads with my eyes shut. I dared do anything. Whatever was prohibited just made it all the more fun. Now, I shudder. Luckily, I never learnt any lesson the hard way but I could cry through fear that my children will have inherited these same traits and won’t be as fortunate.
My Mother’s warnings were so frequent that I think they lost value. Disgustingly, I admit thinking they were pathetic (something I’m so apologetic for now). I’d look at her through my arrogant little eyes and wonder what had happened to her, wonder why she was such a nervous wreck.
Well now I know…
The same worries my Mother shared seem almost hidden within me. The worries I swore I’d never feel, ooze from my mind every second of the day. Having children has changed me – for all I promised it never would.
I worry so much these days. I just can’t seem to stop myself. Most of the time, I can’t even justify why I’m worrying.
From head bangs to cot death to car crashes and the latest of all…falling trees. I spend some part of each day obsessing that I’ll lose my children. I’ve lived my entire life accepting that I have no control over fate. These fears have never featured in my subconscious and yet now, the fact that I have no control scares me witless. My only saviour is knowing that I’m worrying for nothing. As quickly as these thoughts creep in, I somehow manage to banish them. Although still, I know they’ll return sooner or later.
I look in the mirror and hardly recognise myself. Parenthood has changed me mentally and physically. I’m larger than I once one (vainly weight used to be my only worry. I can’t remember the last time I even worried about it) but my curves are a positive enforcement. They remind me of the cracked pelvis I endured to bear children, the worth of my curves outweighs any pressure to lose them. My face, however, is a different story. I focus on the bags under my eyes, the lack of sleep shows on my face. Even the nights my children sleep through, I can’t turn off that doubt in my mind. I’m always half awake, always listening for the crackle and wheeze of my daughter’s chest.
That’s my biggest worry these days. Even now she’s one, I fear the night I wake to find her struggling for breath. It’s happened too many times already. If I’m honest, her birth was the catalyst for my current state of mind.
With Tristan, I shared the same fears all new parents do. I could easily subside feelings of anxiety by snuggling into him. I’d take one look at him and just know there was nothing to worry about. Siena is a different story. Siena makes my tummy churn. There was a time I said I wouldn’t rush her to grow but I can’t help feel desperate for her to.
I want her to catch up so miserably. If we can just reach the point where she can sit unaided, can crawl, can walk, can talk, maybe I’ll be able to put my worry on hold.
Maybe I’ll find something else to worry about.
Is this what parenthood is about? Worrying insanely?
I think back to those nights I must have driven my Mother wild. Those nights of no phone calls, no texts to explain where I was. The nights she’d receive calls to pick me up because I was inebriated. The nights I’d find her standing by the bathroom door, worrying that I’d made myself sick.
I suppose it’s only fair, karma is serving me a good old plate of revenge. It’s my time to worry. My time to bury my fears deep within the pit of my stomach and pretend they’re not there.
I better get my game face on – I’m already worrying that my own children will think I’m weak. That’s the only promise I’ll make myself, I won’t let them sense my irrational fears.
How true it is though, I’m becoming my Mother. Now least I know that’s a mighty thing to be. Now least I know it’s a testimony to how much I love my children.
I’m pretty proud to become her.