Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Along with the swelling, the bitching, the deep ache in the back that doesn't go away, I'm thinking maybe worry is part of the 3rd trimester litany of complaints that's just par for the course. So much of my focus has been worrying about me - my discomfort, my guilt over my relative cakewalk of a pregnancy, my fear of labor pain, my fear of being a terrible parent, my fear of post partum depression, of painful postpartum sex and incontinence if I have a vaginal birth, or torn abdominal muscles if I have a c section.

And then in a rare shift of considering anyone's/thing's experience outside of myself, I started worrying about the baby. I woke from a deep sleep the other night convinced I heard someone going through our garbage cans. The baby felt like a hard slab of clay in my belly, like an art project settling overnight until the artist came back to complete his work. The weight and lumpish feel of it started to really bother me. Usually the baby moves the second my eyes open, and as little room as they have, it still is a feeling of fluidity, of pliable skin and waves. This felt cold, hard..dare I even type the words - dead. I instantly tried to take back the thoughts. The baby was fine, just in a deep sleep and comfy. But I couldn't stop the onslaught of panic. I had opened up the What to Expect book - right to the section on stillborn births. Was that supposed to be a sign? A premontion of this very moment? What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to go back to sleep when the baby could be in fetal distress, me powerless to do anything. But was I really powerless? Was this something covered in childbirth class that I just glossed over? Would I - the baby kicked. And kicked again, and did that weird rolling thing that felt what I think a whale breaching and crashing down on its side looks like. The baby was fine.

For now.

And Caleb - when he left for work today. Gave me a sweet smile that suddenly begged the question - what if this was the last time I saw him? What if he were to be hit by a car on the way to work, leaving me all alone to raise a child, to wallow in grief. Then, immediately after, I heard a radio show about a young mom trying to explain to her son why his father was dying of a rare brain disease, a man who ran marathons and ate organic vegetables. Just like Caleb.

My god I haven't even given birth and the worrying is already paralyzing. retarded and nonproductive and silly and a unhealthy way to try and assert control over the unknowable by trumping worry at its own game - by coming up with all the scenarios before they can actually happen - yes I've been in therapy for this in the past - but still fresh, painful and exhausting.

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