The First Lesson of Motherhood

I can’t stop worrying about Bean and Peanut.

My mind cycles through the same fears, over and over and over. It’s something like this:

Peanut is smaller than Bean. Peanut’s heart rate is slower than Bean’s. What if Peanut doesn’t make it? Won’t we feel silly for having told everyone about him? If Peanut doesn’t make it, there are potential consequences for Bean. Is R getting enough food? Is one prenatal vitamin enough? Maybe she needs more. I should write to Dr. A and ask. No, I shouldn’t write to Dr. A because he’s going to think I’m a nervous ninny. I am a nervous ninny. But Peanut is smaller than Bean. Is that normal? Maybe I should search fertility forums about gestational sac size and fetal heart rate. [Spends 2 hours pouring over postings from the mid-1990’s] Well, that was unsatisfactory. Let me search the medical literature for articles about the correlation between gestational sac size and perinatal outcomes. [Spends 2 hours reading said articles] That was mildly satisfactory…But…Peanut is smaller than Bean. Is R getting enough to eat? If I eat extra food does that count? I’ll eat a cookie. That will help. Then the mean household caloric intake will be a little closer to the requirement for MoMs.*

So in other words, friends, I am a Class A Worrier. I am a bit embarrassed to post my fears here, because I know it makes me seem neurotic. Not that I am. (Right?!?)

I keep thinking I’ll feel better after the next doctor’s visit. Or, I’ll breathe easier once we make it 9 weeks (when the risk of miscarriage goes down to 1.5%). But I know me! I know this routine! We’ll reach 9 weeks and then I’ll just fret until the next milestone. And the next. A few days ago I heard this still, small voice saying “Yoohoo, A, welcome to parenthood, where there’s always something to worry about!”

If I keep marking time by milestones,  I’ll soon be saying I’ll feel better once they’re walking. I’ll breathe easier after the parent-teacher conference…and while I’m waiting for some measure of safety I’ll miss out on the joy here, now. So the first lesson of Motherhood – let go of worry and be present. Be here, now.


*MoMs – the cutesy acronym for Mother of Multiples.


8 responses to “The First Lesson of Motherhood

  1. I am definitely a worrier, about pretty much everything (my partner once joked, well, you can’t possibly worry about everything – you can’t be worrying that a bunch of tanks operated by zombies are going to take over the city, right? To which I replied…well now I am!).

    So I’m sure I would be doing the same thing! But you’re right – the one thing that you know you can do is try to let go of the future and what you can’t control, and just be as much in the present as possible!

  2. Ha! Sorry to laugh at your worries, but– aside from the fact that we’re only having one– your internal monologue is almost identical to mine. We had a perfectly normal 9 week 4 day ultrasound today, with Bingo at a good size and with a strong heartbeat, and my internal monologue is STILL going something like that. I used to find this level of fear annoying in other people and now totally get it. I’m trying to let go of it, though.

    Remember, despite the fertility procedures, the result is a perfectly ordinary pregnant person. Who is very likely to have two perfectly healthy babies in 8 months or so.

    • This is what I try to tell myself every day. R’s body knows what to do. R’s body knows what to do. Etc, etc. I think I need a cookie.

  3. You are not alone. All new mommies, gestational or not, go through the same anxiety you are going through. Unfortunately, you have it times two! Hang in there, everything will be A-OK!

  4. That saying about a little knowledge being dangerous, right? Dive into those wonderful articles about what the baby is developing and when. There is something utterly delicious about imaging Bean and Peanut floating around in your sweet wife growing little arm buds and eyes. Focus on that and go into the kitchen and cook R gorgeous food to help nourish those little ones. Sometimes rerouting your energy can help pull those worries down to a more manageable level. Oh, and it’s completely normal:)

  5. Oh, yes. This is awfully familiar. I do think these first few weeks of pregnancy are particularly anxifying, but parenthood does sort of entail a perpetual low level of worry.

  6. Worrying is my super power–I can worry about anything, anytime, anywhere. So I completely feel you! But! I will share that the flip side of worrying in parenting is this weird kind of nostalgia–the hindsight bias of “Well shit, [the thing I was worrying about] was so *easy* compared to now, because [the thing I’m worrying about now] is so *hard*, if only I could have just enjoyed [that thing/time/whatevs] when I was there….” So I guess my advice–from one worrier to another–is, where you can access those feelings (admittedly not easy, for sure), bring your attention to something that is great about the phase you’re in. I find that helpful.

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