My sister just recently had a baby. It was nice being on the other side of the pregnancy journey. Not having to exist in the growing uncomfortability nor have to be marinated in the suffocating anxiety that transforms through every milestone:
- 1st Trimester: Just gotta make it past the miscarriage line…
- 2nd Trimester: Is my cervix shortening? Does he/she have all the right stuff inside it? Heart chambers? Is my placenta in the right place?
- 3rd Trimester: I’m definitely going to die this time in labour…
And then magically… you make it on the other side. It was easy now – looking back. All the stress was self-induced and for nothing. Even if there is something wrong, no biggie- my baby is perfect despite its imperfections… NO – because of them.
Cue in the newborn worry tsunami. They don’t prepare you for how absolutely terrifying it can be to have a newborn. Their breathing is all erradict. They go crossed-eyed for no goddamn reason. And you have to become a poop expert- you take pride in this – I know I did. I could spot a dairy allergy from a whiff away.
Now, I just got the news my sister is currently rushing her little man to the emergency room per instructions from her family dr. He is only a week old. They don’t prepare you for this shit. And though it is not me going through this, time still stops as we all just hold our breaths as our newest family memeber perhaps is in respiratory distress.
How fragile life is… every mother discovers when they are on the other side. When you cradle a new life in your oversized hands and see the vulnerability, it is humbling. And as much as we all love to believe in some kind of faith or destiny, is the reality that we are one bad mistake or overlooked danger away from total catastrophe?
When my daughters were newborns I used to imagine the worst – albeit I was suffering from a pretty bad case of PPA mixed with a little dash of PPD. I used to imagine germs and diseases within reach, ready to attack at one careless move. I used to see falls as a death sentence. And I used to script dramatic break-ins and how I would react. Since then, I think I’ve found a nice healthy balance of risk vs reward in terms of parenting.
But they don’t prepare you for these moments. And you can’t prepare yourself – no matter how much you imagine the bad stuff and play it out in your mind. No matter how much you drench yourself in other people’s sorrows in order to feel like there is so relief from your own anxiety. They don’t prepare you. Nothing can.
So tonight we sit and hold our breaths, hoping that we don’t have to deal with the unpreparable.