When we got married last September, I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me that in just five months I’d be a stay-at-home wife with a baby on the way. Losing my job earlier this year has led to a strange chapter in my life. Every morning I wake up with the single task of deciding what to do with myself that day. Most days, this comes as a luxury. But there are days when it feels less wonderful and a little burdensome. I find myself waking up earlier than usual on weekends simply because I usually have somewhere to BE. Something to get ready for other than a trip to Trader Joe’s.
Luckily, I’ve found the perfect cure for any idle woes that start to get to me. With my due date pending and my belly ever expanding, I have been spending more time reading baby books, from labor and delivery to breastfeeding to sleep schedules to screaming infant struggles. When I start thinking about how to interpret different cries and essentially read my baby’s mind in order to be a great nurturer, Trader Joe’s for the day sounds pretty good. I can do two and a half more months of this vacation, no problem.
So the relentless scenarios and subjects posed by these baby books have me feeling pretty overwhelmed with the challenges ahead. But that’s probably a good thing. I think we’re supposed to feel freaked out. Even if you were one of those that had your own baby-sitters club growing up, (I never did get mine off the ground, although I was sworn in as club secretary) the difference between caring for a child for a few hours versus being responsible for that child for its entire life is a big one. And based on what I have heard and what I already feel for this little life inside me, I think it’s safe to say I will care a whole hell of a lot more.
Which leads me to the greatest concern I have at this point: my paranoia. Here’s why. Just last night, I became convinced that something was off with Henry.
“He’s TIRED,” Josh kept telling me. “Remember how he sleeps all day and night long?”
And there I was, my face pressed to Henry’s furry little body, close to tears. “No, but his eyes are different! Henry, honey please tell mommy if you are okay.”
But of course, Henry didn’t give me the feedback I needed in my desperation. Images start forming in my head of waking up to a near dying pup between us, all because I ignored the signs that something was wrong. Was this my maternal instinct trying to motivate me into action and save Henry’s precious life?
Apparently not. At 7 am this morning I look up to see him tearing around the bedroom and hopping up on the bed to smother my face in kisses (his most eager method of telling me he wants to go outside). Tired no more, and perfectly healthy. My “instincts” in this case had turned out to be emotionally driven, and wrong. One of several false alarms created in my own head.
And I only have one thought. What am I going to do when it’s my baby girl who seems off? Or is screaming her heart out inconsolably? Do Moms really just KNOW what to do? Because I personally seem to make the leap from concerned to paranoid to morbid in just a few minutes with my dog.
I know that there’s a learning curve and part of the process now is just bracing myself for the times when I won’t know what to do. So I’ve started praying that motherhood won’t lead me to develop more of these schizophrenic tendencies. My husband is usually my number one sedative in situations where my mind starts to spiral, but he’s not always going to be here. And sometimes, I am able to convince him that we just can’t take any chances and $300 worth of vet bills and a totally fine puppy later, I’m left sheepishly shrugging.
Lord, please help me to keep it in check and not rile up the whole house in the process of my paranoia. And thank you for giving me sisters with babies who have seen and heard it all before. Oh, and thank you for letting me have a baby when Google exists.
I’ve decided that next week when we’re at the beach, I’m giving myself a vacation from my vacation. No baby books that will allow my mind to visualize hellish scenes that right now are intangible and subsequently, all the more impossible to deal with. Instead I’m going to curl up with books that don’t make my head spin and focus on enjoying the beginning of the end, of both pregnancy and the easy road.