My life has been fraught with anxiety for the better part of a year, now. It’s not the bills, squabbles with the boyfriend or any of your other run-of-the-mill daily annoyances…no, it’s something much bigger than that:
Parent-friends (and sometimes, strangers), often say to parents to be – or even the childless: wait’ll you have kids; then you’ll see how much you worry. for as many times as I’ve heard and rolled my eyes at this nugget o’ wisdom, i’m now loathe to admit that it’s true.
I worry about whether she’s eating enough, or too much. On the days where I’m doing the writerly thing, I worry that she feels neglected. Sometimes when I’m tired, I take a quick catnap while she watches Baby Signing Time on my iPad, and I wonder if she’s bored. Or under-stimulated. Or if I’m turning her into one of those technology-dependent toddlers.
There are weeks when we have back-to-back (to back) appointments, and most of her time is spent strapped into a carseat, or doing backflips for yet another therapist. Other times, I worry that she’s not getting enough therapy. I worry that all this travel back and forth from the ‘burbs into the city core (where here care centre is) is affecting her development.
I worry that I’ll never be able to afford a house so that she has somewhere nice to grow up in.
I worry about how she will transition from childhood into adolescence and then into young adulthood and beyond. I worry that I might not be advocating enough for her; will she be accepted into a mainstream school? Will she have friends? Will she be bullied? The geneticist told me that I shouldn’t expect her to graduate from college…how will she fend for herself when she’s grown? I’ll be 41 this year; how much time do I have left with her? It’s known that persons with Down Syndrome are typically more prone to early-onset Alzheimer’s and a host of debilitating/terminal illnesses at a younger age; who will take care of her in the event that I’m gone? And when her father’s no longer her/able, who will look after her then?
I swore up and down that I didn’t want children – and then I had Aisha. With all the dramatic fallout on the day she was born (a story I still have yet to share), I swore I wasn’t going to have another. I feel I’m too old for another baby (first-time motherhood at 40 is wiping me out; I simply don’t think I have what it takes for two)…but then I started thinking that it would be nice for her to have someone to play with.
I worry that as an only child, she might be lonely – as I was.
Mostly, I worry about giving her enough. About loving her enough. It never feels like it’s enough. But when I put her to bed at night, and I lie with her as she falls asleep, she somehow manages to reassure me that she knows I’m doing the best I can…
Every night, she takes my hand in hers, and uses it to stoke her cheek. Then she holds it away from her face and puts it to her lips to blow kisses – once, twice, four times…Then she turns to face me, looks right into my eyes, and gives me a smile.
Sometimes, especially after a heavy day, I’m moved to tears. Others, I just smile right back and hold her close.
And then I think, what, me worry?