The last six months, trimesters two and three, were spent worrying. I worried that I was doing something wrong. My diet wasn’t healthy enough. I was too old. Every time I bent slightly to pick up something off the floor I worried I accidentally squished Baby disfiguring him forever. The more crazy the scenario, the more I worried.
Then, at 7:38 a.m. on February 23, from beyond the blue, sterilized curtain separating the husband and me from the open incision of my c-section, I heard the most beautiful and comforting sound of my life, the tiny, first cry of my son. As soon as I heard his voice, six months of worry fell away. I stared at the husband and bathed in the wonderful sound coming from across the room. As if in a true state of grace, I felt nothing but bliss.
An hour later, after holding my son for several blissful moments, a nurse entered my room and instructed the husband and I to give our son a bottle. As I pressed the bottle’s nipple against my son’s closed lips, an unsteady feeling returned, only stronger than before. It bubbled up from my toes, traveled to my stomach, and then took up, I fear, permanent residence in the forefront of my mind. “Am I doing this right?” I asked as my son tried to figure out what he was supposed to do with the bottle.
Am I doing this right? The pregnancy worries have been replaced by worries so palpable that they have a constant, physical presence.
Every night I worry about SIDS and the temperature of Baby’s nursery and sleeping garments.
With every outing, I worry about car crashes and abductions and germs.
I worry about spectrum disorders and developmental delays and possible physical limitations that may or may not arise in the near or distant future.
And, yes, I worry that I will pass my anxiety to my son, that he will feel my panic and hear my unspoken, constant inquiry: Am I doing this right?
Mostly, I worry time will pass too quickly. I worry that I will wake one day and, without warning, the baby days will be over. I pray when that day comes, that day when I open my eyes and my little baby boy is suddenly a full-grown man, I will be ready for it. In the meantime, I will worry.