I am a worrier. I always have been. As a child I would get stomach aches from so much worry. If at any point I am not worried, I start worrying that there’s something I have forgotten to be worried about.
Pregnancy has multiplied this by about ten thousand. I am worried that I will not be ready with all the things before the baby comes. I am worried about health problems, and also about being one of those parents who always thinks there’s something wrong when there isn’t. I am worried about premature birth, c-sections, episiotomies and drugs. I am worried I won’t love my baby enough. I am worried i will love him too much and neglect Boyfriend. I am worried about not working for 9 months and going even more insane. I am worried that I will somehow not be paid maternity allowance and that we will all have to live on toothpaste and carpet lint. I am worried that we won’t find a new place on time, or that the flat I have found and like will be too expensive for us. I am worried that I am not responsible enough to handle a baby and will forget basic things like which way up they go. I am worried that I’m not doing enough to prepare, but I am worried about doing too much in case I jinx myself. I am worried I don’t work hard enough now, that I’m lazy and that other people will look down on me for being lazy. I am worried that how tired and overwhelmed I feel right now is not normal and that I am just being overdramatic, and should just shut up about it.
It is enough to make me want to go to bed and not come out again for about 18 years. By that time the baby will be grown up (somehow) and I would have at least one less thing to worry about.
But, I can’t do that. I have to get up most days like a normal person and go to work or make phone calls or Organise My Life without having a nervous breakdown. And all I can do is keep reminding myself that I am at least fairly capable and do a lot more than many people, although not as much as some but that’s inevitable. I remind myself that in my second trimester I held down two stressful jobs and worked ridiculous hours. I tell myself that no matter how impossible it seems, we do have enough money for a nice house and enough food and a certain number of nice things. I try to think about the fact that for every day I’ve spent crying into jugs of Angel Delight about sad adverts, I’ve probably spent at least five being a competent and contributing member of society.
It doesn’t make the terror go away. Sometimes only lying face down and crying it out does that. But that’s OK. I’m learning to express my fears to other people and so offload a small part of the massive tangled knot of anxiety and stress that was once in my stomach, but Bellydweller has pushed up into the middle of my ribcage.
I have begun making lists of the things that worry me the most, and then opposing lists of the things which offset them. For example – being at home for almost a year, alone, with someone entirely reliant on me for survival, means that I will also have the time to do a whole lot of fun stuff – I can go on trips to the beach, to museums, and parks that I wouldn’t go to alone. Although Boyfriend will be working, we’ll at least get to spend time together on all his days off – no more horrible conflicting work schedules.
I’m thinking about all the adventures we can have in places I haven’t been before, and the things I’ll be able to teach him, and watching him and Boyfriend together. And I think it’ll be OK.