It’s hard having anxiety. Crippling, overwhelming, hard to breath anxiety. I’m lucky to only have anxiety that bad a few days a month, but that’s not all anxiety is. Anxiety is always with me. It is in every decision I make, every event I am planning, every future I foresee, and it is not nice. Anxiety does not give me visions of seeing my daughter in high school, it gives me visions of something terrible happening to her. I see every way in which she or my husband could be taken from me. I even see ways that I could be taken from my family, never able to see my daughter grow up.
Every day I make sure she doesn’t pull on dressers, because I read a story about a three year old who pulled a dresser on herself while her parents were still sleeping and died while they slept.
I didn’t buy her a cubbie shelf (per the suggestion of her grandmother) because I had just read a story about a 13 month old girl dying from pulling one over and being knocked unconscious and suffocating.
I make sure the blind cords are up too high for her to reach because I read something about a five year old boy hanging himself accidentally in blind cords.
Everything I hear or read stays with me. Forever. Anxiety doesn’t let me forget. It dwells inside me. It lives there and breeds and grows and envelopes my brain. The older my daughter gets, the worse it gets because the more she’s doing, the more danger shes’s in from the world. I know these events are rare, but they are so incredibly tragic that I cannot ever forget.
…and it doesn’t even have to be something in her age group. I just sobbed in the bathtub as I read comments on a post about delivering a stillborn baby (I couldn’t bring myself to read the post). There were mothers talking about the heartache of losing their children to SIDS at two, five, six months old. I flashed back to that age where I was so terrified of the same thing that I would wake 10-20 times a night to check my daughter to make sure she was still breathing. She slept by my bed until 10 months. After that I woke 10-20 times a night to watch the monitor and make sure she was breathing. I still check her monitor 2-3 times a night (she’s 19 months old).
I worry about everything constantly. It will most likely wear off on my daughter, as my mothers anxiety wore off on me. I like that is makes me cautious, that I understand that bad things happen, but I’d really like to not fear walking along the sidewalk with my daughter because I’m scared a car is going to drive over the curb and hit us. I’d like to leave the house without her without worrying that I’m going to die in a car wreck and never see her face again.
This anxiety is with me forever. Medication will probably help (and i’m discussing this with a doctor soon), but it will never go away. And that is exactly why I cannot fathom having another child. How could I make it through another pregnancy, another year of SIDS watch, another full life of another human that I made, without completely losing it and locking everyone in the house and never leaving. I can’t do it. I can’t do it and take care of myself and take care of my daughter. I know that, my husband knows that, and my daughter will know it one day. I hope she can forgive me for my anxiety, and know that the decisions I’ve made to keep us a three person family were the best for not only me, but also her and her daddy.