I never believed or noticed I had a problem with worry until I had children. I competently handled situations as they arose, kept an eye on future complications and moved forward without hesitation. One of my favorite parts of my relationship with my husband was our spontaneity. We attacked our free time. I didn’t worry about the consequences because I knew that I’d be able to handle them. Confidence.
Now, I’m a mother. I now know that I have no control. I have a responsibility to prevent disaster, but no ability. And the consequences can be huge. Life altering. Devastating. Insecurity.
It starts with pregnancy. The Surgeon General recommends all women of childbearing age take a folic acid supplement because folic acid is essential for healthy neural development early in pregnancy. It’s essential so early in the pregnancy that many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant and their vitamin deficiency could actually end the pregnancy before the women even know what has happened. Or, the pregnancy may continue and the child could be born with a major birth defect. All because mama didn’t’ take her vitamin. So let’s say she did. Let’s just say she took every vitamin she possibly could. We’ll say she took the right amount of folic acid, and even took the right amount of any vitamins that have to be present for folic acid to be digested. Baby could still be born with that same birth defect. Mama has to take all the precautions, and mama has to bear all the responsibility, but, ultimately, mama has no control.
Theoretically, that should be freeing. Without any capacity to concretely, certainly, impact the future, the responsibility lifts right out of my hands. I just CAN’T be responsible for it. But it doesn’t work that way. Instead, I worry about every minutia.
Maybe it’s the devil, maybe it’s fate or circumstance or chance. I just know none of it mattered until the day I saw that little pink line.