The Fear is the scariest part about babies. So many dear ones have spoken of The Fear far more eloquently than I have. But let me introduce you to my personal, partial definition of this stolen term.
Before I married Josh, I gave him an out. I sat him down and explained what doctors had told me when I was 14- that my insides were a mess and that there was the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to conceive. Josh assured me that he, for some reason, wanted to marry me anyway. That we would find a way no matter what.
But still, it lingered. The Fear that I wouldn’t be able to have any babies of my own.
Less than a year after marriage, we found out that I was pregnant. Ha! Damn The Fear! Or so you’d think.
But no, it lurked there still- The Fear that something would go wrong and that my Little One wouldn’t make it until his birthday.
And then he did! He was born and cried and kicked and was MINE. Damn The Fear!
But no, it lingered on- and I waited in The Fear that the doctors would explain that something was terribly wrong with my new, dear son.
And now it still lurks. It hunches in the dark corners of my mind, surfacing when young girls go missing in a nearby neighborhood, or when we take the monthly trip to the pediatrician. It takes on various forms- from the silly to the legitimate, the mundane to the extreme. Each time I walk down the stairs with him in my arms, I silently pray, “Oh God, please don’t fall. Please don’t fall,” my arms sore from gripping him so tightly. Every time I leave the house or cross the street or strap him into his carseat, the worst possible scenario flashes across my mind faster than I can squelch it.
And then nights when little boys from nearby cities are found in freezers, I sob uncontrollably off and on for hours. I turn to Josh with puffy eyes, “We can help prevent this, can’t we?” and he reassures me that we can love him and teach him and do our very best to protect him.
I wonder if The Fear ever goes away. At this point, I can logically expect that it doesn’t. I see it in my mother’s eyes when my grown brother comes home a little later than expected or hear it in her voice when I don’t answer my phone.
No. I imagine it doesn’t ever go away. But it does seem to get better.
Not everything is within my control. I’m coming to the point where, rather than petrifying me, this fact offers a kind of comfort. I can’t control whether or not the pediatrician will find something previously unexpected on our next visit. I can’t. So it doesn’t make sense to spend my time needlessly worrying about it. All I can do is what Josh said- love him and teach him and do my very best to protect him. All I can do is enjoy the time I have with him, instead of being afraid of the time when I won’t.
Babies are scary. But I think it will always be scary to love something so much. And that alone will always be worth the fear.