For as long as I can remember, I’ve worried. I never discriminated with my worries. I worried about my family, friends, myself, but mostly, I worried about things beyond my control. Eventually, my worries faded with time but were quickly replaced with new burdens.
I can remember being a child and not wanting to break rules because I worried. I didn’t fall into temptation, not because I didn’t want to, but because I was too scared to. I worried about everything.
Fast forward to adulthood, where after years of struggles with infertility, worrying, I found myself pregnant. Before pregnancy, I worried that I would never get pregnant, and when I did, I then worried that I wouldn’t stay pregnant. I eventually overcame the worries of miscarriage when my daughter was born. As the cycle goes, I then worried about my daughter’s health and safety.
My worries never went away, they were in a constant state of change. One worry only replaced another and never truly resolved.
I think worrying, to an extent, is normal. I think it gives people ownership of their actions. I still worry every day. Did I turn off my straightener? Did I lock the door? Did I remember to send my kids to school with everything they need? If people didn’t worry, I’d actually be worried that they didn’t.
Of all of my worries, and there were a lot, I never once worried about the unthinkable. I never worried that my daughter would die.
But she did.
In the midst of my grief, I joined a grief support group for bereaved parents. I sat amongst others, mostly mothers who had lived my reality and knew the pain of child loss. In one of these meetings I mentioned that I always worried about my daughter and her safety. Without hesitation and in all seriousness a woman in the group said, “What difference did it make?”
If I had been drinking anything, that would have been the moment that I spit it out. Who was she to ask me that, didn’t she understand? Didn’t she know what it was like to have a child and worry to only then have that child leave this earth?
It wasn’t until after much thought and frustration, honestly, that I realized she was right. My abundance of worry wasn’t enough to save my baby. If it would have, my daughter would have lived forever.
Instead, the worry robbed me and my children. I’m going to say it one more time for myself, the worry robbed us!
When I Realized the Worry Wouldn’t Help
Chances are, I wasn’t the best mom to her because I was consumed in worry and never really lived in all moments of her life. I try not to focus on regrets or to even have them when it comes to her life and how I raised her. Do I wish I would have worried less, absolutely. It was at that moment that I knew I had a choice to make. I could continue to worry about things out of my control, or I could use my experience to change my future.
Since the death of my then only child, I have been blessed to be called momma three times over. When my twins were born I’d like to say that my worries went away, but they didn’t. There were times where I think I worried more because I was afarid to relive the nightmare I experienced.
I had to remind myself that it wasn’t fair to my boys to hold them back because of my fears and Worry.
My worries are different now. I don’t care if I left my straightener on or if I forgot to lock the door. Sure I don’t want those things to happen, but those worries are minute in comparison. I know that my children WILL get sick, they will, at some point visit an emergency room, and it’s possible that my children will not be perfect angels in school or be the top of their class. Those things aren’t why I love my children.
I don’t want to be a helicopter mom and I know I cannot hold my children’s hands for the rest of their lives. I just want to love them and enjoy them. I don’t want to outlive them.
All I can do is try to calm my mind and raise them to be happy children. I want to be what my children need, and that means the best of me.
While worry still sits upon my shoulders every now and then, I won’t let it consume me, I won’t let it steal my joy.