When my daughter was just 2 weeks old and I took her for her first doctor visit, we were told she has neonatal jaundice. I panicked and my mind started thinking of all the possible things that could happen to my little one.
This was the first dose of that thing called ‘worry’. From the day you find that you are pregnant and remember the last drink you had a few nights earlier, worry will now become an inherent part of you.
While growing up, I used to get irritated with my mom for worrying so much about me. If I was late from college or had the mildest of fever or a slightest tummy ache; she worried. She worried for my well being and I never understood then.
When I got married, she worried if I was happy in my marital life, she worried when I sneezed or coughed while we spoke over the phone, and she worried when my voice sounded low. I still never understood why she would be so anxious about me at such petty things. I wasn’t really dying or anything. And worst of all, she worried why we were taking so long to have a baby!
Then, I became a mother and I totally understood why. The worry app comes free with mother’s instinct once you give birth to your little one isn’t it? Recently my daughter had the worst bout of flu and I hardly slept all night. I was up checking her temperature every hour, worrying that I might miss giving her a dose of paracetamol and that her fever would shoot up so high that she would get seizures. Phew!
And I know, this is not just me but all moms worry. The worrying varies with age, time, place and circumstance, but it never disappears. I am 40 and my mom still worries about me.
When we are new moms, we worry whether our child is getting enough feed, that they don’t choke on their first morsel of food, that they don’t get diaper rash, that they sleep through the night, or even whether they are breathing while sleeping so sound.
And as they get older, we worry about school, we worry about homework, we worry about the friends they might make or whether they will make friends at all in school.
And don’t even get me started with teenage years. Every friend that I have who has a teenage child tells me my worries are nothing compared to what I have in store for me. That makes me worry less, yet it’s become an inherent part of being a mom. Sort of like that evil twin you wish you didn’t have, yet you can’t do without.
When they get older, we continue this worry of whether they will get into college, or whether they want to go to college, what kind of a job they will get, who will they marry and going with current times, whether they will marry, chose a live in relationship or change their sexuality altogether.
And so if there was one thing I could change about motherhood, then it would be this. To not worry or at the very least, worry less. Because, worrying is a precursor to poor judgement which leads to poor outcomes.
But it turns out that motherhood is a roller coaster ride of worries. Sometimes it’s high up there and, sometimes low and that it will stay with us no matter how hard we try to get over it. While this thing called worry may be the dark underbelly of motherhood, the flip side which is joy, unconditional love, fulfilment and pride is something I absolutely live for each single day.