From the moment I saw that first positive pregnancy test, I knew my life would never be the same. Even if that pregnancy didn't last, I knew that I would carry it with me forever. The fear of something going wrong even then was a first taste of the helpless feeling that comes with parenthood. No matter how much you do, no matter how many things you try to make perfect, only so much is within your control. And the parts that aren't are terrifying. You can't protect your kids from everything, no matter how hard you try.
I worry about that sort of stuff a lot, to the point that sometimes I wonder at what point the worrying goes beyond normal and into unhealthy. It's especially hard with Carter, because he's still so fragile and uncoordinated. It's scary when you hold him with one arm and he suddenly throws himself back, or when he unexpectedly shifts or rolls from a spot where he's never done that before. I worry about carrying him around a lot, because I'm clumsy enough myself. A couple weeks ago I caught my heel on the door frame as I was walking out of the house with Carter in his seat. I had absolutely no way to break my fall, and the car seat slammed onto the ground pretty hard. Carter was scared, but he was strapped in tightly so he was ultimately fine. But that could have been really scary. Every once in a while I put Carter into his car seat without strapping him in. Usually it's when he's been in his stroller but he's been fussing, and for whatever reason I need to put him back down. I worry about forgetting to strap him in and then moving him. I worry about accidentally not strapping either kid into their seats (it's happened a couple times with Jacob, but he's pretty well-trained to let us know), or God forbid, getting into an accident with the kids in the car. It's bad enough I got into accidents while pregnant with each of them. I still worry about SIDS with Carter, and that Jacob will pick the absolute worst possible moment to not listen to our warnings. He's done some pretty dumb stuff lately that has left him with a few boo-boos, and they could have been worse. I just had a Facebook friend post a picture of her nearly-two-year-old daughter who made herself dizzy and fell, only to break two bones in her wrist! How many times has Jacob fallen without broken bones? Of course, he's got his scar on his cheek from the nightstand incident a couple years back while he was on vacation with Craig and his family, and he had that very close call with the broken window at daycare a couple months ago. All of these things are split-second occurrences, either because they happened too quick to do anything about, or because one split-second bad decision led to them. And that is the stuff that scares me on a day-to-day basis because you just can't do much to prevent it.
On a larger scale, I worry about big, life-changing issues. I worry about something happening to our home, or to any one of us. Carter has been such a perfect baby that part of me is almost waiting for the other shoe to drop--that somehow there will be cosmic payback for the bliss we've had for these past six months. How horrible is that? I know it's all a little irrational, but I'm sure no one else who has gone through stuff like that thought it would ever happen to them either.
Last week, a co-worker of mine was planning on heading back to work after a couple months on disability as a result of hyperemesis during pregnancy. She had been so sick, in and out of the hospital, getting IVs at home...all for weeks on end. She was finally feeling better, but ended up having to take her almost-two-year-old son to the doctor for a rash on his legs. Initially they thought he had ITP, which is a platelet condition that's usually temporary. He didn't respond to the treatment, however, and upon further examination, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Her adorable son, who hasn't even had his second birthday yet, is very sick and facing months of treatments. This all came out of nowhere--a week ago they never would have dreamed this would be their situation. I don't even know the full story at this point, like what the prognosis is, but my heart is breaking for her. As it is I already have one set of friends whose four-year-old daughter is going through cancer, so watching this happen to someone else is simply gut-wrenching.
I love my kids so much, and I can't even imagine how I would even function if something like that happened to them. I can't even really let myself go there, because my whole body just wants to collapse at the thought of it. I would just want to crawl in a hole and die. I know that it doesn't work that way, that you have to be strong and battle through it, but the thought of possibly losing my child is more than I can bear. I simply cannot fathom the helplessness my friends must feel watching their kids go through painful procedures and knowing that it may all be for naught. It's not supposed to be that way, you know? Stuff like that absolutely terrifies me. I know there's nothing we can do, but it still weighs heavily on my mind.
I know that as helpless as I feel, there's still one thing that can keep me sane. I know that prayer is so important, not just in cases like the ones above, but in all circumstances. I don't do it enough, mostly because my brain is full of other things for most of the day and I end up too tired at night. I try, but inevitably I fall asleep before I get through everything I need to. I know that prayer can change things, and I know that it can bring me peace about all of these things I can't control. While I know it can work miracles, I also know it's not a perfect science and not everything I ask for is going to happen. But it's something, right? And some days it's all we have.
Do me a favor and throw up a couple prayers for my friends and their kids. They need it more than anyone right now.