God. Becoming a parent is a whole new level of anxiety. Again, that’s something I would have known in advance theoretically, but the experience of it is still surprising.
When I’m changing Finn, he seems indestructible. He doesn’t really like being changed, so he flexes his body and either stretches out his limbs or curls them up. It’s such a relief. I can curl him back, change his clothes or diapers and all I have to withstand his is complaint.
After he’s fed, though, he seems just like a cooked noodle. It’s as if all of his bones have dissolved and his breathing seems labored and shallow. Shit, I think, I’ve got to keep this kid alive somehow. I’ve got to keep him moving, awake. It’s like that scene in the movie when the character is over-dosing on a drug or is hypothermic. “Don’t you die on me, man!”
And there’s SIDS! I don’t think you can imagine how much of my brain cycles are devoted to calculating the risk of SIDS. Let’s just say that I think about SIDS about as much as I used to think about sex…when I was 17.
I love him dearly. He’s the most important person in my life, and it feels like his tenuous survival is in my hands. What can I do to manage all of this anxiety?
Part of me wants to respond with: endure. Get through this. Calculate the percentages and realize that as long as you hit the milestones — each day he lives — increases his odds of survival.
But another part of me thinks this is wrong, that there’s something broken in my anxiety — a break that will take attention away from what a gift this time with him is. Like someone once said, worry is a prayer for what you don’t want. He is both fragile and strong and I’m doing all the right things to take care of him. Trust in that.