Posted by: mountainmomma18 | April 14, 2010

A healthy dose of fear

At her two year check up my daughter’s pediatrician looked her up and down, taking in the bruises and the scraps on her legs and smiling. “I have a feeling we will see you often you little daredevil.” I had to agree. I mean at first I was all “dude the doctor is going to think we beat this child look at her!” But then the doctor put me at ease, “All toddlers look like this, if they don’t then I start to worry because that means they are not exploring.” But then she added “But this one is probably going to keep you on your toes- is she afraid of anything?” No, really, she’s not. I mean at some point in the day I guess you could say that she is afraid that if she takes a nap she will miss something- but as far as the world my daughter is not afraid of anything or anyone. She runs headfirst into whatever life presents without a thought to the consequences. Of course part of this is her being 2, this is what 2 year olds do. But I think the other part is that stubborn streak rearing its head. When she falls she gets right back up and tries it again- it’s mostly an admirable quality except when she hurts herself- but even then she rarely lets on. I find new marks on her all the time with no idea how they got there because she never made a peep about them. She’s tough, that kid of mine. But as her mother I have to tell you I think a healthy dose of fear would help us both. Maybe she would learn to be a little more careful and I would not have to insulate the house in bubble wrap. My own mother finds this endlessly funny and while she was visiting last week made sure I knew where this all came from. But then I asked her where I got it..hahaha gottcha mom!

Because really, let’s be honest. My husband knows that when I set my shoulders and squint my eyes that the stubborn has set in, or as my grandfather would put it “my Irish was up.” I have never quit anything, ever. I don’t quit even if I am knocked down I get right back up and try it another way because I will win- at what who knows it could be working my way through school or getting the top off of the milk- to me they have the same significance. And while my mom is always telling me to pick my battles, that sometimes it is prudent to stop I have never listened to that advice, which is probably why I am where I am today. But all of that comes from somewhere and that is a long line of very strong, very stubborn Irish women. In my family the women are the center, the foundation, the backbone. They do what has to be done even when it’s not pretty and even when they have to do it through sheer force of will. This is my heritage. So it is not surprising that my daughter, after various attempts, finally managed to get to the Oreo Cakesters on the kitchen counter by dragging her toy box, emptied of all toys, over and turning it upside down to climb. The fact that she fell on her ass the first few times she climbed up on the thing didn’t really seem to deter her. And so I should not be surprised that now that we have been cleared to reproduce again I want to get down to it. And I want to show no fear, but that is not always so clear-cut. Because while we can say we have no fear, what we really mean is that the fear is there, we are just pushing it aside.

When my therapist asks me how I feel about having another baby I tell her I’m scared, but I want another kid- so I will just have to get over it, I need to get a new plan and get on board. Surprisingly she does not think that is entirely healthy, mentally that is. I told her I am not one to wallow- I don’t whine, I don’t wring my hands, and I plan a new attack. She told me maybe I should stop intellectualizing my pain. I think she may have a point.

Since the start of the new year I have been so busy going through tests and circling dates on calendars and preparing to get pregnant again that all of the sudden I looked around and it was April, and it is a week from my due date, April 22nd. And I want to be pregnant again- or rather I want to have another baby. I was never one of those women who relished being pregnant, I mean it’s fine and there really is nothing like feeling that little kick and roll in your tummy. But then she jams her feet under your ribs and your heartburn will not go away and you are reminded that being pregnant is not all puppies and rainbows. But oh how I want it again- and I want something to distract me from the fact that instead of snuggling a new soul come April 22nd, I will just be preparing my students for finals, and doing dishes that do not include bottles and washing clothes that are not so tiny they hardly take up any room and the only diapers I am changing are princess pull ups that my daughter calls underwear. And my husband thinks it’s time for a big girl bed because the bug has started trying to climb out of her crib and all I can think of is that my baby is not going to be in a crib anymore and I have no one else to put in it.  It’s time to face the pain. But honestly I don’t really know how because I always push the fear back, I won’t let it get me, I will overcome it. But as I contemplate another pregnancy I would be lying if I said that the thought didn’t make my heart race and my mouth go dry. When I close my eyes at night I am hounded by the what if’s- what if I can’t get pregnant again? What if something goes wrong again? Could I deal with something happening so late? Giving birth to another still child?

I wonder if I will be a basket case with a new pregnancy, as trepidatious as I was with my first, like a new mom all over again. And while pregnancy is not all fun, there is something about walking around knowing what is going on within you that is special in a way that cannot be articulated. I wonder if I have lost that feeling, will I spend a new pregnancy constantly worried, analyzing every twinge and pain?  This is one time that I am really, really worried that I will bypass my healthy dose of fear and head straight to I’m losing my shit land. This is especially true of me because I tend to compartmentalize and repress my feelings, so I can sort and intellectualize them. I tend to walk around pretending I am fine thinking that through sheer force of will I can make the pretend become real. I probably need to work on that. But this week will be a tough one, no matter what I do.



  1. You know what else the Irish are famous for? Being pragmatic about death. So, yes, you might be repressing or intellectualizing emotions. Or you may be tapping into a cultural history of recognizing that death is inevitable, sometimes it comes too soon, mourning is necessary, but so is celebrating the life, however brief it was. It will be a rough week, but stubborn girls will always make it through.

    Good luck in the future efforts.

    • I think you are right- there is something to the joke “What’s the difference between an Irish funeral and an Irish wedding? One less drunk. It is very, very true and what the hell, I need to embrace my Irishness

  2. Big hug for this week!

    My fears in this pregnancy are different (my third pregnancy, my sister (who’s third) being disabled) but I suppose I’m trying to deal with it in a similar way. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Or push away the fear. Whatever.

    Good luck with the babymaking! A winter baby in 2011 – wouldn’t it be lovely?

  3. whichever way the wind blows and whatever life throws your way, you’ll know how to deal with it when it comes… coz you’re one tough momma and that’s what tough mommas do. 🙂

  4. Your positive attitude will help you make it through. And of course this is clearly reflected in your daughter’s strong willed nature. I love the Oreo Cookie story. Good for her. Nothing like an Oreo to feed the flames of determination.

    I missed most of the back story, but I now understand why you’re so worried. I think you’re doing all the right things. Writing about it. Talking about it. Thinking about it. But like you said, at some point, you’ll just have to jump back in.

    Take care.

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