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My True Companion

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An old friend called the other day and revealed a happy secret: she’s six and a half weeks pregnant!

And understandably, after years of yearning, months of trying, and a recent miscarriage, she’s nervous.

She has her seven-week ultrasound on Friday. “Once I get through that I think I’ll feel a lot less worried about everything,” she confided.

Bless her dear, wee naïve soul.

She doesn’t yet know, of course, that the worry she feels now won’t go away at the seven-week ultrasound, or at the end of the first trimester, and certainly not with the arrival of a beautiful, healthy baby. She doesn’t yet know that worry, an occasional visitor for most people without children, becomes a constant companion once you become a parent.

If there is one single aspect of parenthood that I was completely unprepared for, that I simply could not fathom, it is, hands down, the constant worry.

The early days of my pregnancy were a blur of anxiety. Every trip to the washroom was an ordeal involving baited breath and prayers. I counted down the days until I finished my first trimester so I could “stop worrying.”

Three months into my pregnancy, I started counting the days until I figured my growing baby would be viable if worse came to worst. Twenty-six weeks? Twenty-seven? Thirty?

When Graham finally arrived, in addition to being stricken by thoughts of SIDS and RSV, I faced the very real possibility that he was disabled. The worry I lived with during those early days was so intense and so pervasive that even now my heart constricts and my eyes well at the mere thought of it.

That particular fear was unfounded, praise God. Graham is happy, healthy, and full of beans. A more gorgeous, blessed child has never been born. He eats and sleeps like a champ, rarely gets so much as a cold, and appears to be, in my humble opinion, a bonafide genius.

And yet I still worry.

I worry about childhood illness and predators and things that go bump in the night. I worry about him being bullied and crossing the street and swimming at the lake and getting his driver’s license. I worry that I never should have taken him for his first flight. I worry about him marrying the wrong person and never finding a job he enjoys and having to face the depression that tends to run in my family.

I lie awake at night sometimes and as sleep eludes me, a sense of unease about my good fortune creeps into my bones. I have done nothing to deserve the abundance who sleeps, so heavily and damp and peaceably, in the next room. Can I really be allowed to enjoy his continued robust health? Surely there will be a reckoning, won’t there?

Just please let it be mine and not his.

Things look different in the light of day, of course. I do not spend my days fussing and fretting. My friends and family would never characterize me as a worrier.

But I am.

It’s been more than three years since I first saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test and since then my worry has become just like an old shoe, worn and comfortable and so much a part of my life that, just like my son, I can’t remember when it wasn’t there.

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