“But what do other mother’s think? Does everyone worry something horrible has happened if their children happen to sleep? Is this normal?”
A friend who is suffering after miscarriages asked me this over lunch. I recognized the look behind her eyes, I’ve been there too.
“I have no idea, I only talk to my crazy friends about it!”
We laugh about it, and say Of course! If you talked to a normal mom they would think you are crazy!
But really what is normal? I don’t even know anymore. My history, my loss has broken my mamma gut. That instinct that tells you the difference between a nothing cough and when that cough is going to be an all night adventure in croup. That instinct that tells you a bump, a cut, a fever, a look is normal. Mine used to be fine tuned, since losing two babies, it’s broken, probably beyond repair.
I was always a bit of a glass is half empty kind of person. I called it being prepared. I like to think through the worse case scenarios and be pleasantly surprised when they didn’t happen. Parenthood, miscarriage, and PPD combined with a former healthcare background means that at any given moment someone in my family is dying, dead, or suffering from a life threatening disease.
In its raw and primary form it’s exhausting. It causes my heart to race and my mind to spin as I go through all the mental steps of what is wrong and what I should do. When it’s not happening I can look back and laugh at myself for being so ridiculous. Thankfully, I have learned to “control my crazy” as I refer to it. It usually starts with a text, or the infamous tweet about a sleeping child (it will always wake them up). My husband is always rational and keeps me from going and squeezing babies in the middle of the night to assure heart beats.
So I looked at my friend and a shrug and smile. Yep, it’s totally normal. It’s my normal, and it may be yours too, what is normal who defines it? You just have to learn to step back and take a breathe and trust that you aren’t the one in control. Learning that helps keep it all in perspective, and allows me to laugh about it a bit too.