“You could have put his eye out.”
“But I didn’t. He’s fine.
“But you COULD have.”
“But I DIDN’T.”
“All the same, here’s some imagery of how that could have gone. Let’s go to the video…”
My brain is a jerk.
I’d just taken a pen away from my toddler, who had been drawing on my foot. I glanced away right as he leaned towards me, and I could feel the pen move across his cheek about half an inch below his eye, leaving a line of ink. He wasn’t bothered in the least. It could have been tragic, but it was not. He. Was. Fine.
I was not.
I could not stop picturing what could have happened, and it’s been frustrating. The Pen Incident happened around 3 on a Saturday afternoon. It is now 4:39 in the morning, and I’m hiding in the bathroom writing about it because I’m hoping that I’ll be able to go back to sleep after I do. #mommybloggerproblems
This is not the first time that my scumbag brain has done this to me. It was far worse right after I had my son. There didn’t even need to be a near-miss to get the video of what could have happened at any given time. One time I was just walking down steps outside of the library wearing him in a carrier for the first time, and was accosted by a sudden horror of what if I tripped?!? Once it was while holding his tiny body in the kitchen, getting a bottle: YOU COULD DROP HIM!! Here’s how I bet it would go.
To the neurotypical person who’s never dealt with OCD, anxiety, or post partum #allththings, this must sound alarming. And it does to me too, if I’m being honest. Surely I shouldn’t be struggling with this fear.
Part of this is just motherhood. You never shake off that dread of something bad happening to your tiny humans, even when they’re no longer tiny; or so I’ve been told. Since becoming a mother, I’ve had to apologize to my mom for all the times I was annoyed at her concern for my welfare, when obviously I was FINE. UGH. Now I understand; there’s no off switch.
It’s dangerous to go alone, take this with you.
Why am I writing this at (checks watch) 4:54 in the morning instead of sleeping in my warm bed? Maybe it’s cathartic. Maybe it’s to be helpful to other mothers who are sometimes plagued by thoughts of what could have happened, but didn’t happen, but could have, that they’re not alone. Maybe it’s to have a good reference for my therapist at our next meeting so we know where to start. I don’t know.
Motherhood is hard. It’s amazing and wonderful and funny and terrifying and heartwrenching, and often times very isolating. Sometimes it’s good to be open about the ugly in the hopes that we’re not the only one going through it, because I suspect we rarely are.