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Worry, The Circular Emotion

Sometimes I’m totally fine with how Sadie’s doing. Sometimes I forget that she’s the tiniest 16 month old I know. Sometimes I could give a shit when people exclaim “Oh my God, she’s so small!” when they hear her age and sometimes I feel embarrassed somehow like it’s my fault. I have this edge and this humor but underneath it is a lot of anxiety. Gee, that’s a shocker to those who know me and my blog, right? Wow, new information about how neurotic you are! Thanks for the newsflash. But have you ever felt like you’ve mislabeled yourself and you’re just now finding out your true ingredients? I always have thought of myself as an eternal optimist. When I was a teen-ager and felt so depressed that I can only describe it as walking under water, I may have does destructive behavior to deal with the anxiety and emotion but deep down inside I knew I’d survive. I always felt that I was strong. Stronger than any of the shit thrown at me (hey if you want details, read the memoir). But a survival instinct does not translate to parenthood.

When Sadie has a few good days I relax only slightly, fully expecting the bad days to soon follow. I know I put up a good front about it but inside I am sometimes worried sick when she shows so little interest in food. I have the best doctors caring for her. She is making progress despite her delays. She is gaining weight on her little curve (although we’re not seeing the big bump up in weight we were told would happen with the g-tube). She is a beautiful baby and don’t get me wrong, I appreciate her, but my antennae is always up and scanning – Is she eating less today? Why doesn’t she want to wake up this morning? Why is she pale? Why can’t she do algebra yet?Then I think, am I being paranoid? Is this anxiety making me imagine things that others aren’t seeing? Or do the doctors worry too but not want to worry me? Or do some of the doctors ( I won’t mention them by name – but one of them comes to my house every week, plays with a few toys (um, yeah, we are in possession of plenty of bright plastic objects ourselves, please don’t knock yourself out) and then dispenses some generic advice. “Keep doing what your doing!” Uh, yeah, that seems to be what we’re doing and it’s not working out so well. But other docs are better. Yeah, I’m a big bag of crazy and should probably go back to examining Idol.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on March 14, 2009 2:40 amUncategorized31 comments  

31 Comments

  1. Anonymous said,

    My son was born 5 weeks early and has always been on the small side. Albeit, not g-tube small. It took 6 weeks to get him to nurse. Then, LOVED to nurse but wouldn’t eat solids until almost a year. Now, has little to no interest in eating about 90% of the time. I feel like a drug dealer constantly flinging food at him trying to coax him into just one bite. Like you, sometimes I figure he is going to be okay and other times I berate myself over why, why, WHY won’t he just eat!?!?! I have come to the conclusion that it is lifes way of showing us neurotics that we have NO CONTROL!

    | March 14, 2009 @ 3:28 am

  2. SmartAssMom said,

    Although our circumstances are different, I constantly have the same anxiety conversation in my head. Constantly. I get it. Except I don’t have the best doctors caring for my daughter, so maybe I should work on that. :)

    | March 14, 2009 @ 3:52 am

  3. Suzy said,

    Please read my blog about Braja, you’ll see there’s sorrow everywhere.

    Which is why wine was invented.

    | March 14, 2009 @ 4:30 am

  4. Beth said,

    I'm so with you when it comes to the worrying… it's the bane of my existence! Just when I had finally stopped obsessing over every bite Adam took, he decided to lose almost 2 lb… and he's small to begin with. He's also decided to only eat 1.5 meals a day. GRR. Anyway, I'm thinking of you and hope that Sadie eats lots & lots for you this weekend!!!

    | March 14, 2009 @ 5:12 am

  5. Rachel said,

    dearest stefanie~ thank you for verbalizing the intense, all consuming, omnipresent FEAR I live with everyday since giving birth the first time … and both of my boys are totally “normal” and healthy. It is terrifying, absolutely terrifying, being a mother. I was always obsessive/compulsive in my former life (eating/exercise/life disorder) – but this motherhood thing takes it to an entirely new level. One of my boys so much as coughs once and I’m off to the races worrying that he’ll never sleep thru the night and I won’t know what to do and I’ll never sleep again and I’ll be thrown into my postpartum anxiety again with heart palpitations and insomnia. yes, yes, yes just underneath the surface of wickedly funny humor is an internally intense fear that feels so serious and so all alone. those of us who perform and must express ourselves in entertaining ways (read:are artists) most often fight demons bigger than the average bear.thank you for your honesty. you are so not alone. we’re all right here beside in maternally induced madness solidarity. luv, rachel

    | March 14, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

  6. mominsanity said,

    Stefanie – I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. Believe you me that I know the feeling well – Nate has had tubes put in his ears and is now battling through breathing difficulties and the worry that I feel is all consuming. I can empathize! Continue the good fight! You’re wonderful!

    | March 14, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  7. Carolyn...Online said,

    Admitting that you’re a big bag of crazy makes you, be definition, sane. I know, crazy right?

    | March 14, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

  8. Kim said,

    I know how you feel.

    We’re THIS close to a tube.

    When people ask how old M is, I always put a disclaimer on it..

    ‘She’s 8 months… she’s just… little

    It’s hard to not feel like this is all a failure on my part.

    | March 14, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

  9. jill said,

    hang tough, she’ll get there. it sounds generic, but it’s not. i feel like my baby is always playing catch up, but really she’s right on target or ahead on EVERYTHING but motor skills, so we’re pushing and pushing to get her there (she was 3 weeks early)…and saw her spontaneously do something on the 6 month chart at 4.5 months. that makes us feel better about the other stuff she can’t do yet. just hang in and it will all catch up.

    | March 14, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  10. Heather of the EO said,

    I love your Idol (and Bachelor) posts, but I love posts like this one too. Possibly because they make me feel normal, and also because people love knowing there’s a multi-faceted person behind the writer. If that made sense at all, I have no idea.

    Anyway, YOU are “normal,” whatever that is. If you walked around without worrying and were void of anxiety, you would need to question yourself. It’s good to be optimistic and it’s good to try to float along trusting that things will be OK. But only super humans can do that all the time. Motherhood (especially with medical issues thrown in) will pull out every ingredient in you, even ones you never knew existed. And then you take a good look at the new ingredient, mix it in with the rest and call it the best cake you’ve ever had. All ingredients are necessary to make you the mom and person you’ve always been becoming.

    Look at me, getting all philosophical or something sort of like that.

    I mean to encourage. I hope I made sense.

    | March 14, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  11. heather... said,

    if it makes you feel any better, Sadie is the SECOND smallest 16 month old I know.

    I hear ya on all of it. But you already knew that.

    | March 14, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  12. Anonymous said,

    I can relate to the chronic issues that just want to make you cry. You not only feel guilty and unable to “control” how you daughter eats and grows but the comments from others can deepen those wounds. My son was born with VATERS and we spent 2 yearsin and out of the hospital. We also have trouble with him gaining weight. When people are amazed with his age I tell them if he stays skinny he is easier to carry. Or I say it is easier to get discounts in amusement parks becasue everyone thinks he is younger. Or I just look at them and say “really I never noticed” and walk away. You are a wonderful mother going through a difficult time. There were times I just wanted to call cut and have my stand in come in. I wanted to through tantrums and say “NO MORE”. I feel you pain, guilt,and strength. The light is her smile that make you push through.

    | March 14, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  13. Shannon said,

    I can’t imagine how stressful this must be for you and I’m sure strangers’ surprised comments are frustrating. I haven’t had an experience anything like this, but all I can say is that you have my respect for having to deal with this difficult situation! I hope that some day this will all be just a distant memory for you! (shannon@livinginthegray.com)

    | March 14, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

  14. CaraBee said,

    Unfortunately, I think constant concern is the hallmark of motherhood. According to my mom, it never goes away. So basically, we’re fucked.

    | March 15, 2009 @ 1:55 am

  15. Tess said,

    You’re right, a survival instinct most definitely does not translate into parenthood. When my daughter was 18 mos. old and only 18 lbs. it was so stressful…wanting to be a food pusher but knowing that it would only make it worse! The saddest thing is looking back and most of my memories are about the worry…not enjoying my baby. Hang in there.

    | March 15, 2009 @ 5:14 am

  16. courtney said,

    Ah honey, I think there’s a certain level of paranoia in all parents and you can only be expected to have another level of fear when sweet Sadie doesn’t seem to want to eat as much as she maybe should. I think you’re taking excellent care of her, though. I think you’re doing an amazing job and you’d be inhuman if it didn’t bother you some days.

    | March 15, 2009 @ 6:52 am

  17. Kyla said,

    We felt that way before KayTar got the tube. Constant obsession about what she was/wasn’t eating or drinking, constant worry about dehydration, weight loss, ACK! For us, the tube really helped. Now, it doesn’t matter what she does or doesn’t eat. We just give it to her via the tube. One day, we hope she’ll take over…but for now, we can handle it for her. I’m sorry it hasn’t given you that kind of relief.

    | March 15, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  18. Amanda said,

    I used to think I worried a lot, and then I became a mom. I feel like I’m nuts sometimes, but what can I do? It comes with the deal. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up for it.

    | March 15, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  19. mommymae said,

    my 6 month old lost a pound in a month. freaked my shit out! she’s going in to see if she’s gained next week. she got sick and stopped eating food, so the weight fell off. but, damn, if i didn’t feel like i was doing something wrong.

    | March 15, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  20. Wicked Step Mom said,

    If you weren’t worried sick there would be something wrong with you. Trust me, I know mothers that really don’t care about their kids and wouldn’t be driven nuts by this. I know it is hard to watch her every day and not panic. But, I do believe that you are doing the best that you can. It is so hard when we can’t protect them and fix them right away. Hang tough, Sadie and your family will get through this. One day, when she is grown and health you will look back on this and wish you hadn’t worried quite so much. But, for now, hang in there. She is gaining weight, even if it is not as fast as you would like.

    | March 16, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

  21. Loukia said,

    I am so with you. And I am so with all the other people who have left comments on this post.
    I worry all the time. It’s all consuming for me, as well. My two boys are healthy, but still… the worry is always there. My 3 year old was hospitalized 3 times – once at 12 weeks old, again at 6 months old, due to a kidney infection (he had hydronephrosis, but he’s outgrow it, yay!). And just a few months ago, he got pneumonia – who would have thought a child could get pneumonia? And he was back in the hospital for two weeks with an IV and many ultrasounds and x-rays later, he needed surgery to drain fluid from his lung. So we’ve been through a lot and ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is B.S. in my books, because all this just makes me worry more. The worry of a mom is never ending…

    | March 16, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

  22. SmartAssMom said,

    Hey, I have an award for you on my blog.

    | March 16, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

  23. the mama bird diaries said,

    Parenthood is so anxiety producing. I never worried so much in my life. Hang in there. :)

    | March 16, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  24. Jean said,

    Motherhood is enough to make anyone crazy with worry. It is only natural for a mother to worry about her babies, no matter how old they are. My first two are 21 and 19 and I worry about them more now than when they were little. What’s hard is trying to decipher what is nerves and when maternal instinct is trying to tell you something. What is your instinct telling you? Do you have a nagging gut feeling that something isn’t right and the doctors aren’t picking something up? You are the only one who can answer this. The pediatrician once told me that he listens to the mother first, because he has found in all his years of being a doctor that when a mother has a feeling that something isn’t right, then chances are something really isn’t right. What do you think you are experiencing? Nerves or maternal instinct?

    | March 16, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  25. Aunt Becky said,

    Worrying sucks and I hate it and I’m right there in the trenches with you. Makes me more insane than normal.

    | March 16, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  26. Stefanie said,

    Jean, I loved what you had to say but that is the whole problem. Because sometimes I’m worried and feel deep down that something’s not right, but then when I try to be more objective and not thinking from fear, I see that even if something isn’t right, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it besides what I’m already doing. But it still sucks!! It’s hard to tell your gut sometimes from paranoia.

    | March 16, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

  27. MereCat said,

    Here’s a dumbass comment. Take it for what it’s worth. But does Sadie like books? Books seem to stimulate everything at our house. My son always concerns me with his development, but the book thing we can all grab on to. But It wasn’t until at least 18 months before I got confirmation that anything I said meant anything at all, so hang in there.

    | March 17, 2009 @ 3:36 am

  28. Jean said,

    Stefanie, I understand what you’re saying. (((((((Stefanie))))) Hugs for you. Your stomach must get so knotted up over this. There is no other kind of worry like a mother’s worry for her child.

    | March 18, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

  29. Alice said,

    I don’t know your exact circumstance, but my daughter is 25 months old and weighs 23 pounds. She is a g-tube fed baby and has some interest in eating. (She just doesn’t understand that she needs to (orally) eat to stop the hunger – she definitely does NOT get this from her mother!) After working with a massive team of doctors, specialists, therapists and nurses, I discovered that even though I don’t have the degree or certification, but I know her best. I have stopped worrying about her size – she is petite, but after months of worrying about her caloric intake, I am now reading her physical signs as to her condition, not what the doctors and specialists say…because they will drive you crazy! I wish the best for all the mothers who are in this position or are sick of their babies being treated like lab rats and hearing “Let’s try this…” or “I don’t know” or “Let’s change the medication to this”.

    | March 18, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  30. Trish said,

    We’re only 2 weeks into the G tube and just starting full feeds now but this pretty much sums up my entire feelings on the matter.
    some meals, he doesn;t want to eat at all.. sometimes he eats almost normally.
    I can’t help but wonder why, what does it all MEAN? What if something else is wrong.. The worry and anxiety can be all consuming.
    Sometimes I think maybe I need to borrow a baby and feed it to see what that feels like because I honestly don’t remember.

    | March 20, 2009 @ 6:19 am

  31. Anonymous said,

    My son was born with Neurofibromatosis type 1. When he was just a few weeks old we noticed he had major pain in his neck. After putting him to sleep for an MRI, which proved to be inconclusive, we put him to sleep again for a CT Scan, then when that told us nothing we went in for a biopsy that should only take 30 minutes. Over an hour later they called and said they were doing a mass excision. He had a plexiform neurofibroma. When he was 6 months old his leg broke and we found out he had psuedoarthrosis of the tibia and fibula. When he was 9 months old he had an infection that landed him in the hospital over a week to figure out what he had. It was MRSA. We had surgery when he was a year old to do a bone graph and put rods in his leg and he spent 3 long months in a body cast.

    It’s been an awful road and he’s way behind developmentally and he’s a pretty small 2 year old.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your stories about your little tot. It makes me feel like I’m not alone.

    | March 20, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

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