I sit on the couch, my legs crossed, Henry in my lap. Sofie is dancing circles around the living room. It’s past her bedtime. But I’m not ready for her to go to bed yet. Thom Yorke’s “Suspirium” is playing from my phone, and the repetitive harmony of the piano is pulling me out of the moment and into my own head. Henry’s warm, pink hands are holding tight onto my hand that rests lightly across his belly as his eyes dart around the room, following his sister.
I want to cry. My throat is tight. This is a moment I should be enjoying, but instead I feel sadness and overcoming fear.
I let anxiety wash over me.
When Sofie was a baby, I was always so excited to get to the next milestone, so willing to watch her grow. But with Henry, I’m so scared that if I fall asleep, he’ll be grown. I think about a dream I had last night. Henry was meeting a friend of mine for the first time, and when I introduced her to him, instead of being three months old, he was a grown man.
I don’t want him to be a grown man. I want to start over.
I let my head rest against his strawberry blond hair on the back of his head. “Don’t grow,” I think and I feel my heart ache in my chest. It’s going too fast already. I fake a smile as Sofie whirls past me. “Is this part of postpartum depression?” I wonder to myself.
I can’t help but think that my emotions, already heightened because of hormones, are even more heightened because of the events that have been unfolding over the past year. I can’t help but feel worried about the world these kids are growing up in. Will they get to be happy? I feel guilt even asking myself this.
I spend the entire song wishing I could just hug my babies, kiss them, and stay in this moment forever, doing nothing but loving on them. Then the song ends. It’s bedtime. I have no more time to let worry pull me under, not right now anyway. I have bedtime stories to read, Mary Poppins’ songs to sing, a hungry baby boy to feed. The distraction of tasks is helpful.
The distraction of tasks is welcome.