When you’re pregnant every man and his four legged friend has some must-have piece of advice. Seriously, you hear it all. I had a stranger stop to tell me all about her vaginal tearing while I was doing the grocery shopping. (Love being a lady!)
Out of all the advice I heard during those (long long long) 9 months, no one (not one person or their pet) told me that I would become obsessed (obsessed!) about death.
Now, any one that knows me will attest I think about death more than the average bear at the best of times but since the Little Man made his worldly debut I see death traps all around me. Death is lurking everywhere.
I don’t want to die.
I didn’t want to die before he came into being but now I have ratcheted that up another (million) notch. I really don’t want to die.
I want to be there to see him grow into the wonderful man I hope he will become. I want to see if he takes after me (and is all class) or takes after his dad (and will one day be caught sucking chilli sauce out of his tie). I want to see him fall in love. I want to be there when he finds the thing that makes him happy. I want to see it all.
But everywhere I look I see death just waiting to jump out and take me.
Never before have I been so obsessed about my health (she types as she finishes her dinner of Coke Zero and Cadbury Top Deck). A couple of weeks after he was born I was in the GP’s surgery in tears begging her to give me a referral to have a mammogram. (I was watching a lot of E channel and Giuliana Rancic was all over it talking about her breast cancer experience.)
The GP calmly talked to me about the chances of me having breast cancer given I had no known lump, family history and (apparently) there’s no correlation between IVF treatment and breast cancer. She also pointed out that as I’d only just given birth the last place I’d want to be putting my breasts was in a giant vice.
But that didn’t stop me from finding death in other places. I had a mark on the back of my hand that I was positive would be a melanoma. I went to the Skin Clinic (which I do every year, but this time it was only 6 months since my last visit) and the nice doctor informed me that it was an (ack!) age spot.
Every creak and groan, every sore joint or headache, I’m convinced I’m dying. I’m convinced I’m going to be robbed of seeing my son’s future. But it’s not just limited to my body giving out on me.
I have always been paranoid about traveling by air or road around major holidays (Easter, Christmas, school holidays, etc.) or birthdays. (I know, it’s all part of my quirky charm.) It’s something that has been fostered in my pysche since I was a teenager and I blame the media. You always read those stories; “died only a day before their 50th wedding anniversary” or “killed before Christmas” or “newlyweds killed on honeymoon”. Celebrating an event is like begging for trouble.
My paranoia and fear has gotten so bad that I’m avoiding traveling on highways or flying. Case-in-point, for Easter this year we’re heading to Melbourne to see our newest niece/nephew. (So excited!) I can’t wait to be in Melbourne with the Little Man. (Hello Chadstone!) But the traveling has me freaking-the-firetruck-out.
Seriously, I’ve been laying awake at night trying to make an exhaustive list of the risks and probabilities. This is how bad it has gotten; I have booked flights (not cheap given the time of year) based on the rationale that the roads are notoriously bad and the flight will be a quick one and statistically flying is safer in Australia, only to cancel the flights after reading an article about a QANTAS flight dropping 30,000 feet in 5 minutes when the cabin started to loose pressure.
My absolute terror of flying won out over my fear of having a car accident. Seriously, I’m not making this shit up; we’re driving to Melbourne and we have a $700 credit with QANTAS.
I have become so fearful that something will happen to us it’s starting to make me look like a loon. (More so than usual.)
Is this normal? Am I the first new parent on the planet to become obsessed with dying? Why did no one warn me that this would happen! Does it get better?
I read a lot of parenting books before (and after) his arrival and not one of those so called parenting help (ha!) books mentioned this. If I have in fact developed the first ever death paranoia associated with the birth of your first child do I get to name it? (Gnomius Expirious Syndrome has a nice ring to it…)
I don’t know what the answer is… for now I’m just hoping it gets better and steering clear of genetically modified foods, the microwave and tandem parachuting.