Panic Attacks

I walked on eggshells my entire pregnancy.  My heart would pound if I didn't feel Darla's incessant kicks.  I would get dizzy before doctors appointments as I worked myself into a panic over what they might find.  I thought pregnancy was the hard part.  "Once she's out," I told myself, "the constant terror will fade into the background and you'll never feel this kind of fear again." 

Unfortunately, the real panic kicked in once Darla was born.  For an entire years, I lay awake at night in order to stare at her monitor.  I felt like the unimaginable would occur if I didn't watch her belly rise and fall.  And, as is typically for a newborn, she would often go seconds without breathing.  This made my blood run cold every single time.  I prayed for the first year to pass quickly so I could stop worrying about her so much.

At sixteen months, I'm in an even more intense, condensed state of stress than I've ever been in.  Her world has gotten so much larger and, with that, the dangers have just multiplied exponentially.  I daily run through a mental checklist of dangers and I swear I can't breath by the time I'm halfway through.  There's batteries, sharp plastic bits, poisonous spiders, pointy edges, scary strangers, rabid dogs, concrete sidewalks...  I could go on with my list, but I'm starting to feel anxious.  As a result, I prefer to keep her locked in her baby-proofed bedroom where there are no corners for her to hide behind, sockets she can poke her little fingers into and no stray pennies.  I watch her bang on the door, furiously trying to get outside into the dangerous world, and fantasize about how much easier life will be when she's not a young toddler who constantly wants to eat whatever she finds on the floor.