Early on in the second trimester of my pregnancy with Hadley, something alarming showed up on one of my ultrasounds. She had a choroid plexus cyst on her brain, and it was bluntly explained to me that sometimes these things go away on their own between 20-30 weeks, though other times this cyst is known as a soft marker for things more serious.
I was immediately referred to a specialty doctor in Nashville (we lived about 50 miles from Nashville at the time) and made several visits to their office in the following weeks to find some answers about what this cyst really was. Doctors were able to determine rather quickly that her cyst was just that – a cyst that would likely fade as Hadley continued to develop in the womb (it did). Even typing all of this acutely reminds my body of the emotion that washed over me in that moment the doctor said that everything was normal.
Jamie was deployed in Afghanistan during my pregnancy, but thankfully my parents only lived about 2.5 hours away, so my mom walked through all of this with me. I clearly remember during one of our conversations after we knew Hadley was okay my mom smiling and saying “Welcome to a lifetime of worrying.” She said it with a smile and went on to explain that I’d just had my first taste of what it’s like to truly worry about your child, and she was practical in giving me a gentle heads up that this was only the beginning.
I laughed at her comment, but man, she was so, so spot on. I’ve always appreciated her words because they were the first “reality check” I ever had that the journey I was beginning wasn’t for the faint of heart. It would be incredible and joyous… and really hard. I’ve thought about her words so many times in various scenarios as I’ve mothered my children, and her words have helped remind me that concern for my child is absolutely as much a part of this gig as the joyful times are. You can’t have one without the other.
Concern and worry is normal, and it’s inevitable that once you overcome one hurdle, there’s another one waiting for you. That’s just part of parenting, and accepting and knowing that challenges will arise has helped me as a mom do a better job of accepting the struggles when they’ve come along. Being a mom has introduced me to a love so great I couldn’t begin to describe it, but with that great love comes a new level of worry I’ve never felt quite so strongly either.
If you’re a Christian believer, you know that the Bible strongly teaches not to worry, but to instead pray, talk to Him about your concerns, and fully surrender those feelings of worry to Him (Philippians 4:6), focusing on the Kingdom and knowing that you and your children are playing a part in all of it. Ahhh, this is so so so so much easier said than done for me the majority of the time. Sometimes when my faith feels unshakable, my anxiety as a parent is less and I find myself much more willing to trust in the Lord and His will for my children. Other times, I can’t seem to get a grip on whatever it is that I’m worrying over about my kid.
Like I said, my mom’s gentle statement about “Welcome to a lifetime of worry” has been so helpful for me in knowing that concern for your child is as much a part of this gig as are the happy times of parenting. It’s helped me feel normal. It’s helped me in realizing that raising my girls is going to be a marathon instead of a sprint, and that when the feelings of worry and anxiety creep over me like they often do when it comes to my kids, I’m reminded to pray about all of it, because I’m in this with a God who really cares about me and who really loves and cares about my kids (1 Peter 5:7). He promises peace that is greater than my understanding (Matthew 11:28-30), and desiring that level of peace helps me try to do what the Bible instructs, which is fully surrendering my parental worries to the Lord.