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Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Manifestation of Insecurity

Just over a decade ago when I was in my early 30s, a particularly snarky little habit crept up on me out of nowhere...every night before bed, under the cover of darkness and as stealthily as possible, I would look in the closets and under the bed before I could go to sleep. I’m not speaking metaphorically here, I literally looked under the bed. I didn’t notice that it became a nightly occurrence until I was pregnant with my daughter Isabelle and realized it was crazy to be 9 months pregnant and still crouching down to look for the bogey man. Sounds like the birth of OCD, right? In fact, I have often joked that I am one light switch on-off maneuver away from being Rain Man or Jack Nicholson in ‘As Good as it Gets’ but I digress, I am not legitimately under a doctor’s care for any type of psychological disorder, but rather it seemed to be a manifestation of insecurity. Albeit an embarrassing and incontrollable manifestation, but nevertheless just insecurity. In retrospect, there was a lot of painful stuff happening in my life right then; my older brother died suddenly and unexpectedly, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes, and my father had been diagnosed with untreatable lung cancer and died. A lot of pain in a short amount of time turned me into one big ball of insecurity. Understandable, though, right? I was concerned, but I figured it would work itself out. But when my husband and I learned that I was pregnant, which was a miracle in and of itself after a 2nd breast cancer diagnosis in my mid 30s, 60 radiation treatments and 12 chemo treatments later, I actually worried that being a parent would make me more insecure. Have you read a newspaper or watched TV lately? If I wasn’t going to worry about her crib falling apart, SIDS, meningitis or the swine flu, then someone would kidnap her or she would fall into a well. I’m not kidding or making light of any of these things, when I was pregnant the insecurity got worse. How could it not? Once you are a parent, you worry about that little baby boy or girl every minute until they are full-grown adults. And then you still worry. But something miraculous happened after Isabelle was born, and I didn’t even notice at first, I stopped looking in the closets and under the bed. Watching that little baby girl sleep so soundly in her crib, in her room, in our cozy home infused me with a huge sense of well-being and serenity that the insecurity just melted away. It’s as if there are soo many things out of our control as parents that you just need to embrace all that’s good and run with it and leave the rest behind. So not only was Isabelle’s conception a miracle. (I went through menopause twice in my 30s from the various bouts of chemotherapy and could not believe I actually got pregnant) But just her sheer existence is miraculous because it turned the ugly beast that is insecurity from Rain Man into Frosty the Snowman. (He melted, remember?) Oh, and BTW, instead of looking under the bed, we jump on it, which I gotta tell ya, is a lot more fun.

4 comments:

  1. You brought years to my eyes. Love you, my friend.

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  2. Did I write "years"?!? I meant "tears!"

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  3. Well written, Maureen! You are quite the talented writer! I look forward to reading many more posts.

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  4. Brilliant my lovely friend. I can relate I do not look under my bed but I am a frequent "checker". Is everything turned off, is everything that should be closed, closed? It's exhausting. I love that you have found peace in watching your little sweet face sleep and in jumping on the bed. Both activities I strongly recommend!

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