My son is sleeping with the window open tonight, and I'm terrified that someone will pull out the screen and kidnap him. Last night when I stretched my 38-weeks-pregnant belly over the side of the bed to grab my cell phone charger, something below my ribs felt like it tore… and I'm sure it was my placenta. When I boiled two ears of corn on the stove tonight, I wondered whether the heavy stoneware pot could handle that much boiling water. Would it crack and explode, sending burning water all over the kitchen? Did I remember to lock my car doors and set the alarm? Did my water just break, or do I really need to pee? Did I really close the pool cover after Max swam tonight, or should I double-check?
I have always been filled with fear.
"Do you have your car keys?" I yell out the door, as my husband leaves for work. "Make sure to hold Max's hand really tightly when you walk to the park… he could dart into someone's driveway as they're backing up," I text our Nanny, from the coffee shop that I have just arrived at.
I can't shake the gnawing anxiety that consumes me. It's been my constant companion since I was a child, crying rivers of tears in the back seat of my mum's car. I was paralyzed each day, as she tried to drop me off at school. I refused to get out of the car. Refused to go to class. I was afraid of everything, and there were very few places where I felt safe. Tonight, I'm wishing that I was nestled back into the worn leather seats of our old Volvo… because when the world spins out of control, I sometimes forget to breathe.