I am having a jolly kind of morning, all things considered. True, I am very bored of this perma-sore throat that has been pinging between us since January. But I had good news from my dentist today, we are squirrelled underneath a duvet watching Cars and eating hot cinnamon roll cake, and we’re going on an exciting holiday quite soon. It’s rather lovely.
So it’s probably a good time for me to post this. I have been sitting on it, not wanting to leave it here while I’ve had concrete things to stress about, because I’d be tempted to write it off as venting. And it isn’t venting: it’s more exposing than that. Imagining sending this out to the internet has literally made me full-body cringe since I wrote it.
Turns out I am happy to admit that motherhood is hard but maybe not the vulnerabilities I carry by myself. But why should we be ashamed of our vulnerabilities? They make us available to each other.
Over the last few months, this is what happens to me at night.
I worry that my children will be taken away from me in a horrific freak accident.
I worry that one of them will get a terminal disease and that I will have to let them go before me.
I worry that Tim will get cancer.
I worry that he will leave me one day.
I worry that I will get cancer, that I already have it, that some brushed-aside little anomaly is an unheeded sign of things to come.
I worry about the people I might have been a jerk to without realising it.
I worry about the times I have been a jerk deliberately.
I worry that I spend too much money and earn almost none of it.
I worry that my faith might crack open like a shell one day and I will roll out of it, alone and abandoned.
I worry about the most vulnerable in my society, and how much they are being damaged and made desperate by our current policies.
I worry about what it does to our children, growing up financially secure and insulated from these real situations.
I worry that my lifetime might be the one where the NHS, staffed by passionate and devoted people and in my opinion our finest and most selfless institution, is dismantled entirely.
I worry that I have a serious character flaw that everyone knows about but me.
I worry that I will never write anything that is published, that is meaningful, that will mean I can call myself a writer without a half-shrug of embarrassment.
I worry that I am not raising my children right, that I am less than they deserve.
(I am worried that posting this is going to lose me half an audience.)
I don’t know what to tell you: most of the time I’m fine. I’m fine, I’m fulfilled and happy, everything is fine.
But I drive home from meetings late at night and I can’t stop worrying. I’ve never had something I couldn’t switch off, before. I worry about that too. I don’t know what to do about it, but if talking about it helps someone else feel less alone, then it’s worth saying.
I hope it’s been worth saying. Take good care, friends.