So, this baby is going to be here soon. One way ore another, it is going to be here and we will be taking the next steps as a family. I have lots of people who say things like “this will be perfect” or “you’ll have a happy ending” but the truth is, while yes, the likelihood is that everything will be perfect, there is still that chance, that underlying fear that of course something will go wrong.
I feel my anxiety rising. It’s simmering under the surface and is starting to simmer over. My heart palpitations are back, after being absent for some time. Tears spring freely at the drop of a hat, and headaches are coming more often than not. It is hard.
Yesterday the Divine Miss T and I headed up to the Central Coast for a Maternity photoshoot with Adam from Cavanagh Photography. A dear friend organised it for me and we decided that it would be a great way for Tara and I to have some time together before this baby comes. Time to reflect, to be together, to share something super special.
While I’ll do a proper post about the shoot another time (when the photos come!), what was evident as the day progressed was that, while she has made great progress in the last 6 months, her anxiety is like mine – simmering under the surface. As the session with Adam progressed, Tara’s anxiety got higher and higher. While we had talked about this day a long time in advance, and prepped her for it, I did not think hard enough about what I was asking her to do… Pay a lot of attention to belly babe, and have photos with Avery’s case. To be present with both of her siblings, and focus on the bump.
To Adam, Tara was just a 7 year old girl playing for the camera, but to me I could see her spiralling. It started with the bouncing. She starts bouncing on her toes and gets a little hyperactive. Slowly she started not listening, or doing her own thing. She started pulling faces for the camera, not following any direction, or doing the complete opposite. Then she started with eye contact avoidance – refusing to look properly at us, or the exact opposite – staring so intently her eyes look like they are going to pop.
It got more serious when she started not listening on a bridge, running around. Her view of danger started to pervert. She did not understand that there was any sort of risk at all. Her voice was high pitched and crazy.
We moved locations, and headed to a beach. A beautiful white sandy beach. Tara was absolutely excited to go there, and play with paint, but when we got there, she got more and more unhinged. Her ears shut off completely and she started to not hear anything at all. She waned with her desire to be in the photos and I stopped asking.
We played with the paint and she loved it and she calmed down a little – and then we headed to the water. And she went crazy, trying to run into the scary waves and get wetter and wetter. She had no concept of the danger and how severe the water was. I was pulling her away, and she was trying to run and dive towards the waves. I refused to let her go and all she did was run run run to the water. She could no longer hear me saying that the waves were dangerous and we needed to get out. She was oblivious to everything. And it scared me.
Eventually we got back to the car and said our goodbyes to Adam and headed back to my sister’s house. In the car Tara started to calm and the anxiety crash started to set in. Her language was fast and furious, her demands hard, but her exhaustion was stronger. In the end she started making up songs about Avery before lamenting over what we have lost as a family, and what she does not have with her 19 month old brother. And suddenly the hysterical tears hit and sobbing overwhelmed us both. The burnout wiping her out.
Massive cuddles and lots of talking she calmed down. We had a shower together (we were covered in paint!), and reconnected. Talking, hugging and listening to one another. She ate her body weight in pasta and we crawled into bed together where she was still restless. Eventually her body betrayed her mouth and she finally fell into the deepest of sleeps.
And I breathed deeply, hugged her tightly and whispered into her ear that I love her. Over and over again… while my heart palpitated and my breath hastened… and I tried to quell my own simmering anxiety… just below the surface