Friday, August 20, 2010

12w 5d fear

I don't know how soon I was supposed to return to being a completely calm, confident, well-adjusted, happy person.

What's wrong? Why are you sad?

I still have horrible moments, sometimes horrible days, where I'm so completely happy that I have Fletcher, and yet so irrationally wrecked. I can feel, almost see, the waves of hormones washing over me, the undertow dragging me through my lowest emotions.

Sometimes, it comes in a flash and I'm able to soften it just by thinking happy thoughts. Maybe not enough to fly like Tinkerbell, but enough so that I avoid the What's wrong? questions.

I found a hair today. That's all it took to set me off. That one little hair, which had come from my baby's head, made the dam holding back a build-up of surprising emotion crumble.

Having that strand of hair meant so much to me now, when I'm just 6.14 miles from home, where he is healthy and happy with his father.

What if he wasn't? my morbid thoughts wondered. What would finding this hair mean to me if he were gone?

When writing a story, I've always felt that it's important to be able to pinpoint a main character's absolute greatest fear. And then to have that fear come into play in some way during the course of the story, as an obstacle or a kind of villain that the hero has to overcome.

For myself I never had, or never knew of, a "greatest fear." There was too much gray area in the haphazard collection of things that I feared, everything from abandonment to bankruptcy, from disfigurement to not being liked, from death to making mistakes. It was all a murky cloud of awful, which I tried to come out from under, in order to live my life without constantly looking up at that potentially-falling sky.

Is it better or worse now that I have and know my absolute, 100 percent, greatest fear? The one wrong that would trump all others, the one disaster that would render me useless, broken, destroyed?

Does it make all the other fears milder or less oppressive by comparison? Now that I know there is a single thing that would kill my soul, a single thing that I can't survive, can I be relieved knowing any other horror can be survived?

I haven't been able to step out from under this particular dark cloud, though. I've read that morbid thoughts are common for new mothers, whether they have depression or not.

They say it's a mother's job to worry, but when the fear rises up my throat to choke me, it isn't a "job." It's the villain of the story.

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