When Jordan smiled and cooed, I was filled with amazement and joy. I was so glad I decided to stay home and be with her everyday. Since it finally got easier, I loved to nurse, and I felt like it was the most special gift I could share with her. I also knew that I wanted to have another baby without waiting too long. Even though I remembered the pain and discomfort of her birth, (oh who am I kidding, it was just plain old pain. Discomfort doesn't even come close to describing it) it still seemed so worth it. When we got one as good as Jordan, how could we not want another?
When I go on like this, ranting about my own feelings, I feel a bit awkward and guilty. But explaining the closeness and the emotional bond that I felt towards her when she was young, does serve a purpose. It will later help you to understand my feelings of confusion, anger, and I guess, even betrayal. Because watching your child slowly enter into a world where it is impossible to reach her, no matter what you do or say... no matter how much you love her...well let's just say that it didn't bring out the best qualities in me.
At just over four months Jordan was smiling all of the time. She "yelled” at me when she wanted to eat or suck, and was alert and watching the world when facing outward in the baby carrier. It's like she didn't want to miss anything, ever.
We visited a neighborhood boy who was two weeks younger than Jordan. I left there with an awareness that Jordan may be a bit “uptight” for lack of a better word. She tensed her arms and fists and held them over her chest when she was lying down. I never thought anything of it until I compared her to another child her age.
At one pediatrician appointment the doctor asked me if she did this often. I answered that yes, she did. Then I asked him if this was, for lack of a better term, "normal". He answered that he thought "we should keep an eye on it." I wasn't really sure if I should be concerned with that answer or not, so I chose not to be.
Looking back, this was probably one of the first blatant physical signs that she was uptight, and that she may have a propensity towards anxiety. But as a new mom who was watching her first born daughter thrive and grow, I had no idea what real anxiety was.
I'm talking about the type of anxiety that freezes and cripples a person. The type that forces a young girl to cry and hide in her closet, or sit facing a corner while covering her ears. The kind that Jordan eventually described to me as a feeling "like everything is going to end and come crashing down on me one day."
That was the day that my light bulb turned on. I began to realize the severity of what we were dealing with. No one should feel this way, especially not every minute of every day. It's just not fair.
That is the type of anxiety I'm talking about. And when Jordan was a baby, I knew nothing about it.
I sure do have a much better understanding of it now.