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Worst Case Scenarios

Lately I have been plagued with awfully vivid nightmares — ones that jolt me from sleep and keep me up the rest of the night. Take the one from a couple of nights ago, for example:

J is killed in a horrific accident.

At his funeral, his parents and I get into an argument regarding the future of Claire and BebeDeux — they want to raise them in Hong Kong while I want to raise them here in the U.S. As their birth mother, I have legal custodial rights over them and vehemently refuse to raise my children in a country I have never even visited, which results in J’s parents ceasing all contact with us.

I sell our condo, taking a great financial hit in the process, and move back in with my parents. My mother sells her store so that she can stay home with the girls while I go to work at an entry-level job because that is all that is available to me in this dismal economy.

Being a single mother to two little girls under the age of two, with the daily 1-hour commute into the city (each way) and the ever-piling bills and calls from collection agencies, I am overcome with exhaustion and grief every day.

I woke up sobbing from that nightmare, and spent the rest of the night staring — with relief — at my sleeping husband.

I have also been suffering from morbid visions that are similar to flashbacks in that they materialize suddenly and without control. Like the one I had recently while taking a trip to the supermarket:

I am walking back from the grocery store with Claire in her stroller. As I cross the street, a driver runs a red light and comes speeding toward us. I’m not sure how, but I know that I have a split second to decide whether to save Claire’s life, sacrificing mine and BebeDeux’s, or turn the other way so that I and the unborn baby inside of me will have a greater chance for survival (but would mean a certain end for Claire).

What do I do? How do I choose?

One of the reasons I tend to take the pessimistic approach to life is so that I can be prepared. So that I minimize my risks of being disappointed. Because whenever I go the optimistic route, I am always let down.

With this in mind, are these nightmares and visions just another coping mechanism? To remind myself that things could be worse? (Because as horrible as my appendicitis and resulting surgery were, they weren’t as bad as the “what if” scenarios that play out in my mind.)

Or are they just a weird pregnancy side effect?