Months before she was due to give birth, disaster struck for Katherine Heiny. Doctors ordered her to lie on her side in bed and not move – and gave her a 1% chance of carrying her baby to term
When I was five years old, my parents decided they could no longer watch the nightly news. Or rather, they could no longer watch it if I was in earshot. The coverage of the attack at the Munich Olympics had caused me to have such an intense fear of being killed by gorillas that I couldn’t sleep. No matter how many times my parents explained the difference between terrorist guerrillas and primate gorillas –and that there were no gorillas in Michigan anyway – I remained sleepless with worry late into the night for weeks. My parents eventually gave up and subscribed to the afternoon paper as well as the morning one.
The problem is not just that I am a champion worrier. It’s that I court worry – I seek it out, I invite it into my home, never remembering how hard it is too dislodge it from its comfortable chair by the fire. I watch true-crime documentaries when I’m alone. I Google photos of black widow spider bites. I know the statistics about paracetamol overdoses. I have memorised the beaches with dangerous riptides. I have installed a carbon monoxide detector in every house I have ever lived in. And when I got pregnant with my first child, I bought What to Expect When You’re Expecting – and the chapter titled What Can Go Wrong was the one I read first.