Relief - Mutha Magazine


Published on August 14th, 2023 | by Caite McNeil



Motherhood has made me into a bit of a hypochondriac. The stoicism instilled in me by my parents—Shake it off, Caite—has given way to near constant anxiety. I’m reminded of something Rivka Galchen wrote in her brilliant book Little Labors:

New variety of depression

It’s true what they say, that a baby gives you a reason to live. But also, a baby is a reason that it is not permissible to die. There are days when this does not feel good.

It is this, the most intense kind of pressure to stay alive and healthy for my child, that drives my anxiety. And it’s the reason that I’m such a frequent flier at my doctor’s office. Hemorrhoids happen to a lot of women in labor, and I was no exception. They’re a pretty normal phenomenon, but if I’m in the right headspace, I can convince myself they’re rectal tumors. Writing comics about my hypochondria helps me better understand it, helps me laugh about it, makes me feel like it’s not winning.

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About the Author

Caite McNeil is a writer and illustrator. Her work is place-based and often humorous, pulling inspiration from a childhood spent in rural Maine. Caite is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program, is a Middle and High School English teacher and serves on the editorial team of Stonecoast Review. She lives in Mid-Coast Maine with her husband, daughter and little dog. Her work has been published in The Tahoma Review, Flyway Literary Magazine, Carte Blanche (forthcoming), The Dewdrop, Speculative Nonfiction, and the Stonecoast Review. See more of her work at

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