Fear

It started after I lost my first pregnancy. I wasn’t expecting to get pregnant, I was shocked, but everything changed. And when I started bleeding at 6.5 weeks everything changed again.

When I got pregnant with the twins I was a wreck. I felt strange. Crampy. Nauseous. When 6.5 weeks came and went I was thrilled. I didn’t realize how anxious I was until we saw a heartbeat (and then, gulp, another). I was elated that my baby was healthy, but shocked that there were two.

I was immediately bombarded by doctors talking about cervix length, cesareans, twin to twin transfusion syndrome, prematurity, and so on. Google was not my friend. I had contractions from the time that I could feel my uterus. I thought it was strange that some women didn’t feel contractions. I had them daily from about 12 weeks. I went to the ER at 16 weeks and had a doctor tell me that I had an “irritable uterus.” Apparently my uterus was pissed about the super fast stretching going on.

I was terrified of premature labor. I was terrified of NICU, brain bleeds, necrotizing enterocolitis, hydrocephalus, anemia, cerebral palsy, tachypnea, chronic lung disease, asthma, and so on. I’ve faced some of that head on. It was scary. We made NICU friends. We saw people lose their babies. We know how lucky we are.

And now the real fear starts.

Jed asked me the other day how we would not be “helicopter parents.” How would we let them learn the lessons that they need to learn? How will we let them fall and hurt themselves? Will we always go in and check their breathing?

I worry that they will break arms, get bit by snakes, accidentally piss off a javelina, drown, fall out of trees, choke, race down a hill on their bike and crash, cut their heads open, touch a hot wood stove, get bit by a dog, have an allergic reaction, be abused, get made fun of, and so on. I worry about insane, unrealistic scenarios. The other day it occurred to me that an eagle could pick up one of my kids and carry them off. Possible? Yes. Likely? Not remotely.

That crazy stuff goes through my head daily, but I push it away. It has to go somewhere else, because I don’t have time for it. I have babies who need love; a moment that I need to live in. I do my best to keep them safe from the obvious things. The toxic cleaners are locked up, their carseats are installed safely, and I don’t let them chew on plastic bags. They will do risky, awful things. They will jump off stuff that is too high. They will chase things they shouldn’t and they’ll harass wildlife when I’m not looking. I’ll keep a shotgun ready in case of eagle attacks, but I’ll lock it in the gun safe.

It’s a decision. I refuse to let my fears define my relationships with my children.

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  1. Shavon -  November 19, 2012 - 10:55 am

    It is so good to know I’m not the only one out there who brain thinks up unlikely scenarios about things that can happen to our children. My husband is constantly telling me “that’s not gonna happen” and I have to just redirect my thoughts. My friends dont seem to deal with it either, i have always been prone to fear. Thanks for letting me know other people deal with it too.

  2. Joy Marie Platt -  November 19, 2012 - 11:25 am

    I worry alot too, with my OCD, It is a real striggle to get out of the house. I love that I am not the only one who goes crazy thinking about different things that could happen.

  3. Hannah Farley -  November 19, 2012 - 11:57 am

    I could not help but crack up about the eagle scenario! Seriously sounds like something I would think of! Keep that shotgun loaded Jessica!!

  4. Shelly B -  November 19, 2012 - 2:17 pm

    Jessica, That is really all you can do. Learn to live with the fear but don’t let it define what you do and who you are. You are a wonderful mother! I still worry about my grown children daily. However, you say a blessing for them and then you live your life because as they become adults you can’t live life for them.

  5. Sam -  November 19, 2012 - 9:16 pm

    I really feel sometimes that I am completely crazy with my irrational fears. Throughout my entire pregnancy, no matter how far along I was, I was terrified that something was going to go wrong, I was then terrified that something was going to go wrong in delivery and that I was going to end up with a c-section (I have never even been to the emergency room so the thought of a major surgery scared the poop out of me!) Now that he is here, I check his breathing all the time, he still sleeps in his crib in our room because I cant have him too far away. But like you, I let go of a lot. I let him do and explore, I have caught him falling so many times and missed a few times and even though I was terrified, he got right up and brushed it off and it made me feel so much better…. what I am really terrified about… the teenage years, the years he gets a car and is off doing whatever nonsense, but I push it aside, exactly how you do! I contemplate locking up the keys like you do the shotgun (haha) and live in the moment and enjoy my beautiful boy. THANK YOU for making me see that I am really not alone in this!

  6. Ellie -  November 20, 2012 - 6:40 am

    Thank you for posting this! It’s nice to hear that other momma’s out there have the same irrational fears that I do. I’m terrified that something will happen to my son and sometimes get overwhelmed with worries about him. I’m working on it though!

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