July 8, 2009

On the note of fear

As a new mom I have come across a strange phenomenon in my life. One that I am not apt to share often - nor one that I'm particularly fond or proud of.

I'm wondering if you mothers have it too?

Tonight a friend of mine and I were talking about how fragile our kids seem to us. How, no matter their age - we have deep rooted and sometimes excessive fear that something will happen to take them away from us.

Sometimes the most benign thought processes end with me thinking these tragic and often morbid things regarding Quint - thoughts that I can't shake for hours. I even hate typing it now. It's so...I don't know...taboo. I can't even bear to go there in my mind - and yet sometimes, I find I can't seem to help it.

So I'm wondering if you feel that way? If you sometimes get lost down a rabbit hole of the dark thoughts of "what if"? Maybe some of you have actually lost a child or children? I know I have friends and even family who have and it's a tremendously dark road. One that I can't even begin to understand.

I told my friend tonight that I think what we fear the most is having to live through it. Live through the loss. That's what we're terrified of. The after.

I don't think there's a way to get around the fear - not altogether. I think being a Mom means putting your heart out there and being completely vulnerable to whatever may come. And loving our kids the way we do - and being so upside down in that love that we would do anything for them, makes it particularly hard to think of anything bad ever happening.

I don't think I've ever felt the kind of love that I have for Quint and perhaps that's what makes it so hard to conceive of the unthinkable. So every time my thoughts wander there, it's like getting my face slammed into cold water. Like getting stabbed in the chest, or thrown from a clifftop. It's breathtakingly hard to even think the thoughts...and still they come - and often. From the deep recesses of fear that we bury to survive. For truly, who could exist normally while trying to live with that level of fear all the time. We have to bury it on some level. We have to choose to "not go there" - or we'd crumble under it.

From my own faith perspective - I believe that Quint's days were numbered before time. The date he was born was decided long ago - as was the day and the hour that he would be called back home to the Lord. I don't type that lightly - because even typing it fills me with uneasy dread. I do pray that it will not be in my own lifetime.

But the fear, the horror of the thought...it's gripping sometimes, right? Downright macabre.

Do you feel the same? Honestly, how do you get around thinking these horrible thoughts? How do you try to avoid them and are you successful?

Is it worse when they're babies? Does it get better as they get older or worse? Do you just power through the thoughts - try to distract yourself - and keep moving?

Maybe I just want to know I'm not alone.



Mom said...

Christie honey, you are not alone. I have suffered this horrible and unspeakable fear with 4 children. Scared in the middle of the night, going in to check if they were breathing. Not wanting them to ride in the car with anyone else for fear of the car getting in an accident. Not wanting them to leave on a jet for fear of it crashing. Worrying that a simple illness was something more that I wasn't grasping. The list goes on and on and the only thing I can tell you is that this love we have for our children and the need to protect them from every conceivable danger will never go away.
When you went to Africa, I was afraid of the plane crashing or a riot of some kind. Afraid you wouldn't be coming back to me and afraid I wouldn't be able to recover from that grief. But you did come back and my worry was for naught, but it was unstoppable all the same. I guess what I'm trying to say is to trust in your judgment as a mother, love them, care for them, and take regular procautions and leave the rest to the Lord, because that is all we can do anyway. As you said, and it "is" a hard nut to swallow at times, it "is" all in His hands.
I love you with my whole heart and always will no matter how old, how independent or far away you are. You ARE my heart.

(and I will always worry! :-)

Anonymous said...

I have gotten somewhat anal, extreme in my concern for Wen's safety. She must be in her booster seat, a Britax, 5 point harness. Which by the way my parents have two in their vehicles. She can only ride with Jack, myself or my parents. I opted her out of two field trips with the school bus this year in her Pre K class. I teach in the same system, grew up with her teacher, AM a teacher and still didn't want her on the bus without being in a 5 point harness. Which by the way, I think Wen tried to explain that to her teacher who didn't understand what she was saying. One field trip was to a play 35 miles away and then they eat lunch at Logans. The principal assured me the teachers keep an eye on them in a public place and that Logan's sectioned off a part of the restaurant. I just knew that when we are out, I always have tight hold on Wen's hand unless her little 32 pound butt is in s stroller!!! So in my mind, why would I let her go to a public place without my HAND. Thankfully, my parents and husband agreed, b/c I told explained that the law expected me to put her in a car seat AND that we always have a hand on her EVERYWHERE. She is likes to hold our hand now, so it's easy....

So, NO YOU ARE NOT NUTS!!! I do however have to believe that God had His hand on her before I met her and GOD will keep His hand on her when I am not there...

Sometimes, I can find peace, other times I still am NUTS!!!

I know what kind of teacher I am, and how protective I am of my classroom kids, I just can 't be so sure of other teachers. I have watched them around me, and they have done it so many years, it seems like old hat. Now that I have totally freaked you out about that, you can volunteer to chaperone and solve that issue. With Wen's fieldtrips, they had no chaperone's!!!! So I couldn't even send my Dad to watch over her!!!! She is only 5 and we take her to plays etc. So in my mind the SAFETY of my daughter way OVER RODE the FIELDTRIP ACTIVITY!!

Sorry for rambling.

You are not NUTS!!! Wait until you get Keira!!

Christy Bailey

Briana's Mom said...

I completely understand. I have gone there myself in my mind, and now I try very hard not to go there. Briana is such a bright light in this world - if that light ever went out, mine would go out too. I know it. I know I can't shelter her forever, but I sure wish I could.

Marilyn Gregory said...

Hi Christie,
You don't know me, but I have followed your blog since you got Quint. My friend just adopted also, and has had her son home from Ethiopia for about 3 weeks.

You are not nuts. My girls are now 25 and 22. Once they leave home, for college, you relive all those fears over and over.
We had a tragic death, 2 months ago, my daughter's boyfriend died suddenly in his sleep. He was 25 and had just finished his 2nd year of law school. The pain my daughter has suffered is unbearable. That was her soul-mate the one she was to marry. It was such a shock and it hurt us so badly - but the worse part was to see her (our daughter) in so much pain. I have never felt pain like that.
I tell you this not to make you sad, not to make you feel sorry for us, but turn those fears and worries over to God (it is not easy)- enjoy the time you have been given with your child. Make every moment count!
You are not alone in your fears.
Hope you don't mind me leaving a comment.

Linda said...

Oh you are not alone!! I think it is a gene that is in all woman, really activated when a child is involved.. I have always been able to walk myself out of the dark side by reminding myself You will just walk 1 step then another. Knowing that God walks with you.
My son (40 yrs old )had thyroid surgery and they did find cancer. My first thought was not my baby!! what would we do if the worst happened. He has so much in his life, 3 wonderful kids who love him and a great wife. It just about drove me crazy thinking bad thoughts..Then I realized after my son said to me it will be alright Mom, I'll do whatever it takes.. I needed to find my strength and walk 1 step at a time believing he will be ok. So far so good.
It is the fear of the unknown and we have no control over that. We need to find our faith and continue to live each day knowing that on the days we can't , we will be carried by our faith.
Just live your life and don't allow the dark place too big a part of your life. Linda

Stacey said...

I too would say you are so very far from alone. There are times when I am so caught up with house work or something going on and I will panic thinking I have not heard Miah in the last five min. or so and I jump to all types of conclusions rushing and yelling my head off to find her playing in her room with dolls or dress-up. That fear just reaches out and grabs me. With James I fight not letting fear grip me every day that he goes to school, out of my sight and control. I know for me him being older brings a whole new set of fears that if I leave unchecked hinders him. I haft to let him go on field trips and on over nights with friends. I haft to let him explore things like skate boards and bikes, all of which could be disaster in the making, but I do put my trust in God and I also give James direction about 100 times..LOL.
There are those moments when I hear something on the news or see in a show that will just grip me in fear and I will go running into my childrens rooms to pray over them and watch them sleep. Fear can be a powerful strong hold and one that I know all mothers face at some point, but I also know that God has not given us a spirit of fear but one of.... well you know and I try to rest in that in those moments. All this to say you are not alone.

Kayce said...


You are far from alone. Fear is such a weird thing, I HATE it. After 14 years of being a mom, fear still consumes me everyday. EVERY SINGLE DAY. What I can tell you is how I try to handle it. Prayer of course and lots of it. I repeat over and over a prayer of giving my fear to Him and that I will be okay. It helps.

One of the things I have always done that works for me, (but may not be ok for others because it may seem that I'm tooo over protective but so far my child does not seem to mind my hovering) is that if I'm not comfortable with the "what if's" I either wont let it happen or I am there by his side. For instance, I would not allow him to go deep sea fishing with his dad until he was 12. I was just NOT comfortable with it and I mean comfortable like being wrapped up in a blanket with a good book. I ask myself when an instance arises..."are you going to make it through this if something happens?" If I feel deep in my soul that it would kill me, I tell myself and Jacob that we need to wait a bit longer, then I spend time praying on it and working through my fear. Eventually I will take that walk of faith and let go and let God. J's dad really wants him to fly on his own to visit family, he's wanted him to do that for years and I am just NOT ready for that, but as the years have gone by I am slowly becoming okay. I can now think about the "what if's" and not feel so sick I might pass out.
This summer has been the first time I have felt somewhat okay with it, but the fear is still there and I'm not ready to say ok yet. I will when I know I can deal with the pain of something happening to him.

I think I just babbbbbleeeed way toooo long. But do know that the fear we have as mothers is real and that you are not alone. Hugs my fellow mother...hugs.

The Gang's Momma! said...

As the others have said: you are not alone. It is not weird. It is not unusual. And it doesn't get easier by itself just cuz they aren't babies anymore.

All of my kids' major "incidents" have happened when they were under someone else's care and supervision. Including the life-flight incident with my little Baby BlueEyes. So I'm not a huge fan of letting them go off with others for risky behavior and activities.

BUT. And that's a huge big BUT! I have to consciously choose to stop that train of thought - the tragic ending manufactured in my mind in a mere split second of allowing the "what ifs" to creep in - IN ITS TRACKS. Plead the blood over the grooves in my brain. Speak life and health and peace over my heart and my wounds. And turn the "what ifs" into prayers for the kid(s) I'm fearing for. It's a daily choice I have to remind myself to make. I sure don't go there (to the right choice of hope and life!) on my own in this area of mothering.

But I also refuse to live to fear or be crippled by it. I too much desire that my boys (in particular, cuz they love the risky stuff!!!) have wonderful memories of their childhood and feel trusted and can trust. Modeling that is the hard part.

I suspect that we can all get a big ole AMEN on this one!

redmaryjanes said...

Oh yes, I fear my children's death. I worry constantly now that Zach is a driver. I worry when I am away from them. I am overly cautious about things my younger ones can choke on or fall off of. I am always living in a pro-active mode to protect my kids.
I lost my mother when I was 16, so the reality that you can lose someone close to you at an 'untimely' time is very real to me.
Our children are most precious to us, so I think it is pretty normal to have this fear. I ask God to take me first because I do not believe I could endure the loss of one of my babies.

blissfully caffeinated said...

No. It does not get better. You will always be hysterically fearful that something will happen to your child. I think it's abnormal NOT to have that fear. You just can't let it rule your life. Use your good instincts and great common sense to keep your child safe with regard to the things you can control, and deal with the things you can't control as they come. And don't watch Sophie's Choice. You will never sleep again.

Eloise said...

You are definitely not alone in this. I think all mothers share such a fear.

I saw a funny sign in my doctor's office once that said, "Worrying must work because 99% of what I worry about never happens!"