I'm a deeply flawed individual, so there's a plethora of traits I hope my children will never get from me. I hope my daughter never struggles with her body image like I have. I hope my kids learn to love themselves earlier than I did. I hope they appreciate the good in life and not focus as much on the bad. I hope they take risks and aren't paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. When I asked other moms to share the one thing they're afraid to pass on to their kids, I received many similar answers, but one answer dominated: anxiety.
Anxiety seems to be the root of all evil for many moms. And of course no parent would want their kids to have the same type of crippling anxiety they have themselves. My anxiety manifests in panic attacks and while they are infrequent, when they do happen they literally bring me to my knees. Before I realized what I was dealing with, I frequented my local emergency room one too many times because I was positive I was having a heart attack (although, I don't really know what a heart attack would feel like). Now I know what those chest pains were: distinct signs of a panic attack. Chest pains, I learned, are the precursor to a full-blown breakdown. Chest pains, I learned, are preceded by twitches, forgetfulness, exhaustion, confusion, and general sadness and numbness.
Last season of This Is Us shook me to the core, not just because of how amazing and heart-wrenching the stories are, but because of Sterling K. Brown's portrayal of Randall's panic attack, or nervous breakdown. Watching Brown so clearly and so realistically succumb to the overwhelming pressure of, well, life, wrapped me in a surreal haze. As I watched him slowly descend into his anxiety, each step felt so personal and so familiar. Without having to watch the rest of it, I knew what would happen. The scene of him debilitated in the corner of his office, completely swallowed by his own feelings, is the scene from my life.
In addition to anxiety, moms clearly don't want to pass on any of their negative attributes to their children. That's understandable, because why would we want our kids to have to deal with the same "personality flaws" we have to deal with. Even if these particular parts of us make us stronger, more resilient, or who we are as unique individuals, it's hard (read: impossible) to want our children to endure any kind of hardship. So with that in mind, here's what a list of moms are afraid of passing down to their children:
"I'd be so sad to pass on my anxiety. As I get older, there are times that my anxiety is paralyzing. I'd love to know they can push through their emotions without collapsing. Also, less dramatic: my motion sickness."
"I am petrified I'll pass to my kids self doubt and lack of self confidence! I always believed that there's always room for improvement and no matter how well I did, I felt that somehow it wasn't good enough. I want my kids to know their strengths and their weakness and be aware of them, but I always want them to know their worth and be proud of themselves and be confident regardless."
I guess I don't want my kid overthinking everything, like I do. Like, when I have to make a decision, right away I start thinking 10 steps ahead. I imagine every worst-case scenario although most are statistically impossible."
"My need to please others."
I would like my son not to be as highly sensitive and dependent of other people's opinions and approvals [as I am]. I would like him to be free and happy and know his self-worth."
"I definitely wouldn't want my daughter to have body issues like I've had all of my life. I'm very careful when talking about myself because I don't want her to hear me putting myself down. I hope she loves herself and never has negatives thoughts about her body, like I do. I struggled with my weight since I was a kid and it's not fun."
"I want my kids to be way more confident than I am. I'm always so unsure of myself. I don't know why. I'm just afraid I'm never good enough."
"Instead of walking into a new situation or a challenge with panic and the expectation to fail, I want my kid to have confidence in her ability to work through it. I would hate for her to spend her life feeling the need to prove herself over and over. It's exhausting."
"I don't want my daughter to lack patience. I want her to remain calm in annoying situations and handle it. I want her to be strong yet gentle so anger doesn't come out when patience is tested."
"I hope my son is more decisive than I am. I also want him to have more self-discipline and self-control."
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