Becoming a parent is a double-edged sword. It's an incredibly exciting, joyous occasion, and babies can be pretty rad and super cute. Parenthood can also be the source of some tremendous fear, doubt, and worry. Personally, motherhood has left me questioning damn near everything, from the choices I make to the things my child does. Every parent gets scared from time to time, but not all fears are created equal. So I spoke with a number of moms and asked them to get real and share their biggest parenting fear, and it was interesting to hear the varying reasons behind their concerns.
After my son was born, my biggest fear was that I would suddenly lose him. In fact, it continues to be my biggest fear. I had a daughter before I brought my son into the world, but she was born premature and died shortly after she was born. So when my son was born and quickly taken to the NICU shortly after, my fears intensified. It was awful not being able to see him for the first two days of his life and the looming worry of losing him was always prominent. Even when I was finally able to bring him home, I worried. I checked his breathing every few minutes. I kept him close by. I made sure nothing could hurt him. And, in the end, it took about two years before I was able to start loosening my grip. I’ve worked hard to remind myself that I can’t coddle him his whole life, because I want him to be strong and independent.
I'm acutely aware of the reasons behind my fears, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Knowing why I feel the way I feel, and seeing a therapist and trying other methods, like my yoga practice, have all helped me get through each day. But that's just my story, and while a constant state of fear is a common denominator connecting most parents, the reasons behind that fear are as unique as the parents themselves. That's why, I think, it's so important to listen to one another and learn from our drastically different experiences. So with that in mind, here's what five braves mothers are scared of when it comes to their children:
"Honestly? My biggest fear each time was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). When I had that new, tiny baby I was petrified that they wouldn't wake up. And the only thing that helped me overcome it was them growing up."
“My fear was, ‘What if they stopped breathing?’ Just have them stop breathing because of an underlying medical condition you didn't know they had. Funny enough, my first born had sleep apnea. I had to attach him to a machine to monitor that he was breathing. There were a few times that it went off and it was this loud, piercing sound that would wake me up so I could check on him and make sure I could get him to breathe again. I would never in my life wish that on anyone. It was always so scary. Luckily, he grew out of it before he turned 2.”
"My son going under anesthesia was a big fear for me. When his cardiologist wanted to put him under, I didn't feel ready. There wasn't clear enough reason for the procedure they wanted to do. I put it off. Soon after, [my son] needed ear tubes and I knew he needed them. It was much easier. It helped, too, that his Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor (ENT) had better bedside manner."
"The biggest fear is the death of another child. Hands down. I can't get over it, but I live with it. I want them to be able to grow and explore and become independent and that could never happen if I let my fear control me."
"My biggest fear was that I'd be bathing them, I'd slip and fall and knock myself out, then wake up to find both kids drowned in the tub. I dealt with it by not standing up while they were in the tub and making sure I had towels nearby. When they got big enough to get out of the tub themselves, the fear went away.