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Fear and Self Loathing in Motherhood

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Turn the news on for less than a minute and you'll start scavenging through your medicine cabinet for your Xanax. Add motherhood to the mix and you'll find yourself a regular at Dr. Bob's Therapy Group at Ancora State Hospital.

It's pretty hard not to live in fear these days. Heck, you can't take a water with you on a plane anymore. That in itself makes me want to run to a bunker in New Mexico. But I'm pretty sure being a mother trumps the "no liquids" rule when it comes to fear.

I wasn't always a scaredy cat - in fact, just a few years ago, I was scoffing in the face of fear. Granted you wouldn't have seen me jumping off a bridge with a huge elastic band strapped to my ankles or French kissing a python, but anything else, I laughed. Writing a thesis, authoring a textbook - even living in Mississippi? BAH.

Actually. TRIPLE BAH.

But then I had a kid. And she sucked away any brass balls I might have had. And fear took over.

It's not something I think about on a minute-by-minute basis. Surely then I would most definitely be in need of a good Psychiatrist and a padded room. But, if I take the time to think about everything that could happen, I have to admit that fear does give me a run for my money.

I fear for her life, her happiness, and her joy. I fear that I will not be good enough and that I will fail. I fear that I will die not seeing her grow up, or that she will die and I will not be able to go on living. I fear that she will hurt herself or be hurt by someone else and have no ability to recover.

You get my drift. I'm practically medicatable.

And then I fear that, too.

I realize that the only thing my fear will do is keep me from mothering the way I should. And the example it sets for my daughter is one that I don't wish for her to see. I can only say "be careful" or "watch out" or "make sure you have your cell phone on at all times or I'm going to come stalk you" so many times until she thinks I'm a lunatic, but more importantly, that I don't believe in her.

It seems that the love for my daughter has now turned into fear. And the fear will do no good. It can't. All it does it take from what could be.

So I've decided to turn my fear into faith. And my terror into trust. And live conscientiously, with hopeful caution.

I must believe that my new baby will be okay, and that we all will make it through another day, week, and month with beautiful children that love life, and deserve to see it without their mother's fear clouding their every step.

I must believe in the goodness of the world and that when we put good things into it, good things will come to us. It's the only way I can get through the days when it seems like everything around me is falling apart - with wars, violence, pain, and suffering. It's the only way things will make sense to me.

Aside from a few bumps and severe road blocks, the world has yet to do me wrong. Far be it for me to let those few experiences taint my view. And better, I can't let them take away what I believe about life. Because believing in all that is good means believing in my daughter.

And that's the best gift I can ever give her.

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