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Motherhood: The Form Fear Takes

Fear takes an unusual form in my world.

It’s a dark, unmoving shadow in my periphery. If I try to trick it and look quickly in its direction, it disappears. But it’s always there. Lurking. Seeping into my mind like early morning fog.

I never knew this fear before motherhood.

It’s a fear of Life itself; a cadence of beats: heart beats. Breaths. Steps. Bike Pedals. Bath splashes. Sleepy moans. It’s a song that beats against my skin and its one only I can feel. It never stops thrumming, reminding me that Life is capricious and finicky. And short. Oh, so short. Its melody is one that tells me to savour, appreciate, be present for. But under the melody, the beat is the same: Time is passing quickly. You can’t protect them forever.

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Motherhood: Facing the light when the Darkness lurks 

When I give over to it; when the pressure feels insurmountable and I give in to Fear’s bullying, it becomes a song that shouts loudly how precious Life is, how fleeting it is. It doesn’t sing of sunrises and snuggles. It won’t remind me that Life is also beautiful and miraculous.

It only spews worry and danger for things beyond my control.

I see the Fear in my mind’s eye: it transforms into seeing my daughter abducted in the grocery store. It’s going into my son’s room to see he’s not breathing. It’s the stillness under my skin where baby previously moved vigorously.

Motherhood has brought this Fear into my life. I never knew this song before. Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming, or rather having a waking nightmare, of all the potential “what ifs” and threats that could come to my children.

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My reason for being. My heart, my fears, my joys in two external beings with their own autonomy. I want to protect them with every ounce of my essence. 

Pregnancy, especially pregnancy after infertility and loss, brings another dimension to the Fear. It’s one that’s irrational and cold, full of trickery and shams. It builds the shadow of itself into something larger and fiercer. It causes sleepless nights, anxiety, worry and a cadence that pounds and drowns out reason.

I haven’t blogged lately because Fear is clouding my sight. I’m pregnant with my third (hopefully) full term baby and Fear is leading the dance; I’m merely the partner who doesn’t know the steps. Have I ever?

Pregnancy is miraculous and incredible. No two bodies on earth are the same. All life came from Woman/Female. It’s a spiritually liberating experience. But no one talks about the subconscious Fear: the irrational scenarios that run through my mind like a long distance sprinter: reels of visions of death, pain, suffering, helplessness. No one talks about the conscious internal battle it takes to push those thoughts away and replace them with something logical and real, something tangible and loving. It’s constant. A never ending song.

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Pregnancy is both miraculous and scary. It’s a constant battle to focus on the good sides, especially after infertility and loss. The Fear wins, blotting out the preciousness of the experience.

I have spent this summer with my two kids; soaking up their youth like a dried out sponge starved for hydration. I am fighting back against Fear with camping and snuggles and co-sleeping. Sometimes it’s enough. Sometimes it isn’t.

Recently, I haven’t felt baby in utero move as much. Fear’s shadow grows darker. Is baby dead? Is the placenta anterior? Is this a second trimester loss? Is my body fucking with me? More, is my MIND fucking with me? Am I paying attention to know whether the movement is less or if I’m simply distracted? IS. BABY. DEAD?

So I don’t write because no one wants the dark thoughts and feelings. No one wants to know the ugly side of motherhood: this fucking Fear that lingers like cigarette smoke in the upholstery.

No one wants to know that I may possibly be crazy because I constantly and repeatedly envision my kids dead or maimed or hurt.

This is the form my Fear takes. I know I’m not alone because I know one other person who shares this Fear. I hope there’s more than two of us. I hope this Fear eventually dissipates like the fog disappearing under a warm morning sun. But if it continues to linger in my periphery, you know damn well I’ll always fight back: with kisses and snuggles and love. Because love wins. Love beats Fear. That sums up Motherhood.

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2 thoughts on “Motherhood: The Form Fear Takes

  1. I could have written this exactly. The what-ifs, the horror of something happening to my child. And also expecting another and haven’t written about it because I am too scared. Every day I wonder if he is moving enough, and then if he is moving too much. And then what if my son doesn’t get his little brother, or what if this son somehow loses his big brother. Am I doing everything I can to keep him safe? Is the gate tall enough? Can he break the child locks off of the door? I know there is more I can be doing, but am I willing to bubble wrap him? When is my fear legit and when am I going too far?

    I’m with you sister. There is new fear and anxiety I never knew of before motherhood. And as much as I love being their mom, it really is terrifying.

    Congrats on #3, praying for a safe pregnancy and delivery.

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  2. This is so beautifully written, the brilliant prose almost takes away the dark undertone. I was victim to this too early in parenthood and the only thing that worked was training my brain. Over and over when a dark though enters push it out and think and say they are safe now, enjoy the now. It is a long process and maybe doesn’t work for everyone but I do think the brain can be trained. Sending all my love because I get it. I really do. Life is good and hard and fleeting. We also our best to soak up the now.

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