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parental fears

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

I'm just wondering, when you had your first baby, did you experience an increase in strong fears?  I'm going to preface this by saying it's not out of control by any means, and I hope it stays that way.  Sometimes my thoughts go to really scary places.  I get this frozen panicky feeling about DS dying.  I can almost see it in my head, these scenarios, almost like I'm watching myself go through the grief, like I'm preparing myself.  It's really horrible and I get SOOOO SCARED.  Scared in a way I've never experienced.  And I feel very much more strongly about bad things happening to babies on the news, in movies, in books.  Before baby I would see/hear these things and think it was so horrible and sad, but now I can actually FEEL it, as if I can almost (because of course you can't actually) imagine what it would be like if it happened to me.  I have NEVER felt fear like this before.  And it's not like a constant thing, less than once a day.  So far I've always been able to tamp it down, redirect my thoughts.  Is this normal?  Should I see someone?  It's not affecting how I parent - I mean, I'm not treating him like he needs to be wrapped in bubble wrap or anything, in fact, I'm pretty laid back.  Ha, now I'm even questioning that - am I too laid back!?

 

post #2 of 34

First off, I think that this is pretty normal - for first, or all babies!

 

I do think that sometimes it can be part of PPD - it is for me - it's part of the "intrusive thoughts." What will happen to me is that I'll have a thought flash into my head of something bad happening to one of my kids - usually it's really specific and really awful and then it's hard to get the very detailed images out of my mind. 

 

I think if you're having a really hard time getting that stuff out of your head, then I'd go see someone. (I'm on zoloft.) But I just try to recognize that obsessing like that is not healthy and redirect myself.  It also doesn't effect my parenting - it's just something I have to deal with.

 

I think the most disturbing thing for me is the detail of what pops into my head, like stuff I can't even type here or mention to DH or anything. It's not me hurting my kids, but someone else, or just random bad things happening. I used to think it was because I spent about 10 years as a crime reporter and wrote about horrible, horrible things happening to kids, but I've heard lots of other moms saying they had the same fears/thoughts.

 

So, I guess I'd say it is normal. If it starts to interfere with your parenting, or becomes too hard to tamp down - then I'd go see someone but otherwise, maybe just chalk it up to all the love we have for our babies!

 

 

post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whozeyermamma View Post
I think the most disturbing thing for me is the detail of what pops into my head, like stuff I can't even type here or mention to DH or anything. It's not me hurting my kids, but someone else, or just random bad things happening. 


Thank you, but most specifically, for writing the part I quoted.  That's it exactly.

post #4 of 34

Oh wow, I can't tell you how relieved I am to know I'm not the only one dealing with this issue. I've been suffering from these unwanted thoughts and fears as well. Like you and the PP I don't think it has affected my parenting but goodness, what I wouldn't do to get these thoughts out of my head! It's like everywhere I turn I see, hear or read about something awful happening to a child and it just gets to me on such a deep level. I feel so badly for the child the bad thing happened to and their families and then I think what if that happened to us? These terrible scenarios come into my head and I have to try really hard to get a grip and force them away. Lately, it seems to be getting a bit better. I'm making a concerted effort not to expose myself to things I know will upset me and when the fears start to creep in, I'm able to talk myself down and think of other things. Still, it's something I deal with fairly regularly and I feel a certain amount shame about it. I wonder what's wrong with me that I'm even capable of coming up with such dark thoughts? I'm glad to know I'm not the only one but sad that other mamas are dealing with this...

post #5 of 34
Yes, me too. I do think it's my brain preparing for the worst, just in case. I feel like I've never had so much potential for profound loss before.
post #6 of 34
I do sometimes. Usually it goes with whatever I'm doing (ie, crossing water on a bridge in an open train and I think about her falling forward into the water). I tend to come up with the scenario and then figure out how to avoid it and what I'd do if it happened (ie, how long would it take me to jump in after her, would I land on her, can I get to her in time..).

It totally freaks me out how helpless she is (and I obviously have water issues. Need to get her in swim classes!)
post #7 of 34

Yes, oh yes, I go through this too. As someone already prone to anxiety and worrying, it's probably exacerbated in me compared to someone without those issues.

post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by colorbywords View Post

It totally freaks me out how helpless she is


Yes, I think this is probably a good part of why I (we?) go through this.  And I agree, I've never had such potential for profound loss before.  For example, as much as I love my parents, you expect to lose them when you are older, yes?  So maybe (hopefully) that would make it not as hard as losing a child.  So many things about parenting that I never expected!  Thanks so much Mamas for sharing your fears.  I feel better for not being alone with them :)

post #9 of 34

I have those awful, awful thoughts too, and the detailed visions. I used to be really afraid of him drowning, but now that he can sit unassisted that has lessened. But back when he was a newborn I avoided bathing him because of it! I still am super-duper careful with him around water though.

 

I think what a PP said is true, that because the potential loss is so unfathomably huge, the fears are sort of in proportion to that. I think every parent worries to some degree or other about losing their child.

post #10 of 34

Me too. Glad to know I'm not alone.

 

post #11 of 34

 

Me, too.

Quote:
And I feel very much more strongly about bad things happening to babies on the news, in movies, in books.  Before baby I would see/hear these things and think it was so horrible and sad, but now I can actually FEEL it, as if I can almost (because of course you can't actually) imagine what it would be like if it happened to me.  I have NEVER felt fear like this before

This especially.

post #12 of 34

I get this too. I also get soooo sad for all the babies who have screw up parents, or parents who just don't care, now that I see how much Ruby needs me all the time, and how easily she can get upset if I am not there for her and how scared she is when she think I am doing something scary (like putting her in the water for a bath).

 

I have a hard time with things popping into my head. There was a news story a couple years ago about some kids luring a toddler away and doing terrible things to him, for some reason I thin about it occasionally and get so very sad. Not enough that I need to be medicated, I force myself to forget it, but it just hits me how terrible that event was.

 

Also. I think about all the ways i could accidentally hurt her. We have a marble coffee table and sometimes I nurse on the couch it sits in front of. When I stand up with her it occurs to me that it would smash her head badly if I dropped her. I have never just dropped her but I am always careful to hold her close when walking near the coffee table.

post #13 of 34

I experienced this too. Prior to being a mom - I'd hear about something (say, a kid drowning) and I'd think "oh, awful" but that was kind of the extent of it.

 

Although to be totally honest, it's not the accidents that really get me, but the violence and abuse. Prior to being a mom, it was the same thing "how could anybody..?" but now it can absolutely traumatize me. Sometimes when I'm falling asleep, something awful will get in my brain and I'm doing everything I can to remove it from my mind. In some periods of my life as a mother, it was really bad, like I couldn't cope. Oddly, my issues seem less centered on DD and more on the plight of children everywhere. I mean, I would just die if anything happened to DD, but I am not so much thinking about all the stuff that could happen to her (thankfully, I seem to be confident that she's growing up safe from that stuff), but more of the things that DO happen to other kids.

 

DD is 5.5 years now, and while I seem to be past the worst of the sensitivity, it hasn't really gone away. Only last night my brain was stuck on something horrific. I sometimes even have to leave MDC for a while if I read of a hint of something that might haunt me. (But I keep coming back, sigh).

post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonalee View Post

And I feel very much more strongly about bad things happening to babies on the news, in movies, in books.  Before baby I would see/hear these things and think it was so horrible and sad, but now I can actually FEEL it, as if I can almost (because of course you can't actually) imagine what it would be like if it happened to me. 

 


I missed this part when I first read your post, but this is so me as well! Books I used to be able to read before my baby are off limits now (e.g. Jennifer Weiner's "Little Earthquakes"), and I can't stand watching anything that references hurt children or even has excessive baby crying! I just started watching "Big Love" on a friend's insistence, and I was commenting the other day on how I can't fathom being a parent sitting on the sidelines during the taping of an episode and having to be okay with your child crying for the sake of a scene. There's no way I could handle it!

post #15 of 34
I am so glad I'm not alone in this. I'm incredibly freaked out about SIDs and wake multiple times to make sure both sure both kids are breathing.
post #16 of 34

I am so glad to know I'm not alone in these fears. Honestly, this post came at just the right time for me as these fears have been increasing lately. I have had these fears and awful visions on a daily basis since my son was born and he is almost 21 months now. I do see a counselor for these anxieties.

 

I do have a question for all who have responded: do you think these fears may be linked to being a breastfeeding momma? Go with me on this...

 

Is there perhaps a link to breastfeeding your child and having a heightened awareness (a momma-bear instinct) that helps us guard our children in a way that maybe we wouldn't if we weren't breastfeeding and bonding with our child/children in such a close, intimate way? Does that make sense?

 

I don't want to be polarizing at all regarding breastfeeding/non-breastfeeding, and I'm certainly not saying that women who don't breastfeed don't protect their children. But I have just wondered this many, many times in the past year-and-a-half. I am still breastfeeding my son whenever he asks for it and just can't help wondering if the fears and visions are tied to that somehow. I have even had a mom who is done breastfeeding tell me that her own fearful visions subsided after she was done breastfeeding.

 

Your thoughts......

post #17 of 34

It's an interesting thought.

 

My issues have subsided somewhat but not entirely. But while I breastfed a long time, I'm done now. And I'm still sensitive. Really sensitive. But, yeah, not quite as much as I was before.

post #18 of 34

This is all helpful for me to read. I have also had a few awful dreams about something happening to my child. The thing that seems to have helped reduce anxiety about my first child getting hurt is having a second child to think about instead!

post #19 of 34
I really have only two main fears so far at 8 weeks old. Giving my daughter abandonment issues and accidentally smashing her head into something/tripping and hitting her head/dropping something on her head, etc. Today I was having groceries delivered so I cleaned the fridge and all the shelves in it and it took a few hours. DD slept off and on and played a lot in her bouncy seat and told her that when I was finished cleaning that I would spend the rest of the evening playing with her since she was being such a good, content baby all day. Well by the time I finished cleaning and put the groceries away, DH came home and we ate dinner and DD fell asleep for the night a whole hour earlier than normal. I was crushed! I felt like I had totally lied to her all day and I had let her down by not spending all evening with her. I literally cried. My mom always had more important things to do than play with me and it totally brought up that hurt again. As for the head smooshing thing, I don't know where that came from, I think just maybe I'm super aware of her soft spot and I feel super aware how delicate she is because of being such a young baby.
post #20 of 34

On my third baby and the fear just increases each time for me... I always just thought it was because I lost my first pregnancy at 13 weeks along. But I guess it's totally normal!

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