Please help me feel normal, a little. WARNING, may be Triggers - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 50 Old 11-30-2010, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is embarrassing for me to talk about, because I have issued advice for other mamas before who have had the same problems.  I wasn’t always like this.  It started when I became a mother.  And strangely, not right away either.  Probably a few months after my oldest was born.  I used to read things like Crimelibrary.com, and was a big supporter of organizations like Findcarrieculberson.com and helpfindkristen.com.  I watched the news, no problem.  The story about the marine who threw the puppy over the cliff would have bothered me more then the susan smith story before I had kids. 

 

Now, Im an anxious MESS.  I cant even THINK about susan smith and what her babies went through.  Just typing that has caused me to start tearing up at my desk with a giant lump in my throat.  It makes me want to jump in my car and go pick up my kids and take them home and sit on the couch and play or watch movies or read with them.  Once Im with them for a while, and not thinking about awful horrible things that have happened to other angels, Im ok.  If I don’t read the news, im ok.  If I try to avoid the Grief and Loss forum, im ok.  But then a part of me feels I owe the mamas over there that have lost their babies the time of reading their story and posting my well wishes and condolences.  ITS CRAZY.  Am I crazy? 

 

This morning I saw a headline about those three brother in Ohio who are missing.  One of them looks a lot like my older son.  Flashes of what those poor boys might have gone through go through my head, and I just cant seem to stop it.  I don’t know how to detach. 

 

And I wont really go into fiction.  I.CANT.DO.IT.  Just reading the thread about the movie/book The Road had me close to tears.  There is a stupid commercial about quitting smoking with a little boy, about 2 years old, lost in an airport, just crying and crying.  UGH, I have to change the freaking channel when it comes on. 

 

How do I detach?  How do I separate fact from fiction?  How do I keep myself informed of world events without wanting to curl into a ball with my kids on either side of me and disappear? 

 

Like I said, Im not like this all the time.  When im with my kids, im engaged and functional and authoritive.  I don’t let them walk all over me just because of what MIGHT happen or anything.  I do discipline and am trying to raise them to be responsible, polite, contributing members of society.  We have fun.  We play and sing and read, watch movies together, eat dinner together every night.  I take them places on the weekends and look forward to that.  They get under my skin when they wont listen or dump the folded laundry basket.  Everything seems normal until I am WITHOUT them. 

 

And then its not always like this.  Perhaps it’s the season.  I am not a cold weather person, but I live in Upstate NY.  Therefore it is cold, the trees are bare, the days are very short. 

 

Gosh, going back and reading this is would appear that I am the one with separation anxiety all of a sudden.  Is that possible?  Can it sprout up out of norwhere, and then go away for a while?

 

If you have gotten this far through my jumbled mess, thank you. If you have no advice for me, that’s ok.  I kinda didn’t expect there to be one for someone like me.  Someone whose problems are truly all up in her head.  Im cross posting this in mental health as well, since I wasn’t sure which spot it should go in.  Peace to all. 

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#2 of 50 Old 11-30-2010, 05:11 AM
 
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Hugs, I've experienced something similar.  No answers, I'm sorry.  Have you tried counseling?


"Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?"~Mary Oliver

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#3 of 50 Old 11-30-2010, 08:15 AM
 
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I think that's a biological reaction to being a mother. Seriously, not being tongue-in-cheek. Our capacity for empathy goes through the roof. I had my LO 8 months ago, and I'm still not listening to or reading every news story. I read one post on Grief & Loss and man, do I wish I hadn't! I can remember some years back, when my older daughter was about 15, a particularly horrible serial killer was going through the courts where we were living. I got to the point that when I heard his name, I turned off the radio/TV. This all goes to say that I can totally relate to what you're dealing with. For me, it comes and goes. When it comes, I just don't listen to things that upset me. I don't watch the news. I don't read the Yahoo headlines. I don't think there's anything wrong with feeling that way. If anything, we need more empathy in the world. But you don't need to needlessly expose yourself to things that hurt. 

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#4 of 50 Old 11-30-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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i had to stop reading your op because i also can't handle hearing about that stuff.  i got an email describing a crime against a three year old when ds1 was three that made me so *swearword* angry - angry at the person who sent it to me for being such an idiot as to send a mom of a 3yo an email describing such a crime in graphic detail.  i still think of it frequently (now ds2 is 3yo! yay!) and while i am no longer angry that the person (okay, my step-brother!) sent it to me, i am still very upset with myself for reading it and for the horrific flashes it causes me to have with my babes as the victim.  it is way, way, way too scary for me. 

 

(okay, i just scanned your op again, and i gotta say, i loved the road.  i recommend the book, not the movie.  it's not scary like that.  nothing bad happens to the kid.)

 

however, aside from the news and commercials/tv/movies . . . when it is someone in my real life, i don't have the same reaction.  i am somehow able to just be their friend and not freak out about my own kids.  i don't know why that's different. 

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#5 of 50 Old 11-30-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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I've gotten better than I used to be, but I still have horrific flashes of awful things happening to my family/kids in any number of otherwise safe situations. I avoid news stories like this and I almost never watch TV other than the Food Network or HGTV. 

 

I think it's part of being a mom - an especially emotionally intelligent, strategic planning mom (i.e. I have loads of contingencies for all types of emergencies... not that this is helpful, it just *is*).

 

I didn't finish your original post because I got the impression it was describing a scenario I didn't want in my head, so forgive me if you didn't ask for advice. The ONLY think that has worked for me is prayer - every day and sometimes several times a day. If you believe in any sort of beneficent Higher Power, praying does help me feel more powerful and at peace. Maybe this isn't for you and that's fine, but I just wanted to share what works for me.


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#6 of 50 Old 11-30-2010, 04:31 PM
 
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Separation anxiety is possible in adults - try googling and you'll find several links. I think it can be somewhat normal to experience some mild anxiety when our kids are out of our sight, but what you are describing sounds much more intense.

 

I would suggest seeing a therapist. I have a history of anxiety attacks and OCD and I have found therapy to be very helpful. Try to find someone who is experienced with treating anxiety disorders. You may also be able to find some good books about anxiety at the library.

 

Good luck.

 

Edited to add: I used to love to watch those forensic shows - the real ones, before the CSI ones came out. I don't watch them anymore. And when I am feeling sensitive, I avoid the news as well.

 


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#7 of 50 Old 11-30-2010, 05:00 PM
 
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I think it's the mama hormones.  I wasn't always like this, although I have always had a heightened sense of empathy.  I can get scarred by newspaper articles, articles online, books (DO NOT read the latest Nevada Barr or the latest Yann Martel), etc.  I try to limit what I'm exposed to.  I don't feel I owe it to a stranger to share their grief.  Bad things happen in this world every day.  If there's nothing I can do about  it, I don't need to read about it.  Others are more suited to that than I am.  I've had luck with getting the persistent, negative thoughts to go away with deep breathing, refocusing, and White Chestnut, a Bach Flower Remedy.  I also ask myself "Is that a crazy thought?"  If the answer is yes, allow it to drift away without engaging it.  If you find yourself overly concerned about violence and your children, I really recommend Protecting the Gift by Gavin de Becker.

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#8 of 50 Old 11-30-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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I cant handle anything like that  since I was pregnant with my first.

I read an article 7 years ago in a World magazine  at a doctors office about abuse of infant girls.

I'll NEVER get over it.

I cant watch or read anything about abused children.

It's hard knowing that horrible things happen in this world.

Sorry you feel like this too. Just try to be strong and spread positive energy as much as you can.

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#9 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#1 Thank you all for validating my feelings.  I tried to talk to a (childless) friend about this 2.75 years ago, and she basically told me I should seek help and possible meds.  I was a bit irked.gif at the time, but what did I expect, right?  Its just that I was so blindsides by the anxiety, I wasnt even sure what it was.  we have since talked about it again, and for reals, it really does come and go.  And i have tried the praying suggestion, and it helped a bit. 

 

#2 Sorry I didnt offer a warning in the thread title.  I have since put one there.  I apologize to anyone who was effected by my OP.  shy.gif

 

#3 I think the weather has ALOT to do with my moods and anxiety.  It just occurred to me that we havent really done anything or gone anywhere (except the grocery store and the rents) in a few weeks now.  Plus its been very cold, grey, and rainy (now snowy) for the last few days.  It sounds silly to be so effected by the weather, but I trully always have been. 

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#10 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 08:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Charlie's~Angel~ View Post

#1 Thank you all for validating my feelings.  I tried to talk to a (childless) friend about this 2.75 years ago, and she basically told me I should seek help and possible meds.  I was a bit irked.gif at the time, but what did I expect, right?  Its just that I was so blindsides by the anxiety, I wasnt even sure what it was.  we have since talked about it again, and for reals, it really does come and go.  And i have tried the praying suggestion, and it helped a bit. 

 

#2 Sorry I didnt offer a warning in the thread title.  I have since put one there.  I apologize to anyone who was effected by my OP.  shy.gif

 

#3 I think the weather has ALOT to do with my moods and anxiety.  It just occurred to me that we havent really done anything or gone anywhere (except the grocery store and the rents) in a few weeks now.  Plus its been very cold, grey, and rainy (now snowy) for the last few days.  It sounds silly to be so effected by the weather, but I trully always have been. 


I also live in a grey, rainy climate (possibly the same one as yours, judging from your spelling of grey & the mention of snow), and I have found a sunlamp to be very helpful. It doesn't take long, 15 minutes or so in the morning. They're not that expensive anymore.

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#11 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 08:48 AM
 
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Once my BFF became a mother, she told me that she couldn't watch the news anymore or keep up with world events. I was not a mother at the time, so I just tucked that away. Once I became a mother, I, too, had pretty much the same reaction. It's just too overwhelming, and it isn't helpful. I do keep myself informed of news/events that are relevant to me and my work, but I just cannot take it all in. Emotionally and intellectually, I have to have somewhat of a boundary between myself/my family and what is "out there."

 

(add to that the fact that CNN - or even PBS (think absence of Bill Moyers) isn't what it used to be, so we don't bother watching the television news at all anymore)

 

I also live in a gray area - the sky is a cold, damp blanket today. And I used to live in Upstate NY. If you're anywhere within striking distance of Lake Ontario, you're doomed for SAD winters. Make some plans: Get out of the house. Seek social engagements. And decorate your house for the holidays! There are reasons religions and cultures develop holidays of light in the darkest months of the year.

 

Much love to you.


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#12 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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I'm the same way.  There's a thread around here from a while ago that's all about what people *can't* watch/listen to/do now that they're a mama.  I don't think it's unusual.  I started reading "the shack" on recommendation from my MIL and I got to the second chapter, realized it was about people losing their daughter and put it down and didn't look back.  I used to be really into watching law and order SVU, but I just... I can't anymore.

 

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#13 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Rochester to be exact.  Nuff said?  lol.gif

 

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I also live in a gray area - the sky is a cold, damp blanket today. And I used to live in Upstate NY. If you're anywhere within striking distance of Lake Ontario, you're doomed for SAD winters. Make some plans: Get out of the house. Seek social engagements. And decorate your house for the holidays! There are reasons religions and cultures develop holidays of light in the darkest months of the year.

 

Much love to you.



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#14 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ummmm, yea.  I started that thread.  hide.gif
 

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I'm the same way.  There's a thread around here from a while ago that's all about what people *can't* watch/listen to/do now that they're a mama.  I don't think it's unusual.  I started reading "the shack" on recommendation from my MIL and I got to the second chapter, realized it was about people losing their daughter and put it down and didn't look back.  I used to be really into watching law and order SVU, but I just... I can't anymore.

 

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#15 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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I am SOOOOO like this. Something really awful happened to a kid around here recently (and before that, two others), so I can't even listen to the local news on the radio without risking a panic attack. DH tells me to "just think about something else," or to "compartmentalize, but I just can't. Anything that involves children suffering sends me into a tailspin.

 

Glad (or not glad... validated? Something like that) there are others like me out there.


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#16 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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I'm the same way, I can't even enjoy movies like (2012) or whatever because im like HOW WOULD I KEEP MY BABY SAFE?!?! it sucks i panic constantly.   actually its so bad that while i love to co-sleep for obvious reasons im also terriified not to, i tried for a bit to let him sleep on his own but i would wke up every hour to go in there and make sure hes not too hot, not too cold, safe, etc.  i feel you mama.


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#17 of 50 Old 12-01-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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Yes, I understand,  I don't think you are crazy.  When my oldest dd was born (she's 12 now) I couldn't believe how much love I had for her.  I loved her so much it hurt. 

And when she was only 3 weeks old my cousin lost her 4 year old to a brain tumor.  It nearly killed me.  I had never felt anything so strongly before.

 

Every time I read a tragic story I think:  what is that child/person's mother feeling?  It's like a bond we share with other mothers ... the sisterhood of mothers.

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I'm the same way, I can't even enjoy movies like (2012) or whatever because im like HOW WOULD I KEEP MY BABY SAFE?!?! it sucks i panic constantly.   actually its so bad that while i love to co-sleep for obvious reasons im also terriified not to, i tried for a bit to let him sleep on his own but i would wke up every hour to go in there and make sure hes not too hot, not too cold, safe, etc.  i feel you mama.



I'm so glad to see someone else say this.  In fact, I was thinking of posting today about this very issue.  My husband works nights, and everyone sleeps in the room with me, (with the door locked).  I need to try to work through this, because I don't want to pass this fear on to my children.  Nights are the worst for me.  OP, thank you for starting this thread.  It's nice to know I'm not alone.  

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I'm so glad to see someone else say this.  In fact, I was thinking of posting today about this very issue.  My husband works nights, and everyone sleeps in the room with me, (with the door locked).  I need to try to work through this, because I don't want to pass this fear on to my children.  Nights are the worst for me.  OP, thank you for starting this thread.  It's nice to know I'm not alone.  


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#20 of 50 Old 12-02-2010, 06:46 AM
 
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Maybe this is cruel, but I don't watch or read the news. Not typical news, at least, I listen to NPR sometimes, but they don't often cover the types of stories you're talking about. Years ago, my DH and I sat back and discussed it, and we couldn't find any good reason to watch the news. What was the point? How were we affected by any of the stuff that was covered? Did it have anything to do with us? Did we benefit from the knowledge? Did anyone else benefit from us having the knowledge? No? Then why fill ourselves with the negativity? 

 

I also think what you're describing is pretty normal for being a mother. For me, those feelings ebb and flow with time. Sometimes I'm really bothered. Sometimes not at all. I really can't predict it. 

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#21 of 50 Old 12-02-2010, 06:57 AM
 
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I don't think you're crazy at all.  If I hear about a traumatic story involving children, it grates on me for days, sometimes weeks, constantly popping up in my thoughts.  I definitely think it can be a mother thing, I have dreams almost every night about losing one of my kids or them just disappearing.  After the really vivid ones, I get really clingy and don't want to let them out of my sight.  I try not to watch criminal news or criminal shows, especially those involving kids and for the most part, I don't.  But every once and a while one of those shows comes on and it's like a train wreck, I'm glued because I have to find out what happened, then I'm tortured about it and my stomach is in knots afterward.


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#22 of 50 Old 12-02-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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I had a breakdown/panic attack last night over the local tragedy/news story, and then my brain started me thinking about all the other terrible hints I've heard about... Next thing I knew, I was bawling. Sometimes i wish i could just shut my brain off.

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#23 of 50 Old 12-03-2010, 10:02 AM
 
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Maybe this is cruel, but I don't watch or read the news. Not typical news, at least, I listen to NPR sometimes, but they don't often cover the types of stories you're talking about. Years ago, my DH and I sat back and discussed it, and we couldn't find any good reason to watch the news. What was the point? How were we affected by any of the stuff that was covered? Did it have anything to do with us? Did we benefit from the knowledge? Did anyone else benefit from us having the knowledge? No? Then why fill ourselves with the negativity?

 

Oh yeah.  I pride myself on being 'well informed' but not long after our first child was born I stopped watching tv news.  Then I had to discipline myself not to open the metro section of the news paper.  You're right, victims and their families don't benefit in any way from me being emotionally blind-sided, sent into storms of pain. 


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#24 of 50 Old 12-03-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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i am the same way. i hope the following isnt out of line.

 

1. stop watching the news. just quit. if a thread title looks upsetting, do not read it. yes, moms want support, but they dont want to scar someone either and they will forgive you for not reading/commenting. ok? seriously. the only news you really need is your local weather.

 

2. do you take a vitamin? you should at least add some b12 and D to your diet. they go a long way to improving mental health. i take extra on top of my multi. i have a digestive thing that keeps me from absorbing all my vitamins. so my emotions were craaazy. i feel so much better now. people have commented on it. you could also try to eliminate foods that cause mental upset. dairy, wheat etc and see if that helps.

 

3. therapy. if you can. if you cant then get a book to read. dont know which ones but look into it. esp if these stories are reliving themselves in your head and you are crying every time. that is a sign you are being traumatized by it. which leads to post traumatic stress. which leads to wrapping your kids in bubble wrap, blowing on every bite of food, and never letting them leave the house... until they are 35. which i have seriously thought about doing.

 

DS gets mad at me bc i get scared about him being home alone. every time i read a news story i get worse. i cant go to sleep at night unless all the doors are locked and the alarm is hanging on the doors. all the doors inside the house need to be open so i can hear everyone breathing. if one of them even rolls over i wake up. i am baaaad. but i already had ptsd before my 2nd was born. :shrug

 

 

and if none of this is for you.... i am sorry. just putting my 2 cents out there.


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#25 of 50 Old 12-03-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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Gina, I hope it's OK if I ask this.  Why did you describe those various crimes in your original post?  And prior to that, why did you frequent victim web sites?  You don't have to answer here.  But you might think about what's compelling you to write about it.  And I'm not scolding or judging you in the least.  I think the interest is entirely human and normal.  I just think we all benefit by understanding clearly what motivates us, understand and then accept .   I know when I do that I'm better able to deal with ...life.


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#26 of 50 Old 12-03-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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I think it is common to feel increased emotions and empathy, especially with respect to threats to children, after becoming a mother. But I wouldn't say that it is normal to be plagued with thoughts of anxiety to the point that you feel overcome with these thoughts. PPs have had great suggestions about ways to minimize anxiety, such as turning off the news and avoiding media which show graphic descriptions of violence towards children. But I would like to gently suggest that perhaps you may have reached the point where your anxiety needs professional attention. Having suffered anxiety myself, not related to parenting, (I have a phobia) and seeing how my thoughts could crescendo to the point where I felt paralyzed in certain situations which were still a part of normal life, led me to seek counseling. I have taken anti-anxiety medication in the past which has been helpful as well. So much of anxiety is about getting stuck in thought patterns and being unable to rationally 'think' your way out of them and calm down. It can become very cyclical, so you see something triggering, your anxiety goes up, then you are on edge and things that wouldn't normally trigger you start to seem way out of proportion...but your thoughts get so focused on the thing that causes you anxiety that you end up thinking about it all the time!

Best of luck.

raising my two sunshine children.

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#27 of 50 Old 12-03-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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I just wanted to offer some understanding (((HUGS))) - since I had my son, oh gosh, I'm the same way.  I cannot handle hearing about bad things happening to children.  Just can't.  I watched one episode of a new tv show - the very first thing was about children.  I refuse to watch it anymore.

 

And yes, anything about losing a child?  Oh heck no, can't read/watch it.

 

I'm the same way about women losing their husbands.

 

And I sleep much better on nights DS sleeps with me. 

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#28 of 50 Old 12-03-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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DH gets so annoyed with me because I refuse to watch any action shows/movies, forget about crime shows. They make me sick ever since I had my first child almost 8 years ago. I am very picky about which CNN articles I will click on. Some of the feelings are certainly normal. But I also agree with la mamita that maybe your worries have progressed a little further. hug2.gif


There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#29 of 50 Old 12-04-2010, 06:36 AM
 
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I find that I can't watch any sort of violence since becoming a mother. I feel like life is so precious and I hate to see or hear about humans inflicting pain on each other. I don't watch the news at all. I listen to NPR and a local Catholic radio station and that's it. However Sometimes the negative stuff is unavoidable. I was just reading a perfectly innocent essay in Real Simple magazine and it suddenly and unexpectedly turned into a tragedy(not going to get into details) . I mean the article was about having long blond hair for crying out loud.
OP I think it's normal to have some anxiety about your children, however I think you may want to seek professional help. I've been there done that, and it helps so much to talk to someone. We all feel awful when we hear about tragic events but it shouldn't be affecting our everyday lives yk? In the mean time, try getting a really good magnesium supplement. I can't tell you what a difference it makes for me.

Wife to amazing dh, mama to dd 12/08
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#30 of 50 Old 12-04-2010, 08:57 AM
 
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I understand. And while it may not be as bad, anything about kids dying is like a punch to my gut. I am almost superstitious about my children staying alive. I feel like I have to acknowledge that it is a possibility so that I won't jinx myself but also can't even entertain the notion by seeing it. 

I can't really think of a concrete example at the moment.

 

I just love them so much I am terrified they will be taken from me. But at the same time I live my life every day and we have fun and friends, so it doesn't hamper me noticeably. But I can't think about it or watch/read things about it. I will cry at a moment's notice if I do. I am fighting crying right now.

And, while I love cosleeping and my kids didn't sleep well by themselves I was partly happy (although a couple of hours at night before I come to bed would be nice! lol.gif) about that b/c I honestly can't imagine leaving a tiny infant by itself all night, I would be checking on it every 10 minutes. I still check on my 4 y.o. when she's in her own bed if she doesn't wake up, since she is The World's Worst Sleeper. I think I will still be watching for that rise and fall of the chest when they are 16! 


Mama to a sweet 12/06 girl fairy.gif and a squishy 8/09 boy biggrinbounce.gif
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