You know what the parenting and pregnancy books don’t tell you about…
They don’t tell you that one of the largest components of parenting is fear. I guess that might put a damper on the drunken blissful “you’re gonna have a baby” mood, probably wouldn’t sell as many copies, so they selectively omit this.
Let me be the first to tell you then, parenting is a giant ball of love, trust, anxiety, joy, nostalgia, frustration, and happiness wrapped in fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the what if’s, fear of what’s next, fear of can I do this, fear of am I doing this right, fear.
how bad are labor pain fears,
fevers and colds and the should I call the doctor fears,
is the carseat installed right fears,
are they eating enough fears,
are they still breathing fears,
are they hitting the milestones fast enough fears,
first time shots fears,
will I ever sleep again fears,
will my relationship with my husband ever be the same fears,
leaving the baby with a sitter fears,
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
There will be school fears, first girlfriend fears, college entrance exam fears, first job fears.
I guess it’s just become more apparent to me now that baby #2’s birth is quickly approaching that I’ve added a lot more fear. A lot more of the unknown is coming. How will I be able to comfort two human beings that need my attention equally? How will I cope with the lack of sleep when I have a toddler to entertain? How will my relationships with my two sons and my husband change? How will we afford both kid’s college tuition, cars, etc? How will I corral two kids on errands by myself? It’s the big stuff and the little stuff that you worry about.
And my answer to it all?? I have no idea… I’ve never done this before. I’m walking this path blindly doing the best I can and I guess that’s what everyone does. What I do know is that every time you succeed it takes a little bit of that fear away. Every time you get it right it quiets a piece of the fear in your mind, so you just have to keep pushing through. You may be terrified of taking two small kids out to a movie by yourself but once you do it you’re not afraid anymore, you know what to expect, you can add another notch to your mommy belt.
Parenting is like climbing to the highest precipice of life, there are so many ways to fall, it’s terrifying, you have no clue what you’re doing, you just feel your way out there, and yet when you reach the top it’s the most gratifying experience of your life.
Fear motivates and challenges us in everything in life and becoming a parent has shown me more fear than I’ve ever had. More than standing up on stage to sing a solo in middle school, more than wrecking my first car, more than telling my parents about bad grades, more than moving out on my own, more than the moments right before I walked down the aisle on my wedding day, more than hearing that my baby was having problems in utero (that was just the start of this fear business)…
So yes, it may not make for a good tagline but fear is one of the largest components of becoming a mother and I’m pretty sure there’s no end point either. Each playground spill and ER trip, the first day of school, the day of the driving test, each night you watch the clock tick down til curfew, meeting your son’s future wife for the first time, it’s a lifelong sentence.
But this is what we signed up for. And like I said once you reach the top it’s the most gratifying experience you can ever have. At least that’s what they tell me and I believe it without a shadow of a doubt. The smile on a grandparents face when they see a new baby proves to me that it’s absolutely true.