Motherhood has made me weak.
Before I had children, I had zero problems watching disaster films, children in peril, or even parents abandoning their kids for reasons noble or otherwise. (Ok, that last one’s not entirely true, but I certainly could stomach it.)
I could read books or articles or stories about sick kids, dying kids, dead kids, WHATEVER horrible things happening to kids and it would be sad, but I wouldn’t be utterly gutted, weeping my insides until they were my outsides.
That is no longer the case.
All I can think about are my babies in these highly implausible situations and freak out that I have not done enough to prepare them for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. I mean, my kids have food allergies, FFS. FOOD can KILL them.
I mean, even right now, I have to write in great hyperbole because otherwise, I will freeze and panic and totally lose it.
I have great difficulty imagining what I would do differently in my past because I refuse to imagine a possible future without my current children in it – and everyone knows that whatever you change in the past will change your future. That’s like basic Time Travel 101. Causality and timelines and other 4th dimensional stuff.
Even though the rational part of my brain recognizes that it is all hypothetical, the anxiety-ridden lizard part of my brain completely flips out and screams, “DANGER! DANGER! FORBIDDEN! GO BACK! SCARY FEELINGS HERE!”
[clickToTweet tweet=”I am safe. My children are safe. My family is safe. My friends are safe. #anxiety #fear #parenting #motherhood #momlife” quote=”I am safe. My children are safe. My family is safe. My friends are safe.” theme=”style1″]
I mean, you are talking about the mother of a child who has not yet seen snow and has begged to see snow for the last few winters but I absolutely REFUSE to take her because I am terrified of driving up mountains in the snow because we will all get caught in a snowdrift and be lost and Hapa Papa will have to go out and find help and then die because he has no survival skills (sorry, it’s true) and I will have to keep all four of my children alive via breastmilk for a week by myself until the authorities find us only to notify us of my husband’s frozen body 25 feet from the minivan.
Nevermind that we could just pack a lot of food and water and warm blankets and clothes and survival kits and LOTS OF OTHER THINGS.
Nevermind that we are never in mountains, with snow or otherwise, because I absolutely refuse.
When Hapa Papa suggested that he take the kids by himself and leave me alone with the baby, I resisted a panicked screed. I wanted to scream, “WHY DO YOU WANT OUR FAMILY TO BE SPLIT APART? HOW AM I GOING TO LIVE WHEN YOU ALL DIE AND I AM STUCK A WIDOW AND SINGLE MOTHER OF A BABY?”
Dr. T says that my brain has the unique talent of going from 0 to eleventy-billion mph in less than 15 seconds. I freak out because I can’t stop my mind from coming up with all the worst case scenarios (real or otherwise imagined) and my thoughts spiral out of control.
The only way I can stop is if I literally look at something else. I have forced myself to stare and name all the things I see in front of me or done addition and other math in order to derail myself.
Dr. T suggests that I tell myself, “I am safe. My children are safe. My family is safe. My friends are safe.” And to repeat until I calm the fuck down.
It has helped.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I refuse to imagine a possible future without my current children in it – and everyone knows that whatever you change in the past will change your future. That’s like basic #TimeTravel 101. #science” quote=”I have great difficulty imagining what I would do differently in my past because I refuse to imagine a possible future without my current children in it – and everyone knows that whatever you change in the past will change your future. That’s like basic Time Travel 101.” theme=”style1″]
All this to say, I never had these problems before I had children. Or maybe I did, but it didn’t seem as evident.
I guess I should be pleased that my children have made me a marginally less self-centered human being.
I’m not sure I like it.