“For years, my fear of something terrible happening to my children actually prevented me from fully embracing joy and gratitude. Every time I came too close to softening into sheer joyfulness about my children and how much I love them, I’d picture something terrible happening; I’d picture losing everything in a flash.” – Brene Brown
When I gave birth to the twins, I felt an intense bursting feeling of love that I had never felt before, it was immediately followed by an overwhelming feeling of fear. I had these two tiny babies that were looking at me with their beady eyes, looking to me for food, love and protection. I experienced this overwhelming feeling of love and fear all at the same time. How would I protect them both? What if something happened to me? Who would be there to protect them like I would? I was so afraid of anything happening to them, I was always thinking about the worst that could happen in every situation just so that I felt prepared for everything. I would then think of what I would do to avoid the things I imagined from happening. I would play out so many scenarios in my head. I just felt this strong urge to protect my girls and it made me afraid and suspicious all at the same time. I just wanted to get it right.
Three weeks after having the girls, my manager came to visit and asked me if I had gone out for a walk with the girls for some fresh air and a quick change of environment. She was surprised when I said no, I had just been couped up in the house with the girls and I kind of liked it that way. In my opinion, there were fewer hazards in the house than out there. The world I once knew to be a decent place became this big scary world that I didn’t really want my girls to be exposed to. As my manager was leaving, she got me to get the girls ready, she put them in the buggy and told me to get dressed and go for a walk with them. I was so scared to step out of the house with them on my own, I wasn’t sure how I would handle them both. I can never forget the way she cheered me on as she drove passed me on her way home, I was so nervous. I remember walking to the shop with the girls, pushing them so slowly. I felt so exposed and vulnerable. The girls were so tiny, almost everyone we passed stopped to ask me if they were twins and if they could have a peek at them. I remember thinking what if they both start crying at the same time, how would I settle them both while we’re out? What if someone tries to grab one of them and runs off, I would have to chase the person down whilst holding the other baby. Lol I know, my thoughts were wild. Even taking the girls downstairs to the living room was a fear I had to conquer every day, I was always scared I would miss a step and fall whilst carrying them. I would take one down and go back upstairs to get the other one. Eventually I became a pro and started carrying them both downstairs with me at the same time.
A few weeks ago, there was a fire in my sister’s block of flats, just round the corner from us, 20 homes were burnt and a lot of the other people that live in the block still haven’t been able to go back to their homes. My sister and I started talking about what she would have done if she was at home with her son whilst everyone was evacuating and how scary it would have been for him. Later that evening, my mind started going as it does, playing out all different scenarios of a fire breaking out near us. What would I do? The girls are big and heavy now, how would I carry both of them and get out quick enough if I’m home alone? What if the fire comes from the balcony? What if it comes from our front door? Would I have to jump off the balcony with the girls? I had so much running through my mind, I still kind of do. My need to know that I can be in control of situations, especially as a mum/parent, knowing that I can protect and look after my children and keep them safe keeps me playing out all of these scenarios. Knowing that my babies are looking to me to keep them safe and protect them from these terrible things in life. I know how unpredictable life can be and I guess the uncertainty gives me anxiety because I feel I should be in control so my children feel safe. I’m learning that no matter how much I want to control the circumstances of life, I just can’t, and playing out all these scenarios in my head just reinforces the feeling of fear and dread for things that may never even happen.
As a mother, I feel so exposed. My heart is literally out of my chest in human flesh running around, being free and trying to live and explore. I often feel the pressure of always having to know what to do, always being in control, always being there to stop them from experiencing all the terrible and dreadful things of the world and never allowing them to get hurt or be afraid. It took a lot for me to actually admit that it all makes me quite anxious a lot of the time. I’m slowly learning to accept that I can’t always be in control, I can’t predict what’s going to happen in the next hour or next week. All I can do is be present with my children, be free, enjoy the moments and put everything else in the hands of God. I don’t want to parent from a place of anxiety, I want to parent from a place of trust. Trust in myself. Trust in my children. Most importantly, trust in God. Trusting that although I may not be able to be every where my children are, and control every situation and circumstance. God is everywhere and He can see where my eyes can not see and His hand can go where my hands can not go. I want to experience the peace that comes from that and parent from that peace.
I’m naturally an over thinker, so I’d be lying if I said I’ve completely stopped my imagination from running wild on all the possibilities and dreadful scenarios and escape routes. I am learning however, to speak peace to my fears and get rid of the expectation (that I put on myself btw) that I need to always be in control and always know what’s going to happen. It’s just impossible. I am understanding that everything that I need, to be a mother to my children, God has given me and it is enough in every situation.
So if any of you reading this are anything like me and you feel you always need to be in control of every situation and circumstance, why not try to be more present in the moment and be at peace with where you currently are. Everything else that you know you can not control, just leave it all to God.