Anxiety

Last night, I sat next to Catch on the couch tearfully gripping her leg as we watched (yet another) TV show involving a child who had been killed. She must have calmly reminded me that it wasn’t real a half dozen times.

“Do you ever have these flashes of the most horrible things happening to Charlotte?” I asked.

“Yes—I watched her fall off the bed last week, remember?”

But that wasn’t what I meant.

Every day, I have these moments. Moments where I’m going about my business and something will trigger a horrible sequence of pictures inside my head. Horrible things happen to Charlotte in my imagination. I don’t even want to write them down.

I tried to explain it to Catch and she just sort of stared at me and then went back to watching TV.

I feel like my skin is so thin now that I’m a mother. I can’t handle fictional violence against children. I really can’t handle real violence against children. Dog save me if something pops into my Facebook feed about parents who have somehow lost their baby. It’s just too much. It’s too hard.

I’m torn between burying my head in the sand to get away from it all or putting my daughter in a bubble.

Is it just me?

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23 thoughts on “Anxiety

  1. Absolutely normal! I am constantly feeling this too. When melody was younger, especially those first 4 months, I was so afraid she just wouldn’t be there anymore. It made me paranoid. I’m still always worrying. What if she falls down the stairs? What if she puts a phone charger in her mouth? What if she opens the front door? That’s seriously kicking off anxiety right now! I will say it gets better, but I don’t know when it goes away, if ever.

    I think it’s worse when you have to actively work to get pregnant. None of us just woke up one day pregnant. We had to use doctors and buy sperm and hope…so much hope…so the thought of something happening is even worse now that we have this being we wished for so much. I think it just means we’re good moms who love our children.

      • At least once you hit a year the sids risk goes down significantly so you stop worrying that they’ll just not breathe anymore. That makes sleep easier.

        I purposely avoid stories about kids dying now. I know it happens, I don’t need to be reminded constantly (unless it’s to educate myself about a risk). There’s nothing wrong with just turning stuff off.

  2. I definitely feel more sensitive, and am impacted by stories (yesterday I heard about two different cases of SIDS and then Ansel slept really well last night and I was a mess) but I also think you need to evaluate if this is something that feels like it’s getting in the way of your life – are you obsessed, unable to let go of these thoughts, or do they make it hard to do your usual ‘stuff’ – I know PPA can pop up later, and really its fair game anytime in the first year. So, it might be worth talking to someone about?

  3. Absolutely NOT just you. I get these horrible, awful images and scenes in my mind and then I feel sickened, sometimes even tremendous guilt for the thoughts coming to me at all! I thought it was just me and was too afraid to even say it out loud. Thank you for articulating what apparently so many of us think/experience!

  4. Not just you. I actually drift off into this horrible daydream… I only need the slightest hint of violence towards children and my stupid mutinous brain starts imagining if that were to happen to Jude.
    I don’t know if it helps that you are not alone because maybe we still need some sort of cognitive help?

  5. I had a similar reaction a couple times in Ali’s first year, but for me it stopped when my hormones finally settled down. I will say that issues relating to children feel a lot more personal than they did before having a kid, but the freaking out is gone.

  6. It’s definitely not just you. I’ve been battling morbid thoughts for years. First it was my dogs, then it was my kids. It still happens occasionally and I have to get up and go check on them when it does. One thing that really helped was when my therapist suggested that instead of repressing these thoughts, I should acknowledge them and release them. In my mind I picture these thoughts as red balloons and I visualize myself releasing it.
    Unconditional love is hard, because with it comes an enormous fear of loss.

  7. It is definitely not just you. I can’t even watch certain shows anymore. I hear/read horrible stories in the news and get sick, physically ill. The fears and anxiety are very real.

    I just read a quote by Prince William today how he feels things differently now as a parent. It is so true. So you are in the company of royals too.

  8. Do you have anxiety often? It sounds like you’re having “intrusive thoughts” which can be a feature of anxiety disorders. I know cause I have them, and now that we have a new baby, I often have them about her! I have learned to cope better with them though! If they’re really bothering you, you could speak with a therapist about them, and see if she can offer some strategies for coping and minimizing them.

  9. It’s definitely not just you. I think about it a lot and I always think about it from the perspective of being my fault. Like we get in a car accident and it’s my fault. Or I accidentally give her the wrong dose of some medicine. I can’t say any more because they’re so horrible to think about.

  10. And I’m more sensitive to other things too. Like this country singer who just died from cervical cancer and had a two year old daughter? I was crying in the car tonight at the thought of missing Charlie’s life. Uuuuggghhhh. Today I was in a restaurant with a friend and “bright”
    By echosmith came on and I got choked up because that’s one of Charlie’s first lullabies and it was always on the radio while I was pregnant. Basically I’m mush all the time.

  11. Not just you. This is my daily reality. I get you completely. I actually think in some respects this is not normal anxiety and could be a form of PPA. But maybe we are just extra sensitive. I’m not like this in any other aspect of my life however so it does make me wonder. I’m sorry I have not panaceas for the heart stopping moments our imaginations manufacture.

  12. It happens to me almost every day. I never wanted to be “that mom” that freaked out about all the bad stuff that could happen to my kids. but I am. I think it’s totally normal. It sucks! but it’s normal.

  13. I’m already getting these. There’s a dog park near me where two put bull attacks gave happened (no one knows if it’s the same owner/dog and so everyone is on high alert). I refuse to walk there with my lil guys 9 months prego and that’s because I’m having visions of walking Smoochie there with them and the dogs getting attacked and Smoochie being vulnerable. Nope. Can’t even deal, so I’m not going!

  14. No! This happens to me and then I scream inside my head “STOP! Get out of my mind evil thoughts!” I’ve been afraid to say anything for fear of bringing it to fruition just by speaking about it. I hope they stop for both of us. 😦

  15. Sorry, just getting around to reading this now! No, it’s not just you. I had issues with anxiety before Joey was born and they’ve been heightened since. They’re called intrusive thoughts! It’s when you involuntarily think awful shit and can’t stop yourself from doing it. It’s horrible.

    They happen more often for me when I’m feeling vulnerable because of other factors: really exhausted, on my period, overwhelmed in general with life. Today, I was outside with Joey for a bit. I’m sick, tired, stressed out. Had some random vision of him in the future tripping down our sloped front yard and breaking his face on the sidewalk. WTF. Doesn’t make sense.

    I cry every time a child is hurt or in danger or killed in a show or movie. Also have you seen the car (insurance?) commercial where the mom and kid get into an accident?! I have to fast-forward or mute and look away from that commercial now because it triggers my fears of an accident with Joey.

    HUGS. ❤

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