Things that go bump.

by statia on May 12, 2008

One of the things that no one can prepare you for, is just exactly how differently you perceive the world when you become a parent. Movies you might have seen several times, now take on a different meaning. They may upset you more. Or maybe deep down, you were always a sap, you stupid idiot, and it just took something of this magnitude to break your German.

Whatever it is, it’s amplified by approximately 8.2 billion, give or take one or two. And most of the time, it’s completely overwhelming, and there are days where the anxiety level is so high, that I wonder if it’s possible to die from hyperventilating.

At some point in our life, our own mortality hits us. I’m not sure if it hits everyone as hard as it hit me, when I was fucking 11. Sure I knew people died before that, but I was kind of late to the whole “I’m going to die someday” party, as I skipped around tra la la-ing, while playing with Barbies, living in my own vacuum sealed bubble of pink winnebagos and dream houses. And when it hit me, one day, out of nowhere, like a very long cargo train, I started having anxiety attacks, and in order to cope, I did what any angsty tween would do. I stopped eating, and slept all day. I had no idea what was wrong with me, but eventually, it passed and while I still hadn’t accepted death, I treated it like the elephant in the room. And was able to cope with it on some level and go about my life, living a little bit less fucked up.

And when you have a child, it completely manifests onto them. The whole circle of life thing. And it’s really damn depressing. And you can’t watch certain movies without it sending you into more fits of anxiety than you already experience (and are unable to handle). As if dealing with my own death weren’t enough. Now I have one more thing to worry about.

They say you’ll never sleep again. It’s not because your preshus baybee is keeping you up all night. It’s because the anxiety of getting them to survive into adulthood is all consuming.

{ 12 comments }

MsPrufrock May 12, 2008 at 11:14 pm

My anxiety surrounding death and disease is something I blog about sometimes, as you may know. I don’t blog about it too often, as thinking about it causes anxiety about my anxiety. Ha!

I hear you completely though. Mine noticeably got worse as soon as P was born. I do really struggle with it.

Helen May 13, 2008 at 2:00 am

I don’t worry about my death so much, I worry about theirs. I figure they’ve got a hundred people that would take them on, but it’s not like the baybees are replaceable. Not to be all melodramatic here, but I don’t know how to go on if something happened to them.

That’s me. Come see the selfish side of Sears.

motel manager May 13, 2008 at 8:41 am

All I can say is that I totally hear you. How does anyone survive into adulthood, really? Looking back on my teen years, I’m surprised I survived. Now I just have to keep S from doing all of those things.

bitca May 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

I did that. Especially being a single parent, suddenly, I was all hyper-aware of Stuff That Might Kill Me (like skydiving!) and I just avoided it. Of course, I avoided skydiving before I was a parent, too–so that may not have been a good example.

Deltus May 13, 2008 at 11:42 am

I’m shocked I’ve made it this far.

waitingline May 15, 2008 at 9:05 am

Well said. Valium, please.

Seriously, though, I know completely obsesses about child abuse and all things terrible that happen to children. In fact, I’m know re-thinking my career and wondering if I could/should work for a non-profit org that helps families overcome child abuse/domestic violence. If nothing else, I want to volunteer – but somehow that just seems to fall short.

So, after becoming a parent, I not only obsess about my child and his well-being, but now I worry about ALL CHILDREN (ok, maybe not the spoiled rotten bratty ones!). I just hope I can channel this neurotic energy into something constructive….

waitingline May 15, 2008 at 9:07 am

I also hope to learn the difference between “NOW” and “know”…. jeesh. Need to add freakin’ English spelling to my To Do list too!

April May 15, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I even drive completely differently now. Risks that seemed menial before now overwhelm me.

And the other night, when I couldn’t sleep at 3 a.m. – I was panicked worried that he may die before I do. Sigh. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night just watching him breathe.

Tonya May 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm

I hear you. My reply was so long I decided to post it on my blog instead of taking yours hostage.

While I do accept that I will die, I worry that it will be way too soon. Kids are resilient, they bounce when they fall, etc, but I still want to make sure they are safe. And it’s SO effing hard to do in today’s (sub)urban jungle.

cloud May 17, 2008 at 1:50 am

the only answer to all these worries and anxieties, i have found out the hard way, is faith. no matter if it is expressed in religion or spirituality. my pregnancy has increased my awareness, that there is something bigger than me which i have to trust. without that trust, i believe, i cant raise my child. as kalil gibran writes: Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

aithne May 17, 2008 at 9:34 am

Never said better.

I was fine with it all, even worked in a nursing home and saw it all around me constantly. Until my first grandparent died the day before my first surgery and then it hit me. HARD!

You are so right about when you have kids! Mine are 17 now and I think it is harder to deal with then when they were babies!

robyn May 19, 2008 at 9:24 pm

I’m starting to have the “OMG in a year he’ll be out of my sight at least 20% of the week and go to other people’s houses when I won’t be there and play with toys I haven’t approved and does their parent own a gun and know to lock it up if god-forbid they do and I’ll have to rely on someone else’s driving and holy crap I’ll have to rely on everyone’s driving around them and what if he gets on a bus and isn’t buckled in a 5-point restraint and I can’t watch over him every second and pull him down off the back of someone else’s couch to not break his arm if I’m not there and…” Yeah, no wonder I have insomnia. It’s a bumpy ride ahead. Buckle up.

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