Monday, December 7, 2009

Taming Fear

Your comments yesterday really resonated with me. I felt drained today like I had run a marathon. Sometimes I underestimate the power of my emotions and the battering they can do when I'm feeling vulnerable. Sunny's comment on my previous post really resonated with me, she said:
Even after they are born, you have a lifetime ahead of worrying about your son -- it's in the job description of a parent. It's hard to live in a world with pain, suffering, and loss sometimes... I appreciate the moments with my son every day, because even though I certainly try to keep him safe to the best of my ability, if neither one of us is enjoying life, well there's really no point.
I reflected on these words for some time. There is so much to be afraid of. My immediate fear is losing him, but once he is here, its not as though my worries will cease, there will simply be new worries. In fact, forget children from a moment, and just look at life with its accidents, and murders, and natural disasters and illnesses, and its a damn scary world out there in general. Jonathon Tropper, one of my favorite writers says in one of his books: life is so huge, but it can turn on a dime. The question is, do we sit and abide with and enjoy the beauty of life, or do we look at the dime worrying which way it will land?

I'm reading a book by Anne Lamott on writing, she tries to help people deal with the fear of writing and wondering how you will wrap up a complicated novel. She says:
[it] is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights but you can make the whole trip that way. You don't have to see where you're going, you don't have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.
This strikes me as beautiful advice not just for the art of writing, but the art of living as well. It brings to mind one of my favorite poems, by Rumi, which I kept tacked to my door in college to comfort me when I wondered what my life would bring me:

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move


  1. It brings tears to my eyes that my words had such meaning to you. I find parenthood to be a tightrope in so many ways -- balancing the worry with the need for our kids to experience life and gain confidence in an often shaky world.

    I am praying for your happy outcome, a healthy son with a long and productive life. You will be an amazing mother.

  2. Yes. What you say. Yes. The beauty and joy in life is damned near as important as life itself. And if you find a short-cut to trick your brain, please let me know, because it's the hardest lesson I've tried to take from this whole IF journey, and I still haven't entirely gotten the hang of it...

  3. I still worry every day that Peter will be killed in a car accident. I worry from the second he leaves until he gets home.

  4. I saw this on the Creme de la Creme list - what a wonderful post. I can really relate and I distinctly remember feeling this way (my son was just born in December). I love the quote from Anne Lamott - I wish I had read it while I was still pregnant. And yes, we will never stop worrying abut our sons. And the lesson of not letting fear rule your life is an important one. But now that my son is born, I feel that the worrying is different. I worry about things now the same way I worried about losing a baby before I actually lost them - in that vague, I hope it doesn't happen, that would be awful, but I don't really know just HOW awful. Once I knew how awful it really was, I couldn't NOT be afraid. My goal was just to try to keep the fear in check and to try to stay in the moment as best I could.

    I enjoyed reading around your blog. I wish you a happy and healthy third trimester! And in regards to another post I read - my unsolicited advice is to enjoy the laying around now and don't feel guilty about it! Those days will soon be behind you.... : )