Lately I’ve been feeling a bit of pregnancy anxiety. I hear it’s typical at this point in the pregnancy. You’re past the halfway point, ready to register, having people ask about your baby shower(s). It’s a lot to take in all of the sudden. It’s got me thinking about how, in just a few months, I’m going to have a little person that my husband and I are responsible for. We are going to raise a child together. She is going to get her understanding of the world, of language, of love, of EVERYTHING, from us! How can we be sure to keep her safe, healthy and happy? Most importantly, how do we keep her sane?
I don’t mean “how do we avoid mental illnesses.” I mean, how do we keep her from being paranoid about the world. How can we keep her from being afraid of everything and everyone she comes across? Eventually she’s going to see the news, or read about it, or hear it from friends or other adults having conversations nearby. How can you insure that your child won’t be afraid. Also, how do you insure that your child won’t be unafraid? Which is worse, a child who is afraid of nothing, or a child who is afraid of everything? I’d have to say the child who is afraid of everything is worse off. I don’t want that for my daughter.
My parents are fear mongers. Everything in life can be taken and flipped around to become scary.
Going out dancing in college. Seems harmless enough, right? What if someone attacks you in the parking garage? What if someone drugs your drink? What if someone rapes you? What if you get kidnapped and murdered?
(I’m not over-exaggerating — I’ve heard all of these types of things).
Today my mother posted something on Facebook about how a gang is using children to lure in victims to rape them. The story says that the gang sets a child on the street, crying, and then when a lady walks by, the child asks her to take them home. They present their address and once the lady walks up to the door with the child she is either (a) knocked unconscious by an electrified doorbell, or (b) grabbed and brought into the house. Either way they do it, they say the woman is raped once she gets there. It turns out the story is false, but my mother posted a comment afterwards saying “this story is false, but you should always be on guard about someone trying to use you for help and putting you in a bad situation.”
This makes me so sad. Everyone wonders where the good people are in the world. Well, I think they are all terrified to help anyone. Has the news made us all a little crazy?
How did I end up being even slightly normal and not afraid of my own shadow? I have no clue. I guess I figure that life really can’t happen if you’re scared of everything in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m scared of plenty. I hate when my husband is out of town, even though we have an alarm system and two dogs, I still have trouble sleeping for fear that someone may try to break in. This seems fairly normal, even with people who weren’t raised to fear everything. I’m scared of eating raw chicken for fear i’ll get salmonella poisoning (but, come on, who isn’t scared of raw chicken? Gross). I was scared when I walked home from class at night (who wouldn’t be scared to walk across an empty, dark campus at night? Creepy!)
My sister has taken on some of the crazy gene in the family. I know that she is teaching her children to be scared of everything too, and that’s fine if that’s how she wants to go about raising her children, but I don’t want that for mine.
So how to do you make sure to teach them about scary things and possibilities without scarring them for life? How do I make sure that she’s capable of understand that walking alone at night is cause for extra vigilance, but that she shouldn’t be so scared of it that she never leaves the house after dark? I guess these are just things you work out as you go along. You find what works best for teaching your children and you go with it, hoping to keep them sane enough to function.
I just hope I can figure out what I’m doing without causing her total fear of life. Life is amazing and needs to be lived.