Fighting Unspoken Fears of Motherhood

I’m not really a worrier. I’ve never really been one.

My mother used to joke that I never worried enough… she probably still would.

I used to pride myself on a carefree, chase-the-wind and embrace-life spirit.  Skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting were my idea of recreation and adventure.

And then I became a mom.  And this unspoken shift happened.  A shift I never expected.

The worry.

The fear.

They can be something fierce.

Sometimes scenarios start playing out in my mind – absolutely crazy scenarios – that are extremely unlikely but moderately possible.

For example, when a fever hits, I’m suddenly googling symptoms, imagining how to spot meningitis early and debating a race to the ER.

Or even more dramatically, I imagine what I would do if the fox I’ve seen in our driveway a couple times attacked my son when I wasn’t close enough. I imagine how I’d wrestle it to the ground with my bare hands in blind rage before even thinking about a better strategy. Yikes. That probably wouldn’t go well.

I guess that’s why we’re called “momma bear” sometimes.

Illness, accidents, kidnapping, fatal mistakes.

When I imagine a family who is facing one of my fears, pausing to feel what they might be feeling brings me to tears.

I’ve become hyper-sensitive to everything that poses risk to my babies or our family.

At first I wondered if it’s just “new mom” syndrome (which is nothing to be ashamed of!).  Then I wondered if I was the only one that experienced this new fear and worry.

There is something in my anatomy that feels like it shifted when I became a mother.

There’s probably some interesting scientific exploration around this topic. But I don’t know anything about that… I just know my experience.

And I know that I’m actually not alone in it.

As I started asking around my mom friends, I was surprised by the prevalence of this shift that takes place is mommas. Surprised by the almost universal fear and worry that becomes our company after becoming a mom.

Anyone else out there experience this?

If yes, you’re not alone.

Functioning With Fear and Worry

Fear and worry doesn’t always show up in my daily life, and it might not show up in yours either. But when it shows up, it can be intense.  Fearing a diagnosis.  An accident.  Or a loss.

It can be fear of the unknown or it can be worry about the uncertain.  Or worse, sometimes it can be fear of the known and fear of the certain.

You don’t have to be a mother to experience these fears, of course. But there’s something about motherhood that magnifies it.

Since I’m also a person of faith, I believe in a loving God that is present with me and that I can have a relationship with. But that doesn’t always change my fear in the moment.

But here’s the thing… there is a thing that changes everything.

The Thing That Changes Everything

After mulling over this fear that just seems to pop up and grab me, uninvited, I heard something in a song called “Overcome” one morning that kept echoing and echoing and echoing.

I attend Connexus Church in Barrie, Ontario. It’s a church community that has been like a home, like family, and a catalyst for personal growth and faith for the last decade of my life.

It was there that I hear this song. The chorus goes something like this:

We will not be moved
When the earth gives way
For the risen One has overcome
And for every fear
There’s an empty grave
For the risen One has overcome

Stop there.

“And for every fear, there’s an empty grave.”

Whoa.

That rang so loud and so true it was un-ignorable. It echoed in my mind for days.

For every fear, there’s an empty grave.

For every fear that motherhood brings on, for every health concern, for every accident, for every mistake I’m afraid to make… there’s something behind it.  It’s an empty grave!

So what?

The empty grave changes something; the ending.

For every one of my fears, even if they were to all come true, they are not the ending.

God has done something incredible for humanity. For those that put their hope in Jesus, He has changed the ending.

The ending is now life, not death. Joy, not suffering. Health, not sickness. Peace, not pain.

While we may experience death, suffering, sickness, and pain… it is not the ending.

So I admit, I have a lot of fears. Most of them have never come true. And I can’t write this from a place of knowing or experiencing the type of pain that some people have. But I know people who can.

And this is what I know to be true:

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

And it is in this, I find peace.

Thank you Jesus, literally.

Sarah

Sarah according to Justin – brings a kindness, compassion and empathy to every conversation she finds herself in. She has a remarkable gift for reaching out and leaving others better than when she met them. She’s also a devoted, patient, and loving wife and mother with a passion for seeing God’s love realized in this world.

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