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My 7 Biggest Fears Since Becoming a Parent

I enjoy being a mother more than I have ever enjoyed any other role I’ve undertaken. I love my child fiercely and most of the time, we are very happy. But one of the things about parenthood that surprised me the most was the anxiety I have felt since welcoming this boy into our lives. I had a taste of it while pregnant the few times that we had to go to the hospital for monitoring due to low fluid and no movement, but I did not have any appreciation of how much worse it would be once Eli was here.

I have struggled with anxiety for much of my life, but having a child has changed it. My anxiety used to be about things solely related to me and now that’s faded away somewhat into more global and Eli-specific worries. I’m not really sure which ones is better or worse, though neither are a treat.

I fully admit that not all these fears are rational, in fact, a large number of them are the exact opposite, which isn’t exactly new for me. I mean, one of my greatest fears in life is vomit, so clearly I am not of sound mind. But rational or not, these are my 10 biggest parenting fears…so far.


  • SIDS 1 of 7
    SIDS
    Let's just start with the big, bad one. I would imagine this is the top fear for any parent of a baby. If we're being completely honest, this fear kind of ran my life the first few weeks of Eli's. I would only let him be in his swing if someone was nearby, watching and listening to him breathe. I wouldn't ever leave the room when he was sleeping because what if that was when he stopped breathing? I still wake up regularly and check his breathing and have, more than once, woken him up when I was convinced he wasn't breathing. The car is a particularly bad place for this worry because not only are car seats high risk places for SIDS, but I also can't see him while driving and riding. Recipe for an anxiety disaster.
    Image by The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development
  • Earthquakes 2 of 7
    Earthquakes
    I live in Southern California, right on a major earthquake fault line. But until the baby came along, earthquakes were not a huge worry for me because they were just a part of life. Now I have concerns about how I will protect both Eli and myself in the event of the big one and have realized just how earthquake unfriendly our entire upstairs is.
    Photo by MorgueFile
  • The Oven 3 of 7
    The Oven
    Look, I judge me too on this one. But I have this completely irrational fear of Eli falling in the oven. Now, notably, I don't hold him and open the oven because duh, but I still freak anytime my husband carries him into the kitchen while the oven is on, as if the exactly moment I open the oven (as if I'd do that while they're in the kitchen) is right when my husband would suddenly drop the baby (which he would never do).
    Photo by MorgueFile
  • Food Allergies 4 of 7
    Food Allergies
    This one is fairly legitimate, I have to say. I have food allergies in addition to environmental ones and Eli is already showing signs of allergy sensitivities, based upon all his skin reactions and how I have had to give up my beloved dairy for his poor little diaper rash prone bottom and the eczema on his face. I worry he will have to carry EpiPens and eat at separate lunch tables in school. Certainly not the end of the world, but also not something I want for my child.
    Photo from Epipen.com
  • Car Accidents 5 of 7
    Car Accidents
    I've always had a healthy fear of car accidents, which was greatly aided by the fact that my car seems to perpetually have a target on it, but having a baby in the backseat has intensified this fear. I am always watching my rear view mirror to make sure the person behind me isn't going to rear end us, as though knowing it would somehow prevent it. For whatever reason, this is one fear that occasionally keeps me up at night. I guess better this one than the oven...
    Photo by MorgueFile
  • Poor Self Esteem 6 of 7
    Poor Self Esteem
    This fear is a little different than all the others. I struggled with self-esteem and self-consciousness my whole childhood. Fine, my whole adulthood too. My husband has struggled similarly. It is critically important to us that we raise a child with good self-esteem and a good head on his shoulders. I hope that I can give my son a sense of confidence that I never had and I fear that he might have to go through the same struggles, bullying and difficulty I lived through as a child.
    Photo by MorgueFile
  • Diseases 7 of 7
    Diseases
    This is a product of knowing too much, I think. Both my husband and I have (different) knowledge bases on conditions that can affect kids. Neither of these knowledge bases are happy, in fact, both are terrifying. While I felt so much better when Eli was born healthy, my husband just found himself more aware of all the diseases that can strike after a child is born. Needless to say, we both have to make an effort to turn off our brains and enjoy our baby without looking for signs of things.
    Photo by MorgueFile

I realize this list could easily be titled, 7 reasons why I need therapy and yea, maybe I’ll look into that. In the meantime, what are your biggest parenting fears?

Read more from Katie on Overflowing Brain!
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