There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out all fear. 1 John 4:18
Currently, I’m reading my way through a new book that is changing the way I view my role as a mom, in a very good way. I could write a dozen posts about the nuggets of truth I’ve been absorbing from The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Dr. Meg Meeker, but I wanted to start with the chapter I’m currently in, “Habit #9: Let Go of Fear.”
This is a very timely chapter for me as I am preparing myself physically, emotionally and mentally to give birth. Facing my deepest fears head-on is a crucial part in assuring that my mind is clear and at peace when I give birth, so that I don’t feel anxious and weighed down. It’s also a beast of a challenge to take on! Does anyone really enjoy this process? I’ve been an emotional train wreck this week for sure!
No one told me when I was pregnant that one of the overarching traits of a mom was to constantly worry about her children. And quite frankly, being a parent frightens me more than I know how to handle. First and foremost, I’m terrified of the world my kids will grow up in, and the things they may face, and the possibility that I won’t be there to protect them from it all. Our world is so completely different than it was 30 years ago, and the temptations and threats that lie ahead for our children are ones I couldn’t have imagined when I was a child. Not to mention that while our government is continually trying to strip more and more authority from parents, they still hold parents highly accountable for the actions of their children.
I feel so much pressure to produce perfect children because I fear that if I make one mistake, they won’t have what it takes to survive, let alone make a difference, in this world. And I’m afraid that every decision I make will significantly alter the course of their lives. If I let them watch television, it will prevent them from developing the ability to focus and learn. If I don’t squelch their temper tantrums, I will produce children who are out of control. If I let them eat sugar, they will develop diabetes. If I deviate from their routine, they won’t learn discipline and self-control. If I give up one inch of control, things will get out of control fast. This kind of pressure is paralyzing at best, absolutely crushing at its worst. And if I continue to let it taunt me, I may just go batty! (And so will everyone else around me.)
“We fear something horrible happening to [our kids] because we can’t control what will or won’t happen. Furthermore, we are afraid that we might not be able to handle the pain, that joy will never return, or that we may never find meaning to live if we don’t have our kids. But none of this is necessarily true, and even if it was, what could we possibly do to stop it? We can give up control because the truth is, we have a lot less than we think we do anyway.”
It took two years for us to get pregnant with Liam, and Riley was an unexpected blessing when we had been sure the timing wasn’t right. We obviously had no control over the point in our lives that our children came to us; they were a gift from God. I think it’s the perfect time for me to realize Who ultimately controls the course of their lives—Who really orders their steps. All I can do is pray for the power to parent through my own weakness, and entrust the fate of my children to their Creator, who has a divine purpose of His own for their lives.