Is this the darkest fear that every mum has?

May 4, 2016


I’ve agonised over writing this, but think other mums might feel this fear too. The whole point of this blog is to open up honest discussions, and make us mums realise that we’re in it together – no matter what our differences, the fact that we’re all mothers joins us at our very core. We’re normal. Even though we think we might feel alone, or totally mad, sometimes.

In general, I’m an upbeat, decidedly un-morbid person, but since having a baby my thoughts have taken a turn for the darker, and I don’t seem to be able to shake them. In short – and this is horrible to write – but I think about awful things happening to our daughter. Unspeakable things. And the worst thing, which I’ve typed and then deleted because I can’t bear to read the word. It’s not that I spend hours dwelling on this, but the most horrendous thoughts can strike me at unexpected, often happy, moments, like a punch to my stomach, bringing tears to my eyes.

God, I worry. Not about specifics, when we get into the car, or when she has a fever, but it’s like feeling a sudden loss when she’s right there in my arms. It’s almost as though I don’t feel worthy of such a gift.

When I was pregnant I read a quote by Elizabeth Stone, who said “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”. And how true it is. How vulnerable we are. Everyone knows our weakness.

It’s a classic trope in action films – the bad guy make threats against the good guy’s family, forcing his or her hand into doing whatever they want. And now I get why it’s such a cliché – because it would work. It would work for me, and I’d do anything – literally anything – to protect my child.

No-one warned me about this. The worry. The fear. The preoccupation with ‘something bad happening’. The dark underbelly of everything good and magical about parenthood. And I suspect it becomes ingrained in us, from pregnancy when the baby doesn’t kick as much as you think they should, to talks about gap years and travelling alone when they’re older.

So what’s the answer? Maybe it’s just understanding that every mum feels the same sometimes, and that it would be a worry if we didn’t.

7 responses to “Is this the darkest fear that every mum has?”

  1. Sana says:

    I could completely relate to your thoughts the anxiety the worry……while reading the blog. I guess its part and parcel of being a mom. No body can warn you or prepare you enough for motherhood. At least I feel normal about myself after reading this…..good to know that there are other who share similar space…..Once ur a mom….UR a mom there is no switching off

  2. Louise says:

    I’m so relieved to see this article and that I may not be completely psychotic after all, the double whammy is also that I then fear that my dreaded thoughts somehow could bring on some negative aura etc and be the cause of something bad happening 🙃😁

    • Helen Farmer says:

      Not psychotic at all – totally normal, and I have the same concerns about inviting negative actions with my negative thoughts. Nightmare!

  3. Abbi says:

    I am now unable to go into a balcony without having a horrible (and graphic) thought about what would happen if either of my little ones fell over!! And I totally relate to worrying that my bad thoughts will only end up making it happen!! Argh!!! I guess that means we are effective risk assessors tho! 😊

  4. Dina says:

    I can def. relate .. so glad you wrote abt it as I always thought I was
    The only one who worries abt her kids .. I even worry abt myself ..
    Like what If.. what is smtnng happens to me.. who is going to love them endlessly .. no one can ever replace a mother .. what if something Happens to them .. these thoughts and catastrophic thinking lead to anxiety which will do us more
    Harm than good .. faith is key , have faith and stay positive .as they say God will never give you more than you can handle . I say this while I did go through some tough times with my son when he was 8 months old , and I still have flashbacks when the docs would come and in and hint that he’s not gonna make it .. that they are losing hope ..and that they don’t know what else to do . He was a fighter and made it through 🙂 faith , that’s it 🙂

  5. Basak says:

    All that fear and anxienty also comes with the hormones to protect the baby, especially first months, it also has a scientific explanation as nature takes care of everything 😊 However it doesn’t help to know that and I totally agree a mum is just a “worrier” and our brain can calculate 1000 thousand different scenarios in seconds 🤔🤔

  6. Lindsey says:

    These are things I seem to think of or imagine far too often. It’s heart breaking and gut wrenching. Like you I sometimes just want to zip him back up in my tummy to protect him that bit more. Sometimes I feel I live in fear and can’t imagine life if any of those fears came true. It’s reassuring and relieving to know that I’m not alone in those dark thoughts and fears. Xxxxxx

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