Do you know what the worst part of being a new parent is?
I wasn’t a fearful person before I had Bennett. I always figured that the worst that could happen to me would be dying, and if I died, there would be some sad people, sure, and I wouldn’t want to be them, but I would have lived my life well and would have had no regrets. I would wake up in heaven and be with Jesus and all would be well.
Now I have a new worst fear: That Bennett will die and that it will be ALL MY FAULT. Every time I hear about a parent whose kid died in some terrible, preventable way (which has been a lot this week, for some reason), I just know I’m going to be next. At night, I wake up and stare at him while he sleeps just to make sure he is still breathing. Having his car seat turned away from me makes me crazy because I can’t see his face; I just have to believe that I really did strap him in there and put him in safely before I started driving. I have actually pulled over and stopped the car to double-check that he is breathing.
I have read too many articles on the internet from/about moms whose babies died and it just makes me crazy. I just KNOW I will be the mom who lets furniture fall on her baby or leaves him in the car or drives over him in the driveway or puts his car seat on the top of the shopping cart, or (and this makes me super-crazy) something I haven’t even thought of!
And it’s only going to get worse. Eventually, Bennett will go to kindergarten, then elementary school, then middle school, then HIGH SCHOOL. Now I have to worry about shooters coming into his school and traumatizing or killing him. Can’t I just keep him in a giant crate?
My husband in his infinite wisdom reminds me that we don’t actually KNOW anyone who had a child die, so it’s probably quite rare. In fact, the vast majority of us live to adulthood, so the odds are in Bennett’s favor. Somehow it seems like if I can just worry about him enough, nothing bad will happen to him, as if the power of my worry could change the world. It’s illogical and crazy, but then, so is parenting. When do you stop worrying about your child dying? I am concerned that the answer is NEVER.