Most of us, when hearing the word “fear” think of certain types of phobias like claustrophobia or arachnophobia. My personal fear has always been acrophobia (fear of heights) and aerophobia (fear of flying) which I’m slowly overcoming. The type of fear I’ll be writing about today however, I don’t believe is considered as an actual phobia. My fear is more of a “fearallacy” (a made-up word of the day borrowed from a follower, thanks ShiraDest ) meaning: A fear based on false, incorrect or mistaken reasoning. During my childhood, hearing stories in the news about babies being kidnapped, dying fron SIDS, not to mention my own personal experiences of abuse in general, I told myself I would never become a mother and until my teenage years the very thought of being a parent had been my greatest fear.
I destinctly remember a time in my life when that fear turned into panic. After my mother discovered my stepfather had been sneaking into my bedroom, the series of events that shortly followed may have been more traumatizing for me than the actual abuse. Arriving at the police station, the officer had a naked doll and proceeded to ask me to point to the areas where I’d been touched. Then asking what body parts of my stepfather was I touched with. He didn’t use proper names for male or female genitals or any of the other body parts which I found to be odd. Years later I viewed a case on the news where a sex offender was aquitted mainly due to the witnesses not using the correct terms regarding genitals while testifying (one of the main reasons I taught my children it’s ok to to use the words “penis/vagina” in proper scenarious). Not long after my visit to the police station that day, I visited some sort of counseling group. The person talking told us (and I’ll never forget her exact words) “it’s more than likely that children who are abused sexually, will grow up to be abusers as well”. I knew that didn’t sound right but after all, she was the professional and I was a child. The fear stayed with me throughout my childhood that some how I was tainted and couldn’t avoid becoming a monster.
I realize that as an adult, this all sounds rediculous, but as a child with no one to talk to or confide in, the mind has a way of developing the most bizarre thoughts, hence “fearallacy”. When I had my first child, I was afraid to hold her because I didn’t know how to. She was tiny and fragile. It was because of my experience and what the lady said the one time I went to counseling that caused me to stay clear of children. I had never held a baby before and the doctors couldn’t understand why I was shaking when they placed her in my arms for the first time. Obviously as I grew older, I learned that lady was what I called a “quack counselor” and didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. My apologies to those who may be offended by this staement, but to remain truthful, I have to say that I will kill someone if I became aware they were hurting children in any fashion.
The point is that my issue with fear is that I basically let it run my life for many years, especially when it came to being a mother. I kept my children close and made all my decisions based on fears while thinking I was protecting them. One example with my daughter is a spin from my post Who You calling A BITCH. The reason my consignment shop mentioned in that piece didn’t prosper was due to fear. My daughter had just begun kindergarden and I picked an office space near her school, but that wasn’t comforting enough for me. I was fearfull she’d be kidnaped , bullied, mistreated by teachers or staff, so I actually began working at the school. First in her class as a teacher’s aide, then yard duty and eventually teaching a science outreach class for K-3. Another incident envolving my son while living in Arkansas temporarily, talking with his teacher one day regarding his progress she mentioned “cps” and I snapped. I was escorted off school grounds, couldn’t watch my son perform in the play that day and by the time I’d made it back to town, the news of what I’d done had spread across three counties. My fear was that no one was taking my children from me EVER! The problem is, after playing it back and speaking with the principle, she didn’t say “CPS” as in child protective services. Those letters were merely an acronym for something regarding a program the school offered. I embaressed my son that day and will never forget how damaging fear can be. I learned to stop letting fear control me and my decisions. Relatives, friends and co-workers, people who’ve been around me don’t actually know me. They have no clue as to the reasoning for my behavoir and strange ways. The reason I’m paranoid, so organized, determined to keep a cleen house and have only utalized a babysitter once or twice and the list goes on all from making decisions based on fears mostly regarding a possabilty of losing my children and keeping them safe. I’ve never shared this with anyone other than my children and that was in hopes of them understanding my madness so-to-speak. I can’t believe how in this very moment it feels like a weight has been lifted and I’m floating along with no worries at all.
I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes that would cause harm to my children or give reason for someone to try taking them away from me. There was/is not one person I can think of that will love and protect them like their mom which is also why I knew that no matter what I faced in this world I had to survive. I would cry many nights at the thought of if I died, I could never think of one single person that I knew capable of raising them providing everything they needed as a whole. Once they became teens, witnessing the dynamics of their friend’s and seeing for themselves what the world is like, they thanked me for not only keeping them safe but also for keeping an open line of communication with them both ways, eventually making decisions as a family and accepting their input and ideas on new perspectives. The fact that they appreciate what they now recognize I was attempting to accomplish; although on ocassion meant disappointment for them, yet the end result being that their love, compassion and understanding turned my greatest fear of becoming a mother, into my greatest blessing!