Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Fear

My new fear obsession is SIDS. I have a mantra that I connect to every time O wakes in the night (which, lately, has been quite often), or even during the day: Awake=Alive. Somehow I've latched onto this fear because, as I've read, there's NOTHING anyone can to to 100% prevent SIDS. Sure, breastfeeding, sleeping on his back, having a fan running in his room, no one smoking in the house, on and on and on. But there's no guarantee. I don't remember being this paranoid vigilant with E, but then again, I hadn't lived through the death of my baby yet.

And all of a sudden it hit me. From the minute I found out I was pregnant with O to this very second, I've been fearing for his death. I've been enjoying the heck out of him, loving him fiercely and with wild abandon. But there's always a little tickle, a nagging fear on the edge of my consciousness. If I'm being honest, it's often at the forefront of my consciousness. So much so that I've woken him accidentally, checking to make sure he's still breathing.

Tell me I need to get a grip. Tell me this is normal stuff, not just post-trauma, hyper-vigilant behavior. Because I'm starting to worry I'm losing my mind.


  1. I have been there with D. I had a sensor under his crib for year 1 because I thought that if he died, I could do CPR and resuscitate him. Not very logical but it got me through the year. Then he turned 1 and I thought that maybe I get to keep him. I am not so illogical with K, but he doesn't sleep in a crib yet. While I don't think this is normal for most, I think it's our normal. We just are trying to protect what we have and we know the hell of losing it and that the possibility is always there. XOXO.

  2. I can't claim to know anything about normal mothering behavior but I can tell you that I understand what you're saying. And, it seems as though my excessive worrying during my surviving daughter's infant/young toddler years hasn't damaged her (or me) permanently.

    The circumstances are different so I won't presume to know everything that's going on in your mind as you're hovering over O. I just assumed that hyper-vigilant, post-traumatic was going to have to be my normal and didn't worry about the extra worrying.

    Wish I lived in your neighborhood so I could take a shift for you and you could get a solid night's sleep.

  3. Sounds normal to me. I only know parenting after a dead baby, and this was exactly how I was. Angus never slept for the first 11 months of his life. He just sucked at it, plain and simple. But still, each time he woke I did breathe out a little, as it meant he was alive.
    Funnily enough though, I opted against the motion sensor as I was told they can have false alarms and I knew they would freak me out more. And I was also told, that if they do go off and the baby is in fact not breathing, it would be practically impossible to revive them anyway. So I just used to go in and check on him. A lot. And often end up waking him up in the process. It also didn't help that from about 4 weeks, he slept on his tummy. I had to convince myself that as we were diligently playing by all the other SIDs rules, we'd have to live with this risk, as it was the ONLY way he would sleep. Oh man, just thinking back to those early, stressful days makes me tired. I need a nap.
    I've found new things to worry about now though. Like running in front of cars, falling off things. Never ends, I guess.

  4. Well I guess I am just used to fearing everything, so this sounds just fine. Even pre-apocalypse me would bop A or O in the nose feeling for breath regularly. It is a trait I have always had and am learning to get a grip on (forced learning, so I don't lose my mind).
    Sucks, but we're not crazy yet!