Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Even Worry In My Sleep.

I've always been a worrier. However, since becoming a mom, that worry has only been amplified. I worry so much that I even worry in my sleep. 

Two nights ago, I had one of the worst, most unsettling dreams. So unsettling, in fact, that I'm hoping by writing it out that it will leave my memory for good and I won't continue having flashes of it come and go.

I guess in order for you to understand what I'm about to share more clearly, I need to explain a few things first.

Our house is situated on a peaceful, family-friendly neighborhood street that is book-ended by two stop signs. Ours is the first house past one of those stop signs with only a mere four houses standing between it and the next stop sign.  

I share this in an attempt to paint you a picture that clearly insinuates there is no reason to speed between these two stop signs.

As the husband and I were getting the boys ready for our nightly evening walk earlier this week, a teenager came tearing down our street, music blaring, obviously with a blatant disregard for not only the speed limit but the safety of anyone who may be out walking, bike riding, etc. Without hesitation, I quickly turned and at the top of my lungs screamed, "HEY, SLOW DOWN! THIS IS A NEIGHBORHOOD, MORON!" 

I shook my head as we continued our walk, Maclane in the stroller and Carter walking animatedly ahead of us, only stopping to point out the leaves, an occasional pumpkin and our neighbors' dogs. Evening quickly turned into night and after an uneventful dinner, we put the boys to bed.

After finishing a few things around the house and checking on Carter, it wasn't until almost midnight that I climbed into bed next to a sleeping husband. Exhausted, it didn't take long for me to fall asleep, listening to the sounds of sweet baby breaths coming from the bassinet beside me. 

And then it started. I dreamt that I was taking the boys for a walk, a simple walk just like any other day. Walking our usual route, we stopped at all of our usual spots to pick flowers, jump over garden stones and point out hideous garden cat statues. 

As we were getting ready to cross the street, I reached for Carter's hand as I always do and before I knew he had launched himself, laughing about something or other, into the street. And that's when it happened. 

I dreamt my son got hit by a car. I can hardly type those words without tears springing into my eyes. I can remember screaming in this dream, screaming for help, screaming for him to get up, just screaming. I dreamt all of the things any mother would do in that situation. Shouting for help, cradling her child, calling 911. 

I won't, or rather, I can't get into the specifics of the dream because it was truly that unsettling but after willing myself to wake up, tears streaming down my face, I just sat there in bed thinking. It would be an hour or so before I would fall asleep again. A fit-full sleep that graciously welcomed a tiny toddler body into bed around 6:30am that morning. 

But as I laid there, a sweaty, sticky tearful mess of a mother, I thought to myself about how motherhood really is allowing a piece of your heart to go walking around outside of your body. I realized how it takes a strong woman to relinquish that kind of control. The kind of control that comes with 10 months growing and protecting this child. Knowing its every move, feeling it grow right there beneath your heart and the peace that comes along with it.

Only to then bring this child into a world where, try as hard as you may, you can only protect them from so much. 

I don't think this is something I will ever get used to as a mother. After all, aren't we hardwired to fiercely love and ferociously protect our young with every fiber of our being? But the worry. Oh, the worry. 

After writing this all out, I feel silly sharing it here.  I feel like maybe I need to start reading more fluff and watching less NCIS and CSI on TV. Perhaps if I spend the day watching nothing but Curious George and reading nothing but Dr. Suess, I won't have those dreams. 

Something tells me that worry never really goes away, does it?


  1. It never goes away. I just sent my oldest off to pre K this year. My worry has been amplified by 1000. I'm a sahm so Nathan was with me almost every single second of his life since he was born. I'm trying to find a way to deal with my anxiety. It's tough!

  2. Don't feel silly at all! I've had similar dreams, ones that give me shivers just thinking about. Skip too has had nightmares that something unspeakable has happened to the girls. AS horrible as the dreams are, I guess it just shows how much we love our little babes.

    And the love, along with the worry, I don't think will ever go away!

  3. Recently I've found myself wondering how I made it through my 20s. Seriously. I did some dumb stuff.

    I think my kids will too-with their dad and I as their parents, they're genetically predisposed to risk-taking. When that risk-taking involves alcohol, well hell. I worry they'll be like us.

    But that doesn't even begin to account for the worry I have for now, for the things I can't protect them from. In putting them out in the world, I cross my fingers, I pray, I count on the kindness of strangers, I am wary of strangers, I'm a wreck. But what else can you do?

    You're not alone, or silly. You're a mom. It's what we do.

  4. holy crap. All I can say is, I am just glad I'm not the only one who has catastrophic fears sometimes, and dreams. It is truly the most awful, gut wrenching feeling, and truly, it is like your heart(s) walking outside your body. I was just telling my mom the other day that I've never really BEEN a worrier, but motherhood has brought on anxiety I've never had before. You definitely aren't alone. I feel like we'll always worry. I can't even imagine when I have to put my teenage daughter BEHIND the wheel of a car. Actually, I think my heart is going into a-fib thinking about it.


  5. Oh momma! You're preaching to the choir here! I feel you. WHOLE HEARTEDLY! You're a mom. It's natural to worry. But worry robs us of joy. I am guilty of that far too often, worrying about the what if's so much that it keeps me from doing things. And then I let it steal my joy. The joy of taking kids on a walk, or going on a date with my husband, or an overnight trip...because the what if's are simply unbearable.

    However. If I TRULY believe what I've grown up learning, and TRUST in the Lord like I say I do, I have to know that worry does NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I can't change the future with my worrying. BUt sometimes my worries seem so real, they become my focus. At all times. But who am I? Am I a fortune teller? Why would God give me the 'vision' to predict the future? NO WAY! That's when I have to shut it down! RIGHT THEN! Because if you keep letting it fester, it's only going to grow deeper and deeper in your heart and make a complete mess.

    I could go on and on. But I'll stop. Dreams are just that. Dreams. Don't let it steal todays joy, friend. I've had far to many days lost to fear and worry. And NOTHING ever comes true!


  6. Don't feel silly at all!! I have had horrific nightmares like that too and I'm a huge worry wart, and nothing will bring out the major worry wartedness in me like sending my baby to KINDERGARTEN! Are you freaking kidding me? You want me to drop her off in a new building with new teachers and new kids and new routines and new dangers and what?! It was so hard for me and only made easier by the fact that she now (almost 4 weeks later) is absolutely loving it and thriving. I knew she would, but still. Love your heart, mama!

  7. I've always had bad nightmares and I have had the "hit by a car" dream more than one time. It is quite unsettling and I often wake in a fit of tears. Not a good way to start the day.

    I think dreams help sort through our worst fears. We can't handle the actual thought during the day so our mind plays through it at night.

    I have always suffered with anxiety and I even have medicine that helps me cope when it becomes paralyzing or I can't function because of it.

    Becoming a parent is the best thing to ever happen to me. But it is also the scariest. You are constantly thinking, "What if?" and if you let it steal the here and now - it can rob you of the joy. I've been there.

  8. I have had those kinds of nightmares before. It is horrible. I try not to worry a lot because I want only good to happen but sometimes those bad thoughts, the what-ifs, creep up on me.

  9. DO NOT feel silly sharing this here! We can all relate. Whether it's being afraid of a car accident, a sickness, heck - anything! All us mother's are afraid! I know too many mother's who have seen their babies in accidents and it shakes me to MY CORE. :(

  10. Oh goodness! Don't feel silly because I am sitting here wiping away the tears! I had set a goal to move our 2 month old to sleep in her own room this week(a mere 10 steps from the side of my bed...yes I counted!) And all I can think of are the things that can go wrong with her alone in her room!! Crap...this whole mommy worrying thing is going to increase my hair dye bill!!

  11. I was trying to explain this feeling to my sister a couple of weeks ago, when she mentioned I was worrying too much when the twins were walking by themselves wherever we were (I don't even remember) and I used that same term that it is like my heart walking outside of my body and she really wouldn't understand until she had her own child. I'm such a worry wort for that reason.
    I've had a couple of bad dreams about things happening, so hard to shake them!

  12. I teared up reading this... what an awful thing to have dreamt. I'm sorry you had to see that. :(

    I am the same as you - worrier pre-kid, EPIC worrier post-kid. I am a former journalist who can't hardly read or watch news anymore.

    So much of life is out of your control, especially the truly tragic things... I wish I knew how to let the worry go.

  13. I watch kids shows most of the day and I still have those dreams! I'm pregnant with our second and it literally puts me on edge that my oldest is becoming so independent, she's been through 2 surgeries she's not even 2 yet I thought it was just me but it's nice to know its normal!

  14. Don't feel silly. I had a dream once where Zoe was kidnapped and then in the same dream drowned in a lake. I woke up sobbing. I think it's just part of being a mom

  15. My mom always tells me that dreams are your brain's way of categorizing everything you've seen that day/past couple of days...that usually helps me when I've had scary dreams. I totally get why you are anxious,'s horrifying to dream about the things that scare us the most. When I have bad dreams, I try to think of the things in the dream that just don't make sense. Once I dwell on how ridiculous that part is, I don't find the dream as scary anymore.

  16. I was never a worrier before I became a momma. Now I find myself worrying that the next fall Connor has is going to be the one that breaks a bone, that Cade won't be awake (cannot bear to type the other a word that should go there) when I go into his room in the mornings. And my dreams? Oh my dreams are awful vivid. I hate that! But, ultimately I know that not only is he our son, but he is Gods son, too and was actually His first. And that He loves our boys even more than we do. And that no matter what, He is going to take care of them. I'm not saying it is easy, because it's not! So, no, you most definitely aren't silly. You are a momma.

  17. Chloe used to sleep in bed with Husband and I when she was an infant....I went 3 months literally never sleeping in bed because I would always fall asleep with her on my chest on the couch, so after that, I would just put in in between us. Finally when she started sleeping in her crib, I would literally wake up every night freaking out asking where the baby was?! Andy would wake up and be like, what are you talking about? She's in her was just a fear of mine that myself or Andy would roll over her, or she would fall off the bed (even though she was between us) And, still to this day, sometimes I wake up wondering where she is, then realize that she's a 2 year old toddler that doesn't sleep with Mommy and Daddy anymore..gah! Hate those dreams!

  18. Ugh... welcome to motherhood. After four children (one is in his 20s) you'd think the dreams would go away, but they don't. They seem to change as the children age (from getting hit while crossing the street to hitting someone crossing the street (once they get their drivers license)...

  19. I didn't think I was as much of a worrier as my hubby but after having some unsettling dreams recently, I've started to worry.

    In fact, I had a dream last night that I was at some sort of Fair or the Zoo or somewhere like that and suddenly, my stroller and T2 were gone. After a lot of searching and sheer panic, we found her. I am so thankful I found her before I woke up but I still haven't been able to shake that dream all day. Now I don't want to go anywhere with the twinsies where there are going to be crowds.
    So now I'm a worrier.

  20. omg I imagine crazy things happening to P...ok not what you were saying here and that might actually be a bit of my anxiety outta control...but still. Things like that worry me. As so people breaking into my house to steal P (we live in like the safest town ever). I even had us install an alarm system in our home after P was born bc the worry was getting the best of me and then I still lay awake at night, worrying. you're so right about the little hearts walking outside of my body - it makes me sick to my stomach to think that something could ever happen to her.

  21. I am a worrier too. Reading this just made me realize I'm not the only one!

    You are right though, having a child is like having your heart walk around outside your body and it's SCARY!


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