We all want the answer to this question to be that our parenting techniques, strategies, and approaches are based on love. After all, how could it possibly be anything else since we love our children and only want what’s best for them?
However, so much of the information we’re given as expectant mothers and new mothers tells us that we must be very careful with everything we do or our baby might die. The fears begin while pregnant with strong opinions regarding what to eat and how to behave. The fears then morph into worries about how to keep baby alive while their sleeping, eating, riding in the car, crawling around, walking, etc.
So how can we really be sure if our parenting decisions are based on love rather than fear? Some may argue that if we love someone we have to worry about them. We show our love by trying to protect them.
But I wholeheartedly disagree with this line of thinking.
I explained a bit about this in my Worry does not Equal Love post not too long ago. Similar to worry, fear is a negative emotion. It is the opposite of love. Fear is a constricting feeling whereas love is an expanding feeling. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about please read my previous post).
What I have observed from being around other parents is that many of our decisions as new or expectant parents are fear-based decisions, especially fear of losing a child. I’ve been guilty of this myself.
And guess what? Marketers and sales staff use fear to their advantage. They are there to convince us that blankets will kill our baby so we should buy sleep sacks, the $400 car seat is MUCH safer than the $200 one and will be more effective in an accident, that the baby monitor with the heart beat sensor is the only way to ensure that your baby will survive the night. I could go on.
So how do we eliminate our fear of our child dying and ensure that we making our parenting decision from a place of love?
My answer is that the only way to get rid of our fear is to confront it head on.
Now, I’m not talking about throwing our little ones into dangerous situations. What I’m suggesting is using our imagination to delve deeper into our fears and getting to the root of what we’re specifically afraid of.
I want to tackle the fear of death issue in upcoming posts. It’s a heavy topic and I’ve been trying to figure out how to do it for about a week (which is why I haven’t actually published anything…I’ve been a bit stumped).
I’ve eluded to my views on death in my post on SIDS but I want to go further. I intend to have a candid discussion about my fears in particular with the hope that you may relate. And if you can’t relate, then I hope it at least helps you to evaluate your own fears.
What I have found during my contemplation of the death of my child is that I’m not worried at all about Hailey dying in terms of what happens to her. My beliefs about the after-life are quite strong. At the root of my fear is actually fear of failure as a parent and fear of judgement by others.
Maybe this sounds harsh or even selfish. But I’ll explain my perspective soon so stay tuned!