Parenting through the fear

As a first-time parent, I've felt a lot of fear.  Kids enter the world fragile.

Will normally snores, like both of his parents.  One night, I woke up and didn't hear anything.  I sprang out of bed and over to his basinet, trying to balance the panic at not hearing him breathe with the desire to not wake him. A hand on his back - rise, fall - and I knew he was ok.

Every night, when I'm home, I walk into Will's room before I go to bed.  I keep the lights off and tiptoe so I don't wake him.  Standing by his bedside, I feel love ... and responsibility.

Even though parenting provokes fear, Will needs me.

Biologists tell us we have three options when faced with fear: fight or flight or freeze.  When faced with the fear of parenting my commitment to my marriage keeps me from taking the flight option.  If I walked out of the house, Amy would kill me.  But the freeze option ... that's harder to avoid.

Freeze and maybe the fear will go away.  Maybe someone else will pick up the crying baby, play with the baby when you're exhausted, change the baby.  And Amy often does.  She moves forward ("fight") when I freeze.  But Will needs a Dad.  And so I try to move forward too.

Parents, how do you parent through the fear? Sons and daughters, what difference would it make if we knew our parents were afraid, at times, when we were growing up?

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