10 Habits of Happy Mothers -- #9

Here is the second to the last habit (#9)  listed in Dr. Meg Meeker's Book, 10 Habits of Happy Mothers:

Let Go of Fear 

(cue the dramatic-effect music...dah dah dah DAHHH)

Dr. Meeker, a pediatrician, starts off this chapter commiserating with the fear that mothers have about the safety and well-being of their children. She admits to ordering thousands of dollars worth of tests because (being a pediatrician) she was convinced that her children had this or that problem. But they didn't.

I remember a Bible study where fear was presented as an acronym:


This is the basis of Dr. Meeker's chapter on fear--most fear is either unfounded, or it has too much power because we try to suppress or control it, instead of facing it. She says, "...when we worry, we get stuck in our own dark cage and life becomes miserable" (177).  How true this is.

When I had my first child, Kyla, I ended up with an amazing case of postpartum depression. (Part of the amazement is that I didn't know that was what I had, and no one at my ob-gyn office quizzed me to see if I was struggling in any way.)

It started in my room at the hospital. A nurse told me I couldn't sleep with Kyla in my bed because I might toss her on the floor (actual words, believe it or not). I was horrified. Several other lovely experiences followed, most by the same, kind nurse (tongue is in cheek, here). All this after a 36-hour labor that ended in an emergency c-section. I felt like I'd been run over by a truck, to say the least.

Soon after I got home, I became obsessed with the possibility of Kyla getting fatally hurt. I didn't want anyone to hold her because they might drop her; I didn't want anyone to babysit, because only God knew what they might (or might not) do. I was paralyzed with fear.

One night, after I'd put Kyla to bed (Glen was at work), I was taking a shower upstairs. After I turned the water on and lathered my hair, I was sure she was screaming hysterically. I turned off the water and stuck my head out--I could hear nothing. I turned the water back on and when my head was under the spray, once again I was sure she was wailing.

Back and forth this went a few times until I finally heard in my head, "Kyla will live out all the days that I have ordained for her to live." The comfort that poured over me is indescribable.I knew that God had heard me, in the midst of my craziness, and He had provided a peace that passes all understanding.

Dr. Meeker's three ways to make this habit stick are:

1. Clarify the fear--ask yourself a series of "why?" questions whenever you are facing fear, so you can figure out what is going on.
2. Employ brutal honesty--do not run from your fear, face it. Get help, through a friend or counseling.
3. Desensitize, step-by-step--create situations that require you to literally face your fear, so you can learn that the outcome is not as terrifying as you imagined.

Once again, I think my biggest beef is that Dr. Meeker doesn't bring Jesus into the equation here. The Bible is clear that we are not given a fearful spirit, but one that is bold (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear has to do with not trusting God. When we fear, it is because we cannot control something; but when we realize we actually control nothing except our own thoughts and actions, fear loses its power over us. I believe getting to that point requires the power of God.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10 NASB).