Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The only thing to fear is fear itself

"The only thing to fear is fear itself."
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

I've debated about sharing this on my blog because I never know how personal to get. Do people out there really care to hear about my oh so deep thoughts or do they really just want to see cute pictures of Grace? Well, if you only want to see the pics, skip this post. 

If you're still reading, I'll let you know that I don't really know where I'm going with this post. But I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I worry now that I have Grace. I was a worrier before I got pregnant, but now I find myself worrying constantly. "What if she chokes," "Does she have a cold or is it just a runny nose," "Is she getting enough to eat," and even things like "Is she going to have weight issues like me when she gets older." When I'm driving I am so worried that we will get in a car accident. I worry about her being around the pool at grandma and grandpa's house when she starts walking. I've heard too many horrific stories about kids drowning.

The drowning fear is made worse by the fact that up until about 2 months ago, I couldn't swim. It's weird to share that, I very rarely tell people! I was terrified of water. I didn't take a swimming lesson until the age of 24. I took a few classes at the YMCA before our honeymoon hoping I could learn, but I never got comfortable enough in the water to go without a life jacket in Hawaii. 

This was right before we went snorkeling. I was terrified!! A side note: I wish I was that skinny again!

I made it through snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins with a life jacket but I didn't enjoy the experiences as much as I should have because I was so scared! The same thing happened when we went to Cancun for our 2nd anniversary, I would relax in the shallow end of the pool, but I never got brave enough to swim in the ocean. I always wanted to enjoy the beach vacations as much as Mike did, but I was too frightened to really take full advantage of our time.

And then we had Grace...

As I've posted about before, Grace loves the water. She loved getting in the pool this summer and splashing around. And as I watched her splashing, I had visions of her swimming into the deep end a few summers from now and not being able to swim back. I wouldn't be able to save her. What kind of mother does that make me?

It's amazing how quickly that motivated me to make myself swim. With supervision of course, I began to swim back and forth in the shallow end. In my head, I knew how the motions were supposed to work, I just never had the nerve to actually do it. Previously, anytime I would try, I would get too scared and just tense up, which of course makes you to sink. But this time, I kept Grace in my mind and I just made myself do it. And to my surprise, when I focused on her and stopped being scared, I was suddenly able to do it. And after several weekends of swimming back and forth in the shallow end, I got brave enough to climb down the ladder in the deep end and swim to the stairs from there. After that I swam next to Mike all the way from the stairs to the very end of the deep end and back. And I didn't drown. Most of you probably think that is no big deal, but for someone with a huge fear of water, I felt like I had just climbed Mt. Everest. I will keep working on it next summer (the pool has closed for the season sadly enough) but I now know that I could save Grace and myself if I needed to. I hope that it never comes to that, but I always want to be prepared. 

I will do anything for that child. If overcoming my fears is what I have to do to keep her safe, then bring it on.


  1. Part of me knows that I will have to go through this too, although I don't have the fear of water. As long as I know I can touch, I am fine and enjoy being in the water. As soon as I realize that I can't touch, I start to panic.
    I'm glad you have overcome / are overcoming your fear!

  2. Good for you for putting your fears aside and doing something that can benefit your entire family. My friend and I were actually discussing just a couple of weeks ago how important it is to encourage your child to learn to swim.

    Don't feel bad about being scared to swim in the ocean. I grew up south of where you live now and have only been far enough into the ocean that the water came up to my knees and I'm a strong swimmer.



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