Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On fear

Since watching a brilliant episode of Star Trek Voyager (yes, I'm that sort of dork) a couple of days ago, I've been thinking about fear.

I'm well acquainted with fear's lesser cousins - anxiety, nervousness, and worry - but I can recall very few instances when I have felt real fear. I know that it has more to do with the ordinariness of my life and my own lack of imagination than any real courage on my part.

The one time in my life when the worst did happen, it came without warning - a lightening bolt that turned my life upside down. I went straight from shock to grief. There was no time for fear.

But since the moment I found out I was pregnant, fear has taken up permanent residence in a corner of my brain.

Will I be able to deal with this enormous responsibility?
Will I be able to fulfill all her physical and emotional needs?
Will she be okay? How will I deal with it if she's not?
What if I die?
What if I'm just not enough?

As a parent, fear takes on a whole new dimension.

Violence, corruption, pollution, poverty, intolerance and everything that is wrong in the world frightens me more today because this is the world my child lives in.

Motherhood has changed me. Simple things mean more. I feel with a richness and intensity that I had not known I was capable of. Almost all of them are wonderful emotions - love, joy, pride, and awe.

But motherhood has also introduced me to real fear - and though its intensity and form changes everyday - I'm very afraid it is here to stay.

Star Trek gives me hope, however :-) The episode ends with this exchange:

The Clown (the embodiment of fear): "What will become of us — of me?"
Captain Janeway: "Like all fear, you eventually... vanish."
The Clown: "I'm afraid."
Captain Janeway (softly): "I know..."
The Clown(fading): "Drat."

Edited to add:
Came across this beautiful post by Her Bad Mother which talks about embracing the fear that comes with motherhood. Do check it out.

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