Staying Calm in a Scary World

I have a confession to make, something I need to get off my chest. I’m scared.

That’s the confession. My confession is that as an adult, and especially as a mother in today’s society, I am truly, utterly, uncomfortably scared all the time. It’s not surprising, and surely I can’t be the only one. Just turn on the news, or go on the internet, and you’ll know what I mean.

Sandy Hook, Orlando, the Paris attacks, war, childhood cancer, adult cancer, car accidents, the Disney crocodile attack, the Stanford rape case, and the list goes on, and on, and on. It’s terrifying. It’s especially unsettling having children who you are responsible for living in this world. All these terrible, terrible things are happening around us, and we’re just supposed to be living our lives, raising our children, staying calm, and moving on after each unthinkable, senseless tragedy.

Staying Calm in a Scary World

When I was in high school I lost one of my best friends in a car accident after our senior prom. I lost another classmate that year to cancer. I thought my parents, who gave strict (and early) curfews and worried all the time about what I was doing, were overprotective and overly nervous. I had no idea back then how worried they really were. As a parent, I understand now, and I’m the nervous wreck. The anxiety I feel when I am away from my child can be a lot to bear.

I often think about how I don’t know how I am going to talk to my children about these tragedies when they’re old enough to understand. I don’t know how I’ll teach them right from wrong, how to avoid bad situations, or dangerous places. And even worse, truly the most frightening of all, is I don’t know how to keep them safe from circumstances I can’t control. I cannot keep every drunk driver off the road, or make sure terrorists don’t attack where we are, or even keep my children from getting sick. And what am I supposed to do about that?

Now, in talking about this with a close friend the other weekend, she reminded me that emotions and overall paranoia are heightened during pregnancy. Not that she, too, doesn’t worry about all these “things”, but everything seems scarier when you’re about to bring a child into the world. So I realize and fully admit I may be a little on the extreme side. But regardless, I know many of my fellow moms spend hours on hours worrying about what has happened in the world, or what might happen in the world. Again I ask, what are we supposed to do?

World Needs Love

Today, I’m here to remind you (and myself), that we can’t control everything. We can be careful, avoiding danger as much as possible, but terrible things are still going to happen. We have to pray. We can’t live our lives in fear, but instead have to live our lives joyfully and purposefully, like they were meant to be lived. We’ll miss out on far too many wonderful, beautiful things if we aren’t able to get a grip, pull ourselves together, and just keep on keeping on.

And above all, we have to love each other. We need to encourage and support each other, and we can teach our children about love and compassion and friendship. We need to give them lots of hugs and tell them every single day that we love them. It’s true that we are not promised tomorrow. I’m so thankful for my support system who picks me up and reminds me to stay positive and live my life when I’m freaking out. Right after the mass shooting at the Orlando nightclub, the song, “What the World Needs Now is Love” was heard around the country and around the world. I found it peaceful then, and for me it still rings true. Are there any truer words?

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

It’s the only thing that there’s just, too little of

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

No not just for some, but for everyone


What frightens you the most about being a parent in today’s society, and how do you calm yourself down when the worry seems to get overwhelming?

 

Natalie Ivory is a University of Iowa grad who grew in Traer, a small Iowa town. She spent time living in Des Moines and Dayton, OH before relocating back to Cedar Rapids where she’s lived for 6 years. She loves her job in marketing/communications at ACT, Inc and is pursuing her MBA. Natalie has been married to Greg since 2011, and their first son, Leo, was born in the summer of 2014, 7 years to the day after they first met. Baby #2, George, was born in October 2016 making them a happy little family of 4.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I feel the same way! This isn’t the world I want for my children. I pray we are raising the greatest generation yet to come.

  2. Once again. Exactly how I feel. I won’t not have kids just because of the bad stuff going on in the world. I can’t worry about the things that I can’t control, only the things I can.

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