Facing Fear

On Monday, I had a radio interview on LA Radio’s Answers For The Family withAllen Cardoza (click this link to listen – www.answers4thefamilyblog.com).  It was the longest interview I’ve had so far, and I was nervous about an hour-long, live interview.  But it turns out there was no need to worry.  Allen’s insightful questions led to a lively conversation and it felt like we could have talked for a second hour!  (Plus, with commercial breaks on either end, the interview ended up closer to 45 minutes!)

We were about half way through the show when Allen read an instant message sent in by a preemie mom.  Her son had been 3 pounds at birth and spent 3 months in the NICU.  At 12 years old he continued to have respiratory issues, and Mom spoke of her ever-present fear; her fear of losing him.

Did I have any advice?

At first, my mind went to the practical.  I spoke about our visit to the pulminologist’s office that I’d written about in the book.

“I listened to the petite doctor with tight curls tell me that because of her birth history, Andie would never be cured of asthma. I declined her offer to prescribe a variety of daily preventative drugs. Instead, I tried to strengthen Andie’s lungs my own way.  At a physical therapy supply store, I bought a bunch of “lung development games” and brought home straws, feathers, and cotton balls, cheering the kids on as they blew the “bunny tails” across the kitchen table. The kids and I blew up balloons and played kazoos, harmonicas, and whistles.”  (From Preemie Chapter 28)

I spoke about how I refused to let others limit my child’s potential, and I encouraged that mom to search for a similar store in her area and create her own at-home, lung-improvement routine.

And then I remembered something else.  It was a really powerful moment I’d had withKaren McCarthy, the energy healer with whom we’d worked.

“I can’t keep living like this,” I’d said to her.  “I can’t keep living in this constant state of fear.”

I’d explained to Karen how I’d tried pushing my fear way down deep into the recesses of my belly, how I’d tried running from my fear, how I’d tried to pretend that it didn’t exist, but no matter what, my fear was still there.

“What if you just looked your fear right in the eye and said, ‘Yup, I see you. I know you’re there.  I’m afraid.’”

I had nothing to lose.  So I did.

I acknowledged my fear.

“I’m afraid,” I said out loud.  Many times a day.

And everything changed.

I’d brought my fear to light.  I taken away fear’s ability to breed and grow in the dark.

My fear was still there, but it no longer had the same control over me.

I shared that story and once the interview was over, I hung up the phone with a big smile on my face.

I hadn’t been off the phone for more than a few minutes when I remembered my upcoming trip to Chicago for the Preemie Parent Alliance.  Instantly, I felt a familiar dull ache in my belly.

“I’m not even going to talk about the trip,” I’d said to Lee a few nights prior.  “I’m just going to pretend it’s no big deal and just get on the plane and go.”  My stomach had burned as I said it.  It’s burning now.

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of leaving my children.  I’m afraid of the plane falling out of the sky and my children growing up without their mommy.   I’m afraid the kids won’t get their school lunches on Friday or make it to their soccer games on time or remember to feed the dog and the cat.  I’m afraid I’ll get on the wrong plane, or miss my plane or take the wrong shuttle to the hotel (prior experience proved that’s a legitimate one!)

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid.

Ah…I can breathe.

Thank you to the woman who wrote in asking for the advice.  It was just what I needed.

Now I can start packing for my trip.

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What about you?  What are you afraid of? Are you willing to bring your fear to the light? 

(Hey Massachusetts friends, I’ll be signing books at the Fiske’s booth at Celebrate Holliston on Saturday, September 22nd! Would love to see you there!)

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