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Parental Insomnia | Overcoming the Fears That Keep Parents Awake at Night Part 1

Being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life, and at the same time, it is one of the greatest responsibilities.  I will never forget the day that we brought our first-born home from the hospital.  He was three days old.  We were so excited that God had blessed us with a son.  He was the answer to our prayers.

So, as a young couple, married just two short years, we brought a son into our little starter home in Cahaba Heights, Alabama.  This house had 1400 square feet, three bedrooms, one bath, and the single car garage had been converted into a room I was using for my home office.  We had read books on parenting, attended seven weeks of child birthing classes, and had decorated Joelan’s nursery with a Winnie The Pooh theme.  We had plenty of baby clothes, diapers, and the “latest and greatest” baby equipment, received from generous family and friends at various baby showers.

We had done all we could think of to prepare ourselves to parent this child.  When we arrived home from the hospital on day 3 of our son’s life, he was sound asleep in his car carrier.  I remember gently setting him down in his room and quietly closing the door.  Jennifer and I walked into the kitchen, looked at each other, and one of us said, “Now what are we supposed to do?”

All of a sudden, the joy of bringing home our first child turned into panic and fear.  The weight of taking care of this child and raising him overwhelmed us.  We were completely responsible for his wellbeing.  What if something happens to him?  What if he dies in his sleep?  Is he supposed to sleep on his stomach or his back?  Or is he supposed to sleep on his side?  How can he sleep on his side if we wrap him up in his baby blanket like a burrito?  Maybe we are wrapping the blanket too tight?  It was only his third day of life and the fears of parenting this child had already taken root in our hearts.  

It’s normal and natural for parents to worry about their kids.  This is how God created and made us.  All parents have a built-in instinct to love, care, and protect their kids.  Raising a child is a HUGE responsibility, and I would argue that it’s one of the highest callings in life.  All parents have fears that keep us awake at night. The biggest fear parents have is that something bad will happen to our children.  We fear they will die.  I cannot begin to comprehend how difficult it would be to lose a child.  I have walked through this dark valley with church members, and I know they are experiencing pain and suffering beyond measure.  Parents who have lost children have a very special place in my heart and think about and pray for them often.

But the fear something bad will happen to our child is not limited to the fear they will die. We fear they will get cancer.  We fear they will suffer a serious injury riding their bike or playing sports. We fear they will get in a car wreck.  We fear they will be kidnapped or taken.  We fear they will be abused.  We fear they will be bullied.  We fear they will go down the wrong path.   We fear they will get in the wrong crowd. We fear they will get pregnant out of wedlock.  We fear they will marry the wrong person.  We fear they will not be successful in life. We fear they will not be able to provide for themselves and will be living in our basement when then are 40 years old. 

The list of parental fears could go on and on. What gives you Parental Insomnia?  What keeps you awake at night?  What do you worry about the most when it comes to your kids?  What are your parental fears?

Over the next five spiritual columns, I am going to share with you five essentials to overcoming your parental fears.  They are five steps, or building blocks, to give you a “blueprint for parenting.”  I hope you are ready to face your fears and become the parent that God has called you to be.

Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road Loganville, GA 30052, the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655 and the Oconee Campus: 1275 Lenru Road Bogart, GA 30622.
Phone: (770) 466-3159
Twitter: @JohnnyHowes