Some time ago, but after my daughter's birth, my mother related to me a tale of a neighbor who, one day, ran out into the street crying and screaming. She banged on the hoods of nearby cars, and continued to scream, and people ran out to see what was going on.
The story terrified me. I honestly had a three day anxiety attack. I read up on SIDS, and read everything I could possibly find on the subject. I finally, after a few days, started to calm down and was able to be rational, but the story...
And the anxiety never completely stopped of course, but then yesterday I read another story via CNN, this time of a case of child abuse [lest anyone is in the same situation as I am, I shall not relate the story itself, but it involves a two year old physically abused to the point of brain damage and a coma by a - frustrated? - mother.] which caused a similar anxiety attack, with me finding it impossible to concentrate for the rest of the day. And just to make matters worse, I visited my mother today, who knew I was having issues with said story, who proceeded to relate stories of her sister, and how when her sister was three she repeatedly hit a baby over the head with a brick (drawing blood and probably more serious damage) wanting to know "what was under the skin", and who grew up to at least mentally abuse her children.
I'm having a freak out over all of this.
I'm hoping that I'll be able to calm down in time, mostly by applying a filter to what I read and listen to. I know much of this has to do with B's vulnerability.
B cries a lot. Well, she's a baby. I'll pick her up when she's crying and try to calm her down. She'll look at me, and she'll usually try to stop for a moment, but her face will still be all upset, and she'll have an unmistakable expression on her face as she looks at me: "Please, make it stop."
Sometimes it's easy to "make it stop". She's hungry. She just needs to be fed.
Sometimes though... well, we'll burp her if we can, or give her gas drops if the her tummy's gas is too far along. Worse still, she might just be tired, and she's too young to know that sleep will solve that particular problem.
But that expression is the killer, because it's right at the heart of why these stories affect me - actually, I'm guessing 99% of parents - so much. "Please make it stop" is the cry of a baby who has no control over her life, who cannot make her own choices, who is desperate for support from the adults she's learning to trust.
And the idea of someone in the same position as B in the hands of someone who wouldn't make it stop, or worse, is a terrifying idea.