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All the Ways I Could Lose My Kid

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Before I was a mom, I was a crazy cat lady who often had nightmares about my three cats getting out of the house and going missing. I would spend the duration of my nightmares searching for them, getting more and more frantic as time went on so that, when I woke in the morning, my heart would be racing and I would feel a deep sense of loss.

Now that I have a 4-month-old daughter, I'm still a crazy cat lady. But there is an added layer of crazy to contend with — a whole new slew of neuroses to overcome as I learn what it is to be a mother.

I don't know. Maybe it's because I watch too many crime procedurals.

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Early into motherhood, I marveled at how my husband was able to sleep through Em's screams. (Or was that just his selective listening at work?) If I heard the slightest whimper, I stared at the baby monitor, wondering if I should retrieve her, check her diaper, and nurse her. If she was quiet, I stared at the baby monitor, squinting into its depths, worried that Em had stopped breathing. In fact, let's just be honest here: I worried 24/7. That she would stop breathing. That she would choke. That she would suffocate. That she would succumb to that boogeyman that is SIDS.

Things haven't gotten any better up in the mental asylum that is my head. I dread the day when I will no longer be able to protect her, when she will go out into the world and I won't be able to follow.

I can't even bring myself to hire a mother's helper, even though the task of caring for her while simultaneously working from home is at times impossible. I feel as if I can't trust her with anyone else. Hell, I barely trust my own husband!

In addition to spontaneous breath-stoppage at night, here are some of the other things I fear:

1. That she will get her cute little footsie stuck in the slat of her crib and, whilst flailing, somehow break her ankle.

2. That she will neglect to turn her head to the side at night and will choke on her own spit-up.

3. That she will overheat in her Sleep Sack.

4. That she will pee or poop in her diaper and end up lying in it all night and develop a rash that spreads to her internal organs and...

5. That a cat will jump into her crib and smack and/or suffocate her.

6. That she will roll off her changing pad, onto the hardwood floor.

7. That she will roll off the couch, onto the hardwood floor.

8. That she will roll off the bed, onto the carpeted floor, but hit her head on the wooden bed frame on her way down.

9. That she will roll off her nursing pillow onto the hardwood floor.

I want to protect her forever. But what I fear more than anything else is knowing I can't.

10. That she will, for some obscure reason, stop breathing while in her car seat and I won't know because I'll be driving and oh my god how long has she been back there fighting for air?!

11. That whilst in her stroller, something from nature will bite her and she'll experience a severe allergic reaction.

12. That she will inhale at the wrong moment while making out with her Chester Cheetah doll and suffocate.

13. That she will inhale at the wrong moment while sucking on her burp cloth and suffocate.

14. That she will slip in her tiny, whale-shaped tub during tubby time.

15. That she will get snatched from the car while I am stopped at a stop light or parked in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot.

16. That anything in any episode of "Criminal Minds or CSI" or "Castle" will happen. To her.

17. That she will grow up and get hurt, get her heart broken, get lost, get bullied, struggle with her goals, struggle with her emotions, struggle with her body image or her self-confidence.

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Imagining it all breaks my heart. I want to protect her forever.

But what I fear more than anything else on the list above is knowing I can't.

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