I never knew how protective I was until I had children. Actually, I had a glimpse of it while pregnant with my first before I knew I was pregnant. I was watching a movie about a young child who had been separated from his birth parents and was living on the streets. There was a scene where his parents were being reunited with their long-lost boy and I felt something deep in my spirit. I had a clear thought: “I will do absolutely anything for the good of my children.” Hmm. Weird, I thought, since I don’t have kids. Fast forward a month and 5 positive pregnancy tests later. I remembered that scene and knew that being pregnant [even when I didn’t know it] had opened up a part of me previously undiscovered. And I’ve been fighting to control it ever since.
You know the feeling. It will ruin a perfectly good trip to the park, church or school. It starts small and quickly escalates to an almost uncontrollable urge to attack. You get a whiff of danger and you’re on alert. Slowly, as you monitor your surroundings and those of your bear cubs, you paint a picture. And plan your assault on the nearby predator. If you’re like me (and let’s hope you’re not) a dangerous bear cub situation can take days DAYS to recover from. And I am talking about me, not my children.
Things that awaken my fight – attack – protect instinct:
1) Seeing my child’s feelings hurt. At church a while back a kid six months older than mine walks up to her and pushes her down. My angel’s smile turns to a cry of confusion (she thought they would play). I looked around for the bully’s mother and when I didn’t see her (oh yeah, baby) I told that girl such a fierce “no” that I hope she is scared of me enough to leave my daughter alone. Forever.
2) Watching them get bullied. When another child bullies mine, whether because they’re a toddler bully or in a passing phase, a fire ignites inside of me. I’ve seen kids come up and steal toys, watch my girl walk away, they run to her steal another toy, she goes to another part of the room, they come to her and steal her toys, etc. Most of the time the other parent has been around so my reaction has had to be controlled and even, totally different emotions than the ones going on inside of me. I usually just go over to the bully [who is lucky her mother is around to protect her] and say “no” or “let’s share” and take back the toy. Then I walk my daughter away to play alone. My daughter doesn’t follow jerk kids around, so they usually gravitate back to her and I repeat the process. By the time the bully leaves I am so angry I can hardly sleep. I know…..I have major problems.
3) Dangerous situations. When my child has run into the road (even with me right behind) when I could hear a car coming. When I saw my daughter carrying around my razor trying to shave her face (the protective lid was on, but that was still totally my fault). When I saw her try to eat a cockroach trap…dismal parental failure. Each of these times I felt a similar sensation that I can only compare to a rapid blood pressure drop coupled with an internal organ somersault. This feeling, much stronger than any I have had in regards to my own self, is probably the most altruistic feeling I’ve yet to experience. In those moments I feel that I would risk life and limb to make sure that nothing.ever.at all. will hurt my babies.
4) Sickness or injury. My baby girl was in the hospital for 3 days immediately after the birth of my son and she had to be hooked to an IV. She wouldn’t eat and barely slept. Her eyes were puffy and she was so lethargic that it actually broke a piece of my heart. It wasn’t a life threatening sickness but for those entire three days I was a wreck. I felt so grateful that it was something as simple as it was and cried tears for parents whose children might not make it out. I would have traded places and done absolutely anything in the world to take her pain. I’ve always considered myself a deep person. That dug a trench twice as deep in my insides.
It’s nothing against anyone else, but Mama Bear Instinct says to run over anyone or anything in the path to the cub’s safety. Mean stray dog? Send it to the pound. Unfenced pool nearby? Put them on a life jacket 24/7. Mean neighbour? Kick her. Okay, I’m kidding… send her to the pound with the dog.
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