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I’m Scared to Fly since Becoming a Mom

November 4, 2018
I’m Scared to Fly since Becoming a Mom

I’m a Mom and I’m scared to fly.

Actually, I’m scared to fly since becoming a Mom.

I know what you might be thinking. Who wouldn’t be scared to fly with little kids? But that’s not it at all.

I’m not scared to fly with my kids, I’m scared to fly without them.

I know, I know. In what world does that make sense?

Answer: Mine. In my world.

I’ve traveled all over the place. I count my opportunities to see this world as some of my luckiest moments. Being exposed to new people, new places, new languages, new culture, new food…it’s incredible.

C'mon mama scared to fly but traveling in sicily and seville, dorne from game of thrones

On top of the highest active volcano in Europe, fanning out in Seville at Dorne from GoT, Temple of Concordia in Sicily

I love traveling.

What I don’t love is flying.

I’ve never loved it. It’s always been a means to an end for me. With my travel destination being the end. But since becoming a Mother, I’ve developed an almost crippling fear of flying. I’m scared it’s going to be the means to a different type of end.

C'Mon mama scared to fly facetiming her kids on a trip

FaceTime FTW

I’ll just come right out with it. I’m scared of my plane crashing. Truthfully, I’m not just scared to fly, I’m scared to die.

Because I love my children. Because I love being a Mother. And because I have SO much to live for since having them.

People usually think my hesitancy to travel since becoming a Mom is about my children. But it’s mostly about me.

I’m not worried about my kids being okay while I am away on a trip. I know they’ll be in the best hands ever. Capable, loving, family hands. Family members who are so in tune with them and their safety & well-being that I don’t think twice about leaving them. I know they’ll be okay.

I just don’t know if I’ll be okay.

And I don’t mean in terms of missing them. Cue all the “Oh you’ll miss them but it will feel good to get away” comments. I know how good it will feel to get away. To have a break. And of course I will miss them—they’re my babies! All hail FaceTime for making it possible to see their precious faces from halfway across the world. And I’m sorry if seeing Mama & Daddy makes it harder on whoever is taking care of them (shout out to my Mom & Sis!), but this Mama’s gotta see her babies.

As much as I adore my children and just Motherhood in general (I think it’s what I was born to do), every time I travel it is so refreshing. It feels good to play hookie. I love connecting with my husband, whether it be for a night out or a week away. It’s nice to have regular conversations instead of the fractured sentences we try to finish every few minutes but never quite do. Also, morning sex.

It’s nice to have a breather but, inevitably, by the end of every trip I am absolutely dying to see them. So yes, I’ll miss them.

But my anxiety is not about missing my children. It’s about missing out on them.Click To Tweet

I’m the Mom who doesn’t want to miss a single moment of my kids’ lives. I want to soak up every hug, every snuggle, every handprint. So the thought of missing all the moments unravels me to my core. It utterly destroys me.

I don’t want my children to grow up without a Mother.


Actually, let me say that differently—I don’t want them to grow up without ME.
Click To Tweet

Because that’s what I really mean.

Believe it or not, I’m not an anxious person. I’m actually a pretty practical person.

But mostly, I am a feeling person. I have a lot of feelings. About a lot of things. And they aren’t easily ignored.

My fear of flying is one of these feelings.

And that feeling is strong. Crippling even. The “cars are so much more dangerous” argument doesn’t help me at all. The statistics that are completely in my favor don’t make an iota of difference to me. The pilot neighbor who has piloted planes his entire life coming over to sit on my porch at my husband’s request and explain how safe flying is doesn’t work for me. (Okay, that one worked a little because I was able to grill him on things like drunk pilots that you read about in the news, etc…but not enough to alleviate my fear). And God Forbid don’t you dare tell me “everything happens for a reason.” Because I’m a firm non-believer in that and I honestly think it is a terrible thing to say to people (more on that in another post).

If a plane crash is in the news, I can’t stop reading about it. I’m almost obsessive, trying to figure out what went wrong, was it human or mechanical error, what could have been done to save the plane and thus everyone in it, etc. My husband says I torture myself by doing that. I clap back that I just want to be knowledgeable about it. He’s not wrong. But neither am I.

When I’m in the airport calmly (on the outside—inside I’m a wad of nerves) waiting to board and I hear the dreaded “Flight XXXX has been delayed,” my entire body tenses. And if it’s for a technical issue—my inner shit just hit the fan. I have conflicting feelings because on the one hand, thank you Jesus that they caught it. But on the other hand, I worry they’ll do a quick bandaid type fix. I get suspicious my HVAC guy might not fix my air unit right. You don’t think I worry about this supposedly expert aviation tech team that knows how to fix all the problems on all the planes all the time?

I DO.

My husband is a physician. Since I’ve become scared to fly he always suggests that I take Xanax or something to ease my anxiety. My response is always the same: “I want to be alert.”

I know that sounds crazy. But hear me out.

IF something were to happen with our flight, I want to be 100000% on my A game. In the event of an emergency landing, I want to be able to spring into action. If someone has evil intentions, I want to be prepared. I want to know where the exit rows are. And I want to be ready. I don’t want to be hazy. <Insert my husband’s exasperated sigh as I explain this to him—yet again—here.>

C'mon mama scared to fly wearing life jacket for a cruise

Safety First, Cruise Style.

I listened to & watched the Flight Attendant Safety Demo intently on my first flight as a junior in college. And I’ve half-heartedly listened since then, but never at full attention (except when Delta had that cheeky video one).

But you know who tunes into the Flight Safety Talk like their life depends on it (because it could)?

Moms who are scared to fly since having kids.

You better believe I want to know if the bottom of my seat is the flotation device, where my closest exit is, and not to worry if my oxygen mask doesn’t inflate because oxygen is still flowing. Tell me more, Plane Safety Gods. I want to know it all.

I assess the people around me. Gauge how they might hold up in a crisis situation. She looks strong. He looks able-bodied. Ooh, he looks weak. She looks too relaxed.

When the “Seat belts fastened” light unexpectedly dings, my mind goes into overdrive. “Does the pilot know something we don’t?” OF COURSE THE PILOT KNOWS SOMETHING I DON’T. The pilot knows a million things I don’t. The physics of flying. Aerodynamics. The weather at the current altitude. Air pockets. The route. To name a few.

And no, I don’t want to fly separately from my husband, though I absolutely understand why many couples do that. I get it and it’s honestly probably the smart thing to do. But selfishly, it doesn’t really make me feel any better. In fact that would just layer on the worry because then I’d have to worry about his plane, too. And God I love that man.

But, here’s the clincher. This is where it gets (or I get?) even crazier.

I would be more okay if I had my kids with me on the plane.

I KNOW IT.  <face palm>

How can I be so scared to fly when my kids aren’t with me but magically unafraid when they are?

It makes no sense. But it’s the truth.

I’d feel so much more okay if I was sandwiched between my children on every flight, holding their little bodies close and feeling all that love. That seems unusual coming from someone who is so scared to fly. Morbid even. Like “I’m terrified to fly unless my kids are with me.” Wait, what?

I never let myself go this far into it because even grazing past these thoughts crumples me, but for the sake of this post I will delve into it one time and one time only.

If I really break it down I think it’s because it’s a Mother’s instinct to protect her young. And holding my kids close to me & then springing into the Supermom action hero makes me feel safer.

And to go even deeper, I also think it’s because I want to hold them until the very end. My end. And if I’m alone on a flight and something happens, they’re so far away. I can’t hold them and tell them how much Mama loves them until my very last breath.

I’m scared to fly because I don’t want to die.

pregnant c'mon mama scared to fly traveling in prague

5.5 Months Pregnant in Prague

That’s what it all boils down to. And I know there are a million ways to die, but planes really scare me. Though anything that could take me away from my children, or vice versa, scares me to death.

If you could guarantee me that I’d get to my destination and back home safely, I’d never bat an eye about hopping on a plane and flying across the world. I really do love traveling.

My husband is scared to fly since becoming a parent, too. But he says he doesn’t want to be paralyzed by fear or let it stop us from living our lives.

I remind him he wouldn’t feel that way if we didn’t make it back.

He agrees.

We traveled a bunch before having children. I traveled 5 months pregnant with my first. We traveled after having our son. I traveled 5 months pregnant with my second. And I’ve traveled since having her. Each time it’s harder and harder. At this point it’s edging near impossible for me.

So much more is at stake now that I am a Mother. There's too much to live for. And too much to lose.Click To Tweet
C'mon mama scared to fly would rather be snuggling her children

This is where I belong.

No trip is worth the risk of not being here for and with my kids. And yet here I am thinking about taking that risk. Sure, I have a wonderful trip to gain. But I have everything to lose. Everything. Putting it like that makes me wonder how I could even consider it. And yet here I am. Considering it.

Year after year, trip after trip. Considering it. Risking it. Everything.

So what do we do? Those of us scared to fly since having children? Do we stay put and never travel again? Or do we take that risk and get on the plane?

I’m supposed to fly soon. Very soon.

And far. Very far.

I bought “Gold Package” travel insurance just in case my babies get sick. Or we get sick. Or in case I just can’t step foot on the plane. (ding ding ding)

Where do we stand on teleporting these days? Sheldon? Elon Musk? Anybody?


Are you scared to fly since becoming a Mom, too? Tell me about it below. And if you have any tips, please oh please help a scared Mama out & give me those, too!

 

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I'm not scared to fly WITH my kids, I'm scared to fly WITHOUT them. It's not them I'm worried about, it's me. I'm not just scared of flying, I'm scared of dying. Because I have so much to live for since having children and becoming a Mom.
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6 comments

Chloe November 8, 2018 - 9:02 pm

Oh this brings tears to my eyes, because yes, I feel this exact same way. Sadly, ever since becoming a mom to my wonderful Olive 💗 I cant imagine her being in this world without me, I don’t want to miss a moment of her life. When she was 1.5 and we were visiting family in Hawaii, my husbands aunt bought us tickets to do a helicopter ride over the waterfalls and volcano. I was the most anxious ball of nerves the entire flight that I didn’t really enjoy it. I just kept thinking about what would happen if we crashed. It didn’t help that she had a “will” conversation with us a few hours before. Ugh!!! Love you lady!!

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C'MON MAMA November 12, 2018 - 10:41 am

I totally hear you on not being able to enjoy that helicopter ride. I don’t think I would’ve been able to enjoy it a bit either. I would’ve been a wreck even thought I’m sure it was gorgeous. The ‘will’ conversation before = EEEK! Way to put a Mama’s heart & worry into overdrive! Poor Mama! We do have wills done & though I’m so glad we do, it was so terrible & odd to answer all the questions and put it all down on paper. I’m right there with you, Mama. I don’t want to miss even a second of my kids’ lives either.

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SH November 6, 2018 - 6:23 pm

How interesting that you wrote this post the very week I have to leave my daughter, via plane. (You wrote this post ON my birthday nonetheless! So bizarre). However I agree with you 1,000,000%. It’s as if I could have written this myself. I am riddled with anxiety this week. I am going away with some girlfriends (which I have never done since I had my daughter – she is 12) and I feel guilty about doing something so selfish and reckless, I’m terrified. I also agree that I feel better when she’s flying with me, as awful as that sounds, because it means that if the 1 in a million chance the plane does go down she won’t be left without me. Yes, I realize how that sounds. My fear is not that I will die but that I will die and leave her on this earth without me. I also do the same thing as you, with the pouring over the facts of flying and crashing. If one more person tells me how flying is the safest mode of transportation, I may strangle them. At this point I’m trying to convince myself that I am not going to NOT go on this trip and it is what it is (although I did try to get my friends to agree to drive the 10 hours opposed to flying – that was a no go. Lol). I wish I had some comforting words for you, for myself, I’m sorry. Thanks for putting this out there and letting everyone know we aren’t alone I have seriously though about not flying again for the next couple of years until she’s older. Good Luck!

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C'MON MAMA November 7, 2018 - 8:00 am

Oh, Mama, I feel your pain! Sounds like we are in the exact same boat. My heart is with you because I KNOW how intense the anxiety about this can be. I’m living it right now, too. You deserve an amazing trip away with your girlfriends! But I know you already know that, and that’s not what it is about. I get it. I hope you go on your trip, I hope you have an amazing time, and I hope that when you are back safely and loving on your little girl you will feel like a million bucks. Sending love & prayers, Mama!

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Christi November 5, 2018 - 12:10 pm

Yes yes yes!! I have traveled by plane twice this year: with my mom to NYC the first time, and by myself to meet friends in Maine the second. I literally was having a nervous breakdown before leaving and told my husband in a little spat, “you won’t think that if my plane falls out of the sky!” I don’t have very comforting stories about either of those flights, but let’s just say, I can’t sit at the back of a plane, nor do I plan to fly anytime in the near future. I, also, was never afraid to fly before. But, the first time I flew after having children was with my second at 3 months old. That was when I realized my fear the most. I get through each experience with a LOT of prayer, closing my eyes and saying, “God, I know you have us in the palm of your hand,” because I truly believe that and try not to fear. God says, “I am with you.”
I also imagine God playing with airplanes like toys. 😜 it helps. Praying for you in your future travel. I completely understand!

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C'MON MAMA November 5, 2018 - 4:03 pm

I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one! I only developed a fear of flying after having children, but man oh man, it gets stronger every day! I am right there with you and have said something similar to my husband. 😛 I do pray a lot & also basically beg for safe travels. It is just so hard to feel at ease with. And when I really think about everything at risk then I wonder why on earth I even consider it!?! But I do, time and time again. I love the thought about the toy airplanes 🙂

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