How My Son Is Making Me Fearless One Day At A Time

He’s reminding me how to be myself before people told me I wasn’t good enough.

I am changing. I can feel it.

I just left my 7-month-old’s second swimming lesson. I believe it is important for children to learn how to swim at a young age.

We blow bubbles, we work on going underwater, we work on kicking, and all of the basics, but I have a secret.

I’m actually terrified of the water. And I don’t know how to swim myself.

I’ve taken swimming lessons several times and each time I have allowed my fear to take over. But for some reason, this time is different.

Swimming lessons with my son challenge me. My focus has shifted to ensuring that I do whatever I can to make sure that my son is on the best path possible. He deserves all of the opportunities I can give him. Even if that means facing my fears in the process. I can’t allow my personal setbacks to prevent him from excelling.

So what am I doing? I’m evolving and returning to fearlessness.

I was fearless once. In my formative years I was adventurous. I played with insects, got dirty, and I was daring. And I didn’t let other’s expectations keep me from my own dreams.

Then I was institutionalized (school) and something changed. I was taught different is bad. I was an outcast, and they made an example out of me. That isolation broke me and I did whatever I could to “blend.” In the end, the compromise outweighed the reward and I lost myself.

I don’t want that for my son. I’m going to fight for my son’s right to be himself. And I’m going to fight for my son’s right to be free.

I practice with him. I’m going under the water, too. I’m blowing bubbles and I am working on getting comfortable in the water right alongside him.

It’s funny how having a child changes the way you look at your goals. From the moment you give birth, every step you take is being watched.

As a parent, you always want to teach your kids that the sky’s the limit and they can accomplish whatever they’d like. You don’t want to be an example of a quitter. You encourage them not to stop before reaching their desires.

I have changed many things since my son’s birth. Not only has being the mother of a son pushed me to be a more independent woman, it’s pushed me to actively resist fear.

I have suffered from anxiety since youth. My husband occasionally travels for work, and in his absence I have to be self-sufficient. Meaning I must also have control over my fears.

Despite my extreme fear of spiders, I challenge myself not to freeze and be paralyzed with fear now. I don’t want my son to be afraid of spiders. And I don’t want him to become familiar with fear.

I have grown so much since his birth.

Giving birth and being responsible for another person raises the stakes. Before, I would only ask what I thought someone was willing to tell me. Now, if I have a question the doctor hasn’t answered, I ask. If he responds in a condescending way, I persist. I stand firm and I don’t back down because now someone is depending on me.

It’s a symbiotic relationship. He motivates me, I grow, and then I become a better mother for him.

He’s reminding me how to be myself before people told me I wasn’t good enough.

The sense of adventure that I possessed in my youth is present in my son. And it’s beautiful. I love that he is not afraid of the dogs. I love that he’s not afraid to jump off the bed. I love that he smiles and welcome strangers.

And I don’t want that to change for him. I want him to continue to be fearless and I want him to continue to be free.

He has examples of this freedom. My brother is a swimmer and a good one. Some of my favorite memories involve cheering for him at swim meets. I want that for my son, that freedom and opportunity. So every Monday and Wednesday we are in the pool working toward that path.

And maybe along the way, there is a possibility that I will return to fearlessness.

Until then, I am in the pool with him and we will learn and grow together. There’s a possibility that I, too, will learn how to swim.

Impulsive yet shockingly well-prepared, Ambreia Meadows-Fernandez has a tendency to take leaps and land on her feet. She is passionate about breastfeeding, social justice, and her family. A military spouse to Rico and mom to Salem, Ambreia is waiting to see what is next in life. See more of Ambreia at her writer’s page and website.

Photo provided by the author.

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