“Mommy Visions” – this is not a funny post

Ugh. Just heard a report on the news that a 2 month old was found dead in Ft. Worth, stuck in a crack between the bed and the wall. WHY do I now, since having a baby, have the freakish, super human ability to vividly envision this and any other scenario that involves babies/children, death, blood, bodily harm? And I can’t stop it. I can’t. It’s like as soon as I hear about anything like this, it’s there, the vision. It’s there, it’s real, and all I can do is shudder and will it away.  But will it go away? No, it will be there all night. I will think about it all week. It will play itself out in my mind like a horror movie that I can’t stop.

I’ve struggled with what I’ve called “mommy visions” since Kendall was born. Perhaps the strongest, most frightening, most suffocating, most gut wrenching one I ever had to shake from the depths of my inner being was the vision of accidentally dropping Kendall over the top of the railing on the 4th floor of Embassy suites when he was nearly 5 months old. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was shaking in bed that night, wanting to puke, tossing and turning, the scene playing over and over in my head. It is probably the closest I’ve ever felt to a panic attack. I could not take Kendall beyond the threshold of the room door without securely strapping him into his lower than the railing stroller seat the entire time we were there.

I chalked it up to new mom nerves, a newborn that rarely slept and hormones, thinking for sure these visions would back off. While I can say that I haven’t had such a guttural reaction to one since, I tend to think it’s only because I’ve learned how to deal with them better and not because they’ve decreased in frequency and intensity.

I was incredibly relieved to talk to a friend today who happens to have a little girl around Kendall’s age and hear that she, too, suffers the same, vivid, horrible, disgusting visions.  So I guess this is all just part of motherhood? It doesn’t ever go away?  I would really like it if it did. I didn’t ask for this super power, and it didn’t come with a cool cape or anything. I don’t even get to be invisible.

Kendall is 17 months and three days old… and now I’m off to go check on him, watch him sleep and make sure he’s breathing

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  1. OMG, I totally have had those visions too…it’s just horrible! More so with my first though. I think I haven’t had time to think at all since the other two have been born, tee hee. But yeah, it’s weird how we have these visions as mothers…and why? Of course we don’t want to see our children in danger, ugh. Maybe it’s just another way for us to remember to hold them close forever 😉

    Jamie 🙂

  2. I’ve had them too. Most vividly when we took 8 week old Lucy to Florida and stayed in a rental home with tile floors. All I could see over and over again was someone dropping her on that floor. On her head. I could see it in my mind and it terrified me. It’s happened since then, but that is the most vivid. I wouldn’t let anyone else hold her in that house…

  3. It’s definitely part of being a mom. I still walk down the stairs extra slow and cautiously because I’m afraid that I’ll trip with him in my arms. I used to have visions of falling down the steps on top of him when he was an infant. It’s awful.

  4. I’ve had them too. It’s part of being a mom I guess. I’ve had all the same ones as previously mentioned, but the most disturbing was when my MIL was holding her as we were walking down the street. The whole time I kept thinking about her tripping and could physically see Eleanor’s head hit the cement. Ugh…makes me sick to my stomach right now as I write that. I think for me, it’s the loss of control. If I can’t control a situation I start thinking about all the horrible possibilities. Maybe it’s a weird way of preparing yourself for the worst? 🙂

  5. I used to have irrational fears that a complete stranger was going to come up to me & stab me in the abdomen while I was pregnant. I still have horrible visions (I call them daymares) like that now that the boys are here. It’s awful. While I’ve never had a full-blown panic attack, I can imagine how horrible that must feel. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this.

  6. I get those too. My first was when I was going to check the mail with my daughter in my arms and having a vivid waking dream of dropping her on her head on the concrete. Scared the crap out of me and I held on to her for dear life the whole way to the mailbox and back. And just reading the story about the hotel took me there and made me have another vision. God these suck.

  7. I do the same thing, and I always thought I was just being weird and morbid! It is strangely comforting to hear that others have the same scary thoughts.

    • thats exactly what i was going to say!!
      strangely comforting indeed. haha..
      -just started reading this blog tonight, and i LOVE it. 🙂

  8. I have the same exact thing! My new fear/vision is that he is going to fall over the second story railing. The whole time we are there it is all I can envision. I HATE it.

  9. I had a mommy vision that came true but miraculously had a happy ending…I had always had a scary vision that my big, wild weimaraner would pull me down while walking with Declan in the bjorn. When he was 3 weeks old, she did. By the grace of God (btw, I am not religious at all, but sometimes you just can’t deny a presence) I managed to fall/roll on my elbows, hands,knees, and shoulders and Declan didn’t have a scratch. I fell so so hard, on PAVEMENT (I am shuddering remembering the fall) and somehow I kept my baby from harm.(I was destroyed! Physically and emotionally). Moral of my comment being that scary visions or not, you’ll do whatever it takes to keep you child from harm. I still can’t believe it happened.

  10. These type of visions plagued me when we had our daughter, and one awful thing did happen – but didn’t end badly (except for me having panic attacks and sleeplessness for quite a while). We lived in a 1926 house with an iron railing on a landing at the second floor. We had it all secure with baby gates but one evening after our 2 yr. old was in her new big girl bed, we must have left the gate open at the top of the stairs (chalk it up to exhaustion I guess). We heard her calling for us, so went to check – she was hanging by her hips over a 20 foot drop onto mexican tile. She must have tried to get through the railing instead of going down the stairs. My husband stood underneath to catch while I ran up and got her out. Didn’t sleep well for months and had nightmares. Never, ever, left a baby gate undone no matter what. This is a kid who never wakes up in the night – but of course, the one night we don’t latch the gate. When we moved, I refused to ever buy another house with any sort of landing or railing again. What’s weird is that even though I always had the scary thoughts and visions, THAT ONE had never occurred to me!

  11. I have ’em too. when the bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, I spent 2 weeks imagining how I would get two kids out of carseats if my car fell into water. literally, I would ask my husband if he thought we’d make it. I felt like a wackadoo.

  12. I have four kids and still have these vivid visions. They are horrible and nothing makes them stop once they start. My worst one was when I asleep lying in the bed while nursing my son, who was only a few months old at that time. I jerked awake and spent the rest of the night replaying it over and over in my mind what could have happened if I had rolled over. It’s all part of being a mom. And I didn’t get a cool cape either!

  13. last week at the pedis office, nate (15m) and i were walking out of the parking deck and there was a railed off area w/ rocks below it/down in it. we were AT LEAST 100 yards from it but i could just see him climbing through the bars and falling in that pile of rocks. CLEAR AS DAY i could see it. my heart beat a little faster and i picked him up. (i also would like to say: totally get the mommy leashes now. still don’t want one personally BUT GGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZ they make much more sense now.)

  14. I am so glad to hear I’m not alone, but I hate that you all have to deal with these awful visions, too. Some of your stories are sending shivers down my spine. I am so glad that everyone has had a positive outcome. Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. I truly thought it was just me who had these kinds of visions. I am better about it now that my son is not a newborn, but these fears/visions are still really intense.

  16. Wow, I also thought this was just me. I was just telling my husband the other night that my fear with my son’s new babysitter is that she will have him out playing in the front yard, get distracted by her own son, and then he’ll run out into the road and get hit by a car before she can stop him. My husband could not believe that I would even come up with such a thing. I’m sorry that other people also have to deal with these terrible scenarios, but I’m glad that it’s not jsut me.

  17. I don’t have these visions- but I can’t watch or read ANYTHING where somthing bad is happening to a kid. Movies? Books? Newspapers? I get so ANGRY when I read about people harming their children. I do have have scenrios of the boys being taken when we are outside- simply because I can’t carry them both at the same time so getting them in and out of the house is a juggling act. I have this fear that someone is going walk by and just decide it’s time to grab a baby when I’ve got my hands full with the other one- then what would I do?

  18. I am so glad to see that this is not some freakish thing that only affects me! I have had strange visions of dropping her down the stairs, cars crashing into us (she is in the middle), random drunk drivers coming at us walking on the sidewalk, scary-scary shit! AND, if I don’t hear her stir or whimper-whine at least once at night, I start playing out in my head how I will find her not breathing in her crib. Why? This is creepy!

  19. michelle Nolan on

    I feel ya. I accidentally read an article on the new Biggest Loser contestants recently. One girl had a horrible story about losing her husband and 2 babies…it haunts me every day and I haven’t even watched the show. Sorry. Now I’ve given you something else to worry about. I had to get it off my chest, though. Haven’t shared that fear of mine out loud with anyone…

  20. I think it is mom paranoia. Everyone has it and if they say they don’t, then they’re not being honest with themselves. I hate hearing stories of babies dying b/c then it makes me super paranoid. Like today I talked to a nutritionist and she said you should never get food unless you know where it is coming from, like all the pumpkins come from Mexico, which is infested with E. Coli, which can kill a little boy in 12 days flat from liver failure – slow painful death. She said she only buys strawberries from Wal-mart and everything else she asks to make sure that it is grown in the US. Even farmer markets sometimes buy extra produce from Mexico. How scary! All this time I thought I was doing good by buying organic!! So now I am paranoid that my son will ingest something that is not cooked at 165 degrees, contaminated from Mexico, or saturated in Mercury. So now he is on multivitamins AND omega fatty acids because evidently getting fresh wild fish in NM is impossible!! Although you can buy fish that are farm raised in CHINA. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!
    Signing off,
    One paranoid Mom to the next

  21. I feel like I’ve told you this before, but it could be somebody else. I have these all the time, but it was especially bad after my 1st son was born. It was one of the ways I knew I was suffering from serious PTSD. I was convinced that my baby was going to drown in the bathtub. I was also convinced he was going to die every time I put him to sleep. And anytime I was making dinner, I kept seeing knives or pans flying out of my hand and impaling him. It was horrific. What made me realize I had a problem was the inability to calm myself from these visions. I was a freaking mess.

    But I think this is a VERY normal part of motherhood. I don’t think any of us internalizes the horror of a dead child until we become a mother. Then, it hits too close to home.

  22. Yes, I get them too. And the oddest part is that I had the exact same vision when Big Brother was an infant and we were staying in a hotel in Guatemala. There was a balcony – we were on the fourth floor – outside our room and I was deathly afraid that Hubby woudl take the baby out there and drop him. I would not allow anyone on our balcony – especially if they had the baby with them. And since then I get the “mommy visions” too. Sometimes they knock the wind out of me and sometimes I can handle them better.

  23. I explained them to my mom and she said “welcome to motherhood”. Now I understand why she would never sleep when I was running out late in highschool, or the shaking fear in her voice telling me to get down off whatever I was climbing onto as a kid.

    My worst was when Addy was a newborn and I kept imagining that I’d accidentally drop her on the ceramic tile or smother her at night while co-sleeping.

    I must admit that I’m kind of relieved to hear that there are so many who have these feelings as well.

  24. Oh good its not just me! I too almost cry now whenever I hear baby news stories and always freak about dropping Harper when walking down the stairs and her little head cracking, its the worst. I hold onto banisters with dear life. When I first had her I went to Costco with her in the baby bjorn and almost started crying b/c I kept thinking I was going to drop her on the cement floor there. So freaky!

  25. I was starting to think there was something wrong with me, because I have these all the time about my 10 month old son. They torture me! I have to try to find something that will distract me in order to get my mind off of whatever horror I have concocted in my head. It’s terrible. I’m hoping they will dissipate as he gets older, though it does make me feel better that I’m not the only one who deals with these awful ‘visions’.

  26. Gosh that is freaky. My youngest did fall off the bed and in between the wall. I am so grateful that I had realised and woke straight away.
    I still have these same feelings and vision with my boys, even with my oldest who is 15 1/2 years old. So glad to know I am not the only one with the same fears/feelings.

  27. Wow. I have had these visions ever since having my first almost 13 years ago and I still have them about all of my kids now. Very vivid and very scary. I always thought there was something seriously wrong with me but I see that I am not alone with these thoughts. Sometimes it gets so bad that I feel like I can’t breathe! And I want to keep my kids home, locked safely in my house, possibly wrapped in tons of bubble wrap so they don’t get hurt.

    I’m so glad you shared this. It’s nice to see others speak about this because now I know that I am not (totally) losing my mind and that others have these scary visions too. Thank you for sharing. A lot of people (like me) just keep quiet about these things. But this helped me and I’m sure it helped a lot of others too.

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  29. Thank you! It’s nice to know I’m not alone! I still remember the morning after my son was born, the doctor came to check on us and I proudly told him that my son slept right next to me in my hospital bed all night. Then my doctor told me “be careful I’ve had some baby’s die from suffocation because their mom rolls onto them while sleeping.” I still have that vivid, horrible, gut wrenching image in my mind, and my son is 15 months old. Then we were at a zoo and there was an alligator pit and I had a sick vision of either me or my husband accidentally dropping him in the pit. It was like I could see it happen, play by play . . . and I thought I was the only one . . . it’s nice to know I’m not crazy! I still feel the need to check and make sure my son is breathing every night. I can’t sleep if I don’t check on him. Sometimes I lay my hand on his chest to make sure he is okay. Again, I have to really thank you for posting this and then being able to read the comments to know that I am not alone. What a relief!!!!

  30. i think all you moms should be ashamed of yourself for claiming to have all these horrible ‘REAL’ visions. your own quote from your blog is “WHY do I now, since having a baby, have the freakish, super human ability to vividly envision this and any other scenario that involves babies/children, death, etc” the closest you’ve ever come to a panic attack, PLEASE!! you are putting yourself in the shoes of the small group of women (including myself) that are STILL living in a real panic attack. how dare you even talk about such things, its obviously not you that found your 3 month old little girl in her crib, purple, blue and lifeless! i lost my beautiful daughter Kylie Sue to SIDS and i have to come on here and see your post about the ‘awful feelings’ you have. you have NO RIGHT to talk about such things when your child is not buried in a tiny little plot, in a coffin that your sister had to pick out because you were LIVING a nightmare. you should check out thespohrsaremultiplying.com. heather and mike have a right to post about the death of their beautiful daughter maddie, and the way the fabric of their SOULS have ripped apart. i think you are pretty pathetic with your ‘MOMMY VISIONS’ and rather than acting like a FOOL talking about accidentally dropping your baby 4 stories to a horrible death. YOU SHOULD GET MENTAL HELP IF THAT IS HOW YOU FEEL, IT IS NOT NOT NOT NOT NORMAL!! i don’t care how many people say it is, IT IS NOT!! you should get help for yourself to make sure that the child you obviously love in not in danger. if you have visions of accidentally hurting your child, how could you possibly know that you WON’T someday hurt him. my goodness, i am so disgusted by this i DON NOT know what to say. you have no right to talk about such things, rest assured you have NO CLUE what it is like when your world shatters, you CANNOT imagine, your ‘visions’ are just that, visions, and NOT anything like the real deal. i had the song the heart will go on played at her funeral. here in my heart is the only place she is safe and that she will go on and on. you need to count your blessings and put your issues to rest, either internally or with the help of a dr. either way, your whole post, and responding comments are a knife to the heart of people (like me) who can only wish they had YOUR problems

  31. Nicole, I am so sorry for your loss and I’m terribly sorry that you find what I’ve written so hurtful. I truly didn’t intend to downplay the horror and pain of actually going through something so awful. I have spoken to my pediatrician and my personal doctor and they both said that visions of this sort are completely normal part of motherhood, and that if I ever begin to feel like acting out on them, then, yes, I should seek further help. I will say, though, that I’ve never had an urge to do anything more than shake them from my head. Again, I am really sorry for you loss.

  32. @Nicole: My heart goes out to you, but please understand that everyone is merely sharing how scary it is to be constantly worried about their precious baby. Once your baby is born and your heart seemingly lives outside your body, even a thought of something terrible happening to them is beyond frightening. I know that my mommy-visions cannot even begin to compare with what you have experienced and felt, but that does not minimize how they affect me. Should my devasting 6 months with untreated PPD not leave me heartbroken because it could have been worse, because my daughter is still alive?

    I definately think that if the mommy-vision feelings begin to interfere with someone’s daily functioning (as they did with mine), then medical intervention is necessary. But to a certain degree (different for everyone), these visions are just a demonstration of how much we love our children. Thankfully, I am now a PPD survivor and my visions are limited to what I feel is “normal” (whatever that means)… I think most of us are just finding that it is easier to put ourselves in your shoes now that we are mommies.

    Very sorry for your loss.

  33. I never saw this post the first time but when I saw you mention it in today’s post about Postpartum Anxiety, I had to click over. My daughter is almost 4 and since the day she’s been born I’ve been having these same visions. I thought I was some sort of freak or something. It happens with simple every day things, like she and my husband will drive to the store. And I can’t stop picturing them in a horrific wreck and imagining the horror of having to see my dead baby. These visions pop into my brain before I can stop them all the damn time. I had something so similar to the railing incident you describe above. It was also at a large hotel and all I could picture was her falling over the railing and landing on the marble floor below. Like you, I started shaking and I felt nauseous and ashamed. What kind of mother imagines that for no reason?

    I am so glad you included this link today. I can’t wait to read through all the other comments too. Thank you for making me realize I’m not alone!

  34. Wow, I’m so glad I found this post while looking at your latest one! I have these too and always thought something was “off” about me because I could picture these things! I wake up in cold sweat sometimes after a dream like this too. Thanks for sharing and helping us realize we’re not alone!

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  36. Tabetha Barden on

    You are the first person who I have read/heard of that has these too… thank you so much. I thought there was something wrong with me.

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