A Pregnancy Fear I Never Expected

By Veronica

I am the over-reacting type. I know it, and through sheer force of effort I avoid hysteria, but by nature I am a worrier. My sister calls me “functionally paranoid.” My natural parenting style is one I privately call Fearful and Clutching, and it is only the exercise of my reason and the excellent example of my own fearless mother that keeps me from forcing my children to wear helmets when they walk down the stairs. Or wearing heart monitors when they sleep.

Does anyone make those? No, don’t tell me.

Having learned to pry my fingers off my children and allow them to live life, I keep my crazy thoughts to myself. When my girls fall without visible harm, I may think, “That just caused the aneurism that will rupture when she’s sixty,” but I keep it a silent thought. When we play outside, I use insect repellent on them when practical, and if a hovering mosquito makes my internal voice shriek “West Nile virus!” I give no sign of it.

My crazy fears are usually not focused on me. Sure, I have the occasional phobia – heights, spiders, skunks – but I try not to make them obvious in front of the kids. I teach them reasonable caution about reasonable things, but I don’t want them to be the sort who scream when they see a harmless bug. I try to set a good example. I try to keep my crazy from spreading to the next generation.

I am currently in my final trimester of pregnancy, large and round and always hot. My three girls are also hot and cranky in these heavy summer days. They long to get out and play, while I want to stay in and be cool. In compromise, last week I sat on the shady porch with the youngest, while my four-year-old and my three-year-old ran around gleefully in their swimsuits, leaping and screaming in the spray of the caterpillar sprinkler toy that I hooked up to the hose.

My oldest, affectionately known on my blog as Jellybean, got thoroughly soaked, then moved on to other games. She found a stick and a large piece of bark in the woodpile, and pretended they were a sword and shield. She ran around for awhile, slaying fearsome snakes and pirates, then tired of that game. She entrusted her sword and shield to me, thrusting them at my belly and saying, “Hold these!” I lay them on the porch, she ran back to the sprinkler, and I continued to push the baby in the swing next to me.

A few mosquitos buzzed over the baby’s head. I clapped my hands to squish them. I leaned back in my chair, stretching a bit so my belly wasn’t resting on my thighs, and picked up my book to continue reading. After I had read for ten minutes or so, I felt the tickle that says a fly is crawling on me. I held the book up and away and looked down.

I think it was the knees I saw first. Hairy knees. Then the eyes. Moving up and around my enormous pregnant belly, a wolf spider – about 1 1/4 inches across – was crawling out from the underside of my tummy and scaling the gestational Mount Olympus. His (her?) dark, furry body with yellow stripes scuttled brazenly across me as though it had a perfect right to be there.

I shrieked and stood and scraped my book three times against my belly to get the spider off. It finally dropped and crawled off the porch.

Three times. It took three times to get the spider off me.

I’m pretty sure my cover as a calm and rational mother is blown. The girls were busy playing, but a large pregnant woman hopping and shrieking and scraping books against herself is hard to ignore. I may have some uncomfortable questions to answer the next time they see a spider. Or maybe they will just imitate me and scream.

And as if the usual pregnancy concerns were not enough, I now have one to add: when your belly gets so big that you can’t see your shoes anymore, it also means you can’t see the spiders that might be happily nestled below your navel.

Pregnancy just got a little scarier.

You can usually find Veronica blogging at Toddled Dredge, where spiders are unwelcome and the shrieking is kept to a minimum.

36 Responses to A Pregnancy Fear I Never Expected
  1. Jen
    July 29, 2008 | 12:46 am

    Oh. my. gosh.

    Do not blame yourself for this. I think that any reasonable person–even the biggest and bravest of people–would freak out to discover a spider crawling out from the underside of her belly.

    I’m quite an arachnophobe myself (though I too, am trying hard not to pass my crazy on to the next generation) and this story makes me wince just to think about it.

  2. Amanda D.
    July 29, 2008 | 1:19 am


  3. seven
    July 29, 2008 | 2:29 am

    Oh my goodness. I totally have the heebs now.

  4. suburbancorrespondent
    July 29, 2008 | 7:53 am

    Didn’t find that in “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” now did you?

  5. Shelly
    July 29, 2008 | 8:25 am

    Yikes a spider! I would have freaked too!

  6. hyperactivelu
    July 29, 2008 | 8:50 am

    that is hilarious! i am exactly the same way with the mosquitoes. ha! hilarious!

  7. Beck
    July 29, 2008 | 9:09 am

    Hee hee. That’s kind of nasty!
    I’m not scared of spiders. WHich is not to say that I’m enthusiastic about spiders, but they don’t particularily worry me one way or another. But then, I don’t live where there are any poisonous spiders, so they’re just less scary in general.

  8. canadacole
    July 29, 2008 | 9:10 am

    Oh Veronica. I have lurked and loved your blog for ages, but this. There are no words. You managed to say about fear and parenting what I tried and failed to a couple of weeks ago, and then that spider experience. Ewwww.

    Like I needed a new fear. But I shall continue trying to play it cool.

  9. AmyG
    July 29, 2008 | 10:50 am

    Oh man, I got the creeps reading this! I would’ve screamed & shrieked, myself! Yikes!

  10. Heather
    July 29, 2008 | 11:15 am

    I would have been doing that dance with you! I can’t stand the feeling of anything crawling on me and I especially can’t stand spiders.

    Okay now I’ve got the heeby-geebies!

  11. Marmee
    July 29, 2008 | 12:03 pm

    The heeby-jeebies started at “hairy knees”…..I share your fear of spiders. You aren’t alone.

    Train your daughters well, though, on how to overcome their fear, to be brave and smoosh spiders in the house, or else you or your husband will forever be killing the ever present daddy-long-legs in their shower! Even the little bitty ones that can be rinsed away. Sheesh.

    At least we don’t live in an area of the country that has roaches…… those are worse!! Much worse.

  12. midlife mommy
    July 29, 2008 | 12:48 pm

    OMG OMG OMG OMG — yikes. I would have freaked the heck out too.

  13. Octamom
    July 29, 2008 | 1:03 pm

    That’s why I always insist on sporting an outie belly button during pregnancy–spider protection…


  14. T with Honey
    July 29, 2008 | 1:08 pm

    I shrieked like a little girl in front of Princess for the first time last night. We were sitting by the pool pretending that we were fishing using pool noodles. One of those ugly wolf spiders crawled out of her noodle and fell on mine. It started moving toward me and rather quickly so I shrieked and flung the noodle into the yard.

    Definitely not one of my best parenting moments. But Princess just laughed at me.

  15. Kelly
    July 29, 2008 | 2:47 pm

    This isn’t a pregnancy fear. It’s just a justified nightmare.

    My heart popped into my throat at “hairy knees.”

    By the way, I told this story to my kids at lunch. You should have seen their eyes. HUGE! And then much contemplative silence. I fear they will never visit your part of the U.S. now.

  16. A Frugal Housewife - Blessed
    July 29, 2008 | 4:04 pm

    I probably would have just gone into labor… 🙂

    You have my sympathy! I would have done the same thing!

  17. Krista
    July 29, 2008 | 7:28 pm

    Ew ew ew ew ew. I think you had every right to jump and shriek!!! If it were a little tiny spider, maybe not, but I’m freaked out by big hairy spiders too! Ew!!!

  18. Erin
    July 29, 2008 | 7:44 pm

    oh. my. goodness. I would have passed out.

  19. Megan
    July 29, 2008 | 8:59 pm

    Oh goody! Now my tired brain won’t have to think up any of its own freakish nightmares for the night – it’s all set with plenty of good creepy fodder. Yay! 🙂

    Seriously, though. Yuck. Spider knees.

  20. abbyjess
    July 29, 2008 | 9:51 pm

    Yikes! I would have totally freaked. Of course, I would have ultimately have dealt with it myself b/c my husband is even more terrified of spiders than I am. Go figure.

  21. edj
    July 29, 2008 | 10:22 pm

    I don’t fear spiders, but THAT would have freaked me out! You’re lucky you didn’t go into spontaneous labour!

  22. Iva
    July 30, 2008 | 9:00 am

    Naw, girl…you just gotta put the right spin on it for your girls: you were startled by the spider and over reacted a bit. You weren’t scared. Posh! Are you kidding? You’re a mama! You’re not scared of nothin’.

    (That can be your story, at least. LOL)


  23. Jessica
    July 30, 2008 | 9:46 am

    Bless your heart…

    When I was 7ish8ish months pregnant I was bitten on the neck by a brown recluse spider in my sleep. You know, those would be the spiders that cause your flesh to rot. On my neck. VERY visibly.
    Also, the pain was FAR FAR worse than the C-section that was headed my way and of course they were terrified to give me any pain pills with any power.

    Thankfully, that dang spider managed to bite me on the only spot left on my body that wasn’t swollen and flabby so there was little damage to be done. You have to look pretty hard to see where it was.

    So I laugh at your wolf spider 😉 But I am still petrified of crickets. I hate how jumpy they are and their long black feelers. Gives me chills.
    My husband scared me with one once knowing how freaked out they make me- he felt so bad because I instantly started crying and shaking so badly that I had it took me about 45 minutes to calm down and I had to take a Tylenol PM to be able to fall asleep….

  24. ShackelMom
    July 30, 2008 | 10:21 am

    Snakes? I’m cool. Mice? No big deal. Roaches? Ugly but not scary. Spiders? A whole ‘nother story! My boys were amazed when their normally calm mother jumped on a stool and shrieked like a cartoon woman when a large, evil, hairy spider came scuttling down the wall and across the floor one day. Sorry, that’s where I draw the bravery line and where the male sympathy and protection needs to begin! Help! Help! Save me!

  25. Tiffanie
    July 30, 2008 | 11:11 am

    Great. I have three rambunctious boys that make me cringe every time they move! Always jumpin off of, into and over things. They are 6, 4 and 2 and we’ve already had stitches in the head, a fractured shin, a chipped tooth and a plethora of germs and viruses no doubt from all the things I just can’t watch them touch or taste anymore. Pregnant w/ number four. Due in Sept. slightly hoping for a girl. I though maybe it would be easier on this poor mom’s nerves, but I guess not.

  26. Julie
    July 30, 2008 | 5:59 pm

    I freaked out when my 18 month old daughter picked up a June bug. What a bad example! Now she’s scared of all bugs. Great.

  27. Lizz
    July 31, 2008 | 3:17 pm

    Well, I for one think that was actually a pretty calm reaction. I don’t know what I’ll do the day a bee comes near me and my children are also nearby. I’ve been know to make a complete fool of myself, so we’ll see.

  28. Jill
    August 5, 2008 | 8:36 am

    Irrational? NOT AT ALL! I think I might have passed out…. I don’t know that I’d have yet recovered from that!

  29. Kelly
    August 9, 2008 | 9:09 am

    Oh YUCK! shudder . . . .

  30. Mrs Lemon
    August 11, 2008 | 8:16 pm


  31. eder polanco
    September 1, 2008 | 6:33 pm

    my girl friend took 2 test already. and both tell she’s pregnant. i am in shock but calm. what can i do to help her. she’s very scared.

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