In Netflix’s new post-apocalyptic thriller “Bird Box,” Sandra Bullock plays a mom trying to save her children’s lives after a mysterious force invades the earth and causes people to commit suicide.

In trying to demonstrate how dire their situation is, Bullock’s character tells the kids they “will die” if they don’t follow her strict instructions of what to do and what not to do as they make their escape down a river. But playing this severe character wasn’t a huge leap of faith for Bullock in real life.

“As a mom, you think those thoughts, it’s just a part of your makeup,” Bullock told Variety’s Marc Malkin. She goes on to insist that this expecting and preparing for the worst is a universal fear held by all parents.

“Every Mom will look at this and go, ‘That river is my journey as a parent,'” Bullock insisted.

This slightly severe version of motherhood was exactly what “Bird Box” director, Susanne Bier, was going for. “When I read the script I felt there was the potential to portray a different picture of motherhood than that which is usually portrayed,” Bier told Variety. “I’ve always felt that motherhood is mainly defined by men and for many hundreds of years is automatically thought of as being soft, caring, naturally nurturing, calm,” she says. “There are a lot of things that are part of our idealized vision of motherhood, but I always thought it was much more complex, much more ferocious … I think that’s what Sandra gives it.”

For more news on “Bird Box,” check out our full interview with the director and co-stars Bullock and Trevante Rhodes. 

“Bird Box” is currently airing on Netflix.