When you have a child, you get told so much. Oh my, so much information is thrown at you, either by yourself from reading books and online, or by professionals, friends, family and strangers. Everyone wants to reveal their tips and tricks to you. You get told how amazing it is, how exhausting you will find it, how babies are hard work, how times flies and how much they change. You get warned about the body changes, the sagging boobs and the slight potential change to the, erm, downstairs department and you get told about the stretch marks, but does anyone ever tell you about, ‘the fear?’ Let me just explain what I mean (sidenote: there’s no dramatic music when saying the words, the fear, although you can create if you want) I’m talking about that overactive imagination that kicks into gear as you’re trying to sleep at night, creating horrible scenarios from harmless activities or days out. Scenes are replayed in your head with alternative, horror endings. It’s all just tricks of the mind of course, but this parental fear wasn’t something I was prepared for when I became a mum.
No book I read ( and I read all of them!) got me ready for that horrific surge of adrenalin I’ve had when I’ve briefly lost sight of my daughter. And no book got me ready for the panic I’ve felt when she’s nearly run into the road. Post events like this happening I’ve hardly been able to sleep as the fear creates alternative endings in my mind. I also experience these crazy thoughts after seemingly normal days out together. As I drift off to sleep, my imagination ramps up a gear and creates scenarios from our day that didn’t happen, like the kid falling into water, running into the road or going missing. It’s these scenes that get replayed over and over again in my head, so much so that I often have to physically shake myself. This over-active imagination has increased tenfold since having a child and more so recently I think because my girl has just turned three. She was once so small and helpless but now she’s growing so fast, saying so much and getting so big. She’s not a baby anymore. There is so much I want and wish for her, but there is also so much I am fearful of too. I want her to see travel world, but I also don’t want her to see ever get on an aeroplane (or bus, or train, or car). I want her to be independent but I want her to always need me. And I want her to see the sights, but I also never want her to leave home. This, my friends is a real emotional rollercoaster.
I think this is part and parcel of being a parent. Perhaps this, slightly irrational at times, thinking will lessen slightly as our children grow, but only to be replaced by new types of fear, worry and concern. Fear about where our teenage kids are, who they are with, are they smoking, whether our daughters are okay on their first dates and whether our kids at university are drinking too much. I think when you become a parent a new part of your brain is unlocked (along with the twenty others that are now closed and replaced by permanent baby brain) and that’s the ‘fear’ section. I think it will always be with us no matter how old our babies are and this is something I need to get used to and accept. I can’t really control it but I can accept that it’s part and parcel of being a mother and that it’s just another damn thing to add to the list.