Parental Anxiety…

I know I’m not on my own with this one. It’s another level. Just know you’re not alone and it can, does and will get better. There’s also not a single thing that will fix it, everyone copes in different ways but I’ve written some of my thoughts down and if it starts a conversation then great. If not, it’s helped me process my feelings…

As I sit here, watching the three devices I have to monitor my baby I wonder if it’s too much 🥴 but I know I’m not the only one.

I wonder if we know too much? We have heartbreaking statistics and stories practically targeted at us through our phones, at our finger tips. 

I watch as people roll their eyes when I’m explaining what these devices do. ‘We didn’t need all that when you were younger, you turned out fine’. ‘We used bumpers’ ‘we slept you on your front’. Great. But the advice is different now. The devastating stories are told now (and rightly so). The anxiety level seems so much higher now (or maybe it’s spoken about more now? …though still not enough)

But I do still wonder if I’m crazy? I refuse to sleep unless some sort of alarm will sound if there was any risk. And even still I lie here awake worrying they won’t work, getting up numerous times to feel her breathing (even though gadgets 1 and 2 tell me she is).

And it’s like a relief every time I get the confirmation she’s breathing. Like obviously it’s a relief but should I need to be that worried in the first place?  Some nights (like now), I lie awake whilst she’s asleep just worrying about falling asleep and missing something. Which then results in me being needlessly tired the next day.

I’m an anxious person at the best of times but having a child has made it a lot worse. I know lockdown hasn’t helped either, we were robbed of her spending time with family from an early age and it took me a long time to get used to not being with her. I still find it hard sometimes but I believe it’s totally necessary. For her, for me, for our families. I get peace of mind by being able to check on her though when she’s not with me (is that weird? Is that just me?). People say you should just switch off but for me, not knowing, not being able to check on her would send my mind into overdrive. I’d have a much better time just reassuring myself. 

When she’s out;  she gets the energy and enthusiasm from someone who isn’t with her 24/7 and occasionally feels drained (!) and I get time to recharge. It’s win win really isn’t it. So why do we feel/get made to feel guilty?

Learning to deal with these anxieties has not been easy. I’m reading (and re-reading) a book called ‘Mind over Mother’ by Anna Mathur. That’s been helpful. I’m speaking to people about how I feel, friends and family and I’d encourage anyone else feeling this way to do the same. Is it normal? It seems to be accepted as ‘normal’ too, but I’m pretty sure having visions of something awful happening to your baby shouldn’t be seen as ‘normal’. 

It has got better as she’s got older in some respects but worse in others. Now she can move, roll, climb. She’s now 9 months old and she often rolls to sleep on her front. I can’t leave her there because I panic too much, even though I know she can roll back. Her alarm sounds when she does it (much to Scott’s annoyance, usually multiple times a night) and we go in and roll her back. I am getting better and if her head is to the side I sometimes leave her, but usually only whilst we are awake. It’s mental isn’t it? We’ve now also had numerous head bangs that have made me want to cry never-mind her. But I can now start to look forward to nights away with my husband, weekend breaks with the girls etc. etc.(You can do one now, Covid). 

You’ve got to look after yourself and do the things that made you you, before a baby, otherwise I’m sure these anxieties would never ease and you would settle into a life you perhaps don’t want. Again, everyone wants different, I know I still want parts of my life before children but others may fully accept that’s not to be anymore and be happy with that.

The firsts will always be the hardest. But trust me when I say I’ll be putting my all into enjoying 2021, both with Marlie and without her (she will of course be enjoying time with someone who loves her like I do and I will of course be checking up on her on a monitor 🤣).

Im sure I’m not the only one who feels like this, writing about it has helped me process it. Luckily, even though he maybe doesn’t understand my anxiety, Scott is really good. He doesn’t down play it or tell me i’m being stupid (as much as he probably just wants a full nights sleep…!) which is all I can ask for. Hopefully sharing it may help someone else realise they aren’t alone. There’s a lot you’re made to feel guilty about, purposely or not, when your a mum but at the end of the day you know your baby better than anyone, and should always and only do what you think it right for them.

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