I had a coffee with an old friend this afternoon and we ended up talking about anxiety. He adores children, was utterly in love with Miss Rose, but found the idea of having children of his own to be completely terrifying. Not in the “commitment issues” way of most men. He found the idea terrifying because he knew how much he would love his child, and how hard he would find that.
Miss Rose is the most precious, beautiful and amazing little person ever. EVER. But also the most frightening. The love I have for her means everything feels like a threat. Everything, every day, everywhere. Everything.
She is asleep contentedly in her own bed right now, in her safe room, with a safely shut stair gate at the top of the stairs. I happen to know she is contentedly asleep for two reasons. 1) I have a baby monitor constantly set to the loudest volume despite the fact it is plugged in about 1 foot from my ear. 2) I have just checked on her for the fifth time since she went to sleep four hours ago.
When I check on her it’s not checking she is okay, it’s not checking she’s asleep, it’s not checking she’s happy. It’s checking that she isn’t dead.
It’s a very Shroedinger’s Baby situation. Until I check… she could either be dead or alive. When I check she is alive (obviously) but until I’ve put my hand on her chest or heard her little baby snores, a small and serious part of me truly believes she is dead. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
My friend and his partner have three dogs and two cats, pets they utterly adore and who he worries about constantly. I understand, I love my little dog massively and before I had Miss Rose she was my baby. But it’s different. It is SO different. The fear. The amazing deep love comes with the absolute, ultimate, brain melting FEAR. It is that fear he feels would be too overwhelming for him to handle.
I respect that. Parenting, for many reasons, is not for everyone. A lot of people have children without understanding what a responsibility it is, and then realise that it is more than they want. For me giving up a lot of my freedoms was a small price, though for many that is what they struggle with most. I don’t mind not being about to go out whenever I feel like it, and I don’t mind that my house is full of toys. I don’t mind the stretchmarks, and I don’t mind the fact most of my clothes have snot on. All of these things which are the concerns most mother’s struggle with are fine for me.
The fear though? The fear is where I struggle. Fighting every day the belief that it is this day, this time, this moment that something is going to kill my baby girl. Checking the stair gate for the fiftieth time despite having rattled it vigorously just moments earlier, checking to feel her pulse because she’s asleep in the buggy and I can’t see her chest move through the Cosy-Toes, these are standard every single day.
New parents, parents to be, people who are thinking of having babies some time in the future. Prepare for The FEAR.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!