If my brain got paid for over time, I’d be raking it in.
I always promised that my blog would be a positive space full of honesty and I can assure you there is nothing more honest than this that you’re about to read. I’m not completely sticking to the promise of positivity with this one but I figured that there is nothing more positive than sharing my struggle and hopefully helping someone else.
Ever since Isla was born I have worried like I have never worried before. Having a baby and being a parent is the most amazing job in the world but it comes with oodles of responsibility and for me a constant fear that something bad might happen to her. I can only describe parenthood as the biggest, most stressful yet most rewarding job in the world. It’s completely bitter sweet.
I remember the enormous rush of love I had for Isla the moment she was born but I also recall how overwhelmed I felt. All of a sudden, my happiness was solely dependant on this little person who five minutes was ago was just ‘bump’. She was so small and so precious and within an instant I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I was in total shock and loved her so much that it hurt. I had all this love to give but didn’t know what to do with it, I felt completely consumed.
From the moment she was born all I have wanted to do is protect her, so much so that at times I have run myself into the ground. I really struggled to sleep in the first few weeks as I was so worried that I wouldn’t notice if she stopped breathing, slipped under her blanket, over-heated, was taken by fairies etc. It was relentless and the less I slept, the worse it became. The fairies was a joke by the way!
When Isla was 3 days old I was so concerned about her breathing that I called for an ambulance. Her stomach was moving in and out rapidly and she would occasionally stop breathing for around 4/5 seconds. It turns out that this is very common in young infants and is known as periodic breathing. I remember feeling stupid and angry at myself for wasting ambulance time until the paramedic said that he responds to at least 2 calls a week from new parents. He went on to say that it’s always best to take precautions and that you can never be too careful when it comes to caring for your most precious possession. I couldn’t agree more!
In our first 3 weeks together at home, I shed a lot of tears. I can distinctly remember feeling like each day was a battle for survival because she was so tiny, so fragile and so dependant on us. I used to get upset thinking that I wasn’t good enough to look after such a beautiful baby and that she would be better off being looked after by someone ‘who knew what they were doing’.
Like most other parents, I also worry about Isla becoming unwell. I’m terrible at being ill myself and have transferred my own fears into fears for her. I hate being ill, as does everyone else, so why would she be any different? All new mums and mums to be will agree, that the entire time you are pregnant you are plagued with leaflets on childhood illnesses, meningitis etc and because of this I now find myself on the constant look out for signs and symptoms. Some might see this as good parenting, of which I agree to an extent, but when your mind works overtime like mine, it’s not great and I often find it hard to switch off. Thank goodness for 111, home thermometer kits and a husband who is more rational than me!
I was lucky enough to have weekly visits from my birthing midwives up until Isla was a month old and so they knew exactly how I felt and supported me tremendously. They reassured me that how I felt was completely normal and very common of a first time mum. One of my midwives always used to say ‘if only you could have your second baby first, it would be a whole lot easier’ and I couldn’t agree more! Next time round I would have been there, seen that, done it… got the bloody t-shirt!
Now that Isla is older and nowhere near as fragile and small, my fears and anxiety have lessened. Of course, I will never stop worrying for my daughter regardless of how old she gets but I think I am safe to say that the dark days of keeping the light on all night so I could watch over her are over – I hope!
It’s taken quite a lot for me to write this as admitting it feels like I’m defeated by my thoughts and feelings. I just really hope that someone who feels the same will read this and know that they are not alone.
I want to be the best, most vigilant mum I can possibly be, but I am also aware that I can’t see through walls, I must sleep, I don’t have a sixth sense and actually I’m just a normal mum trying to do my best… As are you!
Be good to yourself muma! You’ve got this.
Lots of love