Enemy Number Mum

03/05/2017 11:59

Hello anxiety, my old friend. I thought you'd buggered off somewhere but here you are in full restraint, refusing to allow me to eat anything all day, making me jump at a telephone ring and encouraging me to chew half the skin off of the inside of my mouth along with any millimetre of nail available.

You haven't raised your loathsome head in ages but as soon as my daughter gets a whisper of a cough you pop up again like the turd that won't flush away.

My baby has not been herself for a few weeks. Starting with dizziness and a little unsteadiness on her feet, which any rational person (i.e. my boyfriend) would say, "It's an ear infection". However you make me feel like it absolutely must be something sinister. A brain disorder, a tumour, deafness, joint weakness or indeed all of this.

After these symptoms progressed to a temperature of 39.7 (to be precise) a breathing rate of 46 per minute (not that I counted) and blueness of the nails (couldn't possibly be that she was outside and cold) you made me feel like I was going for the biggest job interview of my life. The anxious knot in the stomach, dry mouth and clumsiness as I dropped my phone for the 10th time and worried that my phone was out of signal and the doctor wouldn't be able to call me back.

I had no idea that having a child would make me feel this way. I knew I'd be tired and have general worries for her about the future and the world we live in but I never comprehended the wave of sheer terror that totally consumes me when I fear she is poorly. I did not sign up for this, how come nobody warned me!

I'm not sure if social media has helped or hindered me. Continuous horrific stories of families who were misdiagnosed or whose midnight call to 111 was overlooked, concluding an innocent fever over a life-threatening sepsis.

It's good that we are aware but are we now whipping ourselves into such frenzy that it becomes a disability to everyday life. When no longer can I let my daughter roam the garden in fear that she will lick bird shit and die the next day of respiratory failure or that the latest house plant I have purchased will drop its toxic pollen into her lunch and cause her liver to fail.

Every time she has been poorly I have stroked her sweaty head and muttered "please god, just give it all to me. I'll take it for her so she doesn't have to suffer."

I wish I could just assume a sore throat is just a sore throat and a rash is just a reaction to different washing powder, but I can't. I hate anxiety but in my quest to protect my daughter from the early stages of every possible disease am I in fact just passing my anxiety on to her. I don't know, I really hope not.

I'm hoping it will get easier as she grows, when she can actually tell me how she feels but everybody tells me it doesn't. The worries just manifest themselves in a different way. My mum says as a parent you never stop worrying. She worries that my sister who is in her 40s and frequently runs will just drop down dead from a heart attack whilst in a remote forest or that my carpenter brother will slip off of a roof he is working on. The worry will NEVER END!

Basically, I've got about another 60 years (hopefully) of this! Someone pass me the gin!

If you are interested to read more from me you can check out my parenting blog at http://www.beautyandtheminibeasts.com

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