With the world seemingly going to shit, it’s hard not to worry about everything. You’ve only got to glance at Twitter or Facebook to see numerous pictures of empty shelves and you instantly start worrying about how you’re going to feed your family and yourself. I know I am. We genuinely need to do a ‘big shop’, but I feel like we’re going to be judged for stockpiling. No, we genuinely need spaghetti hoops and bread. Anyway, I digress. Panic seems to breed panic, and it got me thinking of how much you worry as a mum.
From the moment you see the second line on the pregnancy test (or plus sign, or the actual word ‘pregnant’ depending on you choice of test), you are filled with worry. You instantly start to worry how you’re going to do this (whether you’re a first-time mum, or a fifth-time mum), how you’re going to afford it, if you can cope, how much it’s going to hurt, will everything be ok with the pregnancy etc etc. It’s almost overshadows the excitement, because you just can’t help but think about all aspects of how your world is going to change.
Then, as labour draws closer you worry about the actual birth. Will you be able to give birth naturally? Will you need a c-section? How long will it last? It’s a bloody minefield, and I found that antenatal classes did help, but didn’t entirely quash my worries (although, I’m not exactly a chill person, so that might need to factor in too). Once you’ve given birth, you get a few hours where you do seem to relax. Labour is over – yay! Then you have to go home with this new baby and for me, that was the most terrifying bit! It knocked my confidence in myself, that I knew how to look after this tiny being (she’s still going strong at 13 months old, so something is obviously going right). Was I doing the right thing by breastfeeding? Should I try formula? Will I get any sleep? Am I spending enough time with my husband? Do I really need to see family today? It’s non-stop. It’s not always the most fun, but occasionally, there was some calm and it really helped. So, try and get that if you can.
As they get older, there are new worries every day: how will I wean them? When will they sleep? Are they choking on their food? Am I stimulating them enough? Are they developing properly? When will they walk? Again, it’s endless.
The worst part is, you never stop worrying as a parent. Both my parents and my parents-in-law have assured me of this. There’s always something to worry about; although, it may not always be as prominent as when they are this small, it’s pretty much always there.
So, we need to develop better ways of coping. Self-care isn’t always an option, especially for those who are solo parenting! Utilise your village, they’re there for you. When your child is in bed (no matter how little time for) try and take some time for yourself, whether that’s through yoga or checking Instagram. Do what helps you. It doesn’t matter if it’s not seen as ‘proactive’, if it gives you five minutes of peace and calm, do it.
Hopefully, the world will calm down soon (before something else comes along), but hopefully, we’ll all be prepared and know how to tackle the worry that comes along with it.