I have always been of a nervous disposition, ever since I was a child. I was shy, withdrawn, paranoid and socially awkward. There was a reason for this, it's not one that I wish to share just yet (if at all). As I got older, left school and went to college, I pushed through it all and for a few years, managed to grab ahold of some semblance of a normal life, free from irrational and unfounded fears. I say 'free', I still dreaded going to work, thinking I was in trouble. I'd done nothing wrong, I liked my job, it paid well, and had been given no warning that I was in trouble...yet every shift, I had butterflies thinking that I had forgotten/missed something.
It's a horrible, horrible way to live and sabotaged many an opportunity.
Looking back, I'm impressed with myself, with what I achieved and the progression I made in my career before becoming pregnant with Moo, I handled some difficult things whilst working with children and I know that the me now would struggle with some of the things I encountered back then. Looking at myself now, I wouldn't think I was the same person.
My first pregnancy wasn't so bad, but once she was born, I was struck with the most awful fear of everything. The first night I brought her home, I cried for about half-an-hour worrying over her inverted jaw and whether or not she'd be bullied at school. I barely slept the first week for fear of SIDS and I'm sure that it was exhaustion that got me through the first six months of her life with sleep. I couldn't get down the stairs without imagining falling and dropping her, of hurting her...and then as she grew, it expanded to myself. I find it difficult to walk down the street for fear of falling into the road, I don't drive for fear I might have an accident and harm someone else...a rarely eat when alone in the house in case I choke...becoming a mother brought a whole new realm of fear to my life...one that has upped it's game since having a second baby. The constant fear of the dreaded SIDS is back, despite my religious following of all of the advice and guidelines...I still imagine falling down the stairs, or my new one, dropping him over the banister in the dark and the butterflies in my tummy when I think I'm in 'trouble' extend to all destinations...friends and relatives houses included.
I know that mental-health problems are quite openly discussed in parenting circles and I do talk to my parent friends about my anxiety but it doesn't stop me from feeling like a failure and it doesn't stop the constant paranoid that any day, any second, I could lose one or both of them to something I can't protect them from.
I wish I could tell you what my coping mechanisms are, how I control it...but I homestly don't have an answer...I just do. I have two options; collapse into a puddle of quivering fear on the floor and try to hide from it all, or I can stand up tall, accept that what happens, will happen and be the best mother I can be to the children that I chose to bring into the world. I get up, I go to work, I earn my money and set an example to the people that I selfishly gave birth to. I show them that you can overcome your past, that you can get through things and that having a problem, doesn't mean hat your life has to stop, in fact, it should dive you harder to carry on.
I'm not a gracious loser and yes, I live in fear constantly, but I like to think that I parent with the best of them! I am winning at this and my anxiety knows it...and is running scared!
Labels: anxiety, fear, mental health, parenting