When you become a parent for the first time, people warn you that “life will never be the same again”, they promise you that “you’ll never experience love like the love a parent feels for their child”. All true. But I don’t remember many people warning me about “the fear”. You mightn’t notice it at first after your little one arrives, because you are too blown away by the feeling of love, or maybe just too exhausted from the constant feeds and nappy changes to notice. But sooner or later, it hits you. The realisation that after all those months safe and warm in the womb, this little one is now out in the big bad world, where big bad things can happen, not all of which you can protect them from. The fear that something will happen to this little one. Or to you, and your little one will have to face the big bad world without you.
You know you’ve experienced the fear the first night you poke your sleeping baby, because he or she is a little too still. And you know you’ve experienced it when stories on the news that never affected you before suddenly move you to tears because the full horror of something happening to a child or a parent becomes real to you.
I’d put “the fear” down to post-baby hormones except that I know Charlie has felt it too. I wasn’t the only one who switched channel as soon as an exposé on scary things that happen to children appeared on the TV!
A year and a half on, I can say that “the fear” doesn’t go away. It changes – you move on from worrying about cot death, to worrying about baby-proofing…and I’m sure as the years go by, it will continue to change, until we’re left worrying if he’s safe while he’s out at night, if he’ll get that job, if he’ll marry that girl… You learn to live with it, and you sometimes forget about it. But it’s always there.
A consequence of “the fear” is that sooner or later you have to face the possibility that something may happen leaving your little one without you. Hopefully that’s something that will never come to pass, and we’ll be old and grey and still worrying about what that young fella is up to! But just in case, today we forced ourselves to think about the “what ifs” and draw up our last wills and testaments, naming guardians, trustees, and executors. Depressing stuff. But necessary. And now that it’s done, officially done, “the fear” is still there, but somehow it’s lessened. As much as possible the “what ifs” are covered, there’s no more we can do. So we put “the fear” aside, and concentrate on the love instead! A much happier prospect!
Good post and I totally agree. We all feel that FEAR and you just want to much to protect your child from everything you can xxx
strange enough, Lisa, just other day I was looking for solicitor to arrange our wills.. and you are so right,- it is depressing
I felt refreshed when I read this post. And happy too – that someone else talked about it. I have felt this since the first day home with our first baby and you are right, it doesn’t pass. But now you’ve brought it out in the open so maybe, just maybe knowing there are other mummies who experience ‘the fear’ will allow us to concentrate on the love. Lovely post.
Thanks Mummypages. It’s funny how people don’t really talk about it alright. Maybe because it’s just easier (and healthier?) not to dwell on it!