Monday, 18 August 2014

Is it normal to feel a constant sense of impending doom?

A diary extract from when I was eight.
When I fish Joseph out of his cot for his dream feed at night, there's a huge part of me that's excited to see him, because it's been a whole four hours since I last saw him (and we don't use a baby monitor), but in the back of my mind there is also a dread that he will be cold and, well, dead. When I hear his breath, I feel instant relief and I hold him for an extra few seconds, grateful that he is ok. Then when I put him back down I look at him, lovingly, but also feel a sadness in case it's the last time I'll see him alive.

Every time I hear him wake in the mornings, I feel thankful that he has woken up... But then I look at the time and sometimes think 'Damnit, Joseph! Can't you sleep for another hour?!'

I feel quietly nervous when I take him on car journeys in case of an accident, and I'm worried about holding him in his carrier for too long in case his hips dislocate.

We're travelling to Goa in February for a family wedding and rather than being excited about it, I'm worried that something disastrous is going to happen - a plane crash, a bombing, malaria, food poisoning... I could go on. I used to be an incredibly nervous flyer as a kid and I distinctly remember clutching at my Rosary and teddy bear whilst crying at take-off for a number of flights. I used to irritate flight attendants and unnerve other passengers, I'm sure. I got over it in my late teens but even missed out on a couple of holidays with friends because of it (one of which, had I gone, would've resulted in me meeting mega-babe Leigh Lezark), but with the news lately, and the fact that we'll be flying over war-zones (unless they've changed the flight path),  I can't help but feel twitchy about the whole thing.

Before Joseph was born, I guess partly because of all the extra tests I had, I was worried he'd be still-born or have something seriously wrong with him. Other mums I knew said the same thoughts had crossed their minds, and my midwife said it was normal too, so that put my mind at ease. However, I find myself already thinking similar thoughts about baby number two, if and when that happens.

When I was eight, and even younger, I was terrified of World War III starting and my brother being conscripted (I actually think some of my thinking was a bit OCD because I'd think 'I have to do 'xyz' otherwise a war will start); beheading (French Revolution style), was acutely aware of my mum's mortality, and felt incredibly sad for all the families in war torn countries on the news. One of the reasons I have an aversion to church is because I remember hiding under the pews crying my eyes out, feeling sad about what felt like everything (missing my relatives in America was also a big cause for a hole-in-chest feeling in my younger years), but trying not to show it because it would make my mum sad that I was sad. I eventually grew out of such thinking, but I feel almost like those thoughts have resurfaced again now that I have Joseph. I often wonder what sort of a world I have brought a life into and what the future will hold for him.

This kind of leads me onto other thoughts about how the way 'you' are can affect your baby; your fears and anxieties can become their fears anxieties. I really don't want Joseph to be aware that I'm nervous about our holiday and, on a lighter note, I really don't want him to pick up my fear of spiders because I want him to get rid of them for me when he's older!

I went a little off topic there, delving into my psyche, but I guess I just want to know whether other parents think such things?
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Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x

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