Is this the darkest fear that every mum has?May 4, 2016
I’ve agonised over writing this, but think other mums might feel this fear too. The whole point of this blog is to open up honest discussions, and make us mums realise that we’re in it together – no matter what our differences, the fact that we’re all mothers joins us at our very core. We’re normal. Even though we think we might feel alone, or totally mad, sometimes.
In general, I’m an upbeat, decidedly un-morbid person, but since having a baby my thoughts have taken a turn for the darker, and I don’t seem to be able to shake them. In short – and this is horrible to write – but I think about awful things happening to our daughter. Unspeakable things. And the worst thing, which I’ve typed and then deleted because I can’t bear to read the word. It’s not that I spend hours dwelling on this, but the most horrendous thoughts can strike me at unexpected, often happy, moments, like a punch to my stomach, bringing tears to my eyes.
God, I worry. Not about specifics, when we get into the car, or when she has a fever, but it’s like feeling a sudden loss when she’s right there in my arms. It’s almost as though I don’t feel worthy of such a gift.
When I was pregnant I read a quote by Elizabeth Stone, who said “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”. And how true it is. How vulnerable we are. Everyone knows our weakness.
It’s a classic trope in action films – the bad guy make threats against the good guy’s family, forcing his or her hand into doing whatever they want. And now I get why it’s such a cliché – because it would work. It would work for me, and I’d do anything – literally anything – to protect my child.
No-one warned me about this. The worry. The fear. The preoccupation with ‘something bad happening’. The dark underbelly of everything good and magical about parenthood. And I suspect it becomes ingrained in us, from pregnancy when the baby doesn’t kick as much as you think they should, to talks about gap years and travelling alone when they’re older.
So what’s the answer? Maybe it’s just understanding that every mum feels the same sometimes, and that it would be a worry if we didn’t.