On the whole world of parenting worry

September 6, 2012

Oh, the world of parenting worry. So we somehow have a seven-month old baby; when did that happen? And so far each of those seven months have been filled with firsts, and most of them have been great (like her first proper giggle, the first time she rolled over and the first time she sat unsupported, all by herself). But this weekend bought a new experience for us all, with all the fun of Eliza’s first illness.

Parenting anxiety and worry - how to cope with fears and worry as a parent

I knew something was amiss on Saturday when even the all-encompassing magic power of The Boob wouldn’t settle her, and it’s been gut-wrenchingly sad to see her so distressed over the past few days. I suppose we should be glad that we’d sailed through seven months with a clean bill of health as it seems pretty inevitable that babies will catch these kind of illnesses – this time it was a virus – and I know there is far more to come when she starts at the germ pool of nursery next year.

Which brings me on to parenting worry. Do you ever get used to it, and does it ever lessen as children get older and become more robust? Or does it just get harder? I remember calling my parents when I was travelling and had returned from an unplanned trip to a place without phones or internet, and my mum said that they’d ‘considered calling Interpol.’ We all laughed, but thinking about it now I would have been seriously considering it if I’d been in their shoes.

I’ve had a healthy amount of new-mum anxiety so far but my baby being ill, however minor in the grand scheme of things, makes me feel really vulnerable. It really brings it home that I have a little piece of me on the outside who is as equally at peril from external forces as I am. And how do you cope with that? Arghh.

How do you deal with parenting worry, parenting fears and anxieties? I guess my tips would be a) don’t stress! b) trust your instincts and c) breathe. You can handle it.

Eliza does seem a bit brighter today and is back to babbling away and crawling backwards all over the living room. And I feel a lot happier after the doctor prescribed me with an emergency visit from Grandma combined with much tea, cake and a couple of glasses of wine. P.S. re: the travelling incident, sorry mum!

Someone Once Told Me photo - dealing with parenting worry and parenting fears and anxietiesAll this talk of worry has reminded me of the photo I had taken for Someone Once Told Me, Mario’s brilliant photography project where he takes pictures of people holding a board on which they’ve written a phrase that someone once told them. Mine was taken all the way back in 2008 and is linked to the photograph above I took (of an art exhibition we walked past on our way to the tube one night). Proper explanation on the site here. If you want to be featured, get in touch with him on Twitter.

6 Comments

  • Jenni

    September 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Loving your blog. I’ve just come across it via Brit Mums. We too are in the midst of my 7 month old son being ill. He’s so unsettled and it’s so difficult to console him. It’s comforting that we’re not the only ones. With time, I hope we as parents get more used to it but I think it will always be a bit unsettling. You’re right, it really does make you think about some of the things we do as teenagers and the worry we probably caused.

    1. gillian

      September 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you so much! I’ve been reading yours too (sorry it’s taken me forever to reply). It’s so horrible isn’t it – it made me feel really vulnerable and powerless, and that was just for something really minor in the grand scheme of childhood illnesses. I guess it’s the payoff for all the lovely parts of parenting, but still – really not nice x.

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  • allotmentmum

    September 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Hello, just found you via britmums back to blogging week. I think parenting and worry are inseparable – my eldest is 5 and I’m expecting my third, but the worrying doesn’t get any less – you just worry about different things! I once read somewhere ‘fear is the price of love’ – so true when it comes to having kids I think. But worth it, of course!

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