Mums who get anxious or worry about dying aren’t crazy or alone. And there are more of us than anyone might think.
Four intelligent, capable and funny women.
A while ago I had dinner with friends.
Four intelligent, capable and funny women. All mums of under fives. I loosely count myself in this four. In number and occupation if nothing else.
After a couple of bottles of Proseccos, tongues sufficiently loosened, one of my friends said, ‘Can I ask something really silly?’
The sillier the better.
‘Does anyone else worry about dying?’
Not so silly then.
The response she got was astounding. She may as well have asked, ‘Does anyone ever dream about Bradley Cooper?’ (Or whoever else floats your boat).
‘Oh my God, all the time,’ said one.
‘I sometimes wish I had a crystal ball just to know that I’ll see my son reach 18 years old. When he won’t need me so much,’ said another.
Now before this sounds intensely morbid. Let me reiterate. Four intelligent, funny women. All thinking the same thoughts. All of us thinking we are alone in them. All thinking ourselves slightly crazy.
Scary but normal.
We aren’t crazy, by the way. I don’t think. And doesn’t this just show that these feelings, which are dark and scary, are more common than any of us could ever imagine? That often, the confident, happy exteriors we present to the world hide interiors that are vulnerable and anxious. That are in need of some reassurance.
I’m sure if someone was to research this properly, they would find that there is a syndrome, which plagues mothers of new babies and young children. A syndrome, which makes them worry about dying and leaving their offspring when they need their mothers most. Something that is scary but is also actually a deep-seated, natural reaction to the responsibility that comes with having someone completely dependent upon you. Something that is made worse by how tired, stretched and claustrophobic we sometimes feel. Something that is, dare I say the word, normal.
Four intelligent, funny women can’t be wrong, right?
‘Why not me?’
I have my own demons in this area. Since having Godivy, I have experienced sporadic health anxiety. I have had all sorts of strange physical symptoms as a result. I have gone to bed at night worrying that I won’t wake up. And wondering what will happen to Beaver and Godivy if I’m not around. Aside from the obvious things like Daddy Pig dressing them in tights and sandals and letting them eat Coco Pops and baked beans until the end of time.
This type of health anxiety, which is so common in mums, can be triggered by any variety of things and is often exacerbated by the world we live in. The world that shares everything via social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The world that makes you think, ‘Why not me?’ The world that no longer allows you to live in peaceful ignorance that you will get married, have babies and live happily ever after.
Because there are a thousand stories out there that tell us, no sorry, it doesn’t always work that way.
Get it into perspective.
These days, our Facebook and Twitter feeds tell us about things we would never otherwise know about. We hear about the hardships and tragedies that befall strangers (including our peers, those mothers of children that are so like us), living hundreds of miles away when 30 years ago, we’d have only known about those living at the end of our road. Suddenly, the odds don’t seem to be in our favour when in reality it is more likely to be a case of our social reach being wider. And us knowing more than perhaps is good for us.
It’s important to remember this. To sometimes get it into perspective. It’s more important to remember that these feelings of anxiousness are commonly felt and nothing to be ashamed of. They’re better once shared. They don’t make us less intelligent, capable or funny. They make us more real and connected with one another.
Because at 2.00 AM it helps to know that somewhere, probably not so far away, another mum is lying awake worrying about the things that you are worrying about.
Like whether their other half can do a plait. Or knows that a potato is not actually ‘one of your five a day.’
You’re not crazy. And you’re definitely not alone.
You’re a mum.
If you’ve ever had thoughts like this. If your other half’s hairdressing skills keep you awake at night. If you just need some reassurance. Leave a comment below or come and visit Surviving Life and Motherhood. We’re a nice friendly bunch. Intelligent, capable and funny even.