My question to the pro-mums out there: Does the worry ever go away?
Anyone who has given birth will be familiar with the baby blues. The drop of hormones that comes a few days after baby has left the safety of the womb and your mummy-mind begins to panic.
This varies from mother to mother, but many of us will go through this harrowing period of anxiety. The worst of the worst-case-scenarios fill your head. You try to stop it, but floods of awful thoughts come rolling in, your post-natal imagination taking you to the most distressing places you've ever been. There is SO much love and SO MANY tears during this time.
Though these catastrophic worries subside, what's left is a continuous- albeit more low-key- flow of apprehension about the welfare of your child. Every milestone comes with a set of shiny new worries.
From boob to bottle, from cot to bed, you will ALWAYS have a worry. It seems. It becomes a part of you. A (hopefully) quiet voice that is active for most of the day and night, in the back of your mind.
I suppose it is silly to think it will ever go away. Of course, as your kid grows and you eventually stop following them around the house, you become less worried about things like falling over on the step or pulling the house down on top of them. Instead, you think of how others might hurt your child or how a routine checkup could lead to devastation.
This is not dramatizing motherhood. This is the reality how many of us think every day and it is EXHAUSTING.
Many of us still place a hand on the tummy of our sleeping 4-year-old to see if she's breathing. When they are little, our minds run algorithms to estimate risk when we walk into an unfamiliar room.
We run different ones to asses the risks of letting them take a bus into town or go to a disco when they enter the teen stage. Though we do our best to hide it we are all helicopter parents of some capacity, no matter how 'chill' we appear.
I don't think anyone has ever been prepared for this emotional load that parents carry. This is a good thing. The last thing parents-to-be need is apprehension about the apprehension.
However, I'd like to think that some people are better at putting these worries aside than I am. That there are mums on the school run who are genuinely over it all and focus on the present with their little ones. Who just do, instead of think.
Being on the younger end of parenthood, my question to the pro-mums out there is: does the worry ever go away?